One of the greatest roadblocks to reaching one’s destiny is indecisiveness. We are faced with a multitude of choices in one day, one expert claims we make over 35,000 in the course of one day in the life. What time to get up in the morning? To gym or not to gym? Coffee at home or at the drive-thru? And the age-old struggle with what to wear? Decisions. Are you good at making them or do you waffle? Are you resolute in your choices or do you have the angel and devil on your shoulders battling back and forth as if you, the decision-maker, doesn’t exist?

We all have a myriad of choices to make and each of these choices influence our outlook on life and the path in which we are on. What choice did you make this morning? When your feet hit the floor? Did you sigh and rub your eyes and shuffle to the bathroom? Or did you stretch and remind yourself to say thank you for another day? While these two choices are drastic extremes, each makes a significant impact on your outlook on the world around you and the day that lies ahead.

The most beautiful thing about this life in which we lead is that each and every single day, when we wake up in the morning, we have a choice to think positively. To believe and feel as though we can and will accomplish whatever it is we want to in our lives. The more layers of negativity we surround ourselves with, the more dulled this feeling becomes. The more distant the utopia becomes.


DIY Cardio Fun!

Workouts are supposed to be enjoyable, right? I know...some days are absolutely horrific and you are counting the minutes until the cardio is OVER...well today, thankfully, was not one of those days for me and after finishing my Back/Chest Lift, I grabbed a jump rope and headed down to the basketball court to entertain myself with :30 minutes of HIIT. Here's what I did:

1:00 min jump rope
Full court suicide
(I hit the top of the 3-pt arc, back to the baseline, half-court, back to the baseline, the opposite end 3-pt arc, back to the baseline, full court, back to baseline)
1:00 min jump rope
5 full court sprints (sprint one length, jog back, and so on)
1:00 min jump rope
Half-court Chunky Monkey Jumps/Half-court Frog Jumps
1:00 min jump rope
Half-court Bear Crawl/Half-court Crab Walk
1:00 min jump rope

Then I repeated this whole sequence again.

As a reward, I grabbed one of the basketballs off the rack and used it as a soccer ball. Soccer is one of my life passions and anytime I have an opportunity to practice juggling (keeping the ball in the air using feet/thighs/head/etc. without letting it hit floor-no hands!) I take it. If there's a ball of some fashion, I will use it. I love practicing my foot skills and dancing around the court imagining I'm the next Pele. :)

The bottom line is that exercise and training has to be fun. Period. If it's not enjoyable, then why do it. Life is too short. Play hard!!


Memorial Day BBQ Feast!

There's nothing quite like a good ol fashioned Memorial Day BBQ and we just knocked one out of the park. My mom is a Food Network fanatic and is constantly reinventing recipes and finding ways to keep meals fresh and healthy. She is an incredible chef and she has been inspiring me with her cooking all my life. Now that I have my very own fabulous kitchen, I too, enjoy rolling up my sleeves and creating amazing feasts for my family and friends. We joined forces today and created an incredible Memorial Day BBQ that provided recipes worthy of many more summer BBQs to come!

Chicken/Veggie Kabobs

Chicken Breast - Marinate in your favorite flavors and cut chicken in to small chunks
Bell Peppers - cut into small chunks
Tomatoes - cut into small chunks or cherry tomatoes work as well
Vidalia and Red Onions - cut into small chunks
Zucchini - cut into small chunks
*You can add really anything you like to the skewers. If you prefer to add mushrooms or squash or anything else, go for it!
Once you have all the veggies and chicken cut in to the appropriate sized chunks begin skewering them on your skewers. Bring them out to a preheated grill and get cooking!

Scallop/Pineapple/Peach Kabobs

1 lb. Sea Scallops - Marinate in minced garlic, lemon juice and a touch of honey for about :30 min prior to grilling
2 Peaches - Cut in to small chunks
1 pineapple - cut into small chunks
*When cutting veggies & fruit in to chunks, make sure they are large enough to skewer and will not fall off or apart once they begin to cook (see pic).

Once fruit is cut into chunks and scallops have marinated, skewer them up and get grilling!

Serve these delicious creations over brown rice or spinach...Try this little side dish as an accent and cool flavor enhancer for the chicken kabobs.

