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Putting Yourself first, because you have to.

4 Apr

I had been getting hints here and there for the past few months that I have not been putting myself first.

You just have this feeling like something is off, something is out of balance with where you truly want to be.

I have chosen the Tough Mudder as my current goal.  I was super psyched (talking about past tense for time being) and really stoked to have a different type of goal, one that would require lots of hard training and some added cardio, the thing I had been avoiding for some time.  I’m not completely sure why I was avoiding it, but thought that I could get to my goal without doing all the sacrificing, dieting, two a days, extreme cardio, etc.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Me” update.  I think it’s very important, for me, to always be open to sharing my health goals and even my struggles with you because we’re all human and I’m just striving everyday to move forward, just like everyone else.

So it had been some time like I mentioned above that I did cardio and I finally hit a breaking point where I was not seeing progress in my body.  None like I used to see.  So I stopped and thought about what I was doing when I was seeing progress, aside from the dieting period in between the start and now.  I took myself back to my first year I dropped all the weight and realized I had been doing mostly cardio, (lots of stairmill) some weights and eating healthy but balanced, not crazy strict.  And in 8 months I had cuts in my obliques.  I truly believe if I would never have done my first competition, I would have kept moving forward in the right direction, but at the same time, this competition is what catapulted me to “want more” out of myself in this Industry and really, to realize my potential strength of character and that opportunities are MADE, created and worked for, not handed to.

So here I was the past 6 months, trying to recover from my string of dieting and lifting heavy and not performing any cardio!  I’m not quite sure what I was thinking except that I put myself on the back burner while I put my focus into my work.  I’m sure many people can relate to this, as it’s not uncommon.  It is, however, hard to grasp the fact that you have to begin a new Journey, one that puts emphasis on YOU, and will be taking some time away from other things.

In a nutshell, I’ve been struggling with losing weight and getting to where I want to get.  I have been in the frame of mind that results should be seen soon and then I’d try something new when one thing wasn’t working.  You know it’s funny because I’m so adament with my clients and students to ‘be patient’ and here I am, not taking my own advice, as if it doesn’t apply to me!  The truth is, I don’t treat myself like a student, and that’s the problem.  Lately, I’ve been really great at being resourceful, making connections, making things move forward with my business but honestly, have put myself and my own personal goals on the back burner, which ultimately go hand in hand with my business goals and really, only help strengthen other areas of my life, if I am happy in that area.  One of the biggest things I preach is about persistence and patience…..and well well well, lil me forgot to take my own advice!  They say teachers teach what they themselves need to learn.   Below I’ll tell you what my new path entails and what I’ve learned from this hiccup.

The past two years after the initial transformation stage, I developed some new practices…..not good or healthy, but things that came with the package and the move of competing and dieting.  But from these things, I found clarity and an understanding as to how I must move forward.

1.  Did I develop body image issues?   Yes.

2.  Did I tamper with my metabolism in a harmful way by dieting for too long?  Hell Yes!

3.  Did I create food allergies by eating chicken, egg whites, asparagus and tilapia way too much?  Yes.

4.  Did I ever want to give up?  Too many times to count on my hands.

5.  Did I ever give up?  Not once.

6.  Will I persevere forward and make it past this struggle?  Absolutely.

7.  Is it just a matter of working on my mindset and sticking to one thing and being patient?  110% YES.  This is all it comes down to people…..keeping it simple, eating fresh, healthy whole foods your body uses and desires for energy, putting the work in in the gym and building a strong character that will move you forward towards whatever you want in this life.

I BELIEVE IN SIGNS and I was running on the treadmill the other day, picked up a “Yoga Journal” and began reading to pass the arduous feeling of lifting my muscular legs and repeating thousands of times.  lol   I’m totally open here, running is my nemesis, but I’m open and working on making it mi amigo!

I found an interesting article that really moved me to realize what I need to begin practicing, day by day, in my move forward on this new path.  Here they are laid out:

1.  Solid Ground

    Whenever you undertake anything new, recognize that there is going to be some effort involved  (ding ding ding).  Realizing that what you are undertaking cannot be perfected overnight, that you have to commit over time to get lasting results you are happy with.

2.  It’s All About the Attitude

   An attitude of friendliness toward those who are happy, compassion toward those who are suffering, pleasure and delight at those who are doing good deeds in the world, and an attitude of non judgmental watchfulness toward those who do harmful deeds will help us to attain a peaceful and balanced mind.

3.  Core Strength

   We must cultivate self confidence and conviction to help us maintain our persistence and strength, and to remember our direction so that we may attain our goal of a focused mind and clear perception.

*I really connect with this one because I began to just Feel out of balance and out of align with how I knew I should be feeling.  and honestly, I forgot my direction.

4.  Make the Connection

  Knowing the Self, and finding a greater peace and ease through that connection.  Come to a place of independence from the agitations of the mind, and to a deeper connection with your own inner compass (ie…*feeling something isn’t right or isn’t in the place it’s supposed to be)  When you are connected to this inner compass, you are better able to handle the twists and turns of life.

