Saturday, 28 June 2014

Bikini Contest Preparation // One Week Out!

Hi friends!  If you're reading this, you may have stuck with me from the very beginning when I started training for this NPC Bikini Competition.  Thank you so much!  I have felt the support and it has encouraged me all the way to this point- with just one week to go.  I've mentioned before on my Facebook page and Instagram that I often read my Instagram comments and respond while I'm doing cardio.  I can't tell you how much it helps to feel like people are rooting for you.  The day of the contest, the women may look all glammed up, but most of the time, we are stinky, sweaty messes, always in workout clothes without hair and makeup done.  I have to say that one of my most favorite times of the day is AFTER working out when I get to take a long, hot shower and get all fresh and clean.  When you aren't getting lost in the comfort/joy of food and eating, you are forced to find pleasure in other things.  I'm still enjoying my coffee (so much) and have a new appreciation for showers! :)  

I started deliberately trying to get in shape in February 2014 and started working with my trainer (John Sherman) at the end of March 2014.  We will have trained together for 15 weeks next week to get ready for this competition.   You get to know someone when you're spending that much time with them and I've become really fond of him and can say we're friends now.  I also respect his experience and training style.  He is an IFBB professional bodybuilder (competing for over 25 years) and has made quite a name for himself in the fitness arena, but you'd never know it by meeting him.  He's so humble and never one to draw attention to himself.  I've never even seen him in shorts (he always wears pants). I think he doesn't want to "show off" or have people make a big deal about the size of his legs.   He trains people locally in Houston, but also offers online training and meal plans.  You can connect with him via email:  (I asked and he said I could give you his email address).  My previous trainer from a few years ago recommended him to me.  He trained her for the fitness competition that she won. 

The gym we train at is small and full of people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and ethnicities.  It's mostly people working out with trainers and since I've been going almost every weekday, I've come to know most of the people there.  The sense of community and comradery is great.  We "eye" each other knowingly with exhaustion while under the supervision of our trainers.  Some of them are training for competitions also, so we'll keep up with whose contest is coming up next and hand out well-deserved compliments.  My friend (who just turned 50!) is training with another trainer there for her first bikini competition in late July.   I was intimidated by this gym when I first started going (it felt so "hard core"), but over time, I've become comfortable there and it almost feels like my home away from home.     

By now, my diet and exercise are the norm for me, so it's really not all that hard to stick to my diet. I've found food that I like to eat and that makes my days much better.  Of course, I have typical cravings like anyone else, but I know that in just a week, I can (guilt-free) eat whatever I want.  High on the list of "whatever I want" is Mexican food, pizza, ice cream, brownies, cookies - all the dessert stuff.  My husband has joined me in my meal plan this last month (God bless him!) and that's makes it so much easier because I don't have to make something different for him.  He's lost 11 pounds! 

Lots of logistical things are falling into place.  I have my bikini and I love it!  I had it made at Stakked Couture and it came out beautifully.  It's turquoise with aquamarine crystals and rhinestone connectors.   They were great to work with and helped talk me off the ledge when I first tried it on and was saying, "It doesn't fit, it's too small!!!!" They tried to console me, "Everyone says that at first until they get used to it."  But, really, those bottoms, yikes!!!  

  • I also bought two rhinestone bracelets and a pair of dangly earrings, as well as my clear heels.  
  • I booked my spray tan (2 applications) with ProTan, the official tanning company for the contest.
  • I booked my hair and makeup too.  That's a relief!  I'm going with the artists assigned to the show.  I was relieved to hear they are only taking a limited number of appointments (10-12 women) because I didn't want to be rushed through. 
  • Hotel is reserved.  

I still need to:
  • Figure out what meals I need to pack, grocery shop, make sure I have a cooler to bring food in.
  • Pack clothing, hair tools and makeup (just in case).
This week, I'll just be working out Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and "resting" Thursday and Friday.  So far, my diet hasn't changed.  I think it changes on Wednesday, so I'll let you know. 

