Friday, June 28, 2013

I'm Like a Fifth Grader

by Kris Pitcher

Today's blog is about how I'm like a 5th grader. And I don't mean to imply I am smarter than a 5th grader. I'm certain I am not.

I'm not even sure what I was supposed to be learning in the fifth grade. Government? I was sick that day. Multiplication tables? Visiting the nurses office. Spelling bee? Performance induced headache.

I do have a bed time though. Adhered to strictly, it's a point of humor in our household. On Thursdays, which are the end of my work week, we joke that I can stay up as late as I want to...past 9:00 pm.

My bed time is 8:30 pm. I'm not happy without my sleep. Just like a 5th grader. I have homework. Mine happens to be cardio. I like to complete mine first thing in the morning. Do I get a gold star?

Not everything is important to me. Like cleaning. If things are tidy, I'm good. I just don't have time to be a good house wife. And even tidy goes by the wayside sometimes. There just aren't enough hours in the day for me. If you asked a 5th grader, cleaning wouldn't be on the top of their list either. They've got stuff to do.

I love a schedule! Meal time, and snack time, when to get up, when to go to bed, when to exercise...I like things to be predictable. Knowing what to expect helps us feel in control...we all like that. It's comforting.

I want what I want. Fortunately, I've designed a life which allows for that. By keeping things fairly simple, I can have what I want. Most of the time. Within reason.

Part of that is wanting what I have. That's simple. Part of that is not concerning myself with having what everyone else has. In the fifth grade (and I realize things have changed) I wasn't concerned, yet, with wearing the right clothes, the right brand, etc. Clueless.

It's nice to be clueless. Now, I wouldn't say I walk around a fashion disaster, but I take the fifth on this one...I don't care what is at the mall right now. I don't need it.

For me, wanting what I want means getting up on the weekends when I want to, focusing on my sport, leaving the clothes folded on the coffee table and getting dressed in the living room for half the week. Who cares?!

It means taking a nap if I need a nap, or daydreaming, or writing...or playing with make up. All the things a fifth grader would naturally do. Dig deep and find your inner kid. He or she is in there just waiting for you to not take yourself quite so seriously. You could even hit those monkey bars? 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Gluten Free Waffles

by Kris Pitcher

I'm no Martha Stewart...but I made up this recipe and I've been really enjoying it. You should know I've been cheating. All prep, yes! Well, I like to consider it a re-feed really. The meal has a very specific purpose and this recipe not only fits the bill, it makes me dance.

You didn't know about the waffle dance? It happens on Saturday nights...provided there is a re-feed. The door is locked, the shades are drawn and the waffle iron is plugged in. It's time to train the muscles to take up the nutrients I'll load with in the days leading up to my contest.

Having taken gluten out of my diet this year (a personal choice), I manipulated this recipe to meet my specific needs. It's very adaptable and you can adjust the ingredients to meet your needs.

Gluten Free Waffles:
1 c white rice flour
1 c brown rice flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c sweet potato (well cooked/mashed)
3 whole eggs
1 T coconut flavor
1 c (plus) water

Mix all ingredients and add water to desired consistency. I use coconut flavor because I ran out of vanilla and it happens to be really good. You can use any flavor you like. You can eliminate the egg yolk if you are interested in reducing the fat. You can also add natural apple sauce and cut some of the water, if you are allowed fruit. You can do the same thing with sour cream...yum. Manipulating it is all about what fits into your plan. Sometimes I throw in a scoop of protein powder, although this meal is not about protein, it's about carbs. Yummy, dancy, carby, carbs!

Last re-feed before Jr Nationals!
It will make about 6 waffles. You can also use the batter to make pancakes if you prefer those. You could use oat flour if you are re-feeding with oats...again, cooking is a science, but one you can alter.

For me, this meal is about increasing my fats and carbs. It is in the form of rice and sweet potato, which is the same fuel I'll load with leading up to my contest. I can prepare this batter, make pancakes, freeze and transport them with me. How smart am I?!

And here I am enjoying one of my last re-feeds leading up to Jr Nationals. Jacques insisted on taking a photo...even though I was VERY focused.

I put Smuckers "simply fruit" jam on them, along with a little bit of maple syrup, and Adams natural peanut butter. Hey, I'm not messing around! Moving forward on our way to the USA's there may be dry waffles...or no waffles at all.