“WITHIN YOU IS THE STRENGTH THAT CAN CARRY YOU THROUGH THE HARDEST OF TIMES.”

I believe everyone has his own time of being ready to tackle something.  Sometimes it’s a matter of realizing you’re ready, or a matter of having learned what you need to learn to be ready, and sometimes it is just a moment you have that you realize you HAVE to be ready otherwise you’ll be continuing moving backwards.

I don’t believe falling or something not going the way you thought it Should go if failing.  I don’t believe in failure unless you just give up altogether and surrender.  I believe you learn from things and to each in his own time.  When the time comes that that person is ready, it’s game on and you just know it.   What I have learned the most from my experience is that wavering back and forth and not making up your mind to choose one direction….you will feel “in the middle.”  You must choose one way.  You have to choose your path, stand in it and then pour concrete over it.  Don’t leave it, stick with it and when things get tough, hold on.  Sure, sometimes you lose your way but time goes by and when you realize that way is missing, you go back to it and try again and now you have even more behind you because you carry a lesson with you!  There is no wrong way.

 

Never Hide.

28 Mar

I have gotten a lot of questions lately about how I stay motivated.  I Found this in my Notes that I wrote a while back.  Since I wrote this, even more has changed with myself, Fierce Forward and Fierce Forward evolving as a business.  The best advice I can give other than tell you of my journey and how I created the opportunities I did, would be to say, “Believe in yourself even if you have to fake it til you make it(it takes time to gain confidence, but putting yourself in that vision and believing it even if you don’t totally yet, will help you see it)….never give up and persist til you get what you want!”

Before I start my story I wrote in August of 2011…..I finally got the Ray Bans I had been wanting for a very long time!

Rewind 3 years, I was in a totally different place.  If I never would have changed that place, I would be in a completely worse place than I ever was.  The thing about moving forward or backwards is that usually your momentum takes you farther in the direction you are going.  If you are moving backwards, and unhappy with your situation, you probably just won’t stay that same degree of “unhappy,” you’ll most likely keep worsening your feelings for that unhappiness, because you aren’t truly living the life you want to live.  Isn’t that what unhappiness is?  When you don’t feel a sense of fulfillment in an important area(s) of your life.

On the other hand, when you’re moving forward, you continue to build on that feeling of accomplishment and want more and more of it.

When you’re out of balance and something isn’t right in your life, you feel it on all levels.  I find that the way I was living before, I had known that I was moving backwards but the best analogy I can come up with is, I was a cat chasing my own tail.  It was hard to get out of.  I knew it would take time, but I wanted to feel good instantly to motivate me to keep going forward.  My mind and confidence were at an all time low and it took something really big, a moment of complete desperation, for me to decide that there was no other way but to commit and push through what I knew would be a road of challenges, struggles, self questioning, tons of hard work and SACRIFICE.

In 3 years, I have been through the most challenging, yet rewarding years of my life.

Here is what I have gained in my life:

Love and Respect for Myself

A healthy relationship based on Love, not need

Certified Personal Trainer

2 Figure/Bikini Competitions, 1 NPC Qualifed

Transformation of the Week, Bodybuilding.com & Muscle&Strength.com

Asked to be a part of National Ad Campaign, Lift Life, Bodybuilding.com 2011

Athlete Team Bodybuilding.com

Spokesmodel Bodybuilding.com

Fitness Model International scholarship

In 2009, a year after my hard work, I went to the Arnold and met Tosca Reno and Steve Poynter from BB.com and remember walking by the BB.com booth (I was/am an avid BodySpacer) and thinking, wow, they’re so lucky and little did I know later that year I would be asked to be a part of that the next year.  (one of the coolest things that’s happened:) )in reflection and so many other things.  Most importantly, I did it.  I do it every day and nothing will ever change in me again.  I will never go back there.  It will always be a part of me and my story, but it keeps me in check, remembering how far I have come and grey vs. color.

I ever so often post notes like this to hopefully reach out to someone who is on the fence.  If you are reading this and want to start living the life you know you want to live but don’t know how to start.  All you have to do is reflect on what you want, write it down and commit.  One day.  One day is all it takes.  Get your mind and your heart into it and make it your life.  This isn’t a diet, there is no magic pill, no one else is going to do it for you…..it’s all you.

Now, I gravitate to things that push me.  When I’m afraid of it, I’ve developed the mindset to chase after what I fear and get over it.  Life is too short to Hide.

There’s this sunglass (Ray Ban) Campaign I always find myself gravitating towards, that says it all….Never Hide.

THE FOLLOWING IMAGES ARE TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL.

Turning 30 could not be cooler

27 Feb

I’ve made it 30 years on this Earth. As I’m sitting here writing this, I think what a great time it’s been and to arrive here, I have nothing but grateful to feel, about my life, my opportunities, my challenges and myself and my journey.

