****DISCLAIMER**** 

Sensitive topic alert!

Never thought I’d see the day when I’d feel this way. When fitness and training, for general health and well-being as well as sports and competing,   becomes more of a chore and a struggle than an enjoyable act of self improvement. Because everyone knows…

However for the past month, I have awaken every morning bag packed headed to the gym with no pep in my step,  no passion, no excitement,  no joy! Like a cloud of despair and defeat looms over my head. I started to feel somewhat just FIT(ish) … going through the motions with no true desire to really be in the gym working out or home prepping meals and counting macros, etc. but all the while frustrated about my tendency for overeating (future blog post), the ever climbing numbers on the scale and the tightening of clothes that once fit just fine.

Part of it is sheer exhaustion and fatigue from the rigors of recent changes and transitions in my professional nursing career, that will eventually settle out once I get on a stable life-work schedule and routine. A second part of it is also sheer discomfort and pain, as a result of past injuries and musculoskeletal imbalances that nag my aging frame at now 35 years of age, that will also resolve with routine trips to therapy and adequate rest.

But lastly, a third part  to my lack of drive is more recent, and many will say its resolvable as well, as it simply requires mental toughness. But how easy is mental toughness and resilience when the very act of lifting weights and training, despite my recent decision to never return to the bodybuilding stage (details in a future post), these activities become a constant reminder of a poor decision made just a few short months ago, and the individual involved who hurt you and damaged your trust in them and consequently your ability to trust in general.

Emotional pain has a tendency to manifest itself in psychosomatic fashion, and the physical pain and fatigue experienced in the first two reasons mentioned for my lack of drive to workout and train could also be a result of the following scenario I’m about to share:
How do you find focus or enjoyment in your training when a lot of who you are, and how you train developed from the past trusted coach-athlete relationship you once had with the previously mentioned individual over three years ago. Despite no longer being in a coach-athlete relationship context with this person, and having developed a more personal relationship  in recent months, you find yourself in a situation of being betrayed to a point of no return.

So many levels of emotion and gray areas of confusion and emotion run through my mind daily since I learned the truth about this person. Not only as a Christian, professional career woman and an adult athlete, but also as a coach and trainer myself, it’s hard to grasp the complexity of the intentions this individual may have truly had from the beginning in the past during our coach-athlete relationship and based on the behaviors that occurred in the present during a more personal relationship with this individual. The blurred lines, the recent lies, and the mixed communication, etc. How do you catch all the warning signs without being blindsided?

It’s like everything you once thought you knew about a person is damaged eternally, because the trust you once had for them personally and professionally was a lie. Furthermore, the confidence you once had in yourself, your previous sport, your training and nutrition routine,  and even your own morals feels like it has died. You feel shame, guilt, defeat, doubt, depression, and simply a sense of lost control over how you manage yourself in relationships.

Currently, as a USATF Masters Athlete member of the board and association chair person for disabled youth track and field preparing for my officials credentials , I’m in the process of taking the U.S. SafeSport training. In watching and reading through the lessons in each of the training modules, all I can think about is how these same issues of safety, trust and respect, the dynamics of the coach-athlete relationship, consent, power imbalances, emotional, physical, and sexual misconduct, etc. that happens in youth sports, also happens to adult athletes as well, but in more subtle ways that rest in a gray area of “Oh you’re an adult, so you should know better” or “you knew what you were getting into”.

However, lies, manipulative intentions, and predatorial actions, despite asking the appropriate questions and no matter the age of the coach and/or athlete (whether present or former), are still unacceptable. Especially when one side of the situation has no remorse or sense of a need to at least be honest or apologize for misleading the other person.

In such cases, the athlete is essentially left to pick up the pieces of the sports activities they once enjoyed and learn to love themselves again, understand that they are not to blame themselves for what happen, regain a sense of control, and surround themselves with the people who truly have their best interest at heart.

In an effort to not go into any further details on this topic, I will close with this: What do you do when it’s not FUN anymore….? Forgive,  Forget, and Move Forward. Train harder and live well. Let your negative thoughts drive you to be your best, thinking about it won’t change what happened to you, but your actions and choices you make going forward can change you, and that is the only thing you can control. As my belief system puts it, God will deal with those who hurt you, it’s not your battle to fight! So be blessed.

I do not consider myself a “VICTIM” in this situation, but instead a “VICTOR” because I learned the truth, despite how painful it was, and I got away before things could get any worse. The take home lesson in all of this is to always stay vigilant,  question everything, and if the answers aren’t good enough,  question it again…#StayWoke!

Watch and Pray 
Threats to your personal and professional morality and sense of self-worth are always around in every sport, at every age! As a matter of fact in every area of life itself because, not to start preaching,  but we are in a spiritual war (Read Ephesians 6:10-2).