I'm prepared for what ever I need to do in order to be ready to compete at the level I need to be at. But now you have my favorite recipe, and you can enjoy your gluten free waffles any way you like them! Cheers! Oh, and you can do the dance...or not, that IS optional.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Competing at the National Level, All In

by Kris Pitcher

"Adams" I'm greeted by the blue letters as I open the refrigerator to pour club soda into my glass. Bull crap I mumble to myself as I pour my water noticing the unopened package of rice cakes on the counter.

Strategically blocking the giant jar of peanut butter with the safety of my club soda I shut the refrigerator door then turn and place the rice cakes deep in the bowels of the cupboard behind my husband's grits.

Four weeks and I'll hit the stage for a fun local show, then it's on the plane to Vegas for the USA's. The BIG one. Bridging the gap between shows means getting your head straight. Having just completed a huge accomplishment, all the "congratulations!" might have you think you're done.

I am not done. My brain needs constant reinforcement that indeed, I am not done. In fact the most difficult work is ahead of me. My body has already reached points lower than normal in body fat, it's already pushed the limits of what's possible in physical's already tired.

Now is the time my brain has to tell my body it can be done. It's the time I have to take control of my environment and get the rice cakes off the counter top. It's the time I have to dig deep, real deep, into my mental reserves.

It will be the next few weeks when I will smile and "act" energetic at work. When I will choose to be happy and excited about life. It will be my opportunity to remind myself, I choose this.

I hung my competitor credentials and number on the stairmaster, which resides in the kitchen, to remind myself who I have chosen to become. I have chosen to become a national competitor, and if it were easy...everyone would do it.

Competing at this level is not easy. It requires more, it requires constant commitment, continual focal requires one to be all in. It requires choice.

So in these final weeks, I will be digging deep. I will be reminding myself I am not done, I have just begun. My focus will remain, and my body will endure. I will choose to take this next step. I. Am. All. In.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Training Wheels, Jr Nationals

by Kris Pitcher

By all accounts, my experience at Jr. Nationals was excellent. Thank you to those of you who helped me to get there, who cheered me on, and who loved me and supported me through all the dieting, whining and waxing.

We arrived in Chicago on Wednesday despite Mother Nature's attempt to ground all air traffic. After circling the airport in a holding pattern for an hour, we finally landed. There's nothing quite like the words, "holding pattern" spoken over the loud speaker by the pilot to send you into a mini panic attack.

Jr Nationals
Once on the ground we waited. And we waited. At that point there was lightning strikes and who would want to stand next to a giant metal conveyor belt to unload luggage? Not me. So, we waited for our luggage to be unloaded.

It finally appeared. We walked for what seemed miles to get the hotel shuttle and once checked in I felt like despite all that could have gone wrong, everything had gone just right. I turned on the news to reports of funnel clouds touching down.

Thursday brought a chance for us to take a cab to the grocery store to purchase the last few items I would need for my preparation. With rice cakes in hand I felt I could relax once and for all. Check in was smooth and well organized...but I had to leave the comfort of the hands of my husband to go into the meeting room on my own.

This was it. I would at this point take off my training wheels and join the ranks of the national competitors. Once issued my official NPC height card and credentials I was in the show. The competitor meeting would be Friday.

The process of carbing up would begin. Feet up, TV on...I would begin my marathon of HGTV. I love HGTV. House Hunters, Property Virgins...I love all of it.

Friday came and I had timed out all of my beauty "events". Shower, dry hair, coat of paint, straighten hair, put on make up, coat of paint, wait...wait...wait.

Put on suit. HEART RACING!!! For some reason once I put my suit on, it hit me...I was about to get on stage. I glued the girls in and put my jewelry on. I had done the work. I was ready. This was it.

And off to the meeting we went after I made Jacques listen, again, to what I had packed in my back stage bag. He really is a calm spirit, and a good sport. We walked to the venue and waited for the meeting where I was issued my competitor number. Things moved fast from that point on.

Prejudging was swift. Instructions were issued as we were lined up. Be ready, be dynamic, be resilient. All lessons learned. I also learned that when I think I'm smiling, I'm not smiling.