So many people have prepared me for this day, asking me, “well, how do you feel about turning the big three zero?” like it’s some kind of falling into a deep hole with no return. lol. “I’m getting old now!” The only part of that I understand is the newest smile line I have next to my eye lid. I’d rather have smile lines than not though!:) So today, I came prepared because with the questions like these I have found a contrast in how i Feel. I feel excited to be another year older, to have survived another year of life. After all, life is tough. Who is anyone kidding when they say it’s a breeze. Actually, I’ve never heard anyone say that. And I don’t believe life should be a breeze, it should be full of hurt, love, pain, happiness, anger, greed, rejection, frustration, confusion, curiosity, maybe even a little jealousy. To feel it all. Because we’re all human.

To be grateful for what you have is what life is all about. To be grateful.

Growing up, I have been a Seeker, a Questioner, a Feeler, a Thinker and a Lover.

What I’ve realized is that no matter how much you morph throughout the years, you’ll never lose who you really are, which is who you’ve always been. It’s the good things about you that can also be the worst things for you in some ways. But that’s how we grow, by feeling, seeking to understand, loving, questioning and loving.

I look to my thirties as a place of growth, a place of new things, new challenges, new people, and a place where I know I’ll find new, strong parts of me.
I’ve learned many things and one of the most important is not giving up: “strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. when you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Arnold Schwarzenegger (I couldn’t help myself!).

You have to:
fight for what you want.
love with everything you have, even when the love is not being returned. You just have to do your part.
always be in check with where you are and be asking yourself if this is what you want. If it isn’t, do something about it.
Switch it up.
have a blast.
change.
don’t change.
question, seek to understand and learn.
struggle.
know that things may not always be exactly how you want them,but different and maybe even better!
be you.

So for my thirties, I have written down my goals and this is a new chapter, it is a landmark, a time of change and time of stopping and thinking about what I want my next ten years to be like. I’m always asking myself what I want next or what I wish to work towards next, because if I don’t, I’ll be stuck just here, stagnant. That’s how you move forward after all.

1. Through my healthy lifestyle, I have found that I love cooking. I remember cooking with my gramps, who is no longer here….he taught me Banana’s Foster and all the really yummy things! He sat me down and showed me how to make wine labels into tiles, which I will one day put all over my kitchen. Cooking is like relaxing and creating all in one. and I’ve found that it comes naturally. I will cook more and create more healthy recipes into a cookbook.

2. I will not deprive myself of anything in life anymore. Not my own confidence, not foods, not even wine!!!

3. I will be free. Free from any chains I have always put on myself. I have found through talking to others, observing and through my own actions/thoughts, that most times, we put up these walls for ourselves which we think we can’t move past, but if we just realize that we can overcome and be anything and not to put the walls up in the first place, it’s a really freeing feeling.

4. Just….let go. To just be. To breathe, to let it all in and be ok with it all.

5. To always know
That we are all so much more powerful than we think or believe or know we are. To discover that acceptance of being ok with that version of me. I think alot of times people really are afraid of success. Because we don’t play that part often, we are usually going through motions, being fearful or striving, it’s not a role we’re comfortable playing because it’s not often we’re feeling that about ourselves. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, Return to Love

6. To remember to smile, laugh and have fun.

7. To roar. To know that you have to tell the World what you want and go get it. Nothing worthwhile is given to you, the only thing worthwhile comes at a cost…the cost of hard work, patience, determination and the will to never give up. To be BIG, BOLD, Powerful and confident.

8. And I could never forget to include the Mantra that has moved me forward….to FIERCE FORWARD! To never give up, to never doubt my capabilities, to always be me whilst moving forward.

A new way forward.

30 Oct

This is the final post to the Blog Series I wrote on what my journey has been like since the first year of losing over 40 pounds. I have gone through many ups and downs and finally realized that I could continue playing this yo yo game and continuing being unhappy, or I could seek Balance once and for all. I had an epiphany when I was talking to my friend. I did make a post on this on my wall and when I posted it, it meant a lot to me and still does. I usually post things that are happening to me, are a focus in my life currently or that mean a lot to me.

This was the post:

My friend Jeremy said something to me today that became an epiphany for me, on the spot. He said, “people always want to correct their weaknesses. Why not start realizing what your strength is and building on that.”

Am I a stick? NO!
Can I eat whatever I want and stay same size? No!
Am I a genetic freak? NO!
… … … Is my waist naturally thin and lean? NO!
Can I eat a couple pancakes and not bloat? Nope!
Did I get my daddy’s muscular legs? YES!
Does my body change when I lift weights heavy? YES!
Will I ever have a runner’s body? NO!
Will I always have the body I was born with? YES!
Do I have to work really fkn hard? YES!!
Can I keep fighting my body to be something it doesn’t want to be? No!

