Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NPC USA's, I Have Arrived

by Kris Pitcher

What a season! Whew! I owe a huge thank you to those of you who have supported my efforts this year. Thank you for helping me take my competitive spirit to a higher level. And higher it was!

The NPC USA's in Vegas were big. The kind of big where you are issued your competitor number and it's in the high 600's. There were close to 1000 competitors, the best of the best. Things are organized, efficient and timely.

I was one of 3 competitors my husband had in the show, and he did a great job keeping track of us all, keeping us all eating the right things at the right times, and getting us to the right place at the right time. All the while, he was doing his cardio twice a day, getting his lifting in, and all his meals too. He's in diet mode himself. But this is about ME!

There were 22 ladies in the Figure C class. We presented in line ups of 7-9 doing quarter turns, then came out for our individuals doing front/model/back/model...then to the diagonal for call outs.

It was kind of like waiting to be picked for a kick ball team at recess in the fourth grade. Excruciating. You smile and pose with your hip positioned so the judging panel can see your number. You smile, and you smile. And you wait. Not in first call out.

Still smiling. Posing, waiting, smiling. The head judge calls out numbers, not mine. Not in second call out. Smiling, turn my hip...see my number, smile. Third call out, pass my number. No disappointment on this face. Buck up. Smile. They're done judging.

Final call out. And like fourth grade, I'm finally picked. But I present myself as though it were the first call out. Quarter turns, they aren't really even looking. But this is my moment. I've worked hard, and I take it, and shine.

And we're off stage. I text Jacques, "Oh well. :)" I'm happy inside. In that moment I'm feeling proud of my accomplishments, of my progress. I'm thinking, I met my goals of maybe posing better, and I'm pretty sure my color was darker than at Jr's., I knew I hadn't gotten any bigger ;)

I put my dress on, took my shoes off, grabbed my bag and went out to the lobby to catch up with Jacques. A competitor could at that moment feel a lot of things, she could feel a number of ways. I felt primarily excited about my impending off season.

Knowing what I need to work on, I'm ready to get to it. A competitor could feel she wasn't judged fairly, she got lost in the crowd, or she wasn't connected to the right people. None of those things crossed my mind.

What crosses my mind is, I need to be bigger. I need bigger shoulders, a thicker back...bigger glutes. It's time to grow! When I look at myself against the first place winner, now an IFBB's pretty clear what I need to work on.

The other thing that crosses my mind is, I deserve to compete at this level. Meaning, I looked like I belonged there. It's just that of those 22 (best in the nations), I was in the bottom half. With 8 other deserving ladies. We'll work hard and be back to compete next year.

When you compete at this level, there are only 5 who will take home a trophy, only 1 will win, 2 will earn their pro card, 15 who will "place", and the rest of us go home with work to do. We choose how we see ourselves in that moment, in the moments following. We decide what we do with that energy.

I've seen people get really, really upset. You must have objectivity in this sport. You must be able to see yourself amongst your peers and recognize the differences in where you are and where you need to go. You have to be able to see the big picture, and yourself in it.

Finals came, and I glazed up just as if I'd be called out in that top 5. I took my 8 seconds of fame on stage and presented myself as they read my name. It's the national stage, and I have arrived. See you next year! 
The Figure Class C winner, and's grow time!

Friday, July 26, 2013

What Happens In Vegas, Floyd Mayweather

by Kris Pitcher

In life, you have unique opportunities. You don't always want to take them...yesterday was one example of that. In Vegas, it's hot. Hot hot. Not just kinda hot. It's the kind of hot that melts the palms of your hands if you touch your steering wheel hot. It'll melt the chapstick right off your lips.

But yesterday afternoon we received a personal invitation from one of Jacques' clients to go to Floyd Mayweather's gym to see him workout. "Oh, there's no AC in the gym, boxers like it hot." she warned.

My tired, depleted, water rationed self was hesitant to go. My curious, spontanious, curly self wanted to see this. We all jumped in the HOT car and made our way to the Mayweather Boxing Gym.