Cucumber/Yogurt Salad

1 English Cucumber or 2 Regular Cucumbers
1 c. plain, fat free Greek yogurt
2 tsp. dill weed
2 tsp. stevia
2 tsp. sea salt seasoning of choice (I love Herbamare)

Chop up the cucumber in to tiny chunks (1/2" each) OR use a slicer and slice up into very thin slices)
Put cucumber slices into a bowl and Greek yogurt, add seasonings and stir together. You can continue to add seasonings to taste.
Refrigerate and when the kabobs are done, serve with your fabulous meal!

Banana Chip Protein Cookies

1/4 c. unsweetened apple sauce (or vegetable oil, if preferred)
1 c. stevia
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. wheat flour
1/2 c. whey protein powder (I used chocolate)
1/2 c. rolled oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1 lg. ripe banana

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash banana in a large bowl and then add remaining ingredients and mix together. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and spoon batter into dollops at desired size onto sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes. Enjoy!


Fresh and Clean Spaghetti and Meatballs

We haven't been having as much fun with our dinners lately because I was in show prep mode and that really didn't allow for too much creativity, so I was excited to give this a whirl once things settled back in. We've had this poor spaghetti squash sitting on the counter for about 5 weeks and I thought it was time to let the little beauty have its moment!

I started by spraying a large glass pan with cooking spray and then cut up the squash into quarters. I sprayed each piece and laid them face down in the pan. I threw the pan in the over for 40 minutes at 375 degrees and started prepping my meat sauce.

The meat sauce is simple, ingredients include:
1 package of ground chicken or turkey or lean ground beef
2 large cans diced tomatoes
1 c. diced green peppers
1 c. diced onions
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tblsp. olive oil
Seasonings included: oregano, sea salt blend and pepper (I kept it simple; but, you can get very creative with this)

Start by browning the meat and then set it aside. In a large sauce pan pour in olive oil and let it warm slightly, then add your garlic. Saute the garlic for about a minute and then add in your peppers and onions. I sauteed this for about 2 minutes and then threw in the meat and cooked it all together for an additional minute. Next step is to drain your canned tomatoes and then add them to the pan and simmer until the spaghetti squash is done. Stir occasionally.

Once the spaghetti squash is cooked, (it will be hot, so be careful) scrape it with a fork into a large bowl. Serve with meat sauce and enjoy!

This recipe has an incredibly FRESH taste...you can really taste all the flavors and it's not heavy like whole wheat pasta can be. I highly recommend it even in the summer time!



Grilled Chicken Mexi-Veg Wrap

1 whole wheat lavash wrap
1 tblsp. hummus (I like red pepper)
1 baby cucumber
1/2 c. baby spinach
2 tblsp. salsa of choice (I chose a black bean one)
4 oz. sliced grilled chicken breast

Slice n' dice your chicken and cucumber. Spread the hummus on the wrap and place the spinach, chicken and cucumbers inside. Top it with salsa. Fold it and roll it up in some foil and there you go...lunch is served! I like to toss it in the microwave for 30 seconds at the office just to mesh all the flavors together...YUM!
I had some watermelon as an appropriate accoutrement...what a heavenly delight.


Recipes for the Fit n' Fabulous!

Here are a few recipe for my fit n' fabulous friends. We are all busy bees and it's helpful to have a handful of "go to" recipes that keep us on track nutritionally; but, taste incredible!

Thanksgiving All Year Long!

4 oz. 99% lean ground turkey
1/4 c. 100% pure organic pumpkin
(canned-hard to find at certain times of the year, I've come to learn)
2 tsp. Honey
A few shakes of cinnamon

Cook up the ground turkey in a skillet. I like to keep a big container of it to use for omelets and other quick recipes.
Mix up the ingredients in a bowl and toss it in the microwave for 1:00 min or so, give it a good stir it Voila! Thanksgiving year round!
Feel free to adjust quantities of ingredients according to taste and nutritional requirements.

One Bowl Wonder

I know what you're thinking...this looks nasty...but trust me, don't judge a book by its cover, my friends...give it a whirl. Here's how the magic happens:

1/4 c. oats
4 egg whites
1/2 c. spinach
1 tblsp. protein powder (optional)
Good fat: 1 tblsp. nut butter or coconut oil
1/4 c. blueberries or strawberries or 1/2 banana
A few shakes of cinnamon (optional)

Add water to oats and microwave for 1:00. Oatmeal is a subjective thing, so when you are pleased with the consistency and temperature of the oatmeal, add protein powder and good fat of choice & mix it up!

