in love with lean

godstiming

the wait. that dreaded wait.  we all wait for something at some point in our lives.  His timing is….. impeccable though. perfect. every time.  but while you’re waiting, you don’t want to hear that.  and i wanted another baby. and when a woman wants a baby,  she wants one when she wants one.

253714_991088434046_7250566_n

Sonny and i prayed and believed consistently for another Egwuatu kiddo. we knew Chiso was only the beginning. however, after stepping off the stage last year i was head over heels for my ‘new’, lean body.  you might say, ‘but you were already lean.’ there’s a huge visual and physical difference between 21% body fat and 10%.   i was thrilled at seeing 130- anything on the scale.  i had not seen the 130’s in this decade.  ‘long & lean’ was something i had always wanted to accomplish with my body.  so once I got there, according to my standards anyway,

CYMERA_20140227_114237

i wanted to stay there. here we go again…but on a much deeper level this round.

<<rewind<<

my menstrual cycle has always been flaky. it has always done its own thing since it finally popped up at age 16. late bloomer right here. from then on, Irregular City…which was prolly due to my active sports life.

i discovered my passion for group fitness and became an instructor for a few local gyms a few years after college graduation and marriage to Sonny.  i was extremely nervous just thinking about getting in front of a crowd, but the support and encouragement from friends, Sonny, and my family pushed me to just go for it.  i started with a BANG teaching 7-9 classes per week (before and after work) and local boot-camps on my own in addition to my full-time job.  then things got a little crazy with my body. i went from monstrous PMS symptoms including heavy cramping & bleeding, bloating, mood swings, swelling & breast tenderness every one or two days a month to absolutely no period and zero symptoms. nothing. when i first met Sonny in college and had an ‘episode’, he actually called 911, bless his heart.

periodmeme

 it was just something i lived with, and something my family (mom, dad & brother when i lived at home) adjusted to. on the first day of every cycle, life stopped.  4 aleeve, vicodin, hot water bottles,  massive overnight – diaper sized pads, and my bed was my life for 24-48 hrs. so, this exercise thing was quite alright in my eyes. it was my saving grace.  can i tell you how happy a camper i was?  to not have to deal with any of that mess anymore was….. LIBERATING. living like a boy was fun. no tampons, pads, PMS, none of that. this went on for months…. maybe over 8 or so…unfortunately i lost count.  i later researched this to be deemed athletic amenorrhea, but back then i just referred to it as AWESOME.  when the time came for Sonny and i to really get serious about bringing some kiddos into this world, well i was not exactly in the best position to house a child.  i have never been on birth control. so after being a married woman and doing married woman things for over a year and never being  ‘surprised’ (which was fine by me) i had to really wonder what was up with me.  …or Sonny. which one of us needed to be ‘fixed’?

i learned along the way that you don’t even need to actually bleed to get pregnant…just ovulate. but bleeding helps you pinpoit when to expect to ovulate.  and hello, it just comes with the territory of being a woman!  without a cycle, i’d have to take an ovulation test, well, every single day. that got old and discouraging real fast. and obviously, not bleeding on my own meant that things just weren’t right.  Sonny wanted to expand our family from the jump, but his concern grew as time went by without a positive result.

at some point along the way Sonny did wonder what happened to my angry woman PMS symptoms and asked about them.  i explained how they simply vanished completely after i started exercising a lot…along with my period.  he stayed on me about going to the Dr., and i did. eventually.  he naturally felt irritated and annoyed with me for not taking our health seriously and waiting months to see my OB.  i put it on the back burner countless times and kept reassuring him it would come back on its own if i just exercised less and rested more.  gym members were excited about my classes and attending consistently!  slow down? i can’t now! i’m in demand!  i made so many new connections and met so many new fit friends during that time. i was simply enjoying the instructor experience and wanted nothing more than to keep it rolling.  but i also knew i wanted a baby…sooner or later.

so i prayed. then i dropped a class. and cried. and waited. and dropped another class. and cried. and waited. and dropped another class. and cried. and waited… for negative result after negative result, and no period.  after several months of this draining cycle, my OB referred me to a fertility specialist.  he prescribed me Provera which brought my cycle back the following month.

just. like. that.

i felt tons better and like a normal woman again. our strength and outlook on the whole baby-making process was renewed and TTC (fyi, that stands for trying to conceive from all the mommy-hood message boards i scoured at the time lol) became fun again, not a timed task.  but after a few more months of ovulation tests and scheduled intercourse, that stick just wouldn’t yield a positive result.  so, i had multiple tests run.  an HSG test was done to ensure my fallopian tubes weren’t blocked. what an uncomfortable day that was.  turns out they weren’t blocked though.  Sonny, on the other hand, passed all his tests with flying colors so he was eradicated immediately.  hopes were high again for the next month. negative.  i’ve never been a fan of roller coasters and wanted off this stupid ride. then the guilt set in.  i was extremely close to accepting that my negligence damaged me to the point of never being able to conceive a child.  around that time, God made two extremely special friends of mine even more prevalent in my life, just when i needed them.  they prayed for me, over me, and agreed in prayer with me that God would bless Sonny and i with a child in His time…… and under certain conditions.  i had to chill with the exercise.  i had to sacrifice the very thing i could not imagine going a day without.  i kept teaching my classes (i believe i was only doing 3 a week by that point) and did no other form of exercise outside of them except, walk. walk, walk, walk. nothing else.  this was because i would use my class as my warm up, then go do my own intense workout afterwards, every time.  even on the days i didn’t teach class, you knew where to find me.  after almost 2 months of sticking to the script, spending more time with the Lord (poof, i had a lot more spare time suddenly) exercising less, and giving my body the break it deserved, i had several friends including Sonny’s mom tell me about Clomid. i brought it up to my Specialist at my next visit.

after the very first round of Clomid (+ the self-administered Ovidrel shot, :shock: yikes), boom. our Chiso was on the way.

just. like. that.

35weeks

please read about my 1st fit preggo journey here!

