Hello Friends! In my last post, October Favorites, I told you guys that I was going to be better about blogging at least once a week. Well guys, so far I am staying true to my word.
The past month has ultimately been a lot of juggling for me… juggling life, my gym job, cheesecake factory job, the gym, training…. All that jazz. And quite frankly, it has taken some time to get into a little bit of a routine. I finally have a set schedule at the gym which makes it a little bit easier to plan out my week and my life.
As a bikini competitor, competing has two seasons. First, we have prep. 110% gym, diet, recovery… Second, we have “off” season. Now, some people don’t like the term “off season”… call it “improvement season”, whatever, to me, they ultimately mean the same thing. Right now, my life is not all about fitness. I am not 100% on my diet or my training… and that is OKAY. Why? Because that is not the focus for me right now. Yes, I want to improve my physique, gain muscle, not gain too much fat… that is important to me (to a degree). But it isn’t THE MOST important thing to me right now… Yes, fitness and nutrition are a part of my life. But they are only a part of my ENTIRE life … hence the mental shift. Here are what my priorities are right now…
What’s the focus for me?
-My NEW Job. This is my first time working a desk job. 8 hour shifts. This is 100% a 180 from what I am used to. Being a server, you are moving constantly… this job, however, that is not the case. I’m getting into a routine, learning what my responsibilities are and so far so good.
-Self Love. This sounds cheesy (even for me)… but hey, there is a time and a place for cheesy and that time is now. Off season isn’t always easy. It is difficult seeing your body going from tan, shredded and veiny to ghostly pale (I am practically see through) and a softer look. Nobody wants to gain weight. Nobody wants to feel “fat”. But as my sister has told me, “Fat is not a feeling” (shoutout to you @mbkellyy for those wise words of wisdom). So my focus this offseason is to love myself. Love myself for more than what I look like on the outside. Love myself because I am smart, kind, funny, and sassy. Love myself because I am more than a 6 pack and diet face. Just because you aren’t lean doesn’t mean you aren’t healthy and athletic. This isn’t to say that I don’t have those days where I feel bleh and off kilter- I definitely have those days. But I am making the choice to not dwell on those negative thoughts and emotions. Love yourself folks, love yo bad self.
-Improving My Physique. Yes, improving my physique is one of my goals right now. I want to gain more size and muscle and to do so I must lift heavy ish and eat. Eat eat eat. I will never be that person that will complain about eating more or feel as if I am eating “so much food”. Nope, never. I am eating so much more food than when I was on prep and honestly I question how I was ever able to eat so little on prep. I was a champ that’s for damn sure lol. So my goal is to gain size and to do so, I make training a priority. That does not mean that I am perfect. There has been once or twice, in the past month or so, that I have skipped a workout. I survived. I didn’t “throw away” all my progress. But to make this a priority requires taking certain steps to reach my goals and I’ll mention those more later.
-ENJOYING LIFE. Yup, this is a priority for me. I spent 6 months of this past year on prep. I love prep-don’t get me wrong.But certain things do get put on the back burner when you are in a competition prep.(I’m sorry, but you are lying to yourself if you tell yourself otherwise). So this offseason, I am enjoying my life and living. I am eating. I am traveling. I am going on dates with my boyfriend. Last month, my boyfriend and I went to the NYC Food and Wine Festival. We drank alcohol and sampled copious amounts of appetizers and desserts then went and wondered the city and eat ice cream. That would never have been possible on a competition prep diet. In the past month, the boyfriend and I have binged watched Netflix and spooned ice cream out of Ben and Jerry pints on more than one occasion. Do these food choices warrant some unnecessary weight gain? Probably. But you know what, that is okay. It’s okay to choose memories over tracking your macros. I am choosing to focus on my relationships instead of numbers. It’s okay to go off plan, off your diet, off your training, in order to make memories and do fun things that’ll ultimately only better your mental health. Maybe you can track your macros to a t every single day, get every single workout in, never go off plan and that works for you- great. But that is sure as hell not possible for me. Nor is it what I want or choose to do. So until 2018, I am living.
So that should give you a good idea of what is cookin in my life right now so that leaves what’s on the backburner? I’ll tell you…
-Abs/Being Shredded. Ah yes, the shreds. The shreds stuck around with me for a while post competition and I was pretty proud of that (not gonna lie). But now, 18 weeks post show, the shreds are no longer. I can’t (and won’t) expect myself to have abs and shreds the rest of 2017 into 2018. That is not realistic for me. I barely had abs at 3 weeks out from my first show of the season after dieting for 21 weeks. How could I expect myself, or my body, to hold myself to that high standard? I can’t… or at least that’s how I look at it. Now, if you catch me in some good lighting an ab or two or some muscle definition will appear… but after a few beverages and my first meal, they’ll disappear. The abs and shreds have come and gone. But three people I work with have mentioned to me, that my booty has “plumped up” -so that is a win in my book. Haha I shall take it.