The show is on Saturday (July 5, 2014).  Pre-judging (where they score the contestants) happens in the morning and then you get a break and come back for the night show around 5pm, I think.  I still need the exact schedule.  The night show can last until 10, 11 pm though.  I was really hoping to go to a Mexican restaurant after the contest, but I'm afraid they'll all be closed by the time we finish!

I'll be posting pics to Instagram if you want to follow along next weekend.  I'd love to hear from you! I'm sure I'll be a ball of nerves.  

Oh, P.S. I took your advice and made an appointment to get my body fat measured at the Bod Pod because I'm really curious to see what it is.  I'm not sure how accurate the calipers we've been using are.  My appointment is this week, so I'll report back soon on the experience.  :) 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Bikini Contest Prep // 2 Weeks Out

Hi friends!  Now we are only two short weeks away from my first NPC contest.  I'm excited and TIRED!  Of course now that the contest is almost here there is lots of other home and family stuff going on, but I'm still managing to get my workouts in and stick to my diet.  I just ordered Muscle Egg (chocolate caramel flavor) and cannot wait to get it.  It's going to replace my shake as my last meal.  I'm just not digging drinking a shake, but I think this will be more like chocolate/caramel milk.  We'll see . . . I'll let you know how I like it. 

Here's my latest progress picture taken on Sunday, June 22, 2014.  I am really proud of what I've accomplished.  I feel like a winner already.  


There are lots of final contest details that I'm foggy on and trying to get completed, I still need to:

  • Confirm hair stylist (or do it myself).  I'm leaning toward doing it myself.  I got my hair highlighted on Saturday, so I'm pretty blonde right now.  
  • Confirm makeup stylist.  The show has one appointed to it and I emailed her to see if she has availability and to get pricing info. 
  • Confirm spray tan.  I also need to decide if I'm doing it here before I leave or there.  And if there, when? I'm going to call the contest spray tan company tomorrow to get more info.
  • Go to my last bikini fitting.  I need to make sure it fits and looks great.
  • Buy jewelry.  Earrings and bracelet only.
  • Get nails done.  I'm doing french mani/pedi.
  • Make packing list.  Clothes, food, cooler, camera, etc.
  • Buy ticket to the show for my husband. 
I'm sure there's more, but that's what I can think of off the top of my head.  I have already:
  • Registered for the show.
  • Got my heels.
  • Reserved hotel room.  
My trainer has mentioned that I will only workout until the Wednesday before the show, then rest on Thursday, Friday and the show is Saturday.  Backstage, before I go on, I'll lift light weights to give my muscles a little pump.

Also, on that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, my diet will change and I'll cut out veggies and egg whites.  I'm not too sure on the specifics of what I'll be eating besides chicken and potatoes or rice cakes, but I think the goal is to deplete sodium.  I'll write a detailed post when I get more info.  


My focus this week is to stick to my diet, no cheating!, and get in five 45-minute cardio sessions and 5 weight-training workouts with my trainer.  I also need to try to get good sleep.  If there's one thing I've learned during this prep it's that, if I don't get about 7-8 hours of sleep before my workout, it's excruciatingly difficult to get through.  Oh, and I need to continue to practice my posing.  I'll do 2 posing sessions with my posing coach this week.  I woke up on Saturday morning and my back was so sore.  It took me a little while to realize it was from my posing session on Friday.  She was having me hold the line-up stage pose for several minutes (because I'll have to stand like that for possibly a long time on stage while all of us are up there) without fidgeting and while standing tall, sucking in, etc.  It's not a very comfortable position to hold.  I have a gift certificate for a massage- maybe I'll try to fit that in somewhere?? 

It's going to be a super busy week and I'm off to prepare my weekly schedule now- it's the only way I manage to fit everything in! 

I hope you have a great week! 

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Best Sports Bras

This post has been a long time coming.  I've been wanting to share my favorite sports bras with you because I know that finding a good one is so important!  I'd love to hear about your favorite sports bras too!

This sports bra is comfortable, lightweight, and fits well.  I wear it for medium-intensity cardio and weight workouts.  Basically, it's my 'go-to' sports bra that I wear most often.  