>>fast forward>>

i was eager to return to my regularly scheduled workout program after giving birth….. i could not wait.  i was completely recovered (natural birth + episiotomy) after about 2.5 weeks total.

so, i loaded lil’ Chiso up into our new jogging stroller and hit the bricks! just to the mailbox and around the neighborhood though.  i was a good girl and waited the full 6 weeks to hit the gym again.  trust…Sonny made sure of it :roll:

>>fast forward>>

around Memorial day of 2012  (Chiso was almost 1-year-old), some friends of ours competed in a body building competition which intrigued me tremendously.  i’ve always wanted to be a bodybuilder!!!! always.  this only fueled my fire since it was so close to home.  Sonny has always wanted to compete, but only without the use of supplements.  more importantly to him were the new sleep apnea and blood pressure issues he faced for the 1st time in his life from the added 50lbs he put on after his college track days.  the dr. visit scare reminded him of his late father’s symptoms who passed away when he was 19,  just 1 year before we met.  not wanting to contribute to the possibility of leaving Chiso and I behind too soon, he instantly put his health in the forefront again.  anyway, i would always get crazy looks, comments, blank stares, and ‘are you serious?’ faces from friends and family about bodybuilding so i never took it seriously either.  not this time- Sonny and i agreed to train for our 1st competition together that would take place 4 months later on our 5th wedding anniversary, September 15th.  i still didn’t have a period at this point because i was breastfeeding Chiso regularly.

so we were off!  we committed wholeheartedly to our competition journey and started going hard with the weight training, sticking to our nutrition plans to the T, dropping body fat like crazy, and just training everyday with no breaks or rest days.  the ironic part? after somehow surviving that daily, strenuous, gym, work, home, gym again,  schedule, i was still lactating like crazy.  that was largely due to my diet, no doubt.  no processed or fried foods, only a combo of oatmeal (a big milk production booster), brown rice, sweet potatoes, egg whites, spinach, asparagus, apples, bananas, blueberries, chicken breast, lean beef, tilapia, almonds, and avocado, 5 – 6 times per day. no supplements, shakes, pills, powders were used or wanted because i didn’t want to pass any foreign ingredients to Chiso.

read about our 14 week transformations here.

compdaysept15

the end result? well, we made it! we even ended up bringing home some hardware! (hardware = trophies).  what a weekend and what a ride.

afterwards….. i was in love. i was super proud of my body and the new level of leanness i was able to achieve with the help of my former trainer.  i was fitter and smaller than before i got preggo with Chiso!  teaching my classes minimized my recovery time and got me back to my pre-preggo size quickly, but at the time i was convinced that was the best my body could do.  my clothes fit way different or just didn’t fit anymore at all, and i was slipping into things i hadn’t worn in years  that had been pushed to the back of my closet. my pride wouldn’t let me throw or give anything away.

Sonny and i headed to Jamaica to celebrate our wedding anni the sunday after our show and had a blast.  when we got back, i wasn’t necessarily interested in doing another show right away because, well, i told myself after i was done i would chill out and prepare my body for baby #2.  that was the plan…that fell through immediately.  from October 12 – June 13 i was living and training like i was about to compete in another show.  i’d wake up claiming that day as a rest day and found myself outside running or at the gym anyway raking up cals on my Polar HR watch.  now, being active is important to me.  i recommend daily movement to everybody.  but unless i burned a certain number of cals or was drenched in sweat, i wouldn’t leave the gym.  obsessed & unbalanced.  i was being stubborn and counter productive to my ultimate goal. again.

 let’s be real. we all want to look good, all the time.  for some competitors that desire is even more so magnified once we step off that stage.  when we start to look ‘normal’ again and go off our competition diet in the slightest bit, we feel fluffy, unfocused, and as if we’ve let ourselves go completely.  so, we flip the competition prep switch on.  in my case, i had no scheduled shows coming up.  since my body was on a way fitter level than before my 1st pregnancy, it was twice, no, quadruple times harder to let go of the exercise reigns.

the journey to baby #2 went in a somewhat similar fashion. this time though, increasing my body fat along with decreasing my workout intensity and activity level was number one on my to-do list. first, Provera brought my period back (after i stopped breastfeeding around 19 months it needed another jump-start i guess), then a round of Clomid.  and another round of Clomid. and another, followed by my very first IUI.  i remember speaking with my good friend by phone and expressing my frustrations as Sonny and i were on the rocky TTC road again.  she felt in her spirit that there was one constant clearly hindering the process. again.  and she was right.  of course she was right!  God was speaking through her because i wasn’t listening to Him.  then she politely reminded me about our agreement from my 1st pregnancy when she prolly should have screamed it into the phone instead.  we made the very same commitment with the Lord together in prayer and from that point on i only walked outside of teaching my 2 classes per week.  committing to do nothing but walk… don’t even get me started!  one of the toughest mental battles, ever.  i’d glance in the mirror every so often and see more jiggle here, a new softness there, and it would just make me want to say screw it and go sprint outside in the street!!!!  i could not disregard my promise or my priorities, and worrying so much about every little change in this temporary, earthly body of mine was ruining me.   this process reinforced spiritual discipline, submission, and obedience to God.  patience. faith.. the list goes on.  so while enduring the ongoing, daily spiritual growth (which is most important), there is something greater developing beyond my simple sacrifice:

20131011_145056

our 2nd blessing,

1393534769

*****

i have stopped asking myself  ‘why did i wait until 30 years old to finally do a bikini competition?’ and accept that the ‘delay’ was all apart of His plan for my life.  He knows me better than i ever will. He created me.   fitness will forever be my passion. i was born to do this! no doubt in my mind.  but abusing my gift and living an unbalanced, unhealthy lifestyle was never apart of the deal.  if balance is not present in anything we do, the snowball effect takes place.  you may think you can handle it and that things are under control for a few weeks….months….even years… but eventually the scales tip and fall over.  i highly doubt i would have been able to handle sacrificing my body for even one child had i dabbled in the sport of bodybuilding at a much younger age.  i’ve learned that menstrual cycle issues are such touchy and taboo subjects for women competitors, and some would simply rather not discuss it.  apparently some women never lose their cycle, and some cycles come right on back once that competitor’s body fat level rises to a normal range. does that happen for the majority of women competitors? good question. i don’t know. i do know that the road to conception is different for every woman…just like the pregnancy itself, labor, and delivery.  every woman’s got her story whether she chooses to share it or not.

