Gateway Naturals – 4 Weeks Out
Tickets for the show are expected to sell out due to the size of this year’s event. Please buy them early
Emerge Compete shirts are available at Emerge for $15. Please wear yours to the event to support me and Nick!
For the next 4 weeks I will be documenting the rest of my journey to the Gateway Naturals Bodybuilding/Figure Competition. The last time I competed was in 2006; I got 1st place in Xtreme Fit. Here is the video, taken by my sister 😉

After that show I had pulled my hamstring and so I decided to focus on training competitors for shows and experimenting and formulating pre-competition strategies. Since all of my competitors have been extremely successful, I decided it was time to apply what I had learned through their success to myself and take the stage again. What some people don’t know is that 2-3 times in the last few years I have begun to diet down for show, but once I had gotten 6-7 weeks out I felt like I wouldn’t make it and my physique wouldn’t be where it needed to be. This time, I am not going to be a quitter 🙂 You can ‘t know how you will end up til you put in ALL the work and just see where you are. My updates will be brief, but I wanted to share with you what goes through the mind of competitor those last vital weeks. 🙂 Stay tuned for updates, and thanks for all the support!

Sat, Sept 11 (EXACTLY 4 weeks away!)
Saturday started with walking the dog, a few clients, and then 45 minutes of low intensity cardio. Today was a high calorie day. Good thing because there were two big temptations to overcome: the Emerge BBQ and a wine party. We have been following our meal plans for 3 months, and haven’t had alcohol since then (minus the dirty martini that was calling my name after a Cardinals game) so we made sure to bring our food with us. Nick and I do 3 days of lower calories, then one day of higher calories. This is not a “cheat day”, mind you.. but a planned and very specific meal plan that we still follow exactly. Having the higher calories really helped with not pigging out on the really delicious looking BBQ and desserts at the Pirtle residence and the mass quantities of wine and finger foods at the wine party. We brought our new puppy with us, so he served as a welcome distraction from the off-limit foods. I only had half of my evening shake and was pretty hungry when I got home so I cooked up some spaghetti squash and snacked on 3 hard boiled egg whites. Sounds appealing, right? 😉 I ended up on track at 1800 calories for my high day.
Sun, Sept 12
Today we woke up and took Drake on a walk. I usually have soy milk in my morning shake, but instead I got a soy latte at The Bridge in New Town. Latte’s are really a nice treat when you are eating the same thing everyday. They’re great because you can flavor them with calorie free sugar free syrups, so the only extra calories you are getting come from the milk. All I had to do was deduct the milk from my shake, and I am still following my meal plan! I LOVE finding ways to divert from the plan but still be completely on track. When we got home from our walk we turned on a DVD of a previous year of the Gateway Naturals and followed along with the poses that the judges called out.  A great trick is to put the TV behind us and a mirror in front of us. That way we can do our poses and quarter turns and compare how our own physiques are coming along compared to the competitors in the DVD. Also, people don’t realize how difficult it is to tighten every muscle you can think of in your body for long durations of time…. practicing with the DVD helps to condition us to these very difficult isometric contractions. I still get pretty sore from them. My shoulders especially start to BURN while I am holding my lats out. Imagine holding a plank position. You start to burn, then you start to shake, then you start to sweat…. all you want to do is move around or drop out of it but your trainer is telling you just 10 more seconds!!!!  Now, imagine that in your whole body.. and in heels! Nick and I are going up to Emerge today to meet with Matt Pirtle. Matt is going to give Nick a little guidance on his posing while I get 45 minutes of low-intensity cardio. Next week I am going back to intervals. Start weight: 146 Current weight: 131 Desired show weight: 123-125
Mon, Sept 13
So today I messed up my diet. GRRRR. I make a double protein shake and have half at 4:30AM for breakfast, then the other half around 8-9. That leaves my oatmeal patty and banana for pre-workout around lunchtime. When I wokeup I felt particularly hungry so I had my oatmeal patty and banana for breakfast instead. The shakes just dont cut it before my workouts, so I felt super tired during cardio. I did 30 minutes on the bike at a moderate intensity. Then I told myself I would sprint outside when I got home after getting my next meal in. Got home, took the dog on a short walk, ate lunch, then I fell asleep. A little frusturated with myself so as soon as I get done typing this I plan to hit a little extra cardio. Well, I guess it isn’t “extra” since I am supposed to be doing 45 minutes and I am short 15 for the day.
Not only did my own screw up get to me today, but scales are the devil. The scale read 131 yesterday, but the beef broth I had last night to help fill me up at dinner is probably the culprit behind my 134 weigh in today. Super high sodium, but it kept me from eating something I shouldn’t have last night. Do I know better than to trust the scale? Absolutely, but it is still disheartening. I see Pirtle tomorrow for a training session, so that will break me out of this minor funk. I go through strange emotions when I evaluate my physique for show. I am happy with my progress, and feel like I am in great shape – but “great shape” for a figure competition is such a different level. My legs and hips need to trim down quite a bit for show. I hope they change enough!!! I am curious to see what my body does in the next few weeks.
Tues, Sept 14
Today was a looooooooong day! I woke up and walked the dog for 40 minutes, which felt like a great start. I had a few clients and then Matt trained me – I should be sore! I absolutely HATE doing pullups, and he ALWAYS makes me do them. Grr! Then I did just 15 minutes on the treadmill before having to go with my husband to the car dealership. 4 hours of sitting that I did not count on, but we got a new truck. 🙂 When we got home I was super duper tired feeling, but I went outside and ran for 25 minutes then walked for 30. Nancy (one of my clients who has competed in three shows and is now expecting her 6th baby! yay!) brought up two of her posing suits for me to see if I would like to borrow them for show. Kerry also brought hers up, so I have three suits to choose from. Very nice of them, because suits can be SO EXPENSIVE. It is really insane how much money such a little bit of fabric can be! Ordered a pair of 5 inch heels, and those should come in the mail in a few days. 🙂 It feels very scary to say that we are just a few weeks away. When I think of the small amount of time, I get pretty scared about getting on stage with a jiggly butt. So, I am still going through waves of feeling prepared and waves of feeling way not prepared. I really feel anxious at times, but I am very excited to be doing this with my husband. 🙂 He has been doing everything perfect and really looks great. He will absolutely be ready to compete! I am proud of him!
Wed, Sept 15