So, I ended up in the 3rd of 5 call outs. It felt like we were on stage a long time, and that model pose seemed to be very important. All lessons learned. I had the mindset it was just another contest. I went out there and did my thing. I'll do it better next time.

Then it was back to rest. And wait for Saturday when finals would happen. Shower, fix dirty hair, reapply color, put make up on, put suit on. I felt calm, the work was done, the decisions were made. I hadn't gone out and eaten pizza, I didn't want to look like a big fatty, even if I got 16th place.

Loni the "Swami" read my name as I moved across the stage and NAILED my model pose, and my smile, for finals. And that was it. I made sure to stay in that spot long enough to get a good shot, "Smile-one-one-thousand-two-smile-two-thousand-smile" I said in my head hoping the expediter wouldn't pull out a giant hook and yank me off stage. She didn't.

Everyone was chill back stage. No one was stuffing their faces with candy (we'll address that topic later), we all just got right to business and did our thing. People were nice, everyone was helpful, the staff/crew was fantastic.

Back home and I'm right back on track. It's back in the gym, back to 4:30 am cardio, back to work, and back on the diet. In six weeks I'll do the USA's in Las Vegas. Get ready for another wild ride, the training wheels are definitely off!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Time to Fly!

by Kris Pitcher

It's time to jet out of here! Time to fly! Twenty weeks ago if you asked me how I'd feel taking this leap of faith...I wouldn't have been able to tell you.

Yet as I get ready to head to the airport, I feel a lot of things. I feel excited, anxious, nervous, grounded, ready, humble, and I just want to get there and do it. I've been able to put the "what if" scenarios out of my mind and focus on what I need to do.

I have packed, re-packed, taken inventory, counted, made lists, calendars, and not worried if my husband did or did not pack underwear for himself. I'm not concerned if he packed anything for himself. I'm pretty sure he did. I hope he did.

I am confident I have done all the work, I have prepped my best physique ever and it is really exciting. I am in my absolute best condition, ever. In the contest against one's self I have won. And that is all I control. The rest is outside of my realm and I release it.

Today I take my leap of faith in self. It becomes real for me as I step on that plane and take my competition to the national level. It's a place I am proud to be going and honored to be amongst the athletes I will stand with.

Thank you for making the journey with me. Thank you to those who have chosen to support my efforts. I carry that responsibility with me as I go. I am a grateful steward and appreciate your help.

My journey at the national level will continue through the summer. I have entered the NPC USA's in Las Vegas at the end of July. For now, we'll take things one step at a time. Flight by flight, leap by leap. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Art of Arrival

by Kris Pitcher

In my line of business I meet with a lot of people. There is an art to arriving at just the right time. You don't want to be too early. You don't want to seem over anxious. It's never advisable to be late, ever.

Arriving at just the right time creates the atmosphere of promptness, without being early or late. It's tricky because I don't always know where I'm going. I may not know how the traffic will be, or where I'll find parking...if I'll need to walk a few blocks. Or, if I may get lost along the way.

Taking all those things into account and then having a few moments to take a deep breath and collect my thoughts prior to a meeting is the "art" of the arrival. Getting to your contest - peaking at the right moment in time is similar.

You never want to be late. If you're late, well you've missed your opportunity. If you're not ready for your show you can always select another show. But, sometimes the local show is the only one, and you've committed. You need to arrive on time.

If you're early you really only want to be a little bit early. Kind of like for my appointments. If you are a little bit early, you can slow things down. You can figuratively park around the block and wait 5 or 10 minutes for just the right moment.

But if you show up days early for an appointment, people are going to wonder about your planning. Getting it right is the art. It's important to be able to time things out. To be able to make changes slowly and appropriately in order to get there at the right moment.

There are a lot of components to manipulate along the way. You don't manipulate them all at once, all at the beginning. You have to create the right atmosphere. This is where science meets art and it's all in the arrival. I'll see you when you get there!

Friday, June 7, 2013

See Your Success

by Kris Pitcher

In the moments when I'm falling to, or waking from, sleep I'm visualizing myself succeeding at my goals. It's a conscious effort to literally see my success.

Visualization and meditation are powerful tools. Whether you create a "vision board" of pictures of the things you want to attract into your life, or you meditate on those things, you are literally willing them to you.

By doing this you are opening yourself to the possibilities and the pathways for these things to come into your life. By "things" I don't necessarily mean stuff. Although there is nothing wrong with wanting stuff.