writingishard

this post was months in the making.  part of me wanted it to come out perfectly, and the other half just wanted it to come OUT already.  i’m no longer ashamed or so secretive of the fertility drug discussions or questions.   7.3 million active and inactive women face infertility, yet it’s still such a taboo subject, especially in the bodybuilding and athletic arena.  the sense of feeling like less of a woman for being unable to conceive naturally can be overwhelming and lead to a loss of self-worth.  unfortunately, the same can be said depending on the way a woman delivers her baby!  there is nothing wrong with ‘help’. pain meds, epidurals, c-sections, etc.,–  they all go under the same umbrella in my eyes.  infertility is a medical condition, not a measure of who you are as a person.  breaking my silence has been incredibly empowering and played a crazy huge role in eliminating the ‘broken’ feelings i used to have about my body.  this ongoing journey has reinforced how living as a positive, balanced, realistic picture of health to my family and everyone i reach via social media, my blog, and on the street is such a vital part of my purpose.

yourstory

transparency is not easy. i feel the reader isn’t affected nearly as much as the writer spilling their beans and putting themselves out there.  regardless, it sure does feel good to share.

as always, thanks for reading.

le

my 14 week transformation

 remember this?  boooo… *throws a tomato*

- June 2012 -

Chiso had just turned one a month prior to my decision to compete in my first bikini competition.  my weight fluctuated give or take 5-10 lbs in either direction depending on what i ate since i had given birth.  heck, even pre-prenancy.  in a way, i was honestly sorta proud of my post-preggo body…i mean the few extra pounds that i did gain melted off rather quickly and i was back to my pre-preggo weight pretty fast.   but, i was still unsatisfied with myself to say the least.  i still didn’t have my goal body.

i’m 5’10 and my starting weight according to my home scale was:

161 lbs.

21% body fat

per my trainer’s scale:

156 lbs.

21% body fat

translation = fluffy!

two weeks into my training, i had my very first progress check.  even after just a full week of clean eating, i saw changes instantly and got so excited i made a post about them.

- JUNE  23rd. -

156. 5 lbs.

19.88% bf

20120623_084322

 – JUNE 23rd -

however, i was still super sloppy fluffy and had a lot of work to do. plus a horrible, horrible tan.

20120623_084336

- JUNE 23rd -

  i was still breastfeeding at the time, hence all that boobage.  heavy boobs reeeeally gave me awful posture, but having a great, supportive regular and sports bra helped.  i’d rather just lose body fat though, wouldn’t you?!

- JULY 7th. -

153 lbs.

18.5% bf

each progress check was done early in the morning- can’t you tell?  and hey now, after two more weeks, you can see i’m a little tighter, specifically in my mid section.  the slim waist i never thought i was built to have was slowly appearing!  i was easily fitting dresses that were purposely hidden in the back of my closet cause they were too uncomfy to wear anymore.  my pride would not let me get rid of them.

20120707_080805

- JULY 21st. -

152.5 lbs.

16.2% bf

the july 7th pics look pretty similar  to july 21st, huh!  i did 50 billion comparisons between them to make sure they really were different.  i thought my trainer had sent the same pics twice for a second there, but my polar heart rate watch gave it away.

 20120707_080813

- JULY 21st. -

thigh gap was getting wider and they were slimming right on down.

- AUGUST 4th -

147.8 lbs.

13.5% bf

awww yeeeeeah, big difference there, huh!  why? carb cycling.  yep, i did a post on that too, but there are so many awesome informational sites on the net that go into greater detail as to how it all works.  it’s very simple though. don’t over complicate it.  i had  three low carb days followed by one high carb day and repeated that over and over again for a few weeks.  i was able to lose fat while keeping my muscle!  seeing progress like this lifted my butt outta bed every morning to do my cardio.

20120818_081010

- AUGUST 18th.  -

142 lbs.

11.11% bf

by my next progress check, i had found my show suit. i had just finished posing practice with my coach, so i took my pics in it.  i was down 2% lower in the body fat and lost another 5 lbs from the carb cycling.

20120818_081024

 – AUGUST 18th -

i’ve got wings!

 – AUGUST 18th. -

4 weeks away and ashy.  it’s important that i note that i was not only feeling slim at that time, but i felt STRONG, mentally and physically.  in the past, i could easily drop a few pounds after exercising my face off for a few days and heavily restricting my diet of carbs, sugar, and fat.   i often felt lethargic, super tired, and moody though.  i didn’t understand how women could diet down to a size they wanted without feeling…well, BAD.  this was totally not normal! if i had to feel that way in order to achieve my goal, i felt it was worth it.  it was a very sad situation and a screwed up, unhealthy relationship with food and fitness.  after i hit my ‘goal’ weight (yes i said weight and not body) i would eventually let those foods back into my diet.  why?  well cause i craved them terribly, that’s why!! which equals instant weight gain.  you better believe i know better, now. there IS a better, healthier way.

- SEPTEMBER 1st -

144.4 lbs.

10.6% bf

why did i weigh more here?  water, water, water weight.  i was drinking over a gallon a day at this point…or trying too, lol.

 two weeks left until show time and not able to fit a single thing in my closet.

- SEPTEMBER 13th -

137 lbs.

8.7% bf

two days out here and super slim after peeing my heart out and getting rid of all that darn water.   my diet on this day and show day was full of carbs though which helped my muscles to fill out and ‘pop’.

i ended up at 138 on show day.  hadn’t seen the 130’s in this decade!

the big day!  September 15th.

23 lbs and 13% body fat lost in 14 weeks.

 alriiiiight, time for just a few questions i’ve received up to this point:

Q: did/do you take supplements?