The very best way to indulge, but not really! ;) Protein shake!

The very best way to indulge, but not really! 😉 Protein shake!

So I feel GREAT today. The last couple days my energy was declining more and more. After logging my food and analyzing things a bit more, I think I know what the problem was. Since I had been forgeting to bring some of my food with me, I would just drink a protein shake from here. The shakes are really good tasting, low calorie, and have tons of protein. What they lack, however, is the carbs that my own shake had. I would then make adjustments to my calories later by subtracting things from my diet. I tended to subtract things like fruit and keep my protein. DUH Nicole. So I was only getting in about 1/3 of the carbs I wrote into my diet. Last night I PREPARED and packed all my food up and made it. My energy is really good today. Of course, I still am worried about the progress of my physique – but I feel better having the energy I have today because it makes me feel strong and capable! For those of you that are curious, here is my meal plan:
4:30 AM
1 cup 8th Continent Light Vanilla Soy Milk
10 Strawberries
3/4 Scoop Whey Protein Powder
8:00 AM
1 cup 8th Continent Light Vanilla Soy Milk
10 Strawberries
3/4 Scoop Whey Protein Powder
11:00 AM
1 Serving Oatmeal
3 Egg Whites
1 Banana
2:00 PM
3 Cups Spinach
Broc, Red Pepper, Yellow Pepper, Orange Pepper Veggie Mix
4 oz 99% Lean Ground Turkey Breast
2 tbs Balsamic Vinegar
5:00 PM
2 Regular Rice Cakes
2 tbs Almond Butter
8:00 PM
1/2 Scoop Whey Protein
1 cup 8th Continent Light Vanilla Soy Milk
Since my energy is good today I did great cardio (like I am supposed to!)
15 min walking on an incline
5 min jump rope
15 min burst cardio, 30 seconds sprinting 30 seconds break
5 rounds of 60 second jump roping with 30 seconds rest
5 rounds of 30 seconds boxing 30 seconds break
5 rounds of 60 second jump rope with 30 second break
Now… if I could only wake up tomorrow and tell the difference 😉 I see Pirtle again tomorrow so that will keep my anti-funk mode moving right along.
Wed, Sept 15th Afterthoughts…
I need to focus on some positives. I keep forgetting that for all the shows I have ever done before I was doing insane amounts of cardio, never truly following my diet, and then pigging out every once in a while because I just couldn’t stand it. Show prep in the past was SUPER hard. This time, I have been able to live my life fairly normally, I have stayed on my diet and never had a pig out binge moment, I am not really craving anything besides some good wine or a dirty martini alongside some greek food. My actual weight is the same as it was for my Xtreme fit competition but since I am doing so good I just want to do even better. I don’t have crazy headaches or unmanageable weak feelings, and I still have over three weeks. No matter what, I have proven something… and that is that getting ready for a show doesn’t mean waking up and doing an hour of cardio before breakfast, working out, doing an hour of cardio before bed, minimal carbs, not eating fruit, or any other crazy thing like that. With my clients I always wanted to show them that they could do a show and not rebound or end up with eating disorders like so many competitors. They all successfully competed and maintained their healthy lifestyles and weights. Thats what I am going to do!!!!!! So.. I sure hope my butt doesnt jiggle too much on stage, but even if it does I am very happy with what I have accomplished and I will just have to make some modifications next time to my program and come into show even leaner! Someone’s facebook profile recently read, “When in doubt, workout!” 🙂 I like that!
Thurs, Sept 16
Matt Pirtle wants to kill me.