"Oooh, you got good muscles!" greeted the little girl in the lobby as I came in. Smiling I thanked her

and asked to see her muscles. She. Was. DARLING. Just saying. We all trekked through the entry way, housing a Ms. Pacman machine, through the couch strewn "lobby" which had a few vending machines and a handful of cardio pieces through a door which read: No food or drink in the gym. By passing through these doors you agree to be filmed by HBO...

And we were in. Two huge rings, bags - beautiful bags - hanging from the ceiling, chairs for spectators. The gym was packed. All the while Natasha, Jacques' client, was telling us who was who. So and so does his wraps, this man trains his speed work...and so on.

Jacques and Jesse
If it takes a village to get a competitor to the stage, it takes a small nation to get a champion boxer in the ring. Watching Floyd was inspiring, overwhelming, amazing, and exhausting. The energy in the gym was contagious.

To see him hit the speed bag...unreal. "There's no way he can see that," Jacques leaned over to tell me. "it's all instinct." He worked different drills and components of his training. This. Man. Can. Jump. Rope.

He can jump rope like crazy. Cameras rolled the entire time. The crowd shouted, chanted, things. There were little kids practicing there skills in other parts of the gym. To them this was an every day occurrence.

There were fancy ladies with fancier handbags. There were onlookers of all sorts. Then there was Team Pitcher. Jesse, Jacques, and I all in our shirts, Brenda was with us and Natasha introducing us as her coaches.

When Floyd was finished with his workout, he went in to his green screen room for interviews, came out through the lobby and shook a few hands. It was at that point when Natasha took the opportunity to introduce him to Jacques and myself. I had been slumped on the couch where I had eaten a meal with my feet up on the cooler.

I jumped to my feet as I saw them coming and plunged my hand out for the introduction. "Damn!" he said. "Damn!" it came again. "Damn!" A one-two-three...he was looking at my arms shaking my hand.

Then Floyd was swept outside with his entourage for his departure. A visual social candy store of all things unfamiliar. Believe you are a champion, surround yourself with greatness, keep important people close to you, work harder than anyone else is willing to, get into the ring and live your life.

Take opportunities when they come, get off your couch and off your butt. Don't be inconvenienced or intimidated, be inspired. And always recognize great arms, damn!   


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It Figures! NPC USA's

by Kris Pitcher

It is time to roll! The NPC USA's are this weekend and I am packed and ready to go. We think we've made some improvements over my showing at the Jr. Nationals. I know I can smile BIGGER, we've figured out my it's - go time!

Hopefully I get looked at and the judges like what they see. I can honestly say, my physique is at its best ever. And I truly believe I'm only ever competing against what I brought to the stage last time.

With that said, I have personal goals. I carry with me the humility to recognize I am a little fish in a big pond. I have the wisdom to know I am a new competitor to the ranks of National status. I also have the strength of character to know I deserve to be there.

I have done the work, put in the time, focused my efforts, committed my body and soul to the process and believed in myself the entire journey. In these final days, as I completed my last workouts, and did my final cardio session...I rest knowing, the work is done.

Next we manipulate my macros, my water, my sodium, we wait, I rest...I eat, sleep, live and breathe for what I'll do on Saturday as I walk the stage showing my accomplishment. My rituals of preparation of hair, color, make-up...all icing on the cake as I prepare to take the stage.

Everything is timed out to the days, the hours, the minutes leading to prejudging where everything is put on the line. There is both a sense of calm and of excitement as I think about the days rounding out the end of the week.

Calm comes from knowing I've left nothing on the table. I did every workout, every cardio session, ate every meal, drank every ounce of water...did everything to prep completely according to my goals. Excitement comes from knowing the feel of the bright lights over head, and the sound of my feet as I climb the stairs to walk to the stage...and knowing the feeling in the pit of my stomach as I smile and look into the blur of lights out over the sea of onlookers - it's a mix of feelings rising in my stomach.

It's excited accomplishment. It's pride. It's the culmination of months, MONTHS, of preparation. It's a new beginning. It's love for what I've done. It's empowerment. It's love for those who support me, who believe in me. It's excitement for what I'll do next. It's being in the moment. It's recognizing the significance of where I'm standing. It's all right there in the pit of my stomach at that moment.

