The year-end review is really a rear-end review. I did the photo shoot, as promised, and the above photo is from that shoot (1/03/2017). Below is a photo from the shoot exactly one year ago. While I am leaner, I am far from thrilled with the condition I am in though far happier than last year.
Above: January 3, 2016
Oh, I do not like this picture! While I do see some of the size I worked so hard to put on, I think I look too big! See the left butt cheek trying to make its way into the photo, LOL?
Statistics: 1/3/2016 1/3/2017 Change:
Waist (over navel): 32" 29" -3"
Hips: 39 1/2" 36 1/4" -3 1/4"
Right Thigh: 23 1/4" 22" -1 1/4"
Right Calf: 14" 13 3/8" -5/8"
Left Thigh: 23 1/4" 21 5/8" -1 5/8"
Left Calf: 14" 13 3/8" -5/8"
Total inches lost: 10 3/8"
No, I didn't weigh. I don't care about my weight. I did go up in size since the last shoot done in June 2016. Right after that, I had hand surgery and that set my training back a little. I am still experiencing some recovery issues with my hand but it is better every time I train.
The thing is, I wanted to put on some size in my glutes, biceps and shoulders. I did, but you really can't tell by looking at these pictures. Well, maybe it's noticeable a bit in the glutes as they aren't as flat. This is why I am far from thrilled. We had a beautiful location to use for this shoot and I had a great vantage point to set up each pose though for the most part, what I saw in the mirror and what was captured by the camera are worlds apart! Once again, hundreds of photos were taken and this was the worst session so far! Here's why:
1. I changed my diet one week out from the shoot and used a pre-competition plan for figure competitors. This included low carb, low fat, low sodium and for the 3 days before the shoot, drastic water reduction as well as elimination of creatine as my workout supplement. I read so much information on how to do the pre-competition diet and while there is a lot of similar information out there, what isn't similar is: HOW YOUR BODY WILL REACT. I learned that I need to play with this A LOT as I just look flat in the photos. If you don't believe this makes much of a difference, it does. The day after the shoot, I ate a fair amount of carbs, regular amount of fat and protein and guzzled water. I didn't train. The day after that, I went to the gym after taking my creatine supplement, drinking 6 cups of water, ingesting 25 grams of carbs, 25 grams of protein and 18 grams of fat. After a few sets, I posed in the mirror. I looked pumped and ripped to shreds! Even the photographer saw the difference and couldn't believe it. Obviously, I didn't get the results from the pre-contest diet that many do. I need to find my sweet spot though it looks like I do better on a higher carb/fat intake and probably shouldn't reduce the water as much and may not need to eliminate the creatine. I don't cook with salt or add it to foods and watch my sodium intake regularly so this wasn't a big deal.
2. I changed my routine one week before the shoot to just max out reps, doing 20-25 reps per set with 2 sets only per body part (I read that this was also something one should do). I was dizzy (due to diet changes) and crampy and didn't like training this way. I know it was different and sometimes that just takes getting used to but I like lifting heavy and doing pyramid sets, drop sets, negatives, etc. I felt like all my tonus disappeared for this shoot! I have it back now but this was a learning experience as well. If I am going to step on stage and compete-while Figure competitors are not supposed to have massive size, noticeable muscle striation or vascularity-there should be a nice roundness to all muscles.
3. I will not have my face spray tanned again!!! I definitely understand why competitors have the make-up artist use cosmetics to blend the color on the face to that of the body. Spray tans give such a harsh edge to your face. In addition to adding years to your age, it is very uneven. You did look at my face, right? LOL...
4. I have a LOT of work to do on posing...I am not graceful or particularly photogenic. I do weird things with my face. I don't know what to do with my hands. I feel awkward, awkward, awkward! I have worked so hard for my body, my strength, my confidence yet posing is very unnatural and uncomfortable for me. And, finding the poses that work right for your body is a science unto itself. Example: the one above full-on from the front with hand on hip. Many things I like/don't like, all happening at the same time but as I wanted to keep it real for the sake of posterity, you get to have it IN YOUR FACE!
However, this is not just about the current shoot; it's also about how things have changed over the course of one year, especially for a female soon to be 57. In regards to this, I am highly thrilled! While not as buff as the June 2016 shoot, I am still leaner than when I set out to change my life and work hard to come to terms with an eating disorder. Goal accomplished! I am stronger than when I started out and even though I've been lifting for over 40 years (consistently), I challenged my limits, tried lots of new exercises, started using far more free weight and also added lots of core and recently, balance training as well. I still swear by weight training as your best weapon for destroying the aging effects of time!
I get asked all the time "Do you workout every day?" to which I say "Hell no! I have a life!" What I DO do every day is: practice patience, act consistently in my approach to diet, practice positive visualization as well as belief in my ability to reach my goals and work on staying focused on the now as well as the type of thoughts I entertain. These are all KEY elements to achieving health and fitness goals and then maintaining them. While my life is better for the workouts that I do, I know I will continue to challenge myself and probably never reach a place where I feel content. I'm totally okay with this!
Don't be lazy about the process of goal-setting! Don't be in a hurry and do see it as a process with many ways to achieve the desired outcome. Lighten up a bit and try to let some humor enter the picture and allow yourself room to be human, make mistakes but still love yourself through it all. Become your biggest cheerleader, waving those pom-poms high through touchdowns as well as take-downs. Remember, your goal is to make it all the way to the Super Bowl (as in 'I competed against myself and made it all the way to the big play-off, where I'll kick ass as well') of Life and claim the victory that is rightfully yours!
A big Shout-Out to Paola Baccaro for letting us do the shoot in her gym. Here is her contact information: