A little more than a year ago, November 6th 2009 to be precise, was the day when I made the decision it was time to change my body. After a decade of hardcore training to build as much muscle as possible while staying as lean as possible and without the assistance of any performance enhancing drugs, I found myself in the middle of a photo shoot realizing I had grown out of my frame. It was a shock. I was in shock. I had always believed I could never be “too big” as long as I dieted hard year round and never touched steroids. I thought my female genetics, strenuous cardio regimen and lack of surplus calories were going to halt muscle growth, but I was wrong in my case. Somehow my body matured over that year of 2009 and I just got “too massive”. I know it sounds silly, I was “massive” at 121, but that was 7 lbs over my contest weight and it was not a gain in fat. It was dense muscle.
I remember I felt heavy. I didn’t feel light. I was “over weight” for my frame. So I decided to slim down and spent months to shed weight and it was not easy. With a body well familiar with daily cardio workouts, used to strict dieting, add my genetically slow metabolism and you’d find me doing extreme amounts of work in order to encourage weight loss. After 11 weeks my discipline and commitment started to show. And on the 13 weeks’ mark I was back at 114, where I used to be when competing. After that it was maintaining. Which is not as easy as it sounds. Maintaining a lower set point after weight loss is tricky: your body is NOT a furnace, you are NOT burning more calories because you are leaner. No, your body has become more efficient due to lower metabolism which is inevitable to some extent when trying to shed those last pounds. So the last year I was constantly fighting my body’s will go gain those pounds back. Mostly I was mentally freaked out to grow out of my size again cause last time I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t pay attention, I was sure I couldn’t grow with my unpaying attention to carbs post workout, eating 7 meals a day… I didn’t do that anymore and still I got those muscles… And no, it was not a luxury problem because those pounds of muscle did not help me stay leaner, oh no. Those pounds didn’t allow me to eat more. The experience during that photo shoot when I found myself too big and blocky scared the crap out of me, it was awful, I felt like I created a monster, no way did I want to find myself in that position again. Over night I switched focus and all I wanted was to stream down and create a more flowing physique.
In June I had another big photo shoot. Down at 113 I was happy with my new look. I was proud. I was “back”. My body and I were a team again. Then after this I guess my body wanted to bump that weight up again. And of course it did, cause I started to train heavier and heavier, got excited about weekly big strength increases… i forgot it stimulated that muscle memory…. So then some weeks I felt like that sausage again, then next week I felt tiny, scrawny and “skinny fat”.
Yeah it’s been a year of struggling between me and my body…
Today I had another important shoot. This time Film, not stills. I went in there, not knowing how I’d like my body and one side of me was super relieved I didn’t find myself “too big”, on the other hand I wondered if I lost all muscle and kept all fat…. And then wondered if I was too skinny….. Wow, when would I stop wondering, I wonder. It’s the old bodybuilding mentality you see… Whatever you do it’s never perfect! Which is what I love about it too…. The thing is, I love when I wear regular clothing and I can camouflage my body and just look “lean and slender”. I can only pull that look off with the amount of muscle I carry if I stay ultra lean. Said and done. On the other hand, I have a hard time swallowing the fact I am not as big anymore. Isn’t it funny? I worked to get smaller and tighter, then when I acknowledge I reached that goal, I don’t know how to handle it.
I loved doing the Biggest Loser show in Sweden. I love being in front of the camera. I’m working hard on getting my fitness show picked up. And with my old body I’d come across as too big. Now I don’t. And you cannot change the world, you can only change yourself. So, I feel better, I feel more beautiful smaller, my body feels great… but still it’s tough to see I actually AM smaller even when I got smaller on purpose. Crazy, huh…..
Some times it’s hard to remember old strength personal records or old workout weights and realize I am no way near that anymore. On purpose I taught myself how to train smarter, putting more isolating tension on the right muscles and less on all the rest of the body, I pushed myself to do better range of motion, better form, more intensity. And of course this transformed my physique to the better, elongated, flowing physique. Less bulk in the wrong places, more in the places I wanted. It took lots of mental toughness to walk away from what I was used to and what gave me the body I had gotten so far. I was scared of changing. But I did it. I took the leap of faith. And am I happy now, or what! It’s the best decision I’ve taken for my body and image so far. I returned to my signature characteristic: being a chameleon.
The biggest obstacle to reaching higher and higher goals is being comfortable. Staying where you feel safe and know what you get is what stops you from going further than everyone else. My body and my training took me to where I am today, but at one point it would have stopped me if I had not been brave enough to change. Look around and you find many people who are trapped in the “gym rat” lifestyle, scared of going somewhere where training facilities/diet options are limited cause it could cause their regimen to get interrupted. But that’s also why you need to take on those challenges: to get interrupted. Stuck in a rut is dangerous for personal growth.
I have been in many “less than perfect situations” training and diet wise. I’ve worked with what I’ve had many times. My overall goals were always on top of my working out. However I never settled for less than optimal training. I sacrificed a lot. Now is another era, I am not scared of changes. I have confidence in my body. It was and is my tool to get to where I want. It should stay that way and never turn into a big rock lying in the way of my goals.