Wednesday, 1 June 2016

No gym, no kitchen. The holiday struggle.

[Picture 1: Holiday_1]

As I sit on my return flight from quite honestly, the best and most satisfying holiday of my life, I feel the need to express my surprise.

Switching off, relaxing, not training and eating "normally". Erm, no. I don't do that. We don't do that. Were my words to a number of people before I left for Turkey. I'm going to do my best to relax but stick to clean eating. It's my lifestyle. True, yes. It is very much my lifestyle. My career depends on it in fact. But is it really 1) achievable for a foodie like me, 2) achievable when my man can pretty much eat what he likes and retain a killer 8 pack and 3) that good for me mentally?

When Tom and I decided we were to take a holiday, our words were - no training, just relaxation away from reality. Switch off, just us two, quality time. When I then mentioned my concern for eating clean, Tom was quick to tell me otherwise. Suggesting I was mad, the whole reason we were going away was to escape our reality; gym, Tupperware and all. And to a certain extent I agreed. But that didn't mean I wasn't petrified of the outcome of a week off plan. 

Firstly, I just need to look at a slice of bread or cake and my weight rockets. I can then however, shift it fast too, with a combination of perfect nutrition, willingness to workout and determination like no other. But, the deal was, no training. Hmm. This wasn't going to be easy. 
Secondly, there was no kitchen. No where for me to get all OCD, weigh my food, and follow my usual steps to Tupperware perfection. Again, this was pre planned, knowing the food in Turkey is cheap and can be clean, with grilled meat and fish and salads being a staple food choice.

This all sounds doable... Right? 

To my complete surprise, my mindset had changed completely by the end of day one.
Being completely comfortable that I wanted to eat ice cream, have a few G & T's and enjoy foods that I wouldn't usually have. Knowing I would gain a few, ok so more like a lot of pounds, suddenly became less of a priority. Yes, I did go for several 5k runs, first thing while sleeping beauty had his lie ins, but that wasn't for weight management. I just really wanted to run. My food choices were, and always will be, never completely OTT. I love grilled fish, chicken, veg and salads, and don't enjoy fried food, especially chips (YUK). But it was the boozy dinners, deserts, sneaky biscuits and large portions that have made me pile on the pounds. Two things that are NEVER part of my diet back home - booze and sugar. "Pointless calories to feel shit" would be my usual mindset.

A typical meal in Icmeler, Turkey.

As I said previously, I sit on my return flight to London, A LOT fluffier, and actually pretty uncomfortable. Full of water retention in my legs and certainly no abs. But for the first time in a long time, I really couldn't care less.
Firstly, I know I will get the weight off within a few weeks, and feel comfortable in just a couple of days.
Secondly, I know I didn't hold back. At all. And I'm quite honestly, extremely proud of myself. I make myself feel guilty for the most minor of errors in my diet and training back home. So it's actually, an achievement for me not to care.
But most importantly, it's made me realise how lucky I am to have my man. For those of you that didn't see my post on social media (queue soppy post)...

"I will never be ungreatful for being the luckiest girl in the world. I'm told a lot, and it never gets old. Believe me, I know more than anyone.

Anyone who knows me knows how insecure I can be, about my body and most significantly, my skin and wearing makeup. Never have I ever worn nothing on my face to leave the house, go to the gym or even head to the beach. But then again, never have I ever been so comfortable and in love.
Always filling me with confidence, telling me I'm beautiful, that it doesn't matter, that I've no one to impress. Yes, I'm fluffier than a week ago but I wouldn't change it for the world. This has been the best week of my life, not because of a fancy hotel or beautiful surroundings. But because of how I've been made to feel so special.

My PIC, my man, my love.
Truly my best friend.

#fitness #brunette #girl #fitnessmodel #fitfam #fitspo #inspiration #beautiful #cute #photooftheday #athlete #smile #instafit #fit #strongnotskinny #girlswholift #muscle #weekend #holiday #laugh #love #live #fitcouple #couple #bestfriend #weekend"

Being happy and comfortable is one thing, and getting too comfortable is another. I will never lose sight of my aspirations as a competitor, fitness model, personal trainer and motivator. I'll therefore never allow an episode of relaxation like this to happen frequently, and I'm genuinely looking forward to getting in the gym, sweating buckets and prepping my food to get the weight off. But ultimately, I'm happy, proud and so thankful for my biggest supporter and best friend who made me feel so content and realise that life's for living... And ice cream.