-Rigidity. Now, by no means do I want you to confuse this word with the word “structure” because they are two very different things. Yes, I do have structure in my life right now. That is important for me to stay organized and on track with life and my goals… but I am by no means rigid. I no longer have a one way to do things attitude. I have flexibility. I have flexibility with my food choices, my training, and my cardio, my schedule, and my life. I no longer choose to weigh myself every day. Or at all, really. I will weigh myself once in a blue moon and for now, that works for me. I no longer feel the need to step on the scale to let a number define me or my body. I choose to do what I want to do and now is not the time to be rigid.
I told you guys what my priorities are right now (my job, self-love, muscle gains, and life). Now, how did I determine to myself what those were? First, I asked myself what were my priorities? Once you determine your focus, you simply make it happen. We have all heard the expression “if it’s important you’ll make it happen- if not, you’ll make an excuse” … or something like that. Cliché, but true.
So you know your priorities, you wrote them down, now how to we make sure to keep our priorities in check and make shit happen? Here are some of the steps I follow to help keep my priorities a priority when life gets hectic…
- What’s the priority? (You should be able to skip this step… you determined your priorities above).
- Plan. Use a planner and schedule out your day. Mark off what you are going to do when. Work. Go to the gym. Blog. Grocery shopping. Whatever you have to do- pencil it into your calendar. Then, stick to it.
- Create lists. I love lists. Something about crossing something off my to-do list is so satisfying to me. I start at the top with whatever is the most important then put the least important on the bottom. Then, start crossing those bad boys off.
Find what works and what doesn’t. When you are getting into a routine and adjusting, you’ll quickly find that some things/ some plans work and some…just don’t. For example, I know that if I do not go to the gym BEFORE work, the likelihood of me going after is slim to none. So, I mark that into my calendar to start my day off with a good sweat session. (This also increases my productivity throughout the day). I have also learned that if I am scheduled to work at 7 am, my appetite will have no chill and I will be starving all day. This means I come prepared with snacks. It also means that I spread out my carbs/fats/protein more evenly throughout the day in hopes to keep my appetite at bay.
- Be prepared with food. Now, I may not always hit my macros to a T but 99.9% of the time I go to work with food prepared. Why? Sitting at a desk works up an appetite and so does running around Cheesecake Factory waiting tables. Instead of mindlessly munching on the line or candy drawer, I bring foods that I know I will look forward to and will satisfy my appetite and cravings. I know if I wait too long to eat, when I finally do eat, I am more likely to over eat and say “f it” I.e. eating rice cakes with pb and copious amount of chex mix for dinner haha- I know I’m not alone on this lol. Bringing food with you also means you’ll be less likely to get food delivered to your office which not only save you calories but $$ as well. Because let’s be real, eating out daily can add up quickly cost wise.
- Keep it simple. When life is hectic, it is important to keep things simple. The same goes with our food choices. No need to make crazy, fancy, time consuming meals and recipes. Eat the foods you enjoy that require minimal food prep. I love Uncle Ben’s 90 second microwaveable rice, microwaveable veggies, crock pot chicken (i.e. chicken, broth, and seasoning… bam, let it cook on low overnight and you’re done). Or throw a bunch of ingredients in the crock pot, and let it cook overnight and bam- done. My go to recipe would be crockpot chili- easy and delicious. Let me know if you’d like the recipe to give it a try yourself.
- Make your mental health a priority too. With so much on our plates, it is easy to get overwhelmed and stressed. That being said, we often times forget that we should make OURSELVES a priority too. Taking time to relax and unwind can be beneficial to our overall health and wellbeing. How you choose to do so is up to you. Whether that be journaling, taking a bubble bath before bed, or getting your nails done…. Or even all three. Do something to help you feel refreshed, recharged, and ready to tackle your goals.
- Rest. I am going to say this again and again because it is so important… REST REST REST. Sometimes we get so caught up in our to-do lists and what we are doing that before we know it, we look at the clock, and it’s 2 am…. AND then you have to be up at 7. Getting a good night sleep helps keep your immune system healthy, improves concentration and focus, gives you more energy throughout the day, lowers stress, and aids in muscle recovery. All of which will help you be a more productive, healthy, active person. If you are slacking on sleep, you are selling yourself short. I also notice that on days where I do not get enough sleep, I find myself with a crazy appetite. Sleep helps with your hunger hormones…. Add that to the list of benefits. You aren’t being hardcore by being “team no sleep”. So pick a time to put the work away, unwind, and hit the sheets. Ample rest is necessary, not optional, in helping you reach your goals.
So there you have it… My “life/off season” update and tips on how juggle reaching my goals while simultaneously working two jobs, training, blogging (on a more consistent basis *wink wink*) and experiencing NY and, ultimately, life.
With the holiday season fast upon us, things are only going to get more hectic and it’s crucial to stay on top of your priorities. What do you do that helps you stay on track with your goals? How do you juggle your busy schedule? Leave a comment and share! I am always open to ideas for future posts and with the holidays upon us, I would love to hear ways to make this blog even more festive-holiday food posts perhaps? Let me know!
Thanks so much for reading and keep checking back for more!