Tag Archives: figure competition

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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Picture Perfect: A digital weight loss diary

Alright mamas, how many memory cards have you filled with pics of your wee ones? What about you aunties? How many pics of the little monkey have you Facebooked? No doubt we’re all snapping shots of the kids. But leave a place for yourself  in the album too. When trying to lose weight or reshape, photos are a great way to monitor progress and reach your goals.

I am far from camera shy. Hello, aspiring fitness cover model here. I see the flash of a bulb and respond instinctively with a full smile and  three-quarter pose. You know, that red carpet pose that does all women justice. My Facebook page is filled with fun party pics and vacation photos. But I also have several personal folders documenting my physical changes through competition training, pregnancy and now, post-pregnancy.

Early in my pregnancy I decided to take monthly photos of my growing bump. The first shot was taken at eight weeks. The last shot was taken at eight weeks. LOL. I didn’t really follow through on that plan. Luckily, I managed to get other shots over the course of the year. Now I can look back at my 1-,4-,5-,6-,7- and 9-month belly. Very cool.

While training for my figure competition (prior to pregnancy), I was much more disciplined about the process. I photographed my front, back, and side poses each week. The photos were reviewed regularly by me and by my coach. This process was extremely helpful in evaluating the changes in my musculature and shape. What I didn’t see day-to-day, I definitely saw week-to-week and month-to-month. The progress pics were a great motivator when I didn’t think my body was changing. They revealed that my midsection was progressively becoming leaner, my upper body more built, and my legs better defined.

4 months postpartum

7 1/2 months

7 1/2 months

I’ve adopted that process again. As I work toward new fitness goals, I am documenting the changes with monthly pics. (See my 3-month and 4-month postpartum updates). It’s already working.  I’ve been looking back at my maternity photos. Wow, there was a 6 lb baby in there! I’m not so hard on myself when I see how big my belly actually was. It’s surprisingly easy to forget. And I’m already seeing slight changes in my post-pregnancy photos too. Step up, and see the incredibly shrinking stomach!

I wish I could lay claim to this ingenious tactic. I would patent it and pay for a tummy tuck. Just kidding. The photo thing is actually suggested by many fitness pros. Funny enough, I received an email this week from Tosca Reno with this very suggestion. Her “Focus on Fitness” detailed seven fitness tips. Number three on the list was tracking progress with before and after photos.

I found a similar suggestion in a blog by fitness model, Jennifer Nicole Lee. Taking a ‘before photo’ was step one in her four-week plan. Local trainer Lyzabeth Lopez includes before and after photos in her “Hourglass Workout” 3 month challenge. Plus we’ve all seen those “holy sh*t” before and after pics on The Biggest Loser, right? How awesome are those?!

So as I’m documenting the growth of my little girl, I’ll be documenting the changes in my body too. I look forward to sharing the results with you as I go.

If you’re inspired by this post, I encourage you to give the digital diary a try.  Get your camera, get in front of the mirror and start snapping. Keep the pictures, even if you hate them. Nobody else has to see them. Unless you decide to blog about it, LOL. It will be SO satisfying to look back and see how far you’ve come!

What images inspire you to work harder toward your goals?

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