Plan of Attack!

Ok, since this isn’t my first attempt at trying to get into shape for a show, I’ve decided to devise a “Plan of Attack” this time around that will ensure I do a better job at adhering to my goal of competing.

Here’s a list of what I did this morning:
1. Pick a Show – Before anything, I needed to pick a show that was far enough away to allow me time to be prepared, but not too far away where I felt I could afford to slack every once in a while.  I’m currently an amateur Figure athlete with the INBF (International Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness).  However, since I’m doing things differently this time, I’ve opted to look into the NPC (National Physique Committee).  There first local show is the Steve Stone Metropolitan Bodybuilding, Figure & Fitness Championships on Saturday, April 9th, 2011.  This was perfect!  It gave 17 weeks, ample time to get ready.

2. Clean Out The Cupboard – When I got up this morning I cleaned house. I went through the fridge and cabinets and got rid of everything I knew I shouldn’t eat for the next nine weeks (ex. soda, frozen food, ice cream, etc.). I also got rid of stuff that was just sitting there, rotting.

3. Food Shopping – This next step was pretty obvious. I headed over to Trader Joe and Stop N Shop and stocked up on good eats. I bought a ton of eggs, veggies, fruits, nuts and other edibles I know I can consume.

4. Enlist a Trainer – Part of why I wasn’t successful at getting back into shape thus far was that I had no one to answer to.  You would think that after doing this once, doing it again would be a cinch. . .no such luck.  With that said, I did some more research and came across Fakhri Mubarak.  Fakhri is an IFBB Pro, Nutritonal and Contest Prep Adviser Pro, a PTA Certified Nutritionist and Trainer and also holds a Psychology Degree.  During the 2009 season, Fakhri had three of his clients go pro in one show.  Pretty impressive, so I gave him a call.   I was in luck because he happened to be local, which was a God send!  We met and Fahkri enlisted me as a client.  He outlined a no-nonsense diet and workout program and assured me that if I follow it to the tee, I would see results.  He expects nothing less than hard work and dedication.

The diet is a variation of the Keto Diet (High Protein, High Fat, but Low Carbs).  The workout is a 5-Day Weightlifting Split with 6 days of Cardio. The ultimate goal of the program is to incinerate as much fat as possible as soon as possible (to lean me out) so I can get started at sculpting the muscles I’m building.  Today is Monday.  I’ll officially start the program tomorrow, Tuesday, December 14th, 2010, once I buy a few supplements I’ll need (I’ll discuss the importance of supplements in a future article).  This technique is completely different from what I’m used to, but I figured doing a different program would shock my body and also keep me interested and motivated. 

5. Keep a Food Journal – A definite rule of thumb in body transformation is food journaling, which writing down everything you consume.   It can be very shocking to see how much you actually consume (or don’t consume for some of you) when it’s staring right back at you in black in white.  By writing everything down, you can go back and see how certain foods affect your weight, mood and appetite. 

6. Progress Photos – How are you supposed to know how far you’ve come without knowing where you started?. . . . by photographing your progress. Another important rule in body transformation is to take pictures and keep track of  your measurements. This step is also helpful when it comes to staying motivated. There’s no greater feeling than seeing the numbers getting smaller and smaller week by week. I’ll be taking my photos and measurements tonight or tomorrow and post them for all the world to see!

I’ll reassess this plan at the end of the week and check for progress. Well that’s it for today folks.

In Fitness & In Health,

Icela

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My Fitness History

Hello Fitness Enthusiast!!  I thought it would be interested to discuss what sparked my interest in fitness to begin with. . . . That journey began about 12 years go . . . .YEESH!! It freaks me out just to say it!

 I had just graduated from college and was getting over a nasty break-up when I took a long hard look at myself and didn’t like what I saw. I was at least 30 pounds overweight and on a 5 foot 3 ½ inch frame, it made me look like a hobbit. After getting over my appearance, I noticed a fitness magazine at the grocery store. The model on the cover had an amazing, toned and athletic body . . . the type of body I admired. I bought the magazine and started reading up on healthy eating. I took another long hard look at myself, but this time the focus was my eating habits. To sum it up, I have 2 words for you . . . . GOOD LORD! I was amazed at the amount of food I had been consuming. I was having 5-6 large meals a day that comprised of things like bagels, pizza, cheeseburgers, French fries, pasta and lots and lots of SODA!!

 I immediately decided to change my eating habits but instead of going cold turkey, I did it in stages over a span of 3 months.