He said, Steve Jobs was good at what he did. He didn’t try to be a master Piano Player, he picked one thing, what he was good at and went in that direction.

Gosh, this is not what most of us are taught to do. Think about that.
Happy Friday everyone! Take this weekend to really think about that first sentence above. Are you focusing and working on your strengths? Are you living in line with the way you were made and what your body and mind truly want or are you trying to fight something? I have been trying to be this lean mean runners body with some tone but my body doesn’t want that. It wants to be muscular and it wants to do plyometrics and hill sprints. So that’s what I’ll do!

This was a major epiphany for me because looking back over the past 2 years, I have been so completely hard on myself for not morphing into what I was trying to create on the outside, and because of this reality, was falling apart on the inside.

I have met a really wonderful women, Niki, who I have posted about and with. We met earlier in the summer and have both found we share an innate passion for health and fitness. We have been working out together non stop, at least once per week during our busy schedules and made sure to make time for it. I have loved being pushed my someone with a different technique and approach to training and I have loved teaching her new things. Together we are a force to be reckoned with. So then I asked her if she wanted to be a part of one of my videos and as soon as she was game for another one, I knew I found my Partner in Crime. Together we have created 2 Girls, 1 Goal. This idea is in its infancy stage but what we’re going to be doing over the next 6 months is what I told you I’d tell you about and also that you could be a part of too.

I’ve competed in two competitions and have truly loved the experience. That is, everything but my approach to dieting and training for the experience. This time, I will be doing this right. I have learned so much from falling and from having to personally figure it out from my own experience. I want to share my methods with you for training and what my approach will be. I can’t share everything down to the meal plan, as this is a part time job for me, creating meal plans and exercise plans for people…BUT, I can tell you a general outline for what we will be doing.

The major difference, adn why I am so excited for this goal, is that I have 6 months to prepare for this show. That means natural and healthy. I WILL NOT cut out carbohydrates. I will lift heavy and do light cardio, practice yoga and share my workouts and time with Niki and have fun doing it, and just approach this like I’m jogging towards a goal without sprinting. Slow and steady wins the race. I am going to focus on my strengths and play on those. I’m going to do legs more, as I have not trained them directly for over a year….because I didn’t want them to get bigger. In reality, they just tone more and get sharper angles and lean out when I train them….so my old thought process is going out the window.

We are going to be documenting our progress through the weeks. I will be posting our new Facebook Page on Fierce Forward some time this week so you may follow our goal and progress there.

So we’ve been having fun with it too, as this was our last “harrah” before our 6 month journey. And yes, there will be a meal once per week where I get to eat the things i crave. Maybe a little sugar, maybe some not so clean carbs, but nothing crazy and no binging. I have someone to do this with and I think that’s going to be so great, as I’ve always just been my own support. I can’t imagine what a hard week will be like with someone else being able to empathize with me and keep each other strong, together. Here are some pics of us this weekend enjoying ourselves!
Niki and I at Politos, enjoying CHEESY goodness:)

Making jello shots for the annual Halloween Party, enjoying white wine.

making pumpkin mini pies.

zombie bride attacking brittany

eating my favorite!  Sugar cookies with sprinkles

My hopes are that if you have ever wanted to compete, that you choose this time to do it. Pick a date. Our date for our show is April 23rd, 2012. It is located in Indianapolis and is Natural Bodybuilding. We will be competing in the Fitness Model part which is two parts, one where you stand in a two piece on stage and the other you come out on stage in workout clothes! Totally my style:)

My hope is that you see this as a big opportunity to feel you have someone to do this with as well. Of course I can help you with a meal plan and exercise plan as well if you need the help. I’ve learned so much on my own that I know if I get back to basics, stop stressing, stop depriving and stick to sleeping enough, relaxation, low intensity sometimes and also weights“`my body will change. So therefore, I feel confident that I do not need to hire a coach for this. I know what to do, and always have. With 6 months to prepare, there is no last minute, over the top way of dieting. This is not going to be dieting, it is going to be the most natural, clean diet i can do, on a budget! 😉 oh yah! I’m trying to be a penny pincher these days…trying! So meat is the most expensive, so things like adding in more beans (other sources of proteins), etc, will help there.

I’m so excited for this because I’m doing it the right way, for the right reasons. I’m doing it to challenge myself and will also know it will be so much FUN….because I’m doing it with a great friend and a girl who has similar interests. It changes the game when you have a partner in crime. 🙂

For me, it’s very important to set goals and not find myself “wandering.” “Find myself…” are the two key words there….I want to be in control. I will tell you that I have loosened the reigns and I just would rather be in control, and in fact have to be if I’m going to keep moving forward and being successful in what I do. I can’t wander. I don’t like to. But to find this out, you have to wander for a little while.

This week I will be posting BEFORE pics and what month 1 looks like. I will be gaining muscle in the first 3 months…I will be backing off of working my butt off to the max every time at the gym. I am moving forward by finding the balance of Fierceing Forward, yet settling into my stride. There is balance to be found in everything.