So despite the recent incidents in my life, one thing is certain, and that’s that God has kept his hand on me on this journey. When I think about my bodybuilding journey in particular, I realized so many beautiful aspects about myself that for years I never realized or considered possible. I learned to love myself, embrace my perfectly imperfect frame and developed a undescribable sense of peace and zeal for life that so many people could not understand or even comprehend (Phil.4:7),  not even the person who helped me get back into the sport and eventually betrayed me years later. So credit is owed where is due, to God! For everything I am and still becoming, it was all God’s doing all the time. He created this athlete that stands before you and is still working on, in, and through me!

Situational setbacks can make you lose sight of the ONE who instilled your passion and enjoyment in your most loved activities. For me it was my personal fitness journey and athletic accomplishments.  Throughout my past and present athletic endeavors I learned so many things about myself,  I enjoyed the self improvements that I made in my 3rd decade of life and continue to set my eyes on God for the direction He wants to take this journey in next decade, and the one’s to come, because all the actual work back then and even now was performed by yours truly by the grace and hand of the Almighty God. To Him be the Glory and the Power Forever!

So until next time….on a lighter happier side of life …

~ I AM (still) CANDICE MARIA ~ and this is (still) ~CANDICE MARIA’S  FIT LIFE ~

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Professional Bodybuilding | It’s All Subjective 

Personal Reflections with Candice Maria

 

My personal reflections and views on competition and experiences in competing. One thing people must realize about my sport and the potential of being successful, or “going pro” in this  industry is that it’s all subjective to the opinions of a few people, the panel of judges one person stands in front of, who they are affiliated with, and what influence that affiliation carries.

3rd Place Open Figure - Class C - NPC Vulcan Classic
3rd Place Open Figure – Class C – NPC Vulcan Classic

Complex Training | Just The Tips | Training tips with Candice Maria

WTH is H.I.R.T.?  I can show you better than I can tell you…lol! Watch and learn!

Until next time….I AM CANDICE MARIA

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The Beauty and the Barbell

NANBF Competition Weekend 2015 | Vlog Update

The up’s and down’s of competition life!  Competing is not all glitz and glam, and giggles, it’s rough, especially when you don’t have support or people who truly believe in you enough to be in the midst of the climb with you. This video is very emotional and contains some rough language, sorry not sorry, watch with caution

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2015 NANBF Ms. Natural Alabama State Figure Champion

 

So, May 15th concluded my participation in the Squat Every Day bodybuilding challenge. I was asked by a fellow member of the bodybuilding community how my personal experience was. My thoughts and reflections are as follows:

I liked it, it was very empowering for me actually. Recovery was good up until my final days when my quads started screaming bloody murder, and effecting my energy levels for the rest of my lifts, still trying to give them breaks but it’s hard because you use your quads for everything, just basic everyday walking around uses your quads, I experienced a lot of fatigue in my last week of it and had to up my calories which sucked being so close to a competition, but overall I accomplished my goal of having much more definition in my quads! Now to get back to goal weight before next weekend and I’m good to go!

I will be hitting the stage for the following next three weekends, yes I said 3! So my training routine has changed simply because certain muscle groups require more detailed emphasis, while others need more rest leading up to competition day in order to ensure every muscle displays well. The following videos are simply just a small glimpse into how my daily squatting activity went. I alternated light and heavy squatting days, primarily to allow time for my muscles to recover.

So would I do it all over again, sure will. It was very empowering, to get up everyday and before I did any other component of that day’s workout, I hit the squat rack. It definitely trained my mental focus. The kind of focus one needs to be laser sharp ready for the day they hit the stage. I almost felt lost going into the gym the first few days afterwards and not doing it. Either way, lift heavy and lift often, and squat everyday.

Until next time…. I AM CANDICE MARIA

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1 Week Out to Competition Season 2015

In the final weeks leading up to my next competition, I decided to take on a personal challenge I found on bodybuilding.com by the founder of MusclePharm nutrition, Cory Gregory, called “Squat Every Day”. My legs have always been my most stubborn asset as a figure competitor, so taking on this challenge initially became my way of pushing my own limits and discovering how much I can transform my lower half for the day I step back on stage, but in reality has so much more meaning to me than just sheer exercise.

The following is an overview of the launch of my first week in this 4-week long challenge. Stay tuned for part 2, and in the meantime get off your butt and get under the bar and #SQUATEVERYDAY!