Meanwhile, blend up egg whites and spinach and microwave for about 90 seconds (please note, it will be green and will grow like a blob monster in the microwave, it's kinda cool actually!) You may want to lightly spray bowl with cooking spray b/f microwaving, sometimes it's hard to get egg residue off when washing afterward.

Mix your green egg blob INTO the oatmeal mixture and dice it up. Add fruit and mix thoroughly. You can re-microwave if you would like to...shake on some cinnamon and even some honey if you prefer.

GOOD EATS and an easy all-in-one healthy and hearty breakfast! Enjoy!

Java Chip Protein Frappuccino

Ok, Starbucks, MOVE OVA! This protein shake takes the cake! This is a bit of a treat; but, who doesn't deserve a little reward every now and then?

2 scoops protein powder of choice
1/4 c. coffee
1/4 c. almond milk
1/4 c. crushed ice
a handful of dark chocolate chips
1 tblsp. ff cool whip (optional)

Blend up the protein powder, ice, almond milk, coffee and chocolate chips. Top with cool whip, drop in a straw and enjoy!


PB Chip Protein Cookies!!

Everyone needs an indulgence every once in a while and judging from my aforementioned blog, healthy alternatives to these indulgences are vital. I've spent some time researching some recipes and this is an adaptation of one of my favorite cookie recipes of all-time.

PB Chip Protein Cookies

1 c. Whole wheat flour
1 c. Whey Protein powder (chocolate is my preference)
1 c. Oats
2 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp. Salt
3/4 c. Apple Sauce OR canola oil (depends on preference, apple sauce is lower in calories)
3/4 c. Natural Chunky PB
1 c. Stevia
2 tbslps. Honey
1/2 c. Almond milk
2 tsp. Vanilla extract

Toss together dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix wet ingredients in separate bowl. Mix dry with wet ingredients and add chocolate chips if desired.

Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray and place in small dollops on sheet.

Bake for 8-10 min at 350 degrees F.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Post-Show WOAH

The self-tanner has faded, the manicure is beginning to chip and the elusive carved abs are all but a distant memory. And for all the warnings, jokes and tongue-in-cheek references my coaches and veteran friend competitors made to the "post-show blues," NOTHING could have prepared me for this.

Like most fitness and physique athletes, I consider myself to be beyond the definition of a Type A personality. I grew up a perfectionist, never feeling like my efforts were enough...I never felt pretty or smart or fit enough for all of the activities in my life or in comparison to my friends. To top it off, I'm a Virgo and a first-born, can we say, "tightly wound?"

My parents are two of the hardest working people I know and they taught my brother and I that hard work was what it's all about. That we could achieve anything if we were willing to work harder than everyone else. They also held us to a higher standard and taught us that this was the way to be successful in life. One family rule was that we were not allowed to play sports if we did not make the honor roll. Well, unbeknownst to my parents, I set a standard that I wouldn't be happy with myself if I didn't get on the HIGH honor roll on every report card. That was the kind of pressure I regularly put on myself in all areas of my life.

I was the kid that played elite soccer on 3 teams because I was going to get a scholarship to play soccer in college, I had made up my mind to this fact and failure was not an option. When my doctor diagnosed me with "exercise induced asthma" at age 13 I told him my breathing challenges were simply because I was not "fit" enough and had to work harder. I didn't need need any silly inhalers, I needed more sprints.

Growing up, I thought I was fat and had to train harder. I would go to the field by myself and practice long balls and sprint after the ball after every kick for hours. Needless to say, I was the best free kick specialist on most of my teams all my life; but, spent a great deal of time in a silent hell of dissatisfaction with nearly everything I accomplished...somehow, it was never enough.

I grew up constantly and silently berating myself, feeling guilt for not training hard enough or for eating something I shouldn't have. Those people close to me would get a glimpse of this at times and would ask my why I was so hard on myself. I never seemed to have an answer for them. I just had something inside of me, I just couldn't let myself relax or give myself a break. God no, that would mean I was being lazy or not working hard enough towards my goals, that was the reason I was fat after all...

Entering into the world of fitness seemed like the perfect "fix" for me a year ago. I could get my body in the best shape ever and follow a regimen that would be 100% fool-proof as long as I put in the work, something I knew I could do.