Stage 1 – was going from eating 5-6 large meals a day to 5-6 small deals a day. I cut the amount of food I was eating at each meal in half. That change alone helped me drop 10 pounds immediately.  The reason being, small frequent meals aid in easier digestion and keep your metabolism working, thus making your body burn calories constantly.

Stage 2 – involved me reducing the amount of junk food I was having. I stopped having french fries with burgers and switched to potato chips.  I went from regular soda to diet, started drinking more water and completely got rid of candy bars and ice cream. This change helped me drop another 5 pounds.

Stage 3 – was cutting out fast food all together and eating more whole and natural foods. This meant having to do a lot more cooking and bringing my food with me to work more often. I incorporated omelette’s, whole wheat pasta and bread, chicken salads, yogurt and tuna into my diet. This change helped me drop another 5 pounds.

 At this point I had my eating habits under control and I had started incorporating cardio sessions here and there, but I still didn’t look like that model on the cover of the fitness magazine. I, like many women, wasn’t really interested in weightlifting because I was afraid I would bulk up and end up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger or something. But after researching and reading several articles, there was no denying that in order to look like that model, I’d have to start lifting weights, so I did. . . . and that was the best decision I could have ever made. My body transformed itself from soft and skinny to hard and full. I was very happy with the results and was approached several times about competing in figure shows, this was in 2006.

 Competing had never crossed my mind but I decided to give it shot and made it another goal to achieve since I had accomplished so much with my body. I was completely clueless on the subject of Figure competitions so I hooked up with Cathy Savage, the guru of fitness/figure training based out of Massachusetts. Cathy, along with her staff, trained me via her online service and I was on my way. I looked into several different federations and decided on the INBF. I liked the fact that they were a drug testing, natural organization. Plus they held several local shows a year. I set my sights on INBF’s Long Island Experience show in September of 2006.

 At the time of my decision I had 12 weeks to get ready. Preparing for the show was, by far, the most difficult but funniest experience I’ve ever had. The time and dedication required to train and stick to a strict diet was grueling, but watching my body transform to another level was incredible!

There’s no other feeling like it. By the time I hit the stage, I felt comfortable and proud. Although, I did not place I went home overjoyed (the pic above is from my first show)! I wanted to strike while the iron was hot and decided to compete at another show a month later, INBF’s NYS Natural in Poughkeepsie, NY (October 2006). I trained even harder and came in 7th (the pic below is from my 2nd show).

There were more girls at this show and I was very happy with my placing. The following year, 2007, I competed at another INBF show in October. I came in 2nd place this time! I can’t even put into words how I felt that day . . . . it was magic!

Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad. Life happens and I got caught up with other things, one of which was a brand new job. Fitness was no longer a priority and as a result, I ended up gaining 20 pounds. I could go on and on about how this ended up happening, but who cares. I’m sure all of you can relate to a time in your life where you were bombarded with all sorts of unexpected responsibilities . . . . so let’s just fast forward three years. It’s now the end of 2010 and I’m ready to get back on stage.  I hope my story was insightful, if not, entertaining.  See ya!

In Fitness & In Health,

Icela

Why, you ask? I’ll Tell You.

Hi everyone,  I’m not ashamed to admit it but I have tried to start a blog on two separate occasions. . .both times failing.  This past year has been very emotional and eye-opening for me.  I quit my job in the spring and spent the rest of the year working on a film project as co-writer, director, producer and shooter.  The film project is ongoing but like any other major event in your life, once you get heavily involved with it, what used to be a priority gets pushed to the backseat.   This, unfortunately, is what happened to most of the goals I had set for myself for the year.    How do I know?  Because I make a list at the end of every year and I recently found the one I wrote December 23rd, 2009.

The list was broken up into immediate goals and long-term goals, making a total of 39 goals.  Sadly, only 7 goals were crossed out.  Most people would be disappointed at seeing this, but I was not.  As a matter of fact, the list inspired and excited me.  I have so many things to look forward to, two of them being getting back into shape so that I can return to the stage as a Figure Competitor.

This is where I believe the blog can be a helpful tool.  There’s a lot that goes into being a Figure competitor.  Dedication and consistency is vital.  Documenting my journey daily is a great way to keep me focussed and remind me of what it is I’m trying to achieve . . . . compete.  I’m also hoping that my blog sheds a positive light on a female population that is often misrepresented and misunderstood, Figure Athletes.  That’s it for now everyone.

In Fitness & In Health,

Icela