It's my hope you have things in your life which bring you the same powerful feelings, right in the pit of your stomach. For me, it figures!

Monday, July 22, 2013

My NPC Bikini Debut!

by Kris Pitcher

I had a really fun weekend competing in the NPC Washington State Open. Coming off a week of travel to DC, the "other" Washington...I was glad to be in my home state.

My personal goals were to: meet up with my husband coming from different directions having everything we needed; not fall off my shoes; remember my turns; have a good time; get qualified.

How'd I do? I met each of the above goals. It was really fun to manipulate the body (or not), for a completely different look. Put a different cut of suit on me, fill me up with water, feed me...shoot, I even got my period Saturday morning. Sorry.

My master's class was full of great ladies and I took 2nd place. The open class was even more FULL, of great, YOUNG, ladies and I earned myself 3rd place.

With all the dirty laundry washed and contest supplies re-packed, I am ready to head out to Las Vegas for the NPC USA's. It's the big one. Peak week has begun, and so has the manipulation of my macros, my water, sodium...etc. All the magic. By the end of the week, I will look COMPLETELY different from these photos here. I'll compete in figure and we'll see how things go!

43 doesn't look too shabby standing next to a bunch of twenty-somethings ;) So went my bikini debut!

bikini master's top 5
bikini open top 5


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Will Power and Dieting

by Kris Pitcher

Having spent the week in Washington DC, the national headquarters of my organization, with many of my colleagues from across the country...I heard one comment several times. Following two back to back conversations about it yesterday at dinner - one to my left, and one to my right - I feel compelled to remind us of something.

Now, today I'll fly to the other Washington where I will compete this weekend in a contest. Regardless of competing THIS weekend, I always travel with my food. You know that. I show up for all my sessions with my little cooler and every two hours I'm having my meals.

"You have a lot of will power!" I hear. Well I'm going to let you in on a secret. There is no such thing as will power. I don't have any "thing" different from any one else. It doesn't exist.

I'm simply driven by my goals, connected to them by my personal values, and accountable to myself to show up on stage without a fat ass. Period. I'm the one who controls that whether there are pastries at the break in sessions or not.

So, at dinner last night when I asked the waiter for an organic kale salad with nothing on it, I got a blank stare. Dressing? No. Dried cranberries? No thank you. Pear slices? No. Nothing. And they brought me what I asked for. It's not will power to take out the goodies that would have come on the salad. It's simply meeting my needs. Pine nuts? Not on my plan, Goat cheese? I wish. Just the greens.

But the reality is anyone could do it. You just have to want to. There is no will power. Don't be fooled by the myth.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pre Contest Travel

by Kris Pitcher

Without fail, I end up with work related travel right before a competition. This one is no exception. I'm off to DC for an amazing work opportunity, which takes me from the comforts of home (sans stove), the week before a show.

Thursday of this week I'll fly into Seattle where I'll do a local show over the weekend. We decided to stick a bikini on me and see what happens going in fully hydrated, fully fed, just for fun. Planning for travel can be easy if you know before you go.

Those of you who know me know I take what I need. I pre-cook, weigh, and freeze individual protein portions. Each day of travel is separated out into a gallon freezer bag, and everything goes in the deep freeze.

My meals for travel day are packed in "take along" plastic containers, unfrozen. All that frozen food keeps itself stable for a full day of travel. If I'm lucky enough to have a mini refrigerator at the hotel, great. If not, I can pack with ice for up to three days safely. Never had a problem.

It's always a bit like urban camping. I don't always get to select the hotel, or it's amenities. But you can do a lot with a coffee maker. If you can make hot water, you can prepare a lot of things, and you can even (sort of) defrost frozen chicken.

If you know me, you also know I don't really care if my food is slightly frozen. Better to have chicken-sicles than room-temperature warm food. It's just fuel. Prepare and take what you need. Everything I need for 3-4 days fits in a shoulder style cooler which fits easily under the seat in front of me on the plane.