The part I didn't think about was what happens when the excitement of the show countdown is over? What happens when everything you eat post-show makes you feel sick? What happens when ALL you can think about is cake?

I didn't have answers to any those questions. And right now, I'm a week and a half out from my first competition feeling like a bloated mess. My body wants to train and actually has the energy and strength to do so now; but my mind is a disaster. I've sabotaged myself with mindless binges almost daily since my competition. I actually ate an entire bag of chocolate mini rice cakes last week...and then 3 cupcakes the next night and the other cheats have all become somewhat of a blur. I've eaten things til I felt so sick I could barely move. I am certainly not proud...I am definitely ashamed...and yet, this is so wildly uncharacteristic of me it's disturbing. I was so incredibly disciplined, I can honestly say that leading in to my show, I did not cheat once. I did not miss one workout and I was on split sessions most days. It was just non-negotiable.

Last night, like a crazy person, I was talking to myself as I lay in bed feeling sick to my stomach. My voice was that of my body, speaking to me saying, "I did everything you asked. I never gave up. I ate FISH for a week and got up at 4:30 am everyday to get to the gym. I fought so hard for that goal and now you're abusing me like this. How could you do this to me?" If anyone had heard me, they would have thought I had completely lost it, you may be thinking the same thing reading this, unless you've gone through this experience yourself.

They say it gets easier over time and yes, slowly, it is getting better. Three out of 5 meals make me nauseous now, instead of all 5. I'm integrating the proper number of fruits and starches back into my diet and I'm drinking more water again. I'm sleeping better and enjoying that my diet can include things like dairy again. I have to accept that I have gained some weight back and I have to be OK with that..somehow. I need to give myself a break, for the FIRST time in my life, and accept that I'm not perfect...whatever the heck "perfect" really means anyway. I need to know that it's OK to feel a little crazy during this time. That as long as I get to the gym and follow the "80/20 rule" everything will work itself out (though I'd rather it be 90/10).

All that said, NOTHING about this is easy.

This post-show stuff is no joke. If you're a newbie, stay close to your coaches and your fitness friends as you come off the competition "high." Don't go it alone and for God's sakes...stay busy. Know your personality to ward off danger zone behaviors (i.e wandering a grocery store alone) and have an accountability buddy that loves you that will help you through without judging.

Everything will be OK and you are just as fabulous today as you were on the day of your competition (Yes, I'm still convincing myself of this fact, which is one of those most important parts of my evolutionary process). Don't lose sight of that or the reason you chose to compete in the first place. It's all part of this beautiful and crazy journey called LIFE! Loving yourself unconditionally on the good and bad days is really what it's about, after all is said and done.

Stay strong ladies! xoxo


Time flies...

I haven't written in what seems like forever! To be completely honest, I literally didn't have the brain power or energy to write a blog post in the midst of my training leading up to my competition. It took all the strength I had to stick to my diet and workout regimen.

I competed in the Fitness New England pageant on April 30th in figure and bikini. It was revolutionary and a HUGE moment for me. I didn't place; but, that was not the reason in which I began this journey. While winning would have been grand, a plastic trophy couldn't replace the feelings of victory I garnered from this experience. Of course there were some pretty significant moments of self-doubt and angst; but, when I got on that stage, I was proud. I was 100% proud to be me in the body that I've worked so hard for. All told I dropped 20 lbs and 2 sizes and got my body in shape enough to compete in figure! This was my ultimate goal and I was so scared I would get up there and look like a "bikini girl" trying to do figure. Not to take ANYTHING away from the beautiful bikini competitors; but, there is a certain shape the figure girls have and I just wanted so badly to look like I belonged on that stage with them. And at the end of the day, I wasn't lean enough to be competitive; but, that really didn't matter...in 5 months time, I went from having a regular old back to one that I am really damn proud of. I put on that TINY bathing suit (complete with double-sided carpet tape to keep it in place) and strutted my stuff on stage in front of hundreds of people, including those watching it live streaming online and I felt confident. At that point, I didn't really even care what the judges thought, because I knew my coaches and my friends and my family that had been there every step of the way through my journey were beaming with pride. They knew what my battle had been all about and they knew that this was a huge milestone for me. The girl that wouldn't work out in a tank top, let along walk on stage in a bikini...was doing it and smiling and glowing. It was incredible.