Please take as much part in this as you’d like. Have you always wanted to compete or run a half marathon. Set the date this week. It can be for 6 months down the road if you want to follow my approach or 3 months down the road if you know what to do already. Or maybe you just want to lose weight or gain muscle or start swinging kettlebells, hell, whatever your goal~~just set a goal and let’s move forward together! Don’t forget to check when I post our 2 Girls, 1 Goal page so you can follow all of our progress and tips there.

I hope you’ll realize too, that, you are how you see yourself. So start looking at yourself a little differently if your thoughts are negative. We all have uniqueness to us and damnit, I’m going to just love the hell out of my legs from now on!

What are you going to love the hell out of?! :)) Thank you for following me through my ups and downs, through my questions and self found answers, through my thoughts and feelings and for being a support to me. When I read a comment that is supportive (in any of my posts), it really means something to me, that someone else went through the same thing or can empathize. So thank you to all of you for your unwavering belief in what I’m doing. I can’t wait to start something new with you!

Wrestling with my Mind, Part 4.

28 Oct

So here it is, after my first ever Arnold experience and I decide to move forward with Fitness Modeling. I can’t tell you how safe and confident I felt when I was modeling this picture.


The Photographer, Andy Anderson, told me to look proud, and untouchable. Not many know this, but I have a degree in Theatre and Drama and always felt deep in my heart that I was supposed to go that route…but I didn’t. I was too chicken to move out to L.A. and do it. I remember standing here, we were at a gym with guys standing around watching Jamie and myself pat our hands with the lifting dust and pose in our sports bras…and feeling like this is it. This is where I am exactly supposed to be. This is where I’m comfortable. Maybe it’s putting a face on or acting confident that really intrigues me. Maybe it’s being a part of something creative like this and standing as a representation of something anyone can be if they put their mind to it. Yes, that’s what I did! That’s all I did. But for some reason people can’t get that idea down. That’s why so many fail at transforming their lives to what they truly, deeply, WANT. more than anything.

So Fitness Model International comes up. I spend (shrugging) $1300 with plane ticket, hair/makeup costs and FMI fees. I show up and nothing felt like they said it would feel. I did get to see my friend Parker and get 3 great shots out of 4 minutes total with 2 top photographers. I’m just going to spill out all the dirty details of my experience and the bull shit of it all because I never do do that. I also feel I am able to at this point and really don’t give a damn. I spent a shit load of money expecting more one on one time of learning how to pose, model, etc and meet people in the industry and instead, I felt more alone than ever before. I realized here what part of the industry I don’t want to be in: the part where everyone is trying to tug at a big mentor in the fitness industry’s arm and say, look at me, look how beautiful I am. It’s really not my style.

So after my 2 minutes with one Photographer and my less than Personal encounter with the other Photographer, (after spending 300 as part of the 4 pictures I get edited)…I decided to have fun, enjoy it and think of this as a blessing to realize what i don’t want. You know those experiences where you go through something only to realize what you don’t want;) think boyfriend/girlfriend.


remember Jeremy Jackson from Baywatch. I used to have a crush on him. He's started his own Supplement company now.

my hair was SICK!

My Third go at No Carbs.

I left Arizona (such an awesome place!) and headed to L.A. to meet my friend and Photographer who was going to take some pictures, with a little more of a realistic understanding of people in general. What I realized is what I do not want to be a part of. I do not want to be a woman vying for the attention of others just to get “noticed.” I don’t care if you say you have to hoe your way to get things, I know how I want to be “noticed,” and that doesn’t work for me. So moving on….I made a decision a few months later not to take part in this again.

Ok, so fast forward 1 month, I had prepared for a Bikini Competition where I became NPC Nationally Qualified. I worked with some great girls from another gym I know and we all worked on our posing together. I did not spend as much time as I’d like but it ended up being enough. For my preparation I did NOT do no carbs. From here on out, my days of No Carbs were over!!! I decided to go with a different approach: timing my macronutrients around what I had read and learned about myself. After one month, major changes happened and I felt really good in my skin. I still had a bit of a tub belly in a small sense;) but I actually don’t mind it when it’s a smaller version of a bloated me. I walked out on stage and strutted my stuff. My sister Gina beautified me and made me feel extra special with her mad makeup skills that always make me feel like a Queen. Maybe that’s one of my favorite parts of competing! I am a girl, after all!