My husband says I take more food than clothes on trips, and he's right. It's all about having what I need to have. If I'm lucky, I'll find some veggies along the way. A salad here or there, or a store to buy something. Ultimately, it doesn't matter as long as I've got my protein.

I'm off! A week of great work stuff in a great city, followed by a contest this weekend. Then we turn around and get ready to head off for the big one, the NPC USA's. Don't let travel throw you, just think of it as an opportunity to get creative. It's also great practice for when you'll travel to your next show!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Half A Mind

by Kris Pitcher

I have half a mind right now to tell the electrician installing an outlet...not to let me eat anything. He doesn't know about my diet, what's on my plan, or what I'm supposed to be eating.

Yet, at this very moment...he may be the only thing standing between me and my imaginary eating frenzy. It is imaginary. What, you ask is an electrician doing in my kitchen? Well, why wouldn't you rip out your stove three, maybe four weeks out from a competition?

Or just when you are about to begin your diet, as in my husband's case. Yet, there the old stove sits in the living room leaving a gaping hole in the kitchen. "Don't worry, honey, I'll bbq everything." he said as we began the project. We're closing in on two weeks now.

In all fairness, my oven quit working. So what do you do when it won't come up to temperature and it's lived a good 5 years past it's expected life span? You tear it out and begin a kitchen project. Diet or no diet.

And this is how I learned to bbq egg whites. In full disclosure, the bbq has a side the only real challenge is ensuring I have neighborhood appropriate attire on when I'm ready to go out there. It can be a challenge.

The truth is though, I don't have to tell the electrician to keep his eye on me and make sure I don't eat anything. I can do that myself. It's just my ravenous imagination that can get the best of me in these hard times, difficult times, times when I have half a mind.

This is when I remind myself, hard things are hard. This is not easy. It's been going on for a long time now. I'm not talking about the stove installation, I'm talking about my competition diet. So, hard things are hard, stove or no stove. I can cook what I need, and eat what I need. Without a watchful eye. This I know, even with just half a mind.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hyper Focused

by Kris Pitcher

At under three weeks out to the NPC USA's...I'm hyper focused. My problem is, my brain was ready to be done June 15th after Jr's. Bridging these two contests has been a mental engineering feat fit for a thesis project.

I've stayed on plan. My eating, lifting and cardio have been on point. My objectivity however has gone out the window. If it were up to me, I'd tell you I'm softer, fatter and smaller. None of that can be true? Well, all of that can't be true? Self doubt.

This is where I am grateful to have a solid coach who has eyes I trust. It's where I'm grateful to enact the strength not to plunge up to my elbows in the peanut butter jar. It's when I thank my lucky stars to have accountability to myself, and to everyone out there watching. Both of you.

Tired. Uncertain. Hungry. Unable to concentrate. Did I mention tired? I told my husband I had been thinking about the number of weeks I'd been dieting, but was afraid to count them up. I'm ready to work on the things I know I need to improve. I'm ready for my off season.

I've never wanted to cheat so bad in my life. Yes, I'm "normal". I haven't. But, I've wanted to. More meat. A handful of nuts. Anything. I just want more. I crave meat and fats. I see the end in my sights and I know I just need to get through.

I'm at the point where I can't tell if I've made any additional progress. I can't determine if I'm holding on to what I have, if I'm slipping, or just...existing. The competitor's haze. It's hazy in my head. My eyes can't see. And I almost have to stop looking.

Do I look washed out? Am I holding water? And really, none of that matters today. None of it matters until Saturday the 27th when I'll take the stage with hundreds of other competitors. That will be the day it matters. Not today.

Today, all I have to do is get through each meal, drink my water, get through work, do my workout, complete my All I have to do is focus on this moment. And if I'm hyper focused on this very moment, let it be.

It's the sum of all the moments which get you to the stage. The months, the weeks, the days, the moments. The sum. And in these small moments, I am reminded...I choose to compete at this level. Those reminders may come more rapidly in the next two weeks. I choose. I choose. And focused I will be. For that very reason my brain and my body are not done, we've got one more big one around the corner.