A: no. no protein shakes, no fat burner pills, no powders.  i started and finished this journey completely natural.  the only ‘supplement’ i took every morning is the same thing i’ve been taking for the past two years- my generic prenatal pills.

**i’m not taking shots at or discrediting anyone who used those items along their journey to the stage.  could i have improved my results with them? possibly!  i wanted to remain natural though because i was also nursing Chiso heavily at the time. we are just  now in the weaning stages (any day now) but i never had to worry about him ingesting anything questionable and having a bad/allergic reaction to it.

Q: will you compete again?

A: absolutely! i know the experiences hereafter aren’t guaranteed to turn out as amazingly cool as my first one, but that’s ok!  i loved seeing my body change and transform in addition to all the information and knowledge i soaked up along the way.  i still keep in contact with some of the amazing competitors i went through this journey with at that.

Q: how was it competing at the same time as your husband?

A: *blank stare* :shock: i don’t think i wanna do that part again!  the sugar withdrawals made me … how should i say.. hard to live with? lol.  sharing my food with Sonny was never a problem before, but because everything had to be precisely measured, ‘no you can’t have even a spoonful.’ *straight face*. omg i was so mean!  it’s just that when i have a goal and already racing against time, i don’t want to be up on stage telling myself  ‘see!? if only you hadn’t eaten (or not eaten) that  _____’. i wanted to do everything right the first time.  which is also why i didn’t cheat on my diet-  no nibble, no bite, no taste of anything that was not on my meal plan.  i wouldn’t have been able to sleep at night!!  if we both compete at the same time again in the future, i’ll definitely know what to expect…

Q:  how are you adjusting to off season?

A: weeeell, if you follow me on Instagram (fitfoodiele) then you’d know that off-season is going great!  i’m maintaining my current weight and body fat until my next competition.   i’m also experimenting with building a little muscle too.  i’m feeling solid, slim, and strong, not overworking myself in the gym, and enjoying my food freedom to the absolute FULLEST, lol.  i still eat 5-6 meals every 3 hours all day long, and i workout 5-6 days a week including teaching my two gym classes.  i’m following 6 Pack USA for my current workout and nutrition plan- the same program Sonny used to get ready for his 1st, 2nd, and 3rd show.  read more about 6 Pack USA below.

progress instacollage!

what did we learn here?  CLEAN EATING AND WORKING OUT guarantees successful results.  depending on what you got goin on in your life determines how fast you get them though.  remember,  just like you prioritize anything else, fitness has to fit in there somewhere too.  you should never, ever, be too busy to take care of yourself.   now whether you want to use powders, pills, and all that extra stuff is up to you!  just know you don’t need it.  some might argue that those things repair joints and aid in recovery etc., but adequate rest can do the same thing.

  6 Pack USA offers both personalized workout & nutrition plans specific to your fitness goals.  before competing, i knew how i wanted to look, and i had the exercise part down!  i even ate what i thought to be healthy and was spot on, however, my portion sizes were not specific to me and the results i desired.  even though i was a group exercise instructor, always active, ran 5 and 10k’s often and worked out hard 5-6 days a week, i couldn’t out train my diet.

Sonny used 6 Pack USA for his nutrition and workout regiment for his competitions and currently.  his results were phenomenal!  see?

sonny progress 6 pack

2 month progress shot from June 10th – Aug. 21st;  26 lbs  lost using 6 Pack USA.  yes, 8 weeks.

1hdhere Sonny is competing in our first show on Sept. 15th in the male model swimwear round.

hdr7

ripped, front to back!

sonny fort worth

he then went on to win 1st place in his second show in Fort Worth a couple of weeks later.

20121117_172300

and at his final show of 2012 in Las Vegas, he place 8th out of 54 men at Fitness America Weekend.  his first international show up against regional winners from all over the world!

if you are interested joining 6 Pack USA, please contact either of us directly via email and send us your contact information:

Sonny.Egwuatu@6packusa.com

or

Leah.Egwuatu@6packusa.com or le@fitfoodiele.com for any fitness or nutrition questions, advice, or tips.

we can also be reached by phone at (281) 912-3804.

whether you want to set a goal to compete in your first bodybuilding competition in 2013 or to live a healthier, fitter, lifestyle, 6 Pack USA can make it happen.  if you have any more questions for me concerning my journey to the stage, ask away!

le

2012 Space City Muslcemania Championships Show / 5th wedding anniversary

*****September 15th, 2012*****

GLORY TO GOD for allowing us to participate in this journey from start to finish. 

my first bodybuilding competition has come and gone! what a weekend/week to remember.  i’ve been trying to collect as many pics as possible from my friends, family, and even some of the professional photos but i am so backed up with pictures and posts i need to just POST something already!!!

THANK YOU to my posing coach, Christine Anderson of CAC and Food 4 Thought.  She is an amazing woman, exceptional teacher, and most important, a true pleasure to work with.   she is always on time, pleasant, positive, full of energy, and so very passionate about sharing her knowledge and expertise with her clients.  i highly recommend working with Christine whether it’s your first or 50th show.  she is as professional as they come!  i definitely learned from the best.

Christine and i together at the dress rehearsal 1 week before i hit the stage.

i can’t speak for the other girls, but i was waaaay more nervous for dress rehearsal than the actual show!   i enjoyed meeting and making friends with the other competitors along the way.  i loved hearing about their ‘story’ and why they chose to compete.  that’s definitely what i get asked the most too.  as crazy as this sounds, it didn’t dawn on me that these girls were my competition until that day lol!  we all worked so hard for the changes we made to our bodies- it was an awesome thing to not only watch my own body transform, but to witness their progress too.

that following friday evening, Sonny and i attended the mandatory check-in meeting for all the competitors.  the administrators gave us the run down on how things would go on show day and other important info we needed to know.

we also got our spray tans done that night as well as our numbers, 21 and 23.  we had to wear dark, loose fitted clothing so that we wouldn’t mess up the tan job. it looks like our clothes are swallowing us.

i also met up with and chatted with some of the funniest and coolest girls i’ve ever met, seriously.  i expected show day to be SUPER long, but hanging out and laughing with these girls backstage all day made it fly by!  the entire experience was that much more enjoyable because of them.

