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CONTEST PREP

As I sit here at my laptop smack dab in the middle of my contest preparation for North American Nationals over Labor Day in Cleveland, OH I ponder what I should write about for my next article.  Then it hits me!  I’ll write about my contest preparation.

I’ve been training extremely hard since late March of this year.  My goal has been to add size to my shoulders, back, gluteus maximus and hamstrings.  I’ve been dead lifting and squatting heavy to build firm and shapely glutes and hamstrings.  Also, I’ve been doing many sets of pull-ups and rear deltoid exercises.  So, now I find myself with three weeks to go until North American Nationals extremely happy with the changes I’ve made in my body.  The hardest part of all is not the endless hours in the gym squatting and sprinting but the darn diet!  I’ve been dieting since right around the fourth of July.  And, for all of you reading this that have done this crazy diet you know what I’m talking about when I say it’s torture at times.  Living on the same foods day in and day out.  Drinking so much water that you can’t go anywhere without knowing where the closet toilet is.  The other piece of this is how you do this for the first month and see slow changes while your body burns through the reserves it’s made when you were eating like a normal human being.  Then after a few weeks of this madness you wake one day and feel leaner and lighter.  Then day after day your body changes constantly getting leaner and tighter.  But, then at certain times panic sets in – am I getting lean enough fast enough???  People tell you how great you look and even you yourself can see your abdominal muscles making their appearance but you still feel inadequate.  There may even be times when you want to throw in the towel and just attack the almonds in your cabinet (which yes, I have done!) or any of the other countless snacks begging me to eat them every darn time I open the door.  But, something holds you back.

What holds me back?  That’s a great question.  Many folks comment on my dedication.  Being a mom and competing is tough stuff.  All you moms out there that compete know what I’m talking about.  Your kids still want their treats and you have to serve them after all it’s not their fault that we’ve embarked on this journey.  So, I would have to say that what holds me back is knowing that if I cheat I will be standing next to a lady that didn’t.  A lady that might just have an edge over me because she didn’t cheat.  The possibility that I could’ve placed better if I didn’t cheat.  It’s a total mind game but I know that I’ve trained hard so how can I blow it now?  Can’t I hang in for a few more weeks and then I’m home free to enjoy some culinary treats??   The answer for me is always YES.  YES I can do this.  Yes I want to hold my pro card some day because I DID IT!

So, for now I will continue to eat fish, vegetables and egg whites.  I’ll continue to lean out over the next three weeks while trying to keep my sanity and not yell at my family too much.  I’ll practice my posing in my 5 inch heals over and over again until I feel like it’s second nature.

UPDATE

I ended up placing 8th overall at North and I will say initially that I was disappointed I didn’t make top 5.  But, after a good meal, a shower and some sleep my support team reminded me that making top 10 at my first pro-qualifier was amazing.  After that I felt great about my placing.  I spoke with the promoter and received some solid feedback that I will take to heart.

Also, I competed in Jen Hendershott’s Big Shott Classic two weeks ago in Charleston, SC.  The show was extremely well run and seeing Jen and her team again was so inspiring.  Jen Hendershott has to be one of the most amazing and inspiring women I’ve ever met.  Any amateur competitors reading this should definitely do her show next year.  It’s SO worth it and the other competitors are kind and helpful.  I took 2nd place in Masters Figure and 3rd place in open figure.  I’m thrilled to start my off-season on such a positive note.

In closing, it was a great season for me starting with the Arnold Amateur and ending with Jen’s show.  I’m planning on training hard in my off-season as I get ready for next spring/summer on the competition circuit.  I do have to say thank you to my family, friends and clients for being in the trenches with me while I go through this process AGAIN and for supporting and believing in me.

Please feel free to contact me at Linda.steph42@yahoo.com

Be well! Linda

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