I'm a 32 D bra typically, and I wear a size Medium in this bra. 

Amazon sells them too and offers them in other colors.  

I like this kind of sports bra also, but more for just weight training.  I also wear this as a regular bra with clothes because it's also so lightweight and seamless.  I adore this lemon color!

This is my absolute favorite sports bra to run in.  It's comfortable and you can adjust the straps.  No more doubling up on sports bras to run.  It's solid in color, I just wanted to show you the 'V' back and wide closure.  It comes in sizes 30B - 44C.

This bra is designed for women with 30C - 40D cups and is great for running and other high-impact sports.  It's kind of a lot of material, but really keeps the girls in place!

I hope this helps! Do you have a favorite sports bra? 


Affiliate links used.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Bikini Contest Prep // 3 Weeks Out

With just 3 weeks left until my bikini contest, I'm finally feeling confident that I'll be able to hold my own on stage.  This is such a big relief!  It just goes to show that over time, with the right diet and exercise, how much you can change your body.  Of course, I'd love to win, but in reality, just changing my physique to this degree and making it to the contest without chickening out is a big win in my book!  And eating clean for so long is a big deal.  I'm a girl who LOVES her sweets!  Chocolate, ice cream, ice-tall 2-pump mocha from Starbucks, cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies . . .  I digress.  

I was thrilled to learn I got to have a specific cheat meal on Saturday night at a restaurant!  I haven't had a true "date night" in a very long time, so this was good news.  Even though there was no alcohol involved.  The meal I was allowed to have was steak (no oil and no butter) I ordered a 6 oz filet, plain baked potato, and dessert (I got the molton chocolate cake) and it was awesome.  But, I was so uncomfortably full after my meal for about two hours that my stomach hurt.

I sent pictures to my trainer on Saturday afternoon before the meal and again on Sunday morning, but we didn't notice much change.  These pictures are from Saturday- exactly 3 weeks out from my contest.  My stomach is coming down and tightening up and my legs and arms have more definition. 

Even though there was no discernible difference between before and after the cheat meal, I do notice HUGE changes from when I started this journey to now.  If you've been following along, you know I started focusing on getting in shape in February and began by working out on my own and eating better.  At that time, I measured time by how long I'd been working out so 'Week 1' was my first week back in the gym and 'Week 3' was 3 weeks later.  Now, I'm counting backwards from my contest date, so '3 Weeks Out' means I have 3 weeks until my contest.  I've been at this for about 6 months now and been working with my trainer since April.  I've been on a strict meal plan for about 9 weeks.  


I registered for the contest this weekend.  I will be competing in the BIKINI division in two categories: 1) Novice (for first-timers or anyone who has competed previously, but not won), and 2) Masters (over age 35) - I'm 39.

My bikini has been ordered, but I still need to go for my final fitting.  I have my heels.  The pic below is just a sample suit.  My stage suit will be aqua with different connectors and aqua-colored beading. I tried on this black top (a size 'C' because the 'D' was too much fabric).

I need to figure out if I'm doing my own hair and makeup or hiring someone.   The contest has a hair and makeup person I need to check out.  

I also need to make sure I'm signed up to receive my spray tan before the show.  I am going to a tanning bed about once a week to get a base tan. *Update:  Thank you for smacking some sense into me! I read the comments below and realized what a bad idea going to a tanning bed is, so no more. 

Thank you again for all of your positive comments and support!  It really encourages me!  If you have any questions, please leave a comment.  I will answer in the comments and also use your comments in future blog posts so I can expand and answer in more detail.  

I do have an "after contest" plan to share with you soon too!  

You can follow me on Instagram:
 @honeywerehome and #honeywerehealthy

Take care of you! 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Bikini Contest Prep // 4 Weeks Out

We're in the final stretch now, and I'm really starting to look forward to the end.  This last two weeks I had to kick it into high gear to try to lose more weight and body fat.  I did it by upping the intensity of my cardio and staying as strict as possible on my diet.  As of today, I weighed 106 (at the gym, 103-4 at home) and am at 17% body fat (down from 109 gym pounds and 19% body fat two weeks ago).  I started this journey at 25% body fat and 110 pounds (at home).  Go here to see my pics at 15 weeks out.