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Day 1 of #SquatEveryDay Challenge – April 15th 2015

“Don’t be upset by the results you don’t get, from the work you didn’t do” ~ Unknown

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I still put up fairly light weight compared to most, but I am pushing my limits with every day I get under the rack. Like any other career or art form, whether it be your job, your yoga practice or some other form of performance art,  bodybuilding is an art and a practice, that requires time and consistent effort. It’s a lifestyle, my lifestyle. I get up everyday driven by a need to be better than I was yesterday, better than I was last year, the last time I stepped on stage. I am driven by the capacity to push my body to new limits and never settle for societal limitations on my abilities. For me, squatting is more than just an exercise, it’s life coaching. It teaches you, that like in life, you put yourself under the bar, under the stresses and struggles of this world, and it will knock you down, but only the strong, get back up, time and time again! So I squat every day, not just to build the strongest most ripped legs possible, but because everyday life throws hatred, disrespect, and all walks of drama at me, and because I am strong mentally,  I GET BACK UP anyway! That’s why I #SQUATEVERYDAY, it reminds me that despite when circumstances may knock me on my ass, and I hit rock bottom, just how strong I truly am.

 

My current daily squat progression is as follows: Full Barbell Squat

65 x 10

95 x 10

115 x 10

135 x 5-10

155 x 5

175 x 5

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So until next time…..Keep getting under the Rack, Keep SQUATTING and Keep getting Back Up every damn day!

#SQUATEVERYDAY

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

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So I decided to also start a weekly video blog of humorous random rants, fitness and competition prep tips, motivation, jokes, and day in the life silly stuff that I am experiencing during my final weeks leading up to the stage. I will update this post with the videos from my YouTube channel on an ongoing basis. Get ready to enjoy some MO (Motivation) & JO (Jokes) to get you through your week:

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Bodybuilders Brownie

So I’ve tweaked a familiar black bean brownies recipe into the yummy yet lean holiday treat you see in the pic! See the macros as follows:

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The nut butter icing in the above pic is optional and is not tallied into the recipe or macros.Basically add any topping of choice for flavor or mood for the moment but don’t go overboard.

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100 kcal Vanilla Greek Yogurt topping

Recipe ingredients are as follows:

INGREDIENTS
1 15 oz. can (~ 1 3/4 cups) low sodium black beans, well rinsed and drained
2 large flax eggs (2 tbsp flaxseed meal & 5 tbsp water)
3 T organic refined coconut oil, melted (or sub other oil of choice)
2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (the higher quality the better)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 heaping cup Stevia baking sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
slightly ground or pulsed in a food processor or coffee grinder for refined texture
Optional toppings/mix-ins: 1/4 cup slivered almonds
30 g semisweet chocolate chips

~ Merry GAINZ Mas…I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

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Isolate and Grow: Nourish Your Goals – Part 2

ISO-Ambassador Search: Challenge 2: Vote for me before December 1st at http://www.isolatorfitness.com

Click the InfoGraphic below to watch my challenge video submission and see why I love my #ISOBag!

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Until next time…#EatClean, #TrainDirty and #IsolateandGrow compliments of your very own #ISOBag on sale NOW at http://www.isolatorfitness.com

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

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The day I realized that it’s okay to skip the gym was a point of liberation.

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Motto for my GymVacation

“If you ain’t been a part of it, at least you got to witness” ~ Drake

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Since my competition season, this is a concept I have struggled with as I transitioned into my off season.

However, as of recently, my “no days off” mentality has really taken it’s toll on me. I became cranky, irritable, anxious, and down right angry all the time. Plus, I have began losing precious time from things that are equally if not more important in my life right now than my hours spent in the gym on my workouts.

Curretly, I am in the final stretch of my first semester of graduate school, studying Human Performance, Exercise Physiology,  and have a lot of stressful activities coming up and I want to finish strong. So I decided to take a “so what” attitude for a whole week as it relates to going to the gym. “So what if I don’t wake up at 5am, so what if I don’t drive 20 minutes across town everyday, so what if I don’t lift today, so what if I don’t get so wrapped up into my workouts that I spend three hours in the gym, so what if I don’t count my macros, or prep my meals the night before, etc.”

I have to tell myself these things because I have had to come to grips with being ok with taking a break so that I can focus on my studies 150% over the next couple of weeks until the semester break!

Is it an easy choice, yes and no. Yes, because my body is begging for the mental and physical break from the anxiety of keeping up with my training and dieting, and getting behind on my studies, that it has lead  to numerous stress induced binges. No, because the mere act of NOT working out scares me, so to counterbalance that stressor, despite not going to the gym to lift, I will still do regular bouts of lifting, cardio and yoga at home in the interim.

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All in all it’s ok to skip the gym,when you need to reevaluate your priorities in life, especially when you’ve done you’re due diligence and worked so hard to reach your goals. You’ve earned that time to relax and regroup, so when you return, you’ll be stronger than ever!

Today marks one week exactly since I went on my Gym Vacation. I feel more rested, creative and productive, but know it’s time to go back soon. Can’t regress my progress.

So until next time. ..eat clean, train dirty, and rest often.

I AM CANDICE MARIA

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