So now, I competed in my 2nd competition, and did it a healthier way and my body responded. I was done with my last Bikini Competition where I became NPC Qualified and then went on vacation with my boyfriend and two great friends where I decided to relax and loosen the reigns. Basically, after the 5 days, I could not return in the shorts I went to Mexico with on my legs. I got so bloated from eating more basic foods, that any person regularly eats. It was a HUGE moment for me, realizing that my Boyfriend and other two Friends did not respond to the food and cocktails the way I did. I bloated everywhere. I felt horrible and just could not stop thinking about how i wanted to be thinner again. Then my friend said something to me that, at the time, made me think, “no, I don’t believe that.” She said, “Ash, do you think you just may not have the body type to be as thin as you’d like…I mean, you’re athletic, maybe your body doesn’t want to get thinner.” I was bummed to hear that a possible observation could be my reality. I never believe anything is IMPOSSIBLE; but this fit in that category. Could I just never be able to get there. But I said no! I believe I just have to get past my set point, stay there a while through constant sharp dieting and I will stay there and be able to add in more regular meals and more carbs.

So then a lot happened in between that conversation and now to make me realize that there was some truth behind that thought. What I have come to realize and will touch on more in my final Blog entry on this matter, is that my body was made a certain way and I need to stop going against the grain of what my body is telling me it wants and work on what my body loves best…being strong….not being skinny.

So after my vacation, I had 2 months to get ready for the Olympia. I was worried as I Just felt like my body wasn’t the same anymore…and I couldn’t change my metabolism. My body wasn’t responding positively to anything. I gained some weight all over. Nothing crazy but probably 8-10 pounds. I ate fairly decent, but was not able to eat as clean as you need to when you’re trying to cut your body fat down.

So I basically began doing 2 a days.
I thought, ok, my body is going to just drop the fat because it’s going to be shocked because after vacation, I decided my body was telling me it needed a break. So I took 2 solid months off. But no. Exactly the opposite.
Here’s what I did to get ready for the Olympia:

I cut carbs again and began rotating them and then would eventually taper out to very low for the last month as my body wasn’t responding.

I hired a trainer that KICKED MY ASS. I mean, I have never worked that hard and I thought I worked harder than anyone I see working.

I was doing 2 a days….morning cardio on empty stomach and weight training + hiit.

Cut calories to 1500 per day

I was monitoring my calories like a hawk.

I cut out (of course) liquor, sweets, processed foods. which are minimal for my usual diet anyways, but none at all.

I was stressed. I was worried and I got to the point of deciding I was not going to go, as I felt I had done EVERYTHING but was gaining weight. That’s right. I was gaining weight. I was working harder than I EVER have before…cut my calories to 1500 (little did I know!) and I was gaining tummy fat.

I had many breakdowns during this period. I was a cat chasing it’s tail.

I didn’t know how to stop. so I sucked it up and decided I am so lucky to be a part of BB.com and that I will just go and be confident, and smile through it all….so I did. It was tough and it was an acting game. One of the hardest I’ve played. The first day I put my blue tight pants on and they ripped in the croch and I just thought, I can’t do this. But I called Guest Services at the hotel and got a sewing kit and made it work, just like I made myself show up and smile.

I’m so glad I went, but I realized at this point that I came in, 6 months after the arnold, to the Olympia looking like I hadn’t been working at all during those 6 months, when in reality I had worked the hardest I ever had for the last 2months and maintained a pretty clean diet through it all.

so the thing was, I was stressed. I was relying on Sugar Free Rockstars to get through and I found out:

I was Adrenally Fatigued, which is basically Metabolic Burnout.

I wasn’t eating enough for my energy expenditure.

I was training like an athlete and spent $400 on a Trainer only to get nothing out of it, but to push my body farther into the direction I was trying so hard to keep it from being.

I was doing everything wrong.

I was thinking wrong and feeling wrong.

So as I returned home and looked at the pictures, it only hit me harder how everything from the Pinnacle show (all the hard core DIETING), all the stress, all the deprivation, had given me the body I have now. My body was resisting moving forward in a healthy way. I no longer looked like the Ash I turned myself into the first year of my Transformation, before all of these things took place, but I was looking like an unfit Ash. But trust me, I was doing everything I could to be fit and be healthy, except the caffeine.

In my last Blog entry on this, I will tell you when my epiphany happened, of me realizing what I was doing to myself. Not just outside, but mostly, INSIDE> and what I decided to do about it. It’s been a good month since my epiphany and since the Olympia.

I’m also going to tell you about what my current goal is and share with you something exciting! Something that I’m starting November 1st, something you can be involved in! I hope this touches someone in a way that I could not find someone else going through on the internet. I have looked up so many times, adrenal fatigue, athlete or fitness model and looked at other fitness models and could not find one person who had these same issues. I KNOW people go through them. I hope you do now too.

My One Year Plateau, Part 3

20 Oct

So here I am, I’ve gone from a Personal Banker to a Competitor who had taken my dieting and exercise plan to the extreme. I now knew I had the will power to do anything I wanted. After all, I had gone 3 solid months of no carbing. I’m not sure many people could do that, as it was the most challenging thing I’ve ever set my mind to.