Monday, 16 May 2016

Focus On Your Journey

With the rise and rise of social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, swiping through various feeds/accounts on the daily has become the new normal. A positive aspect is that we have the ability to see what our friends & favourite 'celebs'/bloggers are up to. The Negativity airs where many stumble and instead of it being an aid it becomes the goal.  When you get sucked in by what other people look like you can start to lose focus on what your own personal goals should be, or what you even want the end result to be. Which in turn can lead to being consistently dissatisfied with your progress. Seeing the changes week by week can be the most satisfying part of a new regime and by focusing on how far you still have to go, you are not really appreciating all you have achieved thus far.

One of my aims this year is to improve my strength. Every few weeks i seem to lifting heavier 
(obviously not to the level of pros such as Meisha ) and seeing the weights increase drives me to complete all reps/sets. This is another way of ensuring you are focusing on your own improvements and reaping in some serious rewards!

Last year i was striving to look like a number of different women. 
Did it motivate me? Yes.
Did it help me get results? Yes. 
But longterm did it allow me to appreciate MY body? No. 
Time for a change! 
Left - 1 Month in. Training but not pushing myself. Diet 60% Clean.Right - 7 Weeks later. Focus was in building my strength. Diet 80% clean.
This year the aim was to improve on the Tone of my body and increase my strength. Of course I had an idea of what I wanted to look like, but rather than yearning to be a direct clone of someone else,I took elements such as looking athletic, healthy with some ab definition and made these my focus. I will always carry weight on my lower body, so instead of trying to lose my shape i wanted to enhance it. My exact words to Meisha in training session No1 of 2016 may have been along the lines of ' Mate seriously i want a bigger butt'. No, seriously! 

In just 8 weeks of of training hard, increasing the number of times per week i trained with weights and cleaning up my diet 80% of the time i feel so much more confident. I focused on my weekly progress strength wise rather than how i looked in comparison to a picture on pinterest. 

The biggest lesson learnt this time around : as soon as you start to appreciate your progress rather than focusing on where you could be or comparing your body with that of another , you gain a certain level of satisfaction. This can become the biggest aid in your journey, as by looking at how far you've come can be all you need to spur you on just as complacency kicks in. 

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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

#RoadtoShreds Episode 3 - So this is peak week? Oh. Damn.

I come to you today one shoot down out of three. All the hard work was about to be shown off in all its glory... In a sports bra and teeny shorts.

But before we get to that, I'd like to indulge you in my peak week. There's been lots of confusion across my social media -

"When's the comp Meisha?"
          I'm not competing.
"Oh... So, a peak week for a shoot? Who does that?"
          No. For 3 shoots.

Each to their own, I've always loved a challenge. Combine that with the immense pressure I put upon myself and the combination of wanting to look better than my last shoot and wanting to feel good when I shoot has meant, yes, I've basically done a full on comp prep for my shoots.
Call me mad, but the results I've had in 8 weeks talk for themselves. And ultimately, how did I feel on shoot number 1? Satisfied. Happy. Proud. I couldn't ask for anymore.

So anyway, I'm rambling. Peak week has been, and continues to be the hardest (but most successful) I've ever had. Having competed twice and cruised to the finish line, it was a big ask to expect the shreds I wanted. But as always, the boss and I were up to the challenge.

This meant a SERIOUS depletion phase.

When people talk of peak week, phrases that often associate -

Emotional turmoil.
Exhausted like never before.

Amongst others, i have to admit, I'd never experienced. I didn't know what the fuss was about.
Oh. How times change.

6 days, zero carbs, zero fats. Yep. Like I said, SERIOUS depletion. And anyone that spent any time with me throughout this will tell you, I definitely lost a bit of me. I felt like I wasn't in the room. Not being able to answer the most simple of questions like "how are you?". Yeh. Pretty fucked.

And after a day of carb loading (which was A LOT harder than I expected), I was ready. And I felt tight, tiny and ultimately, shredded. We'd pulled it off.

11kg down in 8 weeks. I'd smashed it.

So what's up next? I've got 2 more shoots and the plan is in full force. Deplete once more to pull in tightest for Monday. I've done 8 weeks. What's 5 more days? I'VE GOT THIS.

I'll leave you with a brief insight into my shoot with EFECTIV Nutrition. I was told I pull off the attitude... No wait, how did they put it? The "fuck you and fuck off" face really well. Well, thank you very much. I would have to agree, my bitch face game is strong when I will it.

The shots were got, and I left proud of the day.

On to the next!

Monday, 11 April 2016

#RoadToShreds Episode 2: You’re full of sh*t.