Sonny passing his drug test with flying colors. too bad they don’t check for traces of popeyes chicken grease :shock:

show day!

 i know, i know. looks disgusting but it’s my big bowl of banana oats with cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla creme stevia.  i ate it on the way to get my makeup done and hair curled.

it’s a miracle!  after 3 months of looking straight rough, i appreciated this makeover very, very much.  THANK YOU to Tinnell Sloan  for working every single ounce of her magic on me that day. i needed it.

ducklips = feelin myself.

headed to the venue, bright and early.

 but still late :roll:

we all got dressed and ready for the big group photo outside the venue…Sonny missed it by mere minutes!!

however he made it for the guys only pic. this picture SCREAMS hard work, doesn’t it!?  among other things, LOL

after that, we took individual portraits outside as well.

Sonny and his washboard abs waiting his turn for his solo shot.

Dani and i waiting to take our individuals! i met this fabulous woman at our first posing camp about 2 months prior.  we exchanged numbers and kept in touch and checked on each other throughout those crazy weeks of training.

after pics, we head back to the dressing rooms to change into our theme wear.  the order of events was posted right outside the door – Sonny started the show and i ended it, literally.  and this was only the morning show order of events, not the whole day like i thought!

in the dressing room joking, taking pics, primping, eating, and just waiting.

 i was an Olympic sprinter and Dani was a pin-up girl. my baton was around there somewhere!

i went out to take a quick peek and was able to catch Sonny heading out to start the show!  this was his club wear. super sharp;)

  when they finally called our class to come line up my heart skipped several beats.

as i watched the girl in front of me take a deep breath and walk out on stage into the lights, i said to myself in my head, ‘this is it, Leah, DO IT.’

the stage guy interrupted my thoughts and said ‘alright, go, go, go’.  i said a prayer and just went.

  

aaaaaaaaaand 1 minute later, it was over!!!

 

here are a few shots of my Nigerian soccer player doing his thing for the theme wear round.

way to sell it, Mr. E!

my gorgeous buddy Kaleigh (1st time competitor) and i after finishing up the theme wear -tall round. we did it, girl!!  we survived on Walden Farms products (sugar-free, fat-free, carb-free, gluten-free, EVERTHANG-free) to spice up our meal plans lol.

**intermission break **

 we were able to come out and visit with the friends and family that came to support us!  we are so grateful for all the cheers, encouraging words, pictures, videos, well wishes, presence, and love.  THANK YOU sincerely, family and friends!!!

being cheesy for a pic in my runner stance.  my cheeks were so sore by that point.

my bro, Chiso, and i!  during the break, i went home to spend more time with my little guy as i missed his butt so bad and we hadn’t even left for Jamaica yet.

@ home taking more pictures.

halfway done-  we then headed back to the venue for the evening show and swimwear/bikini rounds.

and we’re back!  all changed and ready to go….to wait some more.

the nerves were all gone at this point- i was just ready to get it over with more than anything.

 no vid for this round, but i do think it went WAY better than my theme wear round. i was comfortable and nerve-free by then.

there’s my front pose for the judges,

the back,

and the front again!  how’d i do?

2nd place – bikini tall class!!

this was certainly an added blessing.  my ultimate goal was to just get through this darn training journey and hit the stage for the first time and do my best.  i am so grateful and humbled.

that leads me to my next THANK YOU which goes to my extremely patient trainer, Travis!!!!  thank you for answering my bajillion questions, texts, emails, calls, and emails :lol: .  even when i was dog tired on the way to our sessions, i would always be pumped and re-energized after our workouts.  physically and mentally.  he encouraged and reassured me along the way and promised to have my body ready for this show.  he did just that!  i share this win with him in my heart as he contributed to making my first competition a very special one to remember.  he has plenty of clients but gave me his undivided attention and made my goals, his goals.  he’s an awesome, highly recommended trainer to work with!  good luck on YOUR upcoming show, Travis!

Sonny also brought home some hardware too- that’s my hubby!!! 2nd from the right in the striped bottoms. i am so proud of him.

ok back in the dressing room, i HAD to snap this of Dani savoring a snickers bar immediately after we were totally done.  she is going to kill me but her face is PRICELESS. but those abs though!!!

 ‘why wait?’

DON’T.

hahahahahaahaha

few more pics with the ladies before we parted ways for the evening. two bikini girls, two figure girls.

then i went to find Sonny so we could rep for anniversary #5! all natural, baby!

this girl here… my angel.  THANK YOU, Ogechi, for inspiring me to even start blogging in the first place.  you have been with me from the jump!  you have prayed with me, over me, and for me and i’m so grateful to God for blessing me with your friendship.  i was under the impression that Ogechi was all the way in Atlanta that day, but she surprised the heck outta me and was sitting in the audience for the evening show the entire time!!! her support means the WORLD to me and i love her (and her recipes i will be posting more of! ) so, so much. i appreciate you my dear sister and friend.

 what an awesome 1st experience, period.  so grateful to have done this with Sonny by my side and also celebrate 5 years of marriage and counting.

thank you for reading!

le

competition eve

i’m getting used to not doing morning cardio already lol!!! my last cardio workout was wednesday, so thursday i went and got a pedi for the first time since this past April.

i have always been uncomfortable with falling asleep in public places, especially when i’m travelling alone. i don’t see how people do it. i just feel so vulnerable and i’m sure people have been taken advantage of in those types of situations.  however, when i tell you that this is the first time i have ever dozed off during a pedicure and plain did not care, you better believe it.  i got the works- massage, wax wrap thing, salt scrub, yeah all that. it felt that darn good and was well worth the wait.

