Let’s see, where to begin?! One month ago today, I competed in the 2010 NPC MET-Rx Maryland State/East Coast Classic Figure Competition. Time sure flies, it’s hard to believe a month has past already.
My most recent show prep spanned 18 weeks. I had the nutritional help of Carter Schoffer, owner of Body Transformation. Carter has worked closely with Dr. John Berardi contributing to the development and implementation of Precision Nutrition. The first six weeks of my prep was more about developing habits and strategies more than it was about shedding the body fat. I found the learning curve to be a real challenge at first. I had to adjust to the time involved. I had more food to prep than my previous shows and as a result, more cooking, more dishes and more tupperware to wash. I was incorporating a heck-of-a-lot more supplements and mixing more shake ingredients than ever. I also had to adjust to the volume of food I was taking in. I was always full as I was consuming 4-5 servings of veggies with every meal (breakfast too) in addition to the other complete meal fixings. Because this was the habit-forming part of the process, I was cutting out any non-compliant foods and alcohol as well. I wasn’t seeing quick changes in my physique however despite my diligent efforts. At the end of the six weeks and I was a bit frustrated because I felt like I had been “dieting” the entire time. After the six week mark, we soon shifted my nutritional parameters as the habits were in place and Carter said I was ready for the next phase. Carter had a larger plan and I made the committment to follow his plan no matter what.
In the meantime, Nick and I were training four days a week in the gym. I was working around a herniated disk. We started training very conservatively while I was also seeing a physical therapist (Morgan Johnson, Owner of Evolution Sports Physiotherapy). Slowly but surely, we continued to progress training. Nick is a brilliant guy when it comes to training safe and smart. His knowledge coupled with my own knowledge of training and my body, was a formula for success on the gym floor.
**Note: I am walking proof that we were able to train through a bad back. You can too if you train 1. keeping your limits in mind and 2. finding alternative and creative ways to still get the job done. Nick has done the alternative and creative part for you already in his NEW Joint Friendly Strength Training DVD. You can find the dvd here.
Fast forward to three weeks before the show. I headed up to Toronto Canada for some work I was doing with Oxygen Magazine. I had the pleasure of writing an article for them during the spring that is tentatively scheduled to come out in the Spring of 2011. The article covers a GREAT topic. I must say, of all things possible to write about, I am SO fortunate to have been able to highlight this subject to the women who read Oxygen Magazine. In conjunction with the article, they invited me to come up to the main headquarters for a two day photo shoot for both the article images as well other fitness related topics. Nick accompanied me up to Canada and to date, that was one of the highest moments in my fitness career. Nick and I both had such a fantastic time meeting and working with the staff of Oxygen Magazine. I can’t wait to see the finished product(s)! In addition to their website, Oxygen also has a great blog that you can check out here.
THE FINAL PHASE
The work was almost complete. I had reached three weeks out from the show. After returning from the Oxygen experience, Carter and Nick set me up with the home stretch. This part is never easy. You’re starting to deplete things from your diet yet kick up the activity level even more. The goal in the gym was to continue bringing out my shape, get as lean as possible and stay injury free. Ultimately, to wax and shine the machine.
I was also starting to put a lot more focus on posing and stage presence. I had the fantastic help of Gretchen Crass (GST Fitness). I was extremely fortunate to have her in my circle of help and expertise as she really contributed to polishing my stage presence and easing my nerves. Gretchen had an answer to every single question that ran through my head and she really has an eye for excellence. Thanks a million times over Gretchen.
IT’S SHOW TIME
Stage day arrived and as always, it had all come together. Nick was the very best helper / boyfriend / coach that I could ask for. He was present for everything from spray tans on Thursday, registration and more spray tans on Friday and all the excitement of the show on Saturday. You can check out Nick’s blog for his personal recap and perspective of the show here at NickTumminello.com
The 2010 NPC MET-Rx Maryland State/East Coast Classic is two shows in one. I crossed over and competed in both because heck, I was already tan, dehydrated and at the venue! Why not?! I competed in the short class and wound up taking 3rd place in the Maryland show and 2nd place in the East Coast show. Not enough to advance to compete for the Overall title, but it was enough to spring me forward for future competitions. To my knowledge, my placings were enough to qualify for a National level show and that was victory enough for me!
Above all, I was pleased to cross the finish line and to do so with two trophies was terrific in my heart.
So many thank you’s but first and foremost, thank you to Nick and Carter. Thank you Nick for taking the time to train every day of every week. Nick and I traveled A LOT during this prep and he even made it a priority to find local gyms for out-of-town training. Thank you also to Nick for being an amazing boyfriend at home as I went through the day to day prep. Carter, your nutritional program was the most balanced I have ever seen. With the exception of not being able to eat non-compliant foods, I hardly felt like I was on a “diet” with your plan. I loved the variety and the structure you provided. You were so complete in your program, knowledge and support. Always thorough in explanation, even setting expectations of what I might experience. You are fantastic at what you do!
Thank you also to Gretchen again for adding the female component to my coaching. The stage can be a scary place and you helped ease those nerves. You have a great group among your team too 🙂 Thank you to Marc Spataro of Fitnology, owner of the studio where Nick and I train. Marc is like a big brother and I always enjoy sharing the latest dietary changes and physique progress with him. Thank you to Marc Simon for your enthusiasm and for coming to the show! (Marc is a great training partner to Nick and I – we make a solid lifting team). Thank you to all my co-workers, my two fabulous boss’s and all of my AMAZING CLIENTS at FX Studios for your support and enthusiasm throughout the 18 week journey.
A huge thanks to my mom, my dad, my brother and friends who also took a supportive interest in my show prep and came to the show.
IT’S NOT OVER YET!
After the show wrapped up, I witnessed lots of competitors scarfing down the treats they had been longing to taste. Not I however, I was on the final-phase diet for four more days with very little deviation. I was however allowed to have the freedom to go nuts on healthy foods for a few hours… anything that fell in the scope of my diet (fruits, gluten-free starches, protein, healthy fats, etc). All dairy, gluten, processed foods and alcohol were still off the option list.
I had a very exciting photo shoot ahead.
I had the pleasure of being set up with the phenomenal photographer, Marc Serota of Serota Photography Inc. Marc operates out of Boca Raton, Florida and works with all types of high caliber celebrity athletes (including but not limited to Ray Lewis, Dan Marino, Danica Patrick), Sports Illustrated models and fashion runway models. Marc is the most down-to-earth guy and knows how to make magic happen with a camera. The photo shoot was on August 25th and is incredibly invaluable to me. We shot at both Marc’s home and Gym 111 in Delray Beach, Florida. Thank you to Marc’s team of help, Sarah Schmidt for hair & Make Up, Phyllis Sica for the use of your great facility (Gym 111) and a HUGE thanks to Under Armour for sponsoring my wardrobe for the photo shoot.
The photo shoot eventually wraped up and so did this third show season. Immediately after the photo shoot in Boca Raton, Nick and I traveled across Florida where we stayed in Tampa for a few days to visit with his mom, Faith, and her husband John. What a great family! Nick and Faith also presented at a Shapes facility for two days. After our time in Tampa, Nick and I were off to the Carribbean for a 7 night cruise where we lived to the fullest!
I am now finding balance in my day-to-day structure as the regimine from the show is gone. I wasn’t sure when I would compete again, but there has been talk of taking the Amateur stage at the 2011 Arnold Classic in Ohio this year! So there you have it, the last 18 weeks of prep, competing and the final days to follow.
My blog will finally resume on a more regular basis! Until then, keep training!!