At this point, I just got back from Idaho, shooting with Andy Anderson (Nike Photographer, and more) for Bodybuilding.com’s Lift Life Ad Campaign. I was on top of the world. So here I am, HOME, and I decided that since I didn’t have anything coming up, I had deprived myself and my body of carbs too long, so I decided to add them back in. I didn’t add them back in very slowly, I just went back to normal carb eating, maybe 120 grams a day is all I could handle. My stomach would bloat right away and I just felt like I gained 10 lbs. Truth be it, I gained 12 pounds back immediately. Now, some would say, well, you’d have to consume 3500 calories extra for one pound, and some would say, well, it could have been mostly water weight. I think it was a combination of the two. I think my body was in starvation mode and used everything I put in it for fat storage as well as held much needed water, as I was completely depleted. I mean, seriously, I didn’t even touch a strawberry in Idaho. so I was completely carb less.

So immediately I begin thinking, what the. I knew something was wrong. So fast forward two months. I get an email from Bodybuilding.com that they want me to represent them as a spokesmodel for the first ever Team Bodybuilding.com. I flipped. It was an amazing moment. I just felt like, man, my dreams were really coming true.

Now, during this time, my body had come down a little to a normal weight, but I realized that my normal weight consisted of having a belly still. That really bugged me. Looking back at picture of me as a teenager, I realized I have always had a belly. So this began the viscious cycle of me being bothered by this stubborn area.
I even noticed weight coming back in my arms, lower back, sides, and legs. Things were less defined, but yet, I was doing everything right still,e xcept eating healthy carbs now. My training was ridiculous and I can confirm this because no matter what I do, I am always progressing, whether it’s with my knowledge of a healthy, clean diet, or with exercise. Always.

So here are my stats for the past year.

When I hit the weight I truly felt like I was looking so good at (looking back)…this was one yaer after deciding to lose weight the healthy way.before no carbs I was 152, down from 183.
This was all me.  All my hard work and natural.  No deprivation of any sort.  This was before the No Carbs.

This was October, 2009. Just 10 months after starting a Healthy Lifestyle. I thought I looked great!

I had never fit into these pants before. Let alone tie my shirt up to show my belly. I was loving my body. For the record, I cannot fit into these pants currently and I"m eating better than I was then.

December 7th, 2009. 12 months into my journey.

February 19th, 2010. One year and one month. STILL, before my first competition. I was eating heatlhier than 2 months prior, working out normal, but lifting more here than ever before. I was seeing major changes in my body.

February 19, 2010. Front view....my stomach was slowly getting there. I honestly can say, that I like my definition here better than the flattness from no carbs. Looking back at these is really hard for me. I was doing everything right and I just want to say this....I'm so glad I have the opportunity to reach people and hope that they won't make the same mistake. It is very challenging for me now. I hope that one day my body will recover and let me continue moving forward healthfully like I was, the right way.

This is me. This is me feeling so good.

and finally March 2010. This is about where I hit my plateau and stopped losing more fat but continued gaining leg mass. haha. oh my good old legs. I get them from my papa.

sorry to flash you here. I was pretty lean then for just eating healthy (which isn't even as healthy as I eat now) and I would have a cheat meal or two on the weekends and never restricted myself. I ate really healthy during week and rank lots of water and worked out. Nothing crazy. Nothing like I would have to do later to get even near this.


When I did no carbs for 3 weeks I was 142. The smallest I’ve ever been.

When I went to lift life, it was hard to get back down there, I got to 145 on no carbs again.
There are no pictures in between here because I didn’t like how I looked.
Then when I got back, I immediately went back up to 162. No joke. I put on over 15 pounds of weight immediately.

In short, there was drastic fluctuation. Some would call this Yo Yoing. I would completely agree.

So I was doing all I could, nothing was changing. So then enter a contract from BB.com saying I would be working their events in 2011 and that in March, I would attend the Arnold with them. Wearing a sports bra and tighty pants. I was nervous to be honest because my body was not RESPONDING to anything anymore. This is truly (when I came back for the second time with no carbs and added them in) when I began feeling stressed with working so hard and not seeing results. So I took it up 10 notches. I was doing 2 a days, eating 1400 calories (I didn’t know better at this time) and lifting, increasing my cardio and NOTHING; I mean NOTHING.

So fast forward now through Christmas, New Years and February. The ARnold was right around the corner, I was doing everything I could and nothing was working. I began to think I just couldn’t lose anymore weight. The first year had been cake compared to now, Oh that sounds soo good….j/k ;0 but really, what had happened. the only thing I could think that would work was doing no carbs again.

So round 3…no carbs. 3 weeks and I got to this point for the Arnold. Still, not as great as my first competition (those last three words would be the 3 words I put on a pedestal for my “smallest I’ve ever been”). I always compared where I was at to where I was at for “my first competition.” Yet, another thing that began plaguing me, comparing. This only added to my stress and frustration.