There is SO much more to talk about...everything from the emotional roller coaster ride that was prepping for the competition, which entailed a myriad of new experiences...everything from waxing...to applying 10 coats of fake tanner...to eating dry tilapia and asparagus from plastic bags for 2 days straight(woof)! Good gracious was it a trip! It's hard to believe it's all over; but, it's even harder to believe that I did all of that...I really never thought I would be able to do it and I did...with flying colors...I did not cheat one time...and I didn't miss one workout...I wanted to achieve the goal so badly I was willing to do whatever it took so there would be no looking back. No regrets.

Here are some pics that show my progress:

BEFORE (December 2010):

AFTER (April 2011):

Check out this video of the Figure Tall Lineup, I'm the last one on the left:

I will post more tales of my first REAL competition soon...stay tuned my friends!


Having an "off" day? Let's talk about it.

Today I am feeling really tired, mentally and physically. As a result I am feeling a lot of doubt and frustration with my progress. No one really wants to talk about the bad days. The moments when you don't feel like a "shero," when you feel so far-removed from reaching your goals things actually start to feel a little bit hopeless, even if it is just for a passing moment. Blame it on being overtired, blame it on your hormones, blame it on whatever you want but, when you feel this way, there's not much that can "fix" it in the instant you want it fixed. Today is just one of those days...

So as a result, I've resigned myself to accept these feelings in this moment and I'm working hard to stay in the present and not allow these feelings to cloud my thinking about how far I have truly come in this journey. Through my emotional reasoning, I'm able to realize how grossly unfair that would be and THAT, in and of itself, is progress.

So for now, I am going to take a nap. Read a book. Stop the noise in my brain and focus on what's important, because it's ALL around me. I have a wonderful life. I am extremely fortunate to have my health and my family and a wonderful partner in my fiance. He is my best friend and he's currently slaving away in the kitchen preparing food for us for the week. He's cooking up everything from turkey meatloaf to roasted green veggies and he's even grilling chicken...he's amazing.

I have safety and love and I have gained so many incredible friendships throughout this journey thus far...I am truly blessed.

This is just the beginning for me and even though I'm having an "off" day, it does not define who I am and what this journey is all about. I will achieve this goal. I will witness the "magic" firsthand and I refuse to give in. I will never give up...

7 weeks.


TGIF my Friends!

So here we are, 8 weeks out from my first real competition...and this week has been a bit of a roller coaster ride of emotion, I won't even try to sugar coat it for a moment. I was sick with a waning cold and after feeling like I had kicked it, my brain struggled to catch back up.

Today I forgot, flat out forgot to eat one of my meals and missed a starch in another meal...who does that? My appetite and brain were nowhere to be found today. My training was lackluster at best and I only got through 1/2 of my intended functional wkout.

I dragged myself home feeling exhausted and frustrated but consciously decided in that moment that the easy thing to do would be to snowball today with all the other struggles of the week. I could attribute it to overtraining, not eating enough, not sleeping enough...and while some of that very well may be true, today is not the day to focus my energy on these details....so, I decided to "lock it up" and compartmentalize it and move on to a new day.

This day is done and tomorrow has so much potential. I have some new tweaks to my diet from my coach and I have a new wkout to try and sprints with my teammate and dear friend Lori first thing. What's better than that?

I'm moving onward and upward and I'm readjusting my focus. 8 wks, 2 months, 60 days...however you want to think about it....it's a long time and a blink away all at once. Time to have FAITH, trust the process and most importantly, believe in ME! I've got this....we all do! Let's go girls! TGIF! xoxox

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Recommit...day in, day out!

One of the greatest challenges in the prep process for a fitness competition for me is sticking to the plan day in and day out. Some days I'm on point and feel like a rockstar and some days I feel like a slug who is constantly making excuses for herself. These sluggish days can be vastly detrimental during these vital weeks leading into a competition and I've had to work hard to find a strategy that helps me stay the course.

Just this week I realized the importance of recommitting to my goals every single day. Every morning at some point before my workout in the wee hours of the day, I think about all that is to be. I remind myself of what my ultimate goals are and then strategize in my head how I can stick to the plan all day long. I create a mantra in my head that I can go to when a weak moment strikes (i.e. birthday celebrations in the office...sweet tooth=major weakness!)