During my prep toward competing on the national stage I put a photo of myself from last season next to last year's Jr. Nationals winner on my refrigerator with my calendar. Every day, multiple times a day, I see myself and I see the previous winner. She's now a pro. We look similar.

I see myself as the winner. I visualize myself during prejudging, hearing the instructions, making my quarter turns, being called out. I meditate on the exact way my body feels during presentation in each turn, in each transition. I am seeing my success as I'm falling asleep, and as I'm waking. Daily.

This works for public speaking, for interviewing, for securing sales or what ever you are working toward. Being able to see yourself in a position of success puts you directly in the path of success. Taking time to think about it, visualize it, meditate on it, actually brings your focus to exactly what you want.

That focus in turn creates thoughts and actions guiding you toward what you want, your success. If you can see it for yourself, you can have it. Now, go get it!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Snail's Pace Prep

by Kris Pitcher

"Wow!" she said watching me put my bikini on in the locker room, "you look great." Awkward. "How much cardio are you doing?" I told her. I'm kind of too tired to put up a conversational fight at this point.

She went on to tell me she's prepping for the fall show and already doing 2 hours of cardio. She hasn't officially started, I think she said, but she's going to start 16 or 12 weeks out, something like that...I didn't really catch the rest.

I shared with her that I always do at least a 20 week prep. Blank stare. "Oh, because you have so long?" she reasoned. Encouragingly, I suggested she was on track by beginning now.

Again, no energy to explain. There is no magic number of weeks a prep should take. If you are a beginner, and you're carrying a little extra cushion...start early and go slow. If you're a seasoned competitor, stay tight off season and you know your body 12 weeks probably suits you.

Pushing the window of a 12 or 14 week prep with someone who has a lot to lose is tricky. And depending on how they respond, and what they are willing to tolerate...dangerous. But that's between you and your coach, and your metabolism.

Taking the snail's pace works for me. I take it slow because I don't want to do lots of cardio. I stay tight off season so I don't have to. This creates a situation where I'm able to maintain my muscle mass in a nice way throughout my prep.

I also don't want to have a highly restrictive diet. There's a limitation when you're trying to lose 35 pounds in 12 weeks. Do some math. Start early and take it slow.

It's always easier to slow things down than to speed things up. Conversely, there is always another contest if you find your date is approaching and you aren't going to be ready. But still, this notion you can get ready in 12 weeks is not a realistic one, especially for newbies.

Like always, this is my opinion. There are many factors to consider as you decide when to start your prep. Time toward your goal on stage is one area where I find more time is better, at least that's what works for me...a snail's pace.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Chasing Crazy Hairs

by Kris Pitcher

My latest photo shoot has been great for my ego. I'll admit it, it's been nice to have such positive feedback. One of my fb friends, who is also a client of my husband, her husband thought I was in my 20's. Thank you Jennifer's husband.

Now, I have to laugh because my raw, authentic, self is all but glamorous and I've had a nagging reminder of that this week. You know that hair on your chin you can feel, but can't find when you are deep diving into the mirror?

Please tell me it's not just me? Well, if it is only me...just wait until you are also in your forties. That crazy hair is going to sprout from your chin, I promise. You'll be putting on lip gloss with no tweezers in sight (mistake number 1) and you'll see it. Holy crap!

How could I miss THAT! Then it's like a hang-nail, you just can't stop touching it, wiggling it, feeling it. So, then I get home and immediately arm myself with my tweezers. Nothing.

I mean I cannot find that hair for anything. I wash my face and look into the magnification mirror (scary). Can't find it. This thing feels like it must be the size of a toothpick. It is thick! Why can't I find it?

Determined, but also tired, I retire to the recliner. And my fingers paw at my chin. THERE IT IS!!! Back to the mirror I go with the lights on, chin to the sky...nothing. This is unfair. It's like I'm being "punked". Punked by a crazy hair!

I have been chasing this hair for a week. This crazy hair is out of here. One way or another I am getting rid of it. There is no room for it, none! What totally beautiful woman even has hair on her chin? None of us!

Waxes, creams, potions, name it. This chin will be smooth as a baby by days end. And I will be done (for now) chasing crazy hairs. God speed for a smooth chin ladies! Crazy...