“Where do you workout?” * My First Bikini Competion

Recently I was out shopping with a girlfriend and we went to try on a few items.  The girl managing the dressing rooms, gestured for me to hand her the pieces I would be trying on. Then she asked for my name –  I guess that’s a thing everywhere now –

Sidenote: I don’t know how “Engrid” (pronounced ING-grid) sounds like “Andrea” just a pet peeve because that literally happens to me every time I have to introduce myself.

I come out of the changing room to show my friend the maxiskirt I had just tried on.

As I’m standing there waiting, the girl who was managing the dressing rooms asks me “where do you workout?”

As you might imagine, I was a little taken aback. I think she realized it was a bold question and went on to say “Well, cause I can just tell you workout”. I felt flattered but also admired her for being so forward to satisfy her curiosity. I was also unaware that I was such a blatant gym-rat.

This is something I  have started to experience with more frequency and honestly I’m not sure if I’ll ever get used to it.  I find it’s difficult to see myself the way that others do.  My mind focuses on what I am most self-conscious about and it convinces me that, that is what everyone else also sees.  I am getting better at recognizing this discrepancy, however just like training in the gym to improve a movement pattern, it takes consistent practice to change this way of thinking and “re-wire” the thought pattern.

Three weeks ago I competed in my first ever NPC Bikini competition.  I have not discussed anything about this on my blog, but I have been posting about it on other social media platforms (mainly my Instagram and Facebook pages). I’ll admit it took a lot of courage for me to put myself out there on those platforms alone. I was worried about other people might think, or what they would say, or that it was weird to do bikini competition.

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It was about three years ago that I went to support a friend who was competing in a show. I remember seeing the girls walking around super tan, heavily made up, looking like fitness magazine cover model’s.  I remember feeling judgmental and thinking I was in the midst of a weird cult. Why would you want to voluntarily put yourself  on a stage to be judged based on your appearance alone? But there was so much more to it, that I did not yet understand.

I have since realized that I need to live my life for myself and no one else. If I wanted to challenge myself to do a bikini competition…  I needed to let go of what people thought and go for it!  I have lIves too much of my life trying to do what I think other people expect of me. Like an uninvited guest at a party – that negative thinking just shows up. But instead of acknowledging the unwanted guest I’ve decided to carry on and enjoy my party. It’s not easy but I’m getting better at listening to my inner voice. Living my life for other people just made me miserable; I was anxious, empty, and exhausted.

Competing in this bikini competition was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life.  The preparation was a journey that helped me overcome a lot of personal fears. I had to let go of  comforting familiar routines.  I find so often, people do what they are comfortable with, because it is what they know and it’s scary to go into the unknown.

Doing something different makes you feel vulnerable, and I am no exception. It was a tremendous learning process to place myself in the position of my clients. I was on the other side of the fence. I always say,  “trainers also new trainers”. So when my trainer  James “Bobo” Eason challenged my habits I experienced the reluctance, the doubt, the uneasiness that goes along with that. He eased me into changing many of my habits. One being my cardio habit. Like many of my female clients I was convinced I had to do long bouts of intense cardio. Of course everyone is different but that is not what my body needed to be doing. I slowly tapered off to shorter, less intense cardio (AKA walking – which blew my mind).

My inner voice felt threatened and asked me things like “What if doing less cardio makes me fat?”

Simultaneously I gradually increased my caloric intake, which also made my old familiar routine feel threatened and uncomfortable. Granted everyone’s prep process is different because we are all unique individuals – but this was what I needed to be doing. I experienced first hand – eating more than I ever had – that my waistline actually shrunk and I was building muscle.

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The photo on the left was when all I did was long duration cardio and light weights/ bodyweight exercises. I also ate what I like to refer to as the clique-what-girls-think-is-healthy-and-will-keep-them-skinny diet. I’m hesitant to even list the foods I was eating back then because I subscribe to the idea that there is no such thing as “BAD” food. Basically I just wasn’t eating enough and enough of the right balance of macro nutrients. I didn’t realize it at the time but by working out the way I was, I was actually inducing stress hormones. As a protective mechanism my body was storing all that it could because I was in such a deficit. In contrast the photo on the right is me eating nearly DOUBLE the amount calories per day, doing HALF the cardio I was before, and doing resistance training 5-6 days per week.