Reminding myself of my lofty goals, the progress I've already made and all those who are rooting for me...it makes it a lot easier to shake off the nonsense and stick with the plan when I hit a snag or a needless temptation.

11 weeks is going to fly by and every little bit counts! I believe in the beauty of my dreams and nothing is going to stop me from getting there!!

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Mind Over Matter

I'm sitting at my counter post-workout, sipping my coffee thinking about the next 12 weeks and all that they will hold on this countdown to my first REAL fitness competition. There is definitely a strong element of uncertainty and insecurity present; but, it is also accompanied by a calm sense of assurance. I've come to learn over the last few weeks that trust and faith that everything will somehow be OK is a huge part of managing my stress with such a huge goal ahead of me.

I get up at 5:00 am every morning and hit the gym. I pack my meals for the day and send my weekly check-ins (complete with photos) to my coach...I am doing everything I need to be doing to prepare myself to achieve this goal. I won't pretend that there are moments when I look in the mirror and wonder, "how is this going to happen?" But that's where my new-found confidence and trust in the process has to kick-in. My fiance said to me today, "Rome wasn't built in a day honey." At first I got upset because I felt like that sweeping statement discounted all of the progress I've already made. But then I stopped myself and looked back at my old check-in pictures. He's right...Rome took a little while to construct and anything that is worthwhile takes time, including the transformation of my body. This is such an important part of my journey and it's all about controlling my mind and the way it processes the bumps in the road along the way...the important part is that I keep striving and pushing through.

So far, so good. Stay the course. Have faith and trust in the process!

"If you're going to win any battle, you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up." George S. Patton.

Me and my wonderful coach Janelle Nicolo at Camp Savage 2011


The Myth of Discpline...MUST READ!

This article is tremendous...definitely a MUST read.


"Ask yourself this, what do you really love? Self-esteem is the reflection of self-judgment. One of the best ways to raise self-esteem is to make truly loving choices that lead to increased strength of body and mind."


Do you believe in magic?

I just got home from a completely mind-altering weekend and I feel like I'm on top of the world! I attended my first Camp Savage Weekend with Cathy Savage and her amazing team. I had no idea what was in store...

From the moment we arrived there was an electricity in the air. You could feel the energy pulsing in the room. We were all there for so many different reasons; but, one goal...to feel empowered and to leave stronger, more confident women. I have to admit though, I entered the weekend with some skepticism as I have always been wildly self-conscious and self-critical. I've spent countless years putting myself down and berating my body and I wasn't sure this one weekend was going to have a hand in changing any of that.

On Saturday morning, I walked nervously in to the "assessment" room and watched Cathy give feedback to my fellow Savage sisters. I was petrified. Would she tell me I was too fat? Would she laugh at me when I told her about my goal of competing in figure AND bikini in April? It was like my butt was glued to the floor as I watched girl after girl receive her feedback. Finally, I mustered up the courage to stand up and shuffled to the center of the room. I was sweating and shaking all at once. I could feel everyone's eyes on me. The first words out of Cathy's mouth were, "Aren't you pretty?" I was stunned...did she just call me pretty? She continued on complimenting my symmetry and beautiful skin. She said literally, everything, I could have hoped for and more. I was speechless. Later, she complimented me on my walk and my poise. Cathy Savage was complimenting me and saying I had amazing potential...it was EVERYTHING I was hoping for all these weeks leading up to Camp. Yet, when I got back to my hotel room I was in tears. I felt horrible and had no clue why! I was questioning myself and doubting whether or not I'd be able to do it. I have lived so long putting myself down. It was my norm. Cathy's words contradicted everything I had believed about myself and this was a person I have a great deal of respect for. I couldn't understand the emotions I was feeling. I was confused and angry with myself. I was frustrated that this amazing Camp "experience" wasn't working for me. I had to be some sort of massive failure.

When we woke up on Sunday, I fought back tears all morning while I talked with my teammates and coaches and tried to grit my teeth and smile through it even though I had this storm of emotion brewing inside me. I had spent all this time and effort to come to Camp and was leaving feeling even more disappointed in myself then before I got there and I couldn't understand why!

And then it happened...

We had our last small group session with Cathy and had the opportunity to ask more questions. I decided to speak up about this "magic" the veteran competitors referred to all weekend long. This miraculous moment when they woke up with abs and a feeling like they knew they were ready, that it had all been worth it. This just sounded crazy to me...