What’s a girl to do? You’re doing everything your coach tells you – fasted cardio every day, training hard 6 times a week, and sticking to your carb cycling diet to perfection. 
Then someone upstairs inflicts the power of the LURGY. Cheers bud, just what I needed. 3 weeks out and I'm struck with every possible virus known to man (and no I never, ever, in a million years, exaggerate). You name it, the big man upstairs wanted to throw it at me. The trots, fever, tonsillitis and for the finale, the mother of all migraines. So when I was left with a cold... PAH! I'm invincible again! 
Unfortunately, I was also left with a parting gift. Something we all need to get rid of on the reg, apparently, wasn't going anywhere... 
It had been 5 days and counting, and dropping my carbs to just 40g oats in the morning wasn't helping. 
Tuesday arrives. It's check in day. 
"Yep. Meisha, you're full of shit" says Ed in front of a room full at the gym after prodding my lower abdomen. No shit Sherlock (never has there been a more appropriate use for that phrase).

My focus, my inspiration - my condition in November 2015 where I won my WBFF Pro card.
So, I go back to my initial rhetorical question-
What's a girl to do?
Unfortunately, it's inevitable that your body is going to react to hard training, decreased calories and sickness. This is how it tested me. And what's harder, I was "gaining" weight. Now obviously the reason was piling up in my gut, but still, when you're on a cut, it's not an easy thing to get your head round. 
Finally, after many attempts, after 6 days, shit happened. And for once, it was a welcomed phrase. 
Take it from me, your body will do everything to test you when you put it through such hardship. 
When you diet and train to the extreme I do, there's going to be times where your body says, you know what, screw you. I need to chill. Or, deal with this, bitch. But, it's all a test.
"Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny" ~ C. S. Lewis
Couldn't have said it better myself. 
If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. And that's why I love it. Being capable of pushing yourself to challenge yourself daily is exhilarating.
So now, with less than 2 weeks til the first of 3 shoots, it's step up time. Time to step up and take the responsibility. It's now or never.
The calories are down and the focus is ramped. Let's do this. Time for shred city to come my way.


Thursday, 24 March 2016

Project #RoadtoShreds - Episode 1

So yet again, I'm on another journey to get shredded. Last time I documented my journey to the WBFF competition stage, the highs, the lows and everything in between. Well, although similar in routine, I'm currently in full prep mode for a selection of photoshoots I have in just 5 weeks time and thought I'd share the differences.

A gym shoot, a bikini shoot, and a fitness and fashion studio shoot... No pressure then.

Ultimately, the biggest difference I have compared to last time is my team. In main, my coach. Although Adam Parr was incredibly talented, and essentially helped me achieve my Pro status by sticking by me through 2 preps, I felt it was time to try a new approach and push the boundaries once more.

Eddie pictures here (right) with legends Jay Cutler (left) and Ronnie Coleman (centre).

Introducing Eddie Abbew. An ex Olympian BodyBuilder with female prep experience dating back almost as old as me. Not only does this guy produce champions, he's an ex nurse with the health and wellbeing of his athletes as a priority. When I say his knowledge is endless, I really mean it. He blows my mind on a weekly basis when I check in and he looks at my body and it's changes. Training at his gym means I get his expertise as often as I need it, making prepping so much easier. 

So where do I sit currently? Well, on the scales, I'm the heaviest I ever recall being (even compared to my pink elephant days) which quite honestly, I find a real struggle in itself. No matter my own knowledge of muscular development and the weight of this compared to fat, I can't help but feel disappointment when I step on the scales. But, that's where the belief and trust in your coach and the process has to overrule. And ultimately, I'm carrying more muscle than ever before. Plus, I've done it before in a shorter period. So of course, I can do it again. With better results. 

Here's 4 out 5 of a typical Low Carb day for me. Green veg all the way.

2 weeks in, I'm 3.5kg down (mostly water loss) and getting leaner by the day. After my check in with the boss today, he's happy with my progress, and vows that I'm set to look the best I have. Ok big man, let's see what you got.... 
Ed: The food goes down and the cardio is back (which is what I expected). Ed squints at me anticipating I'm going to whinge or shed a tear. What this guy is yet to fully learn, is that when I'm told what to do by someone I respect and trust, I do it 110%. I'm an angel. And actually, as much as I may get hangry on the reg and start to talk in burgers and biscuits, I love the process. I love the feeling of hunger, the sweat and hardship in the gym. Because ultimately, I know that means it's working. And I'm well in the zone to getting the cheese grater abs I'm renowned for. 

Bring on the COD Fish. I got this.

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