Practice Makes Progress, not Perfection

you vs you

Everyone’s fitness journey is different. There will always be periods of growth, and times of regression.. at least it feels like regression.. but it could be viewed as a period of time that is just setting you up for further success down the road. I’d like to share my fitness journey with you so you can visualize how my style of training and eating has affected my performance and body composition through the years.

Persistence and hard work will get you places. I believe that living a fit and active lifestyle, moving your body and lifting heavy weights will not make you bulky and will instead be something you are truly grateful for the strength it gives you. Sometimes progress is slow, but continue to invest, to learn and to grow, always remembering the reason why you do this. The change which is visible in some of these transformations is cool and I am happy to have something “to show” for it, but really the greatest change is always internal and the intrinsic motivation you feel when reaching your goals, and the person you become.. and I can’t show you that. I can honestly say it’s the most rewarding thing and worth the investment, and that’s what I want to help others achieve.

It’s more than just looking aesthetic. To me, a well developed physique symbolizes a lot of hard work put in. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m not one to take short cuts or quick fixes to lose weight. It comes with extended periods of putting on muscle slowly, and dropping body fat slowly to develop a healthy physique. The body is a reflection of your work and you can truly treat it like a canvas and make of it what you like. My goal has never really been to get skinny. I love chasing strength and being athletic. Getting strong is fun as hell, nothing tops it! I share my journey to help you realize you are capable of the same. 🙂

I was always an athlete growing up playing sports like softball, gymnastics, cheer, soccer, tennis, basketball, etc. When I got to high school, I stuck to softball in the spring, sideline cheer in the fall and competitive cheer in the winter. This kept me in shape year long and provided me with an intro to the weightroom thanks to softball.

Freshman year of college, probably at my heaviest with little cardio, lifting or conscious of my caloric intake. Near 170 lbs.

2010- The Year I Forgot about my Strength! I barely worked out my freshman year, or ate healthy.. ran a little in summer.. In the Fall, I started to get back into lifting with my softball program in college.

2011 – The Year of Not Feeling Sorry for Myself Anymore! I started lifting for college softball my sophomore year, and started doing cardio. We did quite a bit of conditioning for softball as well so I lost some weight. I was pretty strict with my calories and started monitoring what I ate. Basically did a mix of lifting (mostly machines) and cardio machines, or outdoor running.

Sophomore year, lost some weight from my freshman year. Was more active with cardio and some lifting, more conscious of food choices. Around 155 here with little muscle.

2012- The Year of Operation Beach Body and Running for the Health of It! (what I thought would get me a beach body anyway.. Completed full Insanity program (hella cardio!) I did the Color Run (5k), Mud run (5k), and Bridge run (10 mile) in Fall of 2012. I also did my 1st half marathon in Oct 2012. I also continued with Beachbody programs doing Insanity Asylum 1, Insanity + Asylum 1 hybrid, Asylum Vol 2. After the first 60 days of Insanity, I had the realization that getting my “ideal” beachbody wasn’t going to happen in 60 days and I had to stick with it if I really wanted to change my physique. In addition, I started eating much better once I started the Insanity Asylum meal plans. (proper intake of carbs, proteins, fats, dairy, fruits, veggies, etc.) This year I was still very cardio focused for my training.

2012, sitting around 150. just completed Insanity programs and had very little muscle.

2013- The Year of Many Detoxes and Bulking! Focused on eating clean, eating more protein.. Started P90X (some weightlifting). Ran my 2nd half marathon in May. Took up a yoga class in college for my senior year. I was lazy from after I completed the marathon training in May and was bored of my Insanity/P90x training. Did very little training up until my first Tough Mudder in June. Had gained some weight after the Tough Mudder and started the Ultimate Reset detox nutrition plan in August. Lost 15 pounds and then began tracking calories/food intake once I started Body Beast, a heavy-ish lifting program. Upon starting Body Beast, my calories increased by a couple hundred, and I gained the 15lbs back plus more that I just lost during the detox. I didn’t understand how dieting worked back then and realize now that going from a low calorie detox to a high calorie bulking program overnight is not a smart move. (duh!)

