Adventures in Fitness, Fashion and Fabulousness


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As I enjoyed breakfast with a colleague during a business trip, I ended up having a chat about fitness.  Being that my colleague and I are both into healthy nutrition and exercise, the topic of body building came up.

“So, you compete in figure shows?” she says. “That’s so cool!”

“Why, thank you.  I am currently trying to put on weight so I can grow muscle.  So far, I am 20+ lb over competition weight, and I am trying to keep it up.  It’s very weird, but I am learning a lot.”

“Oh,” she says. “So you are supposed to drop all of that weight later?”

“Eventually, yes.” I reply. “But only for the show.  It is not sustainable to keep it that way.”

“So, this is not your real body, is it?”

That got me thinking.  This was not the only time in which someone tells me that this is not my real body, presumably because my real body would be the one I show up on a stage during a figure show.

Except that the rest of the year, I have the body that I have today.

The question also makes me feel like the Pod People from Attack of the Body Snatchers.

If I am not wearing my real body, whose body am I wearing?  My neighbor’s?

I find the question really amusing.

My back at the August 2012 Figure Show.  Weight: 110 lbs. soaking wet.

My back at the August 2012 Figure Show. Weight: 110 lbs. soaking wet.

My back today, April 2014. Weight: 134.

My back today, April 2014. Weight: 134. A lot more muscle, and honestly, a lot better.

So what is my real body?

The answer is simple.  My real body is the body I have today.

And the body I had in 2012.

And the body I will have a year from now, provided I don’t kick the bucket.

We are issued only one body, and we’d better take care of it because it’s the only one we have.

One of the weirdest experiences is that of the post-show blues.  Nobody tells you about that, but any competitor, whether a newbie or a veteran, knows what I’m talking about.

When you are prepping, you get a lot of compliments. “Wow!  You are losing so much weight!  You look great!”  And in our culture weight loss equals beauty.

However, once you are done with the show, you cannot stay in that weight and body fat levels without running the risk of damaging your metabolism.  Hence, you must slowly but surely bring your weight up to a more realistic level, and start building muscle again.

Why? Because you cannot grow muscle if you stay at that ridiculous level of low body fat.

On the other hand, eating for growing is such a change from eating for losing that it takes some time to get used to it physically and psychologically.

So after panicking after going up two sizes (from 0-2 to 2-4), I have come to the realization that the goal is not in being slim for the sake of being slim, but to be in the best shape of my life and get even better if I can.

Exhibit A, my back.  One of the major things in bodybuilding is to develop a nice “V” taper.  Back in 2012, I managed to get in great shape, but my muscles were not on par with my goals.  If you notice the two pictures above, you will know what I am talking about.

The first is a picture from my 2012 show.  I was 110 lb. and my “V” taper wasn’t that great.

As you can see from the second picture, the “V” taper is a lot more noticeable.  True, I will still need to drop body fat before strutting around on a stage in a posing suit, but I have a much better base to start with.

And there I am.

Yes, both of these pictures are of my real body.

I love my body.

I love dressing up that body.

And at the end of the day, it is all about taking care of that body and see how far I can take it.

~ Belfebe out.

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Of Safely Regaining Weight, Cycling Adventures and Bike Spills

Last time we saw our heroine, she was still glowing from the aftermath of her figure competition, and had promised to upload pictures.   

So where are the pictures, you ask?  In my”About” page that’s where!  At least my favorite pic of the batch is.  There may be more to come, or I may even do a “before” and “after” thingy.  Stay tuned.

I feel accomplished.

What happens next, then?  For one thing, I need to regain the weight that I shed.  Yes, boys and girls, since I am done for the year, I must put back the 13 lbs that I lost in order to compete so I can rebuild bigger and better muscle for next time.

Because, oh yes, there will be a next time.

So does that mean that I can finally go and stuff myself with Dunkin’ donuts and loads and loads of french fries? 

Not so fast.  The whole point is to regain the weight slowly.  If it took me 12 weeks to shed 13 pounds, it should take me 12 weeks to regain them, basically by eating clean.  The only difference is that now I can get the ocassional cheat meal.  Hooray!

So far, I have kept it up right on schedule.  The plan is to gradually reduce the cardio while keeping the lifting and to gradually increase calories.  As I have found out, it works like a charm.

This is us, right after the ride. At least, what was left of us.

At any rate, this past Sunday I joined my husband and a couple of friends on a biking ride.  (Yay biking!)  The ride was the Backroads Century Ride, a yearly event and one very hilly affair.  (Featuring lots of cows, sheep, llamas and kamikaze squirrels galore!)

I decided to do only 30 miles, since the training for a longer bike ride would have clashed with my figure show prep.  I hadn’t been on the saddle for the 12 weeks of show preparation, and had only done a couple of spinning classes since, so I was a little bit worried about my endurance.

I shouldn’t have worried, I was able to sustain the ride and, other than having to push my bike for a couple of nasty hills, I did reasonably well.

It is also a tradition that at every ride I either: a) take a wrong turn; b) fall off my bike; or c) all of the above.

I was feeling cocky. I didn’t fall off the bike! (Alas, I had spoken too soon…)

This ride was no different.  Almost at the end of our trek, I took a wrong turn and ended up going the wrong way while my husband yelled frantically after me “To the left!  Not that left, the other left!”

Once I got back on track, we were at the finishing line in no time.  And lo and behold!  I didn’t even fall of my bike!  I was so happy that I did a Snoopy dance.

Alas, I spoke too soon.  While riding back to the parking lot, I made a sharp turn and crashed on the gravel path injuring my ankle, hip and elbow.

No fun at all.

Me, with my feet up nursing my ankle. My cat is on my lap.

Luckily, it seems that other than a sore ankle (still stiff today), and a couple of lumps on the aforementioned hip and elbow, nothing is broken or seriously damaged.

I will live.

And after that, I will bike some more.

But in the meantime, I lift.

Or at least I will lift tomorrow, when my ankle feels better.

Oh, yes I will lift…