golden toes! they will match my show suit perfectly, you’ll see!  i would have gone for the french tip (or whatever it’s called) but ummmmmm, i can’t get that done on my toes for the very same reason i didn’t include my left foot in the shot. HAHAHAHA

this morning’s breakfast: 1 egg + 2 whites, banana pancakes, and a bowl of oatmeal that isn’t pictured.

this is prolly THE saddest breakfast shot i’ll ever take but i don’t regret posting it.  every meal isn’t a pretty presentation although most times that is what i strive for, even if i don’t take a pic.  i remember trying to WOW Sonny when we first got married with my food creations and presentations.  i really do enjoy them. it’s all apart of my cooking/kitchen experience lol. ok ANYWAY,   i burned my omelette at that.  i cut it up, added some fresh cilantro and dijon mustard and enjoyed every bite.  i used to put one egg white into my pancakes, but one morning i tried leaving the eggs out entirely to see if it would still cook and hold together ok.  and it did.  i added water to the mix instead.  i just wanted a bigger omelette, that’s all.  that way, it seems like im eating more food.  get it? and besides,  after putting ‘i can’t believe it’s not butter’  and Walden Farms pancake syrup over them, the consistency doesn’t even matter anymore.   still the yummiest, cleanest pancakes ever!  but if you’d like them to look prettier, add the egg.

  i really thought it would be hard for me to just sit down and do absolutely nothing today, but that feeling passed rather swiftly  :lol:

i also woke up with something extra-

lots of HAIR!!! and a headache as my scalp is super sore:(.  i normally don’t get my hair done, done unless there’s a huge event happening. aaaand well, this one calls for it.  i’m ready to whip it all across the stage tomorrow!

i picked up a slab of salmon yesterday in prep for Sonny’s last meals before our show.

i used some Walden Farms (calorie-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, cholesterol-free, etc) pancake syrup, Mc Cormick smokehouse maple seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried parsley.

12 min in a 450 deg oven. cooking salmon could not be any easier.

or any tastier.

i paired it with lime brown rice and steamed asparagus just before Sonny drowned everything in sriracha (hot sauce). sweet, salty, and spicy.

only thing left to do for the show is tan. that will be done tonight and again tomorrow (touch ups). oh and my makeup as well- bright and early!

le

10 days to destiny

my last post was deleted completely and i almost cracked.  it’s not the first time that has happened, but when it does, my ‘make up’ post usually turns out better the second time.  and i remember to add a whole bunch of stuff i left out the first time. so, it’s all good.

so, HI :)

this post was supposed to go out on Labor Day, whoops.  speaking of LD, was there a party at your gym late-morning/early afternoon too!?  i think everybody slept in, then got up and went to the gym at the same time.  there were people EVERYWHERE on every machine.  that’s a good thing though as there are no holidays for your health.

oh and also, i have managed to go from an iPhone, to a brand spanking new Samsung galaxy s3, to NO phone in a matter of days.  gaaaaaaaaaaaah, having no phone is THE absolute worst thing ever these days.  especially when it’s your fault :roll: replacement phone is en route. i miss Instagram so much, lol!  IG on the PC is wack!

*update*

10 days, not weeks, left until the show.  i have always been a cardio horse, so these last few days of it will be a piece of cake.

 i actually gained some weight this past week (due to the carb loading, water, and gaining more muscle), but i still managed to drop a tad more body fat, whoop whoop.  last progress pic(s) until the show- no spoilers!

 currently at:

144lbs

10% body fat

few more progress shots before this morning’s workout (stole Sonny’s phone)

my meal plan is different all the way up until show day, so my trainer says to expect more changes and i will.

my abs seem to have disappeared for the moment, but it’s temporary bloating.  you know i asked!!

#backaction

even more reason to love my racerback tops now!

got my show suit, got my theme wear and now all i need to do is PRACTICE.  some more.  oh and get that other stuff done too of course: waxing, makeup, hair, and tanning.  my posing coach, Christine, sent out an email that included a checklist of everything i need to have done or do. all i can say is WHEW!  i felt this same feeling before my wedding, before Sonny’s 30th birthday party,  before Chiso’s 1st birthday party…  yeah, pretty much before any big event.  a feeling of suffocation, anxiety, and my mind racing a mile a minute… just ready to just get this the heck over with.  my life will then settle down a bit…until the next thing i get myself into.

now for some food porn!!!!

this was Chiso’s breakfast today- his current favorite.  banana oat pancakes, banana chunks, and eggs.

i packed a quick snack for him before i headed out too: roasted sweet potatoes, some ripe avocado, and strawberries.

while i was making breakfast, i got going on my lunches-  i munched on steak and potatoes for my low carb menu today.  i roasted my sweet potatoes last night (450 deg oven for about 45 min), so they were already soft and just needed to be reheated later.

i put my grill pan over super high heat and grilled my steaks which had been marinating in liquid smoke, garlic powder, onion powder, and montreal steak seasoning.

i packed up meals 2 and 3 before heading out earlier.

however when i got home this evening, i got fancy!  this totally feels like a cheat meal, forreal.  i made garlic sweet potato fries instead of my usual roasted.  i told you sweet potatoes are SO versatile!

i cut them up, then i got crazy and used all this on them lol.  no added calories but plenty of flavor.  (the smokehouse maple seasoning does have sodium and sugar in it but i went super-duper light) i read about the butter flavoring and it’s pretty awesome and smells WONDERFUL.

end result:

POW!!!

grilled sirloin steak topped with avocado, garlic sweet potato fries, and fresh sautéed spinach.  i’ll be Instagramming this as soon as i get my phone back lol.

 it tasted as amazing as it looked!