For cardio, I'm doing 45 minutes, 5 days a week and it's usually on the treadmill at a 15 incline and a speed of 2.7-3.0.  If I need a break, I lower the incline for a couple minutes, then ramp it back up.  I'm also doing more ab exercises (at the end of each workout).  I use my iPod and iPhone to pass the time and also met a woman who also does cardio at the same time so we'll chat.  For abs, I typically do 2 ab exercises 4 times and 20 reps.  I'm working with my trainer about 4 days a week.

I'm still amazed at the level of physical effort all this training takes.  It's exhausting.  I realize now how intense you have to train and diet to get in the kind of shape for a NPC bikini competition.  I do love the results and how my clothes fit (down to a size 24 jean - was a 26).  

I still need to lose a few more pounds in the next four weeks.  Last recap, I wrote about how much mahi mahi I was eating, but I got concerned about the mercury levels, so now I'm incorporating grilled chicken salads with fat-free dressing for a couple meals and eat fish for one meal.

Lately, I have been craving all kinds of food and thinking more about when this is done, how nice it will be to not be SO strict with my food.  I ate a pint of Gelato on Saturday (while watching Orange Is The New Black Season 2 marathon- are y'all hooked?!) and really enjoyed it.  Don't tell my trainer!  

The black striped bikini was taken at 5 weeks out.

The aqua bikini pic was taken at 4 weeks out. 

I go for my bikini fitting tomorrow!   p.s. These bikinis are from Victoria's Secret. ;) 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Bikini Competition Suit

Last week, I went to order my bikini competition suit at Stakked Couture in Houston, at the recommendation of my trainer and posing coach.  Lining the walls when you walk in is a sample of the type of bikinis they make.  It was explained to me that for the "bikini" division, the women wear bikinis with "connectors" (the blingy side things) as opposed to a "figure" or "bodybuilding" suit, that has the high "V" sides that connect with the bikini top in the back.  I had no idea. 

I had to fill out a form with my measurements, anticipated contest weight (I'm 108 now when I weigh at the gym, but I'm 104 at home first thing in the morning).  I guessed 104 (gym scale) for my contest weight.  

Then, I had to choose my fabric color.  

I originally had in mind that I would wear turquoise, but still wanted to see what they had.  Upon seeing their selection, I knew right away I didn't want pink, orange, or yellow.  I considered purple for a minute, and possibly red, but stuck to my original idea.  Below is a sample of the fabric I choose.  

The salesperson asked, "Do you want a regular bottom or pro bottom?"  "What's the difference?" I replied.  She showed me an example of a regular bottom that was so tiny, I was stunned speechless for a second.  I mean, I knew the bikinis were small, but when I was looking at it in person, I was just in shock.  This freaked me right out into thinking, I better get my ass in shape fast if I'm going to be wearing one of those.  The pro bikini bottoms are even smaller, so I'm going with the regular.

Then, you choose your connectors (they have various styles). I opted to wait until my bikini fitting in two weeks to pick the connectors.  That way, I can see more of how they will look on.  I like the drapey connectors like in the photo below, but she said they make short girls' legs look shorter.  Boo. 

I'll probably end up doing something simple like the connectors on Amanda Latona's suit below.

I'm really nervous to go back for my fitting.  I'm doing everything I can to have no regrets about this bikini prep, so my best just has to be good enough.  I'm also concerned about that crazy spray tan and am considering using a makeup pro to do my makeup- even though I usually like how I do my own.  My posing coach (a black female) keeps reminding me, "you're gonna be my color" and she really wants me to use her makeup artist to do my makeup.  They have makeup artists at the show that you can hire.  

This week is 5 weeks out.  I posted a progress pic on Instagram (@honeywerehome), but I'll do another recap here soon too.  Have a great week!