Two Weeks Out – Another First, Making New Friends and Being Real

On this particular Saturday, exactly 2 weeks out from the Popeye’s show and 12 weeks into my bodybuilding journey, a lot of crazy stuff went down!

Another FIRST for me

I wrote about how much determination I mustered up throughout this prep, including my desire to fit in fasted AM cardio, and how that drive pushed me to bike to work for the first time.

(I cross this bridge every day to work)

Well, now I had another big external push due to this larger goal. I needed to pick up my show bikini all the way Langley, but Eric and my mom were both either out of town or out of commission. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like a big deal except that I have NEVER DRIVEN ON A HIGHWAY ALONE. I rarely drive. There’s a reason I live downtown and that is so I can walk everywhere. I am so incredibly scared of driving!!

Because of this competition though, I had that extra reason to push myself way beyond my comfort zone.


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As nature would have it, the weather was terrible, just like when I biked in the rain. The downpour on this day made me even more nervous to step into my rental car, but off I went and stayed in the slow, far right lane the entire time. One hour later, I was in Langley!

My Competition Suit and Progress Photos

Wow what a change a few weeks can make! This time I picked out some jewelry as well and met other competitors who were picking up their suits for the Popeye’s show.

7 Weeks, 5 Weeks and 2 weeks out

Brain Fog is a Thing!

When my friend group of experienced competitors, Jennifer, Tania and Katelyn, told me I would be tired, I certainly believed them. But, I’ll admit, it wasn’t until these final weeks that I truly understood what they meant! I’ve had my share of busy days and weeks – being slammed at work, staying up late to finish reports for important board meetings, pulling in long hours for full day events, juggling multiple family and volunteer commitments but I have never felt *this* drained.

I suppose when I have other obligations, at least I can fuel up with all the food I want:

But in this case, I was going full speed while on a caloric deficit from the strict diet and regimented cardio.

As I was paying for the suit, I was confused by the total amount and could not get the numbers to make sense. Embarrassingly, I had to ask for clarification on why my bill was so high a few times – Thanks Tracy for putting up with my poor math! After it all clicked, I said out loud: Oh wow – Brain Fog is real!! And the other woman in the shop browsing for bikinis let out a big laugh in agreement 🙂

Posing Class and Making New Friends

I’ve lost count of the number of reasons why I’m so grateful Jennifer is my coach! Here’s another – she invited me to her boyfriend, Billy Danh’s Posing Class in Surrey. Since I had the rental car, I decided to venture out to Surrey and join in for some extra practice!

I got into the change room and excitedly showed Jen my new bikini that I picked up. As I started to pack it back in its bag, she said – Put it on for posing class!

I felt intimidated when I first stepped in the room because it was just a couple of dudes, and their muscles had muscles! But I quickly introduced myself as being here for the first time and prepping for my first show, and got into a fun conversation about this one guy’s international show and his experience sticking with it.

Coach Jennifer showing me how it’s done, and Billy providing helpful advice and feedback:

Soon after, two other girls, Stephanie and Frances arrived and we learned that we would all be competing at Popeye’s for our first bodybuilding competition! Stephanie and I instantly connected over our list of restaurants we wanted to eat at – Jam Cafe being number 1! And Frances and I realized we had a mutual connection because her boyfriend Andrew is one of my best friend’s brother!

It was so fun to meet these two beautiful women and share our journeys together. We laughed about the food photos and recipes we were saving and dreaming about – Jam Cafe as mentioned above, and how matcha cupcakes was a recipe Frances had in mind! But also, we are all just excited to have fruit and carrots and regular food again.

Then posing began! The men went first, and then us three women went on.

It was extremely helpful to practice posing next to actual human beings so I could get a sense of the space and dimensions of what it might be like on stage.

I also drew a lot of inspiration from these two! I’ll be honest – I had let my posing slide. In between work demands, volunteer commitments and multiple sessions at the gym, I was not practicing posing as much as I needed to. And oh wow did it show! Billy and Jen were pretty honest about their feedback in that I needed to be wearing these shoes a lot more between now and the show to actually be comfortable. Stephanie and Frances looked incredibly poised and comfortable and I was inspired to step it up!

Jen’s advice early on was that the Competition Show Day is about the *whole* package! The body, the suit, the presentation, the confidence. I may not be the most experienced, muscular woman, but we each have individual strengths and I was planning to work on all the other pieces I could! I’ve performed on stage before through my Harbour Dance Classes – so I wanted to draw on that experience of performing Burlesque!

The girls and I stayed in touch all week sending each other supportive messages. It was so comforting and encouraging to get that extra push of motivation from someone else actually going through all the motions. Especially as this week was incredibly tough – no more carbs and a lot of cardio. I love my friends for all their support and having this new network of added perspective was such a blessing.

And, we could share our struggles and tips! Both of them suggested buying this special Detox Tea:

Being ULTRA Real, with Lauren Jacobsen of

Once again, I’m so grateful for a huge network of friends. Lauren came to my wedding in France years ago and my friend Mike suggested I reached out to her asking for some tips. This was as great idea as I had seen some of her show photos and read her extensive fitness bio: Featured in Strong, Women’s Health & Fitness, and Inside Fitness, the nutrition expert for FitnessRx for Women, a former competitive figure athlete, a nutritional biochemist by trade, supplement formulator … and Awards like: 2011 IFBB Arnold Amateurs, 4th Place, 2010 IFBB North American Championships, 1st Place, 2010 CBBF Nationals, 2nd Place, 2009 CBBF Nationals, 2nd Place, 2009 Ontario Provincial Championships, 1st Place
2008 Ontario Provincial Championships, 4th Place, 2008 South Central Championships, 1st Place and Overall , 2008 Stratford City Championships, 1st Place and Overall …!

I expected to hear back from her with tips like eating peanut butter and instead, received a really honest, thoughtful reply starting with, I’m going to be ultra real with you:

Why are you doing this?

Be careful, it can consume your life, and your mind. You have to have a tough skin to stand on stage and expect not to win. Although you say it might not bother you now, it will affect you if you don’t do as well as you want or how you think you should have placed.

Then there’s also the post show rebound…it can be a very vain industry that messes with you, make sure you have a coach who actually understands nutrition and the female body.

This response was incredibly impactful and I remember being really emotional as I read this. I thought, “This won’t bother me – I don’t care about winning – I just want to be the best me!” But Lauren had a point, and I needed to prepare for I might feel after show.

Speaking of keeping it real, I love how she has this message all over her personal page!

The Science Behind Happiness

One of my favourite TED talks is on happiness by Dan Gilbert. I’m such a science geek 🙂 We all want to know what will make us happy! He doesn’t give us an answer, but he reaffirms that humans are incredibly poor predictors of the future.

We think X will make us happy, but then we get it, and are confused why we’re not happy. Or vice versa, we think that something won’t upset it, but then it does.

Advice to Myself

So, I wanted to mentally prepare myself and say, “OK lady maybe you will feel disappointed or rejected. And it’s OK to feel that emotion. BUT, the bigger picture is knowing that you have come as far as you have, you’ve made improvements, developed healthy habits, and if you only compare yourself to yourself, then the winner is clear and that is all that matters!”

I’m comforted to know that I have done my research and had the opinions and experiences of so many people to help guide me to make the best decision for me!

Onwards to the show!

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