At the Arnold, honestly. I felt uncomfortable. Standing up next to girls with 2 packs or 6 packs, I felt VERY, extremely out of my comfort zone. I was standing there, in a sports bra and tight pants. If I would have been wearing shorts, I think I would have felt better as I love my legs, but I felt they only emphasized my weak area, squeezing tightly around my midsection. It seemed to me as our outfits were intended to draw the eye to the midsection. Damn! Now, some may have said I looked great for losing weight and I don’t have to look like the other girls…now, I would agree, but then, I didn’t see it that way. It only frustrated me more that I deprived myself YET again (and had done everything I could do to work my ass off in the gym and eat super clean without going no carbs but nothing was happening…my body was not responding)..and here I am, the worst looking one there. But I smiled and put my face on and moved forward doing my best to be “comfortable being uncomfortable.” A quote I came up with from this experience.

Putting the body issue aside, I had an amazing time and feel so grateful to have been there and to have been asked to represent Bodybuilding.com. I always put that in front of my mind when I began obsessing too much about the negative….that this huge door had opened for me and this was my time. this is my 30 seconds….this is another crack in the door opening for me and I’m actually walking through. I only wish I would have realized what I know now so I truly could have enjoyed the positive feelings more than the negative. Live and learn.

I met some amazing people while there, and here are some pictures.

You can see how much my body has changed just by adding 10 extra pounds. This was when I did my third round and final round of no carbs. My body was having an adverse affect. Adding weight on.

Me and Randy Couture.

me with my girl Maritza!

Me and Robert Kennedy, Publisher and Editor of Oxygen Magazine.

me and the Sweaty Betty's:) Aubrie and Danny J.

At the Arnold, we took more pictures and here’s what I looked like in the professional pictures that I will not post to this day: Pictures by Levi Bettweiser. Maybe you’re thinking, wow, you don’t look fat. But in my head, I didnt look the same anymore and I was just stressed and unhappy that I was a cat catching it’s tail. Would you be comfortable standing up next to girls with great bodys? I just felt like I was losing my definition and gaining weight. But trying ten fold.

Here is my video of behind the scenes at the Arnold. I actually met arnold, such a nice man!

You can see my body has not responded the same as the previous times of no carbs. Almost, it looks as though I might work out and eat pretty well but still have “a few pounds around the edges.” Blas! These pics really bothered me. Only one has been published on BB.com. haha Hmm, I wonder why.

In my mind, I didn’t know if each time BB.com saw me, they wanted me to be progressed physically. I wasn’t exactly sure what MY role was on the team. I would later come to realize what it is.

In Part 4 I am going to tell you of my time at Fitness Model International in May of 2011, when I really began putting myself out there as a Fitness Model. My plateau, struggle and stress continued…There is an end:) Two more parts.

NBC’s Biggest Loser Audition, 2011

12 Oct

About 2 months ago, I was at the gym running on the treadmill and saw the Biggest Loser on tv, so I started thinking, why have I never thought about auditioning for that. There are two new trainers now, so why not! So I kept thinking and thinking about it and a week later, I saw two posts online from Jamie Eason and FMI (Fitness Model International) that NBC is holding auditioning for Jillian’s Trainer Position. I was on it! I sent my application in, then I got a call a week later from Talent Manager, Renee Watroba. I hit the floor when I heard it was her, telling me that the casting director, Alex, is interested in learning more about me.

Next step-create a video of me training clients and listing off who I am and what I do! My story.

So Round 1, video created, with the help of my aunt and mom:) and thanks to my IMovie pursuits 😉 I was able to create a pretty cool video. Fast Forward a few edits later, I have my finished product. In the mean time I learned masses about how to present yourself and about how to be in front of a camera, which have only helped me hone my skills even more!

I did not have an editing team, so did the best I could do with what I had, my aunt to film me, my awesome clients that agreed to be a part of the video and my determination to see it through until they had the finished product they wanted. Thank you Alex!

I have never worked with a Talent Manager before and If you ever get the chance to work with Renee Watroba, she is uplifting and rocks as a person. The casting director was equally super cool and easy to work with.

So 2 months later, I get a call saying they might fly me out to L.A. for final auditions, in person. A week later and they did not call me to fly to L.A. All I can say is, I learned so much from the experience and I got a chance to look through the crack of a door you can only dream to look through. I swear it started slowly opening and that was the coolest thing ever. I got to imagine my life completely changing and loved dreaming big.

I recently read an article on Cameron Diaz (in the latest Cosmo, in which I dream of owning that blue leopard print dress she’s wearing on the cover!) that she “does not let setbacks define her.” There is another quote from Arnold

Thank you to my aunt, Melissa for taking the time to film and support me, you did an awesome job filming. To my mom who always gave great ideas and made mel and I laugh too;) out-takes vid? To MHLC for supporting my endeavors. To my clients who supported me throughout and always let me push them to the max! To Renee Watroba who shared enthusiasm with me throughout the ride and to Alex, for being in my corner.

Here is my NBC Video Submission that got me into the finals.