*season the fries and pop them in a 400 deg oven for about 20 min.  spread them out so they cook evenly*

and i get to have it one more time for meal 6!! happy rest of your hump evening!!

le

feelin good, feelin great

you know the saying, ‘it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.’   well, things got waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better this week, starting with my food.  new stuff on the menu! went the store and got those items this past weekend so i could start my week off on the right foot.

i hit up HEB of course and saw these little pink signs aaaaall down the bulk aisle.  yep, i was in the bulk aisle and wasn’t tempted at all, really! just stopped to get some papaya for Chiso and kept it moving.  but back to these signs, OK, who ruined it for everybody!? i guess i’ll raise my hand too.  they better be glad i’m not eating sweets right now, hmph.  just kidding, i’m too scary to try that, really.

few things i picked up: more mc cormick grill mates seasonings (still 1 buck at HEB), some garlic powder, onion powder, and liquid smoke.  ever heard of it?? it’s EVERYTHING-free and provides awesome smokey flavor for your proteins.  i had it for the first time on some baked pork chops, but i think it goes excellent with grilled steak. it’s like 95 cents!

i got plenty of limes and cilantro to add to my big vat of rice.

which equals cilantro-lime rice! smelled so fresh and citrusy.

matter fact i had so many limes i decided to make a limeade.  you know, the same thing you do at restaurants sometimes.

juice of two limes, 1 tsp stevia in the raw, 8 oz cold water.  stir!  add more water as needed.

less than 3 weeks left until showtime and my meal planS are all over the place and i LOVE it!  they will keep on changing and rotating until the day of the show.  my trainer is confusing the heck outta my body and it’s responding positively.  i’ve been carb cycling for the last few weeks, and now i’m carb loading.

 which means *drum-roll* more yummy rice and FRUIT!

meal #6 from last night. #inhaled

yesterday i felt strong enough to lift a house.  i don’t ever remember feeling so high, so full of energy,  and just plain READY to tackle the weights.   ever.

still workin on that un-flexed bicep lol

i felt and looked physically stronger (to me anyway) and there were veins and muscles i had never seen before popping out everywhere.

  i felt compelled to text my trainer after my workout to tell him how much i was loving my meals and how awesome i was feeling.  he replied with ‘carb loading is a beautiful thing!’.

why YES, YES IT IS!

instabreakfast this morning:

what? like all your bowls are chip-free.

i scrambled my eggs this time and added fresh cilantro, garlic & onion powder, and a little lemon pepper seasoning.  topped those banana pancakes with a few shots of ‘i can’t believe it’s not butter’ spray and some Walden Farms pancake syrup.  yep, breakfast is STILL my fav meal of the day by far.

what low or no calorie things do you add to your food for better flavor? 

le

wackday

wednesday was one of those days.  when i don’t get enough rest my world comes crashing down.  i wanted to say screw this whole competition, quit, and eat an entire papa johns pizza. :evil:  i want to eat an entire pizza every day, but that day i threatened myself out loud.  it just got worse and worse as the day went on.  i worked out with my trainer that morning, and i somehow hit the gym in the evening for round two.

i took a pic just so i could remember this very day and my mood at the time.  i can laugh at it now, but i’m pretty positive i’ll feel like this again or worse in the next few weeks as my journey to the stage draws near.  and come on, a journey wouldn’t be a journey if it didn’t have a mixture of good, bad, high, and low days.

keep. pressing. forward.

that was prolly my worst workout of this entire journey though.  i could barely get my heart rate up to my fat burning zone, and i literally struggled to keep it there, which is always relatively easy.  after my last meal that night, THANKFULLY Chiso calmed down enough to go to sleep early with me even though he took a late nap.

Thursday was a new day. a better day.  a high carb day.  i DID get some good rest the night before and felt tons better, mentally and physically.

Chiso wasn’t the only one enjoying fresh fruit that day :)

this is just some of his meal… sweet potatoes, avocado, and his fav, strawberries.

i got in some posing practice that night after my cardio.

POW, stick that hip out there!

i can be silly/goofy/flirty, but being serious/sexy/flirty WITHOUT laughing and feeling like an idiot is the tough part.  how i will ever manage to sell it and make it believable on stage is beyond me, but i have 3 weeks to figure it out.

i feel wack taking these pics of myself but who do you think i am, june ambrose!? i need a picture snapping assistant.  sometimes.

this will be my final pose before exiting the stage. :shock: kidding.

i didn’t even think to bring my show suit with me-  my coach said i should be practicing in it or at least less clothing from here on out though. she’s absolutely right cause i could not see my body the way i needed to.

some days i feel way too skinny, some days i feel like i could maintain this weight.  either way, Sonny reminded me that if i do fall off the wagon after this competition, i now have the tools and the knowledge to get my body back where i want it to be. well, what could i say after that lol?

i made more banana pancakes this morning cause they make me happy.  and i need all the happiness i can get!!!!

  i think i have made/eaten them for the past week and i can’t stop.  until i can add more crazy ingredients to my batter, i’ll have them just like this up until the show.  so YES, more pics of pancakes are coming, you’ve been warned.

have you made these pancakes yet!? what did you put in yours?

*****HAPPY FRIDAY*****

le

1 month out

less than 1 month away.

show suit? done.  themewear?  being worked on and almost done.  there is still so much more to do, ESPECIALLY posing practice.  most of the rest will be knocked out the week of the show though.  hair, nails, waxing, tanning …girl stuff.

*update*

142 lbs

11% body fat

my cardio hours are gettin on up there… i’m at 9+ a week.  i like to do a little every day- that works for me.  however i know some competitors who can’t get to the gym as often as they like and will do double or triple duty at once. omg!  i would hate to do it that way…but i would if i had to.  shows just how much determination they have to reach their goals though.  super admirable.

i’m having VIVID dreams about the things i plan to eat after the show.  i woke up earlier this week dreaming i was stuffing a chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing into my mouth.  it was so real.  however my sugar cravings are actually under control and don’t bother me anymore.  i still want the fatty, greasy stuff though, and i will be having papa johns as one of my post comp meals!!! i went to my sis-in-law’s graduation dinner last night (CONGRATS MICHELLE, OTC!!!!!!) and the food looked and smelled absolutely wonderful.  see?

there were egg rolls…

there was cheese dip…

can’t have dip without chips…

and BREAD.

