Tag Archives: bodybuilding

My Figure Competition Pro Card Win: A win for moms everywhere!

This moment on stage is exactly as I remember it from four years ago. Debbie Wins Pro Card I smile, blinded by the theatre lights, into the faceless crowd.  There’s an omnipresence to the announcers voice. I stand tall and poised as she reveals the final results. “…Seven. Four….” That’s all I need to hear. I am competitor number 726. Happiness floods my body. I’ve won!

I first competed in November 2008. After six months of training, I entered and won the IDFA Novice Figure category. With just one show and one win under my belt, I was hooked. I knew I’d be back. I just didn’t know it would be four years, one daughter and a new career later!

With my pregnancy came 40 excess pounds and separated abdominal muscles. It took two years of training to “get my body back” post-baby.

On January 1, 2012 I cemented my intentions into a goal, which I shared with only two people.

I will attain my IDFA Figure Pro Card on November 3, 2012.

Preparing for this show was a completely different experience than last. I no longer had my winning trainer. His east-end gym was now defunct. My competition coach/nutritionist relocated from Toronto, Canada to Sydney, Australia. She was no longer a 10-minute drive or convenient phone call away. My senior level marketing salary (and the discretionary income that came with it) was no longer. Oh, and I had a second full-time job as a mom!

In order to achieve my goal, I would need to adapt to the changes. I soon realized that my losses were out-numbered by my gains. I lost one trainer and gained an amazing team of trainers at Think Fitness Studios. I became more self-reliant researching and learning for myself rather than relying on the direction of others. I negotiated and economized on everything from training to tanning. But the most significant change by far, was adapting to a new very demanding schedule.

During those final three months of show prep, I juggled three full-time jobs: client relations manager, mom and athlete. I worked around the clock to stay on top of my day job, care for my daughter and dedicate myself to my goal. I made sacrifices to make it happen. I reluctantly became a morning person waking at 5:45 for cardio workouts. I ate salad instead of cake at my daughter’s third birthday party. I declined numerous social engagements alienating friends even more than motherhood already had. I traded cozy nights on the couch with hubby for yet, more training. By the final four weeks, my typical day looked like this:

5:45AM – wake-up, pack meals, take supplements
7:00AM – 45 minute cardio sesson
8:00AM – shower, eat meal # 1
8:30AM – 3:00PM – work, eat meals # 2-4, take supplements
3:00 PM – 60 minute weight training session
4:00PM – commute home while eating meal #5
5:00PM – pick up daughter from caregiver
5:30PM – prepare daughter’s dinner and meal #6
7:30PM – help ready daughter for bed
7:45PM – eat meal #6, prepare daughter’s lunch and clothes for the next day
8:00PM – posing practice at home or workout at community centre
9:30PM – grocery shop and cook meals for the next day, take supplements, take progress photos to email to coach, eat optional meal #7
11:00PM – bed

In the final week of preparation, I maintained this schedule while consuming less than 1000 calories/day and often no carbs or fats (not a sustainable diet but one necessary to peak on stage).

Looking back, I couldn’t tell you how I did it. I just did. I think motherhood was great preparation in that way. As parents, we commit to our children and we often just do what we have to do. In fact, I saw many parallels with parenthood during this process. I do know that the support I received was imperative. My husband helped with everything from morning drop-offs to late-night  grocery runs and cooking. My sister drove me to Orangeville for weekend fittings. I even had a colleague routinely pick me up in the mornings to get me to 7AM class! If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a family to raise a champ!

What started as a selfish, individual pursuit soon became something much grander. I opened up and shared my journey with colleagues and clients and was overwhelmed by the support I received. Throughout the weekend of the competition, my inbox and Facebook page were flooded with well wishes and congratulatory messages. The common message was one of inspiration – wow!

I really enjoyed having something that was all my own. I liked that selfish time to myself in the gym and encourage all moms to find their “me activity”. But at the same time, I am absolutely thrilled to have inspired so many people with my pursuit, especially women and moms. The most important takeaway I wish to share is that motherhood can be your motivation rather than an excuse. As I raise my daughter, I will have shown her in actions, not just words, that she can achieve anything she wants with hard work, dedication and the right support.

So what’s next? I look forward to returning to normalcy – variety in my meals, rest for my body, downtime in my days and showering my family with affection. We’ll enjoy some much-needed time together before I start training for my 2013 Pro debut!

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Breakfast of Champions…and Nursing Moms: The goodness of oatmeal

I used to eat oatmeal all the time. It was awesome. Why did I ever stop? Oh yeah, because I was sick of eating it all the time, LOL! A year later and ever the wiser, I’ve rediscovered the wholesome goodness of oats.

While training for my figure competition, oatmeal was a staple kitchen item. Bodybuilding athletes often opt for steel cut or rolled oats (definitely not the flavoured stuff) among their choices of complex carbs. The taste didn’t thrill me at first, but the nutritional value couldn’t be argued. Low-to-no  fat, sodium, or sugar and a good source of iron and fibre.  A nutritionist would have more to say about it’s benefits. Apparently lactation consultants do too.

Oatmeal is believed to increase milk supply. I’m no expert on the matter but I have heard this stated from more than one source. I don’t doubt it myself. Many natural foods have proven to have prescriptive benefits. And even if it doesn’t pump up your milk supply (pun intended, ha ha) it’s still an ultra healthy food choice. Weight-loss friendly, for sure. Funny enough, Aveeno colloidal oatmeal was a God-send when my pregnant tummy itched to no end. How’s that for added goodness? But I digress.

The morning oatmeal-making has quickly become routine for Naomi and me. She sits in her bouncy chair and looks on as I prepare breakfast. She absolutely loves the sounds of clanging cookware and utensils.

For now, I am enjoying 1/3 cup of one-minute rolled oats topped with apple, cinnamon, walnuts and maple syrup. I look forward to adding a small amount of protein powder for a totally balanced breakfast. Mental note: add GNC trip to the neglected to-do list. Then there’s the oatmeal and egg white pancakes which are actually much better than they sound!

The time will come when it’s back to dry oats over a hard-boiled egg. Believe it or not, that tablespoon of uncooked oats actually becomes a treat. Yep, that’s what it takes to bring home the gold. Still, I can’t wait to do it all again!

To top it all off, January is apparently oatmeal month I know, seriously? So knock yourselves out. Bring on the oat bars, oatmeal cookies and muesli!

What are your favourite oat-based foods and recipes?

GOOD TO KNOW: Substances said to promote lactation are called galactagogues. Some others are  fenugreek, blessed thistle and alfalfa . Check with a lactation expert for more information or advice.

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