15lb weightloss in 3 weeks from following ultimate reset program. 160 –> 145. Felt better from eating really healthy foods. Could start to notice some muscle and body composition changes (mostly in upper body) from following programs like Insanity Asylum and P90X. (Some weightlifting)
Weight regain experienced in first pic from increasing calories during Body Beast, after coming off calorie deficit in Ultimate Reset. (We could call it an expedited reverse diet? lol) Regardless, due to the fact that I was in a surplus during this time and lifting heavy weights doing Body Beast, I think this worked out in the long run because I put on a good amount of muscle during this time. (Apparent later once I dieted down again)

2014- The Year of Learning to Embrace Flexible Dieting! Started tracking macros via flexible dieting after hiring a coach to help me diet, did bodybuilding workouts she provided along with HIIT and MISS cardio to drop weight. From Mar-Oct, I dieted down and dropped about 20 lbs. In Oct, I started my own reverse diet, and switched from a bodybuilding style program (hypertrophy, high reps) to a DUP, powerlifting (strength based, low rep) style program.

Hired first coach for dieting with macros. Weight dropped from 168 to 148. Started doing bodybuilding style workouts during dieting phase.
168 to 148. Hired coach to help me with macros diet. Notice body composition changes from lifting weights. Muscle mass more apparent in my legs and a curvier shape, appear to be leaner compared to my physique in 2012 when I was around 150 as well.
Oct 2014 to Jan 2015 Reverse diet update. 3 months into my own administration of a reverse diet and about 1.5 years of heavy lifting. Notice the body composition changes, even though I was eating more in the pics on the right, I was appearing leaner due to more muscle mass.

2015- The Year of Finding my Strength and Focusing on Performance! In January, I hired another coach to help me continue reverse dieting and follow a strength training, powerlifting style program. This year, I really switched my goals from focusing on the number on the scale, or the measurements of my girths, to the numbers I was lifting in the gym, how well I performed, and some body composition changes like visible muscles :D. Switching my focus to strength helped take me away from getting hung up on if the scale was moving or not. (Huge lesson I teach clients!). I continued to reverse diet until my first powerlifting meet in Aug 2015. After this first meet, I decided to begin dieting again since I had done an extended period of reversing (about 10 months). My goal was to drop down one weight class for powerlifting in order to be more competitive and eventually compete at Nationals. I dropped about 10 lbs between Aug and Nov 2015 for my 2nd powerlifting meet at States. This dieting went smoothly since I reverse dieted my calories up pretty high and I had a large pool to pull from. The caloric deficit seemed like a breeze paired with a little cardio and my body responded very well. This is what we call, working with your body! Allow your metabolism to work in your favor while you diet, rather than working against it and trying to diet off of little calories. 🙂

Jan 2014 to Jan 2015. After a year of dieting and a few months into reverse dieting. 168 to 150. Notice changes in body composition from prior pics due to more muscle mass after about 1.5 years of heavy lifting.

Back view. 2012- cardio focused. 2013- Cardio focused. 2014- Lifting and nutrition focused. All shots are around 145-150 lbs.

2016- The Year of Competing at Nationals! I continued to diet down until April 2016, to drop the last 10lbs to make the 63kg weight class. I qualified for Nationals at the 63kg class at my third powerlifting meet in April. The last 10 lbs were more of a struggle due to being in a deficit for longer without taking a dieting break. I did maintain/reverse diet a little from April until August 2016 until competing at USAPL Nationals in Oct 2016. I finally achieved my goal of competing at Nationals and was so proud of the person I became on the journey. It was very rewarding to see the hard work of lifting and tracking food intake come to the surface through my body composition, as it was apparent I had put on quite a bit of muscle mass since I was leaner now. It was also apparent of all my hard work by the numbers I hit in the competition at Nationals, setting myself some PR’s. I then reverse dieted after Nationals and started to get into weightlifting. During my prep for Nationals, I was experiencing hip pain and finally consulted a PT for ART and a chiro to help me work through this pain and continue lifting.

After dieting down to 138lb in April 2016. The muscle mass I had been building in the last 3 years of heavy lifting finally became more visible. My body composition looks much different compared to how it looked after the Ultimate Reset at 145lbs with little muscle. Muscle is much more dense compared to fat, which is why I look much leaner compared to the post Ultimate Reset Physique in 2013.
Side profile at 138lb after 3 years heavy lifting.