Annette Perry (Fitness Universe Champion 2010) and Gretchen Coley (Ms. Bikini Universe 2010), two of the most wonderful ladies I've had the pleasure of meeting, answered my question passionately. They talked about their transformations and about taking this frightening leap of faith. They had been in my position and encouraged me to trust the process and our knowledgeable coaches. They looked at me and affirmed that I've done everything right to this point and just had to take the leap and believe. It was then that it clicked...

I cannot explain how incredibly important this moment was for me.

On the way home, I called my mom to tell her about my amazing weekend. I told her about my breakthrough moment and immediately started crying as I reflected all the amazing moments of the weekend. I realized that for the FIRST time in my life I truly believed in myself in this genuine way that I've never felt before. My mom said, "Amber, it has been there all along. You just couldn't see it..." and I knew exactly what she meant. I was letting go and giving myself permission to believe in me. I could see myself in the mirror for the first time...the actual person that I am, with the great muscles and beautiful skin and statuesque presence that Cathy talked about.

Now I'm not going all cocky on you; but, I'm seeing myself through a new lens. One that appreciates me for me and all my hard work and discipline. One that understands the missteps. One that is not going to let a cookie be my undoing. I've spent so many years torturing myself and berating myself for not being "enough." And suddenly, I could see that I am so much more than that. I was going to trust myself and this process and achieve my dreams....because I CAN.

I was surrounded by AMAZING, beautiful, strong, and courageous women this weekend. In all shapes and sizes that are perfect in SO many ways. Why don't I deserve to believe in me too? The strength I gathered from my experience at Camp Savage this weekend has put my mind at ease and helped me realize that all this worrying has been for naught.

It's time to believe in me. It's time to shine and take it to an entirely different level. 2011 is our year, my friends. Watch out world. The Savage girls are coming at ya....Congo line and all! xoxo


Tips from the Rookie

Hello My Friends! My name is Amber Eve and I’m a newbie to the fitness competition scene. I began training and eating clean in April of 2010 when my good friend, Jackie Briggs, was preparing for her first competition. She inspired me to begin my journey towards a healthier and happier me and I couldn’t be more grateful for that day. (I also want to congratulate Jackie for her first place finish in fitness at the 2010 Fitness New York competition!)

Presently, I am training under the guidance of Cathy Savage Fitness for my first figure competition, which will take place in April of 2011, talk about full circle! I couldn’t be more thrilled to share my journey and provide you with tips from a bonafide rookie! I’ll also share humorous tales as I learn the ropes about competing; everything from how to walk in a teeny, weeny bikini while wearing sky-high platform heels and a spray-on tan that probably could glow in the dark and also how to survive family get togethers. I have to be honest, I never thought I’d receive strange glances from my nearest and dearest when I passed on the wine and mashed potatoes at the dinner table. These glances were shortly followed by the questioning. “So…you’re like, a body builder now?” Awkward pause and blank stare. “Does that mean you’re going to start talking like a man and growing facial hair?” Classic. Unfortunately, exchanges like this one are par for the course; but having a sense of humor and slowly gaining more confidence in my new lifestyle has been incredibly empowering. My family and friends better understand my goals now and are really supportive. They have even started implementing some clean recipes into our dinners together and occasionally ask me for tips on balancing healthy eating and workouts. So I thought I’d start off by sharing a few of my favorite tips to make life a little healthier (and easier):

1. Set yourself up for success, be prepared! Portion out food ahead of time and place it in small plastic bags or containers so you can grab a serving and go (i.e. 1 oz. raw almonds = approx. 28 almonds).

2. Choose fruits that are “self-wrapped,” like clementines, apples, bananas or pears to toss in your bag so you’re never without healthy options on the go.

3. Two words…baby spinach! This lil wonder veggie is an excellent source of nutrition and works with most meals. I throw it in egg white omelettes, salads and even my protein shakes. It takes on the flavor of the shake when you blend it up and helps me get my veggies in when I don’t feel like eating broccoli first thing in the morning.

4. Grill and cook in bulk so you can pull from large containers all week long. We make grilled chicken on Sundays and pull from the container throughout the week to make preparing meals a breeze.