Like I said it was a process but the more I followed what he told me, the better I felt and looked.  Because I respect him my trust in what grew. I knew he had my best interest at heart. So when that noise came in my head, that I realistically knew made absolutely no sense, (but I wanted to listen to it –  because it is familiar and habit)… I would ask myself “Does Bobo really want to make me fat?”. The answer is obviously “no” he doesn’t want that for me! Bobo wasn’t secretly trying to sabotage me.  But my mind  can come up with all kinds of crazy scenarios.  I had to keep grounding myself through Bobo, who kept reassuring me that I was right on track. Although I am a certified personal trainer while I logically and realistically knows the scientific facts, it does not mean I am exempt from having illogical emotional “noise” seep into my mind. I walked away with first place in the novice division of my first ever NPC Bikini Competition. I am incredibly grateful to have experienced this journey it has helped me become a better trainer and learn how to honor myself.

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Ex-Squeeze Me: First, My Lemon Water

Good Morning Sunshines!

I like to start my mornings with some freshly squeezed lemon juice in my water! My best friend got me hooked on using an old-school lemon juicer! I find that this method adds WAY more flavor to my water compared to just adding lemon slices.

Benefits of drinking Lemon Juice in the AM:
✅ Aids in digestion for the rest of your day
✅ Lemons contain Vitamin C: not an astonishingly high amount, somewhere around 30-50 mg per lemon
(close to your Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) which for VIT C is 60mg/day)
✅ Making the choice to drink lemon water in the AM lends itself to making healthier choices for the rest of your day!

For all my science-loving babes out there:
You may have heard that lemon juice helps balances pH Levels: There is a theory that certain foods can have an acid or alkaline affect on the body. It’s important to keep in mind that our diet only affects the pH of the urine and not the pH of the blood. So, regardless of what you eat or what your urine pH is, you can be pretty confident that your blood pH is hovering around a comfortable 7.4 (1,2).

lemon_juicer

 

Rae Dunn White Ceramic Citrus Juicer with Strainer - Squeeze

Rae Dunn White Ceramic Citrus Juicer with Strainer – Squeeze

 

  1. http://advan.physiology.org/content/33/4/275.full
  2. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?aid=9016507&fileId=S0007114513000962

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Back-To-Back | Superset Back Workout!

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I admit my impromptu decision to bring my camera to the gym with me to shoot my actual workout felt sooo narcissistic…I think we all get that noise in our head sometimes about “who am I to even think this is worth sharing?”  but then I thought I’ve got nothing to lose and it may even help someone out! I’m trying to be more vulnerable lately, and this is definitely “putting myself out there”. It’s funny because so often, the advice I give to my clients is reassuring words that I need to hear myself. BABY STEPS! Well guys, I took a step and here it is:

Perform each superset exercise back-to-back (no pun intended) THREE times. For example you’d do 12-15 reps of the standing banded row with a double pulse, followed by 12 reps of the bent over barbell row. This is ONE set. You would then take a minute to stretch. Repeating the sequence two more times through (for a total of three)! Perform all 4 supersets this way 😉 Have fun!

Watch the Video

Ever feel like you just can’t quite “get” a movement? I share my advice (that I also share with my own clients) on how to work through learning something new! Watch the workout and give it a try next time you’re in the gym!

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Get your Back To Back | Superset Back Workout | Printable PDF Just Right Click and Select “Save Link As…”

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Don’t Kill Thigh Vibe: Inner & Outer Thigh Routine


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Hey Girls!

The weather has been heating up down here in South Carolina and I’ve mostly been avoiding shorts for two reasons: A. My legs are no where near as tan as they were when I took the photo above and B. I nevvvver where shorts when I’m lifting. Aside from the fact that they can ride up and get all up in your business, I’d just as soon challenge the imagination of the creepy old man on the recumbent bike – than show him the goods – if ya know what I’m sayin?!

On that note – I’m sharing my favorite exercises to sculpt, tighten and target the inner & outer thighs! You’re going to LOVE it!  You’ll also be toning that booty AND you’ll be working that waistline. I love routines that focus on large muscle groups like legs & thighs; they require more energy, which increases your metabolism, burns fat and helps your body tone up fast! Another win: you don’t need any equipment (get your fitness on, sans creepy gym dudes).

Watch the Video

Let’s do the workout together! How exciting is this?? Watch the workout below in real time and follow along with me!

Get your Printable Don’t Kill Thigh Vibe Workout Just Right Click and Select “Save Link As…”
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clam shells

SPORTS BRA: Mixmax Women Strappy Crop Tank Tops Bustier Cutout Padded Bra