*faints*

all within arms reach.

my bro ordered somethin i’d prolly get myself- a cheese stuffed portabella mushroom topped chicken breast.  FOODGASM.  however, i wouldn’t have gotten double potatoes for sides. who does that!?

 i ate my meal in the car on the way and that helped tremendously.

i will NOT be messing these abs up.  YOU HEAR ME!? i’m screaming at that nightmare cupcake, not you.

that’s all i got. i’m tired. night.

le

6 weeks out – update

no morning run today.  i slept in and do NOT feel bad about it!  i was up late last night prepping meals for the week and needed the extra sleep.

  i worked out with my trainer saturday,

shoulders, legs, and stairmaster = sweaty mess.

i actually don’t mind the cardio at all- even when i don’t have my ipod.  i’m up to 7 hours of it a week, which is just an hour a day. (weight training and ab work is not included in that though).  after i get nice and warm (at least 10 min into it) i don’t feel a thing.  i do try to keep it exciting and use several machines.  20 min here, 20 there, 20 somewhere else, and i only start counting again when my heart rate reaches my fat burning zone.  no cheating on my diet OR workouts!!

*update*

after 3 successful rounds of carb cycling and two more weeks out the window:

146lbs  (lost 4.7)

2.7 % body fat lost, which brings me down to 13%.

i always kept a light sweater with me at all times cause i get cold easily.  however, 68 degrees for our home temp is now unbearable.  Sonny is convinced that the house must be this cold in order for him to sleep. *side-eye*  i’ve been going to bed in thermals recently- long sleeve tops AND bottoms in the middle of a Houston Summer!!! however it makes sense- less body fat and weight, less insulation.

i missed Chiso’s stank butt so much this weekend! i surprised Sonny with a short and sweet getaway for his birthday (post coming), and Chi spent some good times with his grandparents :)

what can i say.. this has been the toughest week yet and it’s only gonna get tougher.  after 3 rounds of carb cycling, i’m in the middle of my fourth.  per my trainer, no changes to my meal plan this week since my body is responding so great to the carb cycling.  i just keep thinking over and over again how little time i have left. i’m 100% dedicated to reaching my goal, i can do this, and it will all be over soon.  in that order. lol.  at this point i’m craving things i don’t even normally eat- frito pie, doritos… churros…   and my obsession with food network is about to ruin my life.  if i’m not watching it on TV, i’m on food blogs all day long.  food is SUCH a huge part of my life. i’m a FOODIE.  makes me wonder if i’ll do another show after this one to be completely honest. the urge to binge only comes around full force when i’m watching Paula Deen put 42 sticks of butter into her upside down apple cake.  outta sight outta mind really works best for me at this point.

anyway, i have these guys (thick cut sirloin steaks) marinating in some Braggs liquid aminos, green onion, cilantro, and montreal steak seasoning, and will throw them on the grill tonight when i get home.

on a lighter note, i must express how much i LOOOOOVE the Instagram community, WOW!!! if you aren’t following some of these crazy inspirational, motivational,  health and fitness role models, then just looking through their pics is still worth every second of your time.  they are REAL, hard-working moms and dads doing the healthy thing, sharing recipes, fitness tips,  and reaching their goals one day at a time.  after this show i cannot wait to get crackin’ on some of these recipes!! look’em up:

fitfoodiele :lol:

fitfoods

livefiteatclean

powercakes

onefitfoodie

c_fitnessjourney

eatclean_behappy

fit4aprincess

MyFitnessLife24

kristfitj1210

fitandsexy_fe

healthygirll

instagramfitness

mattyb2126

myhealthydish_

there are waaaaaaaaaaaaay too many more, but take a peek at these guys and girls.

enjoy the rest of this blessed day!

le

biki…no

yesterday was the day. bikini day.  my trainer told me the previous week that i would need to bring one with me so we could check my progress so far.   all i could think about was ‘somebody get me a razor’ :lol:

i am officially 12 weeks out from the show.  a gigantic inspiration and fellow blogger friend of mine,  Nichola, opened my eyes to just how much time we have left! :shock: please read about her transformation from 170 lbs to competing in her first figure competition last month!!  AMAZING.  all this time i’ve been saying ‘September’ which makes the show sound light years away.

i was super anxious to hear my results.  see the chart below.  do you know where you fall??

body fat stats (%)

male

female

very lean

<11

<19

lean

11-14

19-22

healthy

15-17

23-27

average

18-22

28-35

unhealthy

>22

>36

don’t know? well, whip out your caliper.  kidding, you can find it at home using a scale, measuring tape, and a calculator.  try it.

**2 week results**

5lbs and 2% body fat down, + several inches all over.  although my biceps are going the wrong way , booooo

161.5 lbs ———-to———->156.5 lbs

21.9% bf———-to———->19.8% bf

hips 39.5 ———to———->35.5

abs 31———-to———->27.75

neck 12———-to———->11.5

chest 35———-to———->32.5

bicep 11———-to———->10.5

forearm 9.5———-to———->9.5

thigh 21 ———-to———->20.5

calf 15———-to———->14.25

i’m still 5’10”. see my before pics here.  and ignore my ghetto tan..i ran in the sun like 3 weeks ago and it still hasn’t faded. currently:

give mommy a minute, Chiso, please

for real, i’m almost done, Chiso, really

OK, last one, gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!

clearly that baby was ready to nurse and we were playing around.

bikini pics before my workout.

my trainer says i need to hit my abs way harder and he’s right.  will just keep working.

how do i feel?  i’m happy to report that my sugar cravings have pretty much subsided… almost completely.  i can’t tell you how happy i am about that.  HOWEVER, i now feel like a typical preggo woman cause i’m craving fatty foods like pizza, fries, cheeseburgers, lasagna, and mac n cheese. and  i didn’t crave a thing when i was preggo!

it’s sunday so i’m in the kitchen prepping our meals for tomorrow and tuesday. i don’t make them too far in advance cause 1) these things take up a crap load of space in the fridge, and 2) food poisoning is not cool and i can’t afford to get sick at this stage in the game.  better safe than sorry!

heading out for some more family QT today- have a BLESSED rest of your day as we get ready for another week!

le