SPOILER ALERT: Preview of 3 competitor's in the Grand Master division for the 9/09/2017 NPC First Call-Out show, first 3 from right to left, at 11 days out from show time
Last Monday's posing practice (8/27/17) was a packed house - as competitor's get closer to their respective shows, coach Rich Alvarez is busier than usual, though I think his 'usual' is pretty much non-stop! He always takes photos and it has been cool to see the progress. When I started with him months ago, I had my doubts about what he could do with this awkward and clumsy girl, and not having competed before, I had concerns about how my physique would respond - at my age, 5 years into menopause and after 40 years of eating disordered behavior. This is the first photo I have been truly happy with. I see the greatest amount of change from the beginning and finally feel at ease in posing. This DOES NOT mean I am content with where I am but I felt good enough to share the photos above with a few people. I got so many awesome responses and I want to thank everyone for their support. Believe me, this is a great feeling to have such a wonderful support base!
I wanted to share a response I got:
-----Original Message----- From: Jann Silberman <*******@gmail.com> To: ferrarifitness <email@example.com> Sent: Wed, Aug 30, 2017 6:38 pm Subject: Fwd: 8/28/2017 - 11 days left to prep for competition!!!
Stacey you look incredible to say the least! Know that you have accomplished this goal and be darn proud of it! I really don't think I've seen anybody look this good close to "our " age . Certainly not ever me .. on a good day. I'm glad I'm not standing next to you. But I'm gonna have to be there for the prejudge because I want to see your glory on stage. A true inspiration... but then again I wouldn't expect anything less than this. You did it! And what you'll leave behind is motivation to every woman that age is just a number. I'm lucky to have bumped into you that day to witness this!
Sent from my iPhone
I featured Jann in a past post on my blog. She has competed several times, First place all the way! She knows what it takes to get on stage. She also has a daughter competing in Bikini Division and doing quite well. Kudos to you Haley!
My response to Jann:
Oh Jann...you are way too generous with your compliments but I thank you for them. I got my suit from CJ yesterday and she was also way too generous, gave me so much more than I paid for. It is really beautiful - I hate to put it anywhere near ProTan, LOL...
Other than being super tired today - not enough sleep the last 2 nights - I feel really good, now doing super hydration. I felt awesome, truly awesome, for the first time during posing today, started seeing muscles I have never in my life seen. After measurements this morning, I am definitely at my lowest numbers - tape measure-wise anyway, body-fat just above 12%. I am hoping I can get my legs to cut up more, will see what happens the last week during sodium/water tweaking.
I am proud of myself but somehow, proud just doesn't feel like the right word...I guess that because I spent over 40 years trying to work through bulimia, now that it has been almost 2 years free (we need a word for eating disorder sobriety!), I feel a bit of frustration that I didn't work it out sooner, like I wasted so much time looking for the strength to do it when it was always within me. I really don't feel good about being such a slow learner. More than anything, I am grateful to God, the support of my husband, family and friends. I will be taking care of myself, eating banana on rice cake with almond butter and washing it down with little sips of coconut water before stage. I will not do the candy and crap I see a lot of competitors do, nor will I do any alcohol. After the show, I plan on having a nice omelette with avocado, feta, Greek olives and rosemary. I will stick to my healthy eating. I don't feel the need to do a cheat meal and damn, I would miss these abs too much! Plus, I am blown away to not have dimples on my ass, in addition to all the chin-ups I can do at this lighter weight - that is so cool! I remember when I couldn't do even one - with the easiest grip - and so I never did them at all. Now I super set them, today with iron cross, oooh that was a tough combo but I sure felt like Super Woman, LOL...
I would love to take a 1st place and hopefully, not because I am the only competitor in my age division (I already know I'm not...) but because the judges think my physique has earned it. At the same time, I feel such kinship with my fellow competitors, having practiced with them for months and knowing the sacrifices they've made to be here as well.
We are all winners for making it to the stage. Of course it is not easy at our age but it isn't easy for any competitor - male or female - at any age. This lifestyle demands strength well beyond just going to the gym and lifting heavy shit! Here it is appropriate to insert the commonly heard phrase:
I will never forget my 'Aha!' moment, dreaming my death and how it felt so real, then waking up understanding in a way I never had that if I didn't stop my destructive behavior, I'd never realize my full potential. Nothing worse than a life wasted. Why couldn't I have had that dream sooner? Why did I have to be 55? I suppose I hadn't learned all the lessons I needed to learn, or truly discovered empathy, forgiveness, courage - well actually, the list is a long one. I find that I remind myself of this a lot as the 'hard' mentioned in the photo above goes well beyond just diet and working out.
Of course I'd love your support at prejudging! Regardless of how things play out, I feel like a bad ass! And this is truly because of my age.
If you are a first-time competitor and need a suit, I highly recommend CJ and her team:
In addition to her own successful career as a competitor, she is an amazing designer and has been doing this for years. As a competitor and also a judge, CJ knows exactly how to make you look your best. If you don't go see her before you compete, you could be missing the vital step that will showcase all your hard work. Additionally, CJ is a very nice lady, someone I'd love to hang out with and get to know better. Check out her bio on her site - what an interesting life story and she is still going strong!
Okay, so I have to admit that I felt fat when I first put on my suit. It fits like a glove and I am not used to this. CJ said I am just holding water and this can be addressed.
It's great to hear that but again, as a total newbie, I'm freaking out inside! I also know the spray tan will make a HUGE difference but I'm still freaking out, thinking to myself that the spray job will just appear as a band-aid on a physique not properly prepared! This is where competitors like to give their advice on how to do the 'Peak Week' but this is such an individual adjustment. If you have never done this, like me, be VERY CAREFUL about listening to others on this subject. I have spent hours dissecting information, looking for the science behind this and believe this may be one of the best sources to help you figure out what works for you. It is a lengthy read but does delve into the science behind carb, water, sodium and potassium tweaking. Just remember that it is a guideline and there will always be individual differences:
I have already mapped my plan out for Peak Week and of course I will do a post about my experience after the competition. As I have been journaling food, water, workouts (see? I take my own advice about journaling!), I won't be guessing at what I did, trying to remember through the apparent fuzz brain I'm supposed to experience as competition draws nearer. I hope this will not be the case for me. As Rich says, Peak Week is there for those that need it as not everyone does. He should know - he's been doing this for almost 30 years. I will be reducing my carbs a bit but not so much that I radiate a total Bitch Mode aura. I hope this will be the right strategy for me, as part of why I hesitated to compete, after working through bulimia, is because I didn't want anything to cause me to rebound. Doing crazy things with your diet can be the perfect scenario to set you up for intense cravings. Fortunately, I haven't done anything drastic and I also have grown so much in my relationship with how I eat and approach to diet that I completely trust myself - I've totally got this!
If you've never met Rich, here he is. Look at that face - a super champion, on stage and off, Rich has been such an awesome motivator. I totally love you Rich!
If you need expert advice for getting competition ready, contact Rich: (954) 501-5858
Rich will be the subject of an upcoming post. He is extremely humble and while my little blog won't make any difference to him, I am lucky to have found him and it was purely by chance. If I can help someone else find the best people in the industry, even just one person, then yippee kay yeah! I have enjoyed the time with him tremendously. And while group posing was very daunting initially, I would almost recommend it over one-on-one but I suggest you do both.