Matt Pirtle wants to kill me.

Today I felt like I could die after leaving the gym. That’s a good feeling, I swear! 🙂 My hammies were already sore from this weeks cardio but Matt worked my legs. Feeling pretty weak during my workouts, but still feeling like I have good energy in general. My cardio was killer and I am super proud to have finished it because I really really really really wanted to quit.
20 minutes treadmill. 30 second sprint, 30 second rest. Each sprint I changed my speed: 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4, 9.5, then back down to 9.0 in .1 increments. After that I went back up but went all the way to 10.0. On the final 5 minutes I jumped it down by .2 each time so that I ended at 9.0 again.
15 minutes walking 4.0 – 4.5 on an incline. My heart rate was hanging around in the 150’s.
5 minutes running
5 minutes of pushing the sled with 25lbs on it. I would push it every 30 seconds, no matter how long it took for me to push it down. It got pretty tough because as I got tired it took me longer to push it down, which gave me shorter breaks.
After leaving Emerge I went to go tanning. Usually I just do mystic tans so I don’t end up really wreaking havoc on my skin, but it is important to have good color on stage so I want a good base tan. Why are those hard plastic beds so comfortable? What sense does that make?! I reeeeeaaallly wanted to take a nap in there. I was pretty worn out though. In fact, I had to sit down to put my tanning lotion on because my legs were screaming at me. Poor Drake only got a 15 minute walk out of me today because my legs just couldn’t walk that puppy any more. I plan on walking him a little longer tonight when my hamstring feels like it isn’t ripping away from my body. 🙂
Talked to Matt about my concerns with my stomach and hips. Of course I am very happy with how I look in general, but expectations on stage are veeerrrrryyy different. I keep imagining standing on stage doing our rear facing quarter turn with my booty being compared to everyone else’s booty. 🙂 It just has so much fat still, and I need my screaming overworked hamstrings to show up instead of my butt hiding the shape of them. In order to ensure that I lean up to where I would like to be, Matt recommended adding 20 minutes of interval training in the morning. In the morning means 3:00 AM for me when we start work at 5:00 AM. Dang it 🙂 But, I guess I won’t be standing on the stage saying, “If only I had…..”
Not only will my cardio increase, but on Saturday my calories drop down one more time. So… If I don’t change DRASTICALLY in the next 10 days, I don’t know what I will do!
Fri, Sept 17
Busy, busy, busy! Work, home to take dog out, work for meeting, workout, errands, home, volleyball game, sleep. Not much for breaks in between! Sorry to just be posting my Friday update on Saturday. 🙂
I woke up Fri morning with the best of intentions. I figured I would walk the dog first and then do my 20 minutes cardio. Me and Drake headed outside, started walking around, and I got really scared because it was so foggy! Is being scared in the fog a worthy excuse to not do cardio?! YES I think so!! There could be bad guys hiding in the fog! In reality, no… it’s not a worth excuse because I have show in three weeks. No excuses!
I should have gone down in the basement and jumped rope or boxed. In fact, one of my clients (Thanks Sue!) gave me a bunch of workout DVDs to borrow and watch. From now on, I am just going to watch and follow along to those in the morning. It will be fun, different, and perhaps I will learn a few new creative moves in the process! The day was busy, which made sticking to my diet easy! Low energy, so my workout was a little weak sauce.
20 minutes bike
3 rounds of a circuit of 10x Ring pullups, 12x TRX pushups, 15x squat jumps
3 rounds of a circuit of each arm completing 1 arm 15x DB bench press, each leg completing 1 leg 15x power step up on plyo box, each arm completing 1 arm 15x DB row, and 30 total alternating lunge jumps.
5 rounds jump rope (60 seconds on, 30 seconds off)
25 minutes of the interval program on the stationary bike.
I wish I would have gotten a little bit more in, but I knew I had a busy day so I hit all the major movements and tried to keep the heart rate up. Some is better than none! According to my bodybugg, I burn a lot of calories when I play sand volleyball. Though I wasn’t wearing my bugg, I am confidant I had a pretty high calorie burn because of the busyness, the workout, and the the volleyball at the end.
While I was doing the bike I looked up “inspirational stories” on the internet. Inspirational stories really keep me thinking positive and sending out positive vibes to everyone around me. They keep me from feeling sorry for myself when I can’t drink wine while dieting down 😉 I found an article about an armless fitness competitor – wow! 🙂 She lost her arms when she was two, got into aerobics when she was older, then weight training, and then decided to be a competitor and fitness model. This is her blog