I may look like a pack mule schlepping 4 bags into the office everyday; but, the bottom line is, I’m prepared. I’m prepared for whatever the day will bring, be it pot luck feasts or office runs to the pizza shop downtown. These potential diet catastrophes are a blip on the radar because I have a plan.

I look forward to sharing my journey with you and encouraging you to not only live a healthy life; but in the words of Ms. Winfrey, live your best life!

Much Love and Happy New Year!

Here's a lil pic of tonight's dinner...ground turkey and veggie sauce on a bed of spinach. Mmmmmm!



A friend of mine encouraged me to join her for her bikram yoga class this week. I had no idea what this meant until she put into layman's terms for me. "2 words," she said, "Hot. Yoga."

Boy o boy was I clueless about what this lil extravaganza would entail.

I arrived 30 minutes early per my friend's instructions to fill out the waivers and jockey for position in the back of the room (so I could watch the more experienced yogis do their thing).

Upon entering the studio, I was slapped in the face with a wall of some sort of hideous odor. I came to later identify it as the putrid stench of feet and sweat. I continued in and took off my boots and jacket per the signs in the entryway and shuffled barefoot up to the front desk.

After signing the appropriate waivers, I headed to the locker room after navigating my way through the coed naked shower line from the previous class. I found a spot to disrobe and looked around nervously to see what others were (or weren't) wearing. I had originally planned to sport a tank top; but, had a change of heart upon contemplating the 100 degree temperature I was about to endure.

I stepped in to the studio and set up my mat and towels and tried to sit down and relax before class began. I couldn't help but admire the lean and flexible people all around me and only hoped that being able to touch my toes was an appropriate pre-requisite.

Class began and the first exercise included deep breathing. I was already struggling as the first few beads of sweat began to trickle down my back. The next few postures didn't get any easier; but, I hung in there. The sweat became more and more intense and grasping my own limbs became a near impossible task. I highly suggest one bring along a minimum of 2 towels for these classes!

The class lasted about 90 minutes. Some of it was absolutely grueling. Listening to the instructor in his tiny spandex shorts clapping out commands in the midst of the downpour of sweat sent me into a trance. I was becoming one with the room and even though I struggled on just about every pose, I felt satisfaction in the fact that I was doing it. I was there. I set a goal to try something brand new that pushed me way beyond my comfort zone. And boy did it ever. I sat in a room drenched from head toe in sweat with racoon eyes from mascara (so much for waterproof) with nothing on but a sports bra and tiny shorts.

Talk about WAY beyond the comfort zone!

I left the studio really looking forward to the fresh, cool January air; but, I also left feeling extremely empowered. I conquered the anxiety I had felt about going in there and pushing myself to do something I had never done before. And that, my friends, is the wonderful feeling!


Do it now!

'Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.'"

--W.H. Murray, of the Scottish Himalayan Expedition

Go out and get those dreams! Don't wait for tomorrow....do it now!

Here is a look at my vision board for January 2011. I look at it everyday to stay inspired!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Busy Girls, Check this out!

I recently submitted a guest blog post to the wonderful Lori Harder's Busy Girl, Healthy Life website. She liked what she saw and she posted it! You have to check out her site, it's full of healthy recipes and tricks for eating clean on the go. My blog post is there too!


Check it out!


I'm a Savage Girl!

After months and months of trying to make this decision, I finally joined Cathy Savage Fitness on December 3, 2010. I am really proud of myself for taking my journey to the next level and making the commitment to become a Savage Girl. Cathy and her staff have already given me so many incredible gifts in my first month of being a member. I am enrolled in camp the last weekend in January as well and I am really working hard at getting prepared physically and mentally for that experience.

I've also been thinking really hard about resolutions, not just the "lose weight, get in better shape, etc." ones; but, the how do I become a better human being resolution. I have been feeling like there is a void in my life as of late, and this is during a time in which I have so many positives. I'm not 100% certain what that void is; but, I think a big part of it is allowing myself to be less than "perfect," and realizing the importance of mistakes and failures for personal growth. I am going to work beyond hard in 2011; but, I am going to allow myself to take some risks, some less calculated than others. I am going to push myself to be as genuine as I possibly can, even when it's uncomfortable. 2011 is going to be a huge year for me for SO many reasons, I am getting married, competing in figure, turning 30 and starting to plan for having babies...so many amazing things on the horizon!