Find your focus. Remind yourself why you've chosen to do what you are doing. Trust your advisers. Get yourself to your goal by being hyper focused...even if it means you're in a haze.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hedging Holidays

by Kris Pitcher

Another big on is here! The holiday we love to celebrate all week long with parties and bbq's, camping trips and coolers full of refreshments. How can you stay on track when all this celebration is going on around you?

It's easy. Do what you're supposed to do. Eat what you are supposed to eat. Eat what is on your plan. That means being prepared and taking your food with you. Whether it's for the game, or the entire weekend away, pack what you need to stay on track.

Being on course doesn't happen by accident. It happens because you plan it, and you do it. It won't happen for you, and it won't happen if your head is in the sand. Get your game plan together and you can navigate the happiest of summer celebrations.

You need a drinking game. Game plan that is. Once you start drinking, you're in trouble. So, if you intend to stay on plan...make a plan not to indulge in adult beverages. Take things you can drink. The reality is, no one cares if you're drinking or not. If you don't make a big deal about it, they won't either.

Enjoy the company. Stay away from the buffet of food and enjoy the people at the party. If you hover at the chip station, you're going to be dipping. Be smart. Remember why you've all gathered, to be together.

Family can be stressful. Know what triggers your stress level. When you are stressed out, you eat/drink etc. Being aware of what is going to stress you out is part of the plan. If going to the party at aunt so-and-so's is going to push you over the edge, go for a short time with an exit plan.

Don't over commit. You don't have to go to seven parties in one weekend. Control your social calendar so you can fit your workouts, your sleep, your food prep etc. into your schedule. Keep your priorities in order.

Holidays can be an excuse for a drunken food-fest, or an invitation to enjoy family, friends, and the spirit of celebration. Get your holiday plan together ahead of time. Make it count for you not against you. Happy Independence Day!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Peanut Butter and Travel

by Kris Pitcher

In preparation for air travel, I had given him a 1 quart zipper bag for his liquid items. "My deodorant goes in here right?" he asks me. "No, your deodorant is a solid, it's not a liquid." I reply.

"But it's the same as peanut butter." he says. "And, they don't let you have peanut butter." Hmm? I wasn't quite sure where this was going. My brain wasn't making the leap between solid deodorant and peanut butter...which is more of a creamy (delicious) paste.

In his defense, I've done some tricky things through TSA security. Although, putting peanut butter on my under arms isn't one of them. There was the time I stuffed the fruit cakes at the bottom of his backpack. Hey? They're heavy. Boy, did that set off some crazy alarms. We found ourselves explaining the history of fruit cake. Really? You don't even know what it is?

There were the undeclared scuba weights. That was his idea. I'm pretty sure the scuba company would have weights for us once we arrived at our destination. But he carried lead weights through security and caused a near cavity search. His cavities.

Another trip uncovered the Lange skinfold calipers in his backpack. The agents held them up and we were afraid (to the tune of $400) they would drop them as they dangled them around discussing what they possibly might be. I joked and asked if they wanted their body fat measured. Never joke with TSA.

On our most recent trip he was pulled aside for additional screening. Profiled due to his beard. It's the price you pay for expressing your facial hair freedom. His deodorant made it through just fine.

What he wasn't aware of on the way home on that same trip was, I walked right through security with...peanut butter. Yes, that is right! I had packed a number of meals in the cooler for our travel day and in his two meals I packed chicken, rice and threw a giant dollop of peanut butter on the top.

I added this topping of nutty yumminess prior to throwing out the peanut butter jar in our hotel room. Packed the cooler, and quietly, discreetly, walked right through security. HA! There had to be 2 tablespoons, at least, on each one. Well over one ounce!

Now, I've traveled with food through security many, many, many times. It's different each time. It depends on the day, the time of day, the agent, the ambient air temperature and a number of other factors. This particular trip, I had no problem with my small frozen ice pack, or anything for that matter.

As you prep for travel with food, go by the I usually do. You'll ensure your deodorant, and your liquids make it through just fine. One ounce at a time. Skip the peanut butter.