2017- The Year of Having to Find Myself Again! After coming off such a high of competing at Nationals, but starting to experience hip pain, I wasn’t sure where to set my goals as far as training and nutrition. I was having a really hard time being consistent with food intake, was overeating and compensating with cardio, thought weighing food had become obsessive since I didn’t have a weight class goal anymore, and felt like tracking macros became an eating disorder in itself, but was very uncomfortable with the idea of eating without weighing out portions on the scale. It’s safe to say, I strugggled! Due to not having strict nutrition or training goals, I was not the most on point tracking macros in the first half of the year.. which was OKAY to just live life.. but it felt like I was failing since I was so used to that lifestyle. I was fighting to diet back down to 138 from 145ish and would slightly panic at the idea of seeing my weight slowly climb back up after working SO hard to make the 138 weight class. It took a lot of growing for me to realize it was okay to loosen up the reigns with tracking, invest in new hobbies, shift my focus away from food and just RELAX. I think tracking so obsessively for a few years turned into a behavior/lifestyle that I had a hard time changing. But with struggle comes growth and I think I am a better coach and athlete now for having experienced this!

Due to my hip pain, I was also a little lost in setting training goals for 2017 but I continued to drop volume and intensity for my powerlifting/weightlifting program hybrid. When the pain didn’t dissipate, I tried to create a rehab program for lifting to strengthen weak muscles around the hip joint..think adductors, psoas, and glute med. No luck. Tried to take time off from lifting to just bike, hike and walk.. figured I have to just be grateful for any movement that I CAN do and stay active! I am a huge believer in movement for the body to stay healthy. This backfired when I ended up pulling a hammy at a softball tourney and had more pain. (maybe the pulled hammy wasn’t from taking time off from lifting but it was reason enough for me to go back to the gym) So I continued lifting, doing PT, and trying to do whatever I could do to stay active. In Oct 2017, I finally found a training program I could adhere to and a nutrition strategy as well which included getting my calories up and stop trying to do cardio to diet. I tried to heal my pain on my own for so long because it was so sporadic.. sometimes I could go weeks with no pain and some days it would be present all day at work whether I was sitting or standing. I decided self healing through a rehab lifting program was not working after about a year and started the process of scheduling an MRI. I did try a Keto diet from Sept-Oct- (1550 cals.) just to see how this style of eating affected how I felt daily, and my performance in the gym.

Sitting around 145-150 in 2017 while I battled trying to maintain weight/diet down more.
Practicing balance in 2017, while I was feeling like I was gaining weight and making no progress. But I was still lifting fairly consistently.. and was just growing in other ways besides training 24/7.

2018- The Year of Healing! In January, I started reverse dieting again. I felt I had found much more food balance and more exercise balance in the last year. I created a training plan which included lifting 3x, swimming 1x, pilates 1x, and yoga 2-3x/wk. I found more balance in training doing things I could do with minimal pain, and found ways to live with the pain if need be. I REALLY enjoyed getting back into Yoga, and discovering the ways this training, and Pilates, could challenge my body in ways that lifting never had. I explored new hobbies of painting and drawing and gardening. Because let’s face it, health isn’t just about what type of training you do and the food you are eating.. it is about balance and the lifestyle you are living. I finally felt like I was at a good place mentally to start dieting again in May and dropped about 5 pounds (ish) in a month after about 6 months of reverse dieting. I was feeling good but discovered the next step on the road to recovery according to my MRI results was surgery. An MRI with contrast came back as a labral tear w/ hip impingement according to my ortho surgeon. I got surgery June 14, 2018.

My current food intake is around maintenance, maybe a slight surplus to help speed up my recovery and regenerate new cells. I had to put a halt on dieting because that is counter intuitive to the healing process. My one month post operation date is July 12 when I will start PT and can possibly start upper body training again. I am slated to be 100% healed in 6 months, maybe sooner if all goes well. I am excited to continue to watch my body composition evolve and continue to develop my physique throughout the years. I know this is only the beginning. I will get back to dieting again when my body is ready. I really enjoy yoga and look forward to slowly easing back into a training program..Maybe I will begin with yoga..or pick back up on weightlifting.. which I think is an amazing sport. All I know is I will be smart and listen to my body. This injury has taught me so much. Patience is key to recovery.

It’s so important to take care of yourself and stay active throughout your life. I get really sad when I see people give up on themselves. But on the other end of the spectrum, don’t get so carried away with extremes that you don’t listen to your body and beat yourself into the ground. And most important of all, make sure to have fun and enjoy the journey!

2018 physique after a year and half of much upper body focus on lifting. Had to avoid a lot of lower body lifting due to hip pain. Hanging out around 155 mid reverse diet.
2018 Physique hanging out around 160 after finishing reverse dieting in May. Body composition looks much different at 160 with more muscle mass on my frame than it did at 160 in 2013 before lifting.

FUTURE PERFORMANCE GOALS – TBD! — It’s important to look back and admire where you’ve been and what you’ve accomplished. But what’s even more exciting, is to know where you are capable of going.

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