I know I said I didn't reach my goal (refresher: to enter a Natural Body-Building Competition) - but, I never said "I give up" and I never will! Now that you can see for yourself, what do you think of my progress towards that goal? I wanted to keep, and hopefully put on, some additional size (biceps, triceps, chest - more please! Butt, thighs - take a hike!) and that caused me to go lighter on cardio, keep my calorie intake on the high side and my reps low with heavy weight. As a vegetarian (I do use animal products of the raw, organic, grass-fed sort though the list is short: eggs, yogurt, cheese, 1/2 & 1/2 and goat milk), many poo-pooed the idea that I could do this without real protein. Now you see why I never go down that road to argue a point that is simply based on your lack of nutritional knowledge. I think it is just that many people don't want to let go of dependency on meat - what would they eat then? It takes work to make changes, even when those changes can make a hella good difference in our lives. The slow training protocol I rely on primarily for weights was also scoffed at. Part of why I haven't discussed that much in my Blog as well - I thought it would be best to let the results speak (sorry, I meant to say SCREAM) for themselves. I hope you find these pictures inspiration enough to consider that perhaps a different approach is just that: different, not deficient. Worthy of consideration, not worthless. Mighty AND meatless!
The (First) After Photos
This is a mandatory abdominal pose (I might be asking this, my bodybuilding friends - tips/advice/suggestions are welcomed!) and I am pleased though I have a lot more work to do. Also, it's kinda creepy to me, for some reason, to see all my veins exploding as I lose bodyfat (see the one that starts at the top of my left thigh and seems to go all the way up my ribs near where the external obliques and rectus abdominis intersect?). I feel like a human atlas and while I am really diggin' being leaner and seeing those lovely muscles I've labored for, becoming less vascular is also the #1 reason I'd put a little body fat back on! And, it would be lovely to try and flex so many muscles at one time without exhibiting an expression seemingly conveying the message of an impending bathroom disaster!
This is the one that got me choked up. I haven't had a full-length mirror at home for 7 years and I've rarely seen my backside during that time. Isn't it funny that we know the front of us so well - and I don't know about you - but if my backside passed me in the street, I wouldn't recognize it. Well, in a sort of pitying way I would, LOL...I just know that I didn't really want to see it. But now that I can see it, I'm having a hard time looking away!
Has this been worth it? More than I can begin to say - but I'll give it a go. The benefits to my health in just losing weight (heart, joints, blood pressure, cholesterol levels) are spectacular but they tend to not mean enough over time because, well - I can't see them! But the organ it's had the greatest effect on is my brain! How I see things has changed and I have found my strength again - the champion in me rose to the challenge and as she's been training her body, her heart and spirit have become very strong, Brave Heart strong! Really, the hard part of this has been the lack of time - to train with serious intentions while trying to keep up with everything as well as possible leaves little time for much else when combined with long work days. Truly makes me appreciate the life of a pro athlete that can enjoy a focused schedule. And while I am making great strides in the emotional aspects of the eating part, there have been some challenging days that created a lot of anxiety and I wondered if I would make it through without giving in. I've made it through and each time has become a bit easier, as well as the cravings dissipating, and this is the part that I am most amazed by. While I have enjoyed poking fun at myself through this process, I am not done. I will turn 56 next month and I want to be my better best by then (not my BEST best, as I don't know yet what that is and I want to be realistic as well as make sure I give myself plenty of time to work and discover what that is - this is about change for LIFE) and if you have been following and can relate to anything I've written - If you are out there struggling, please don't give up! Can I help you? Leave me a comment, let's talk! For now, I'm on the training table and super inspired to share my results in April, another 5 weeks from now - I'm incorporating some new training supplements (not steroids, please! As if!) and am excited to see if they deliver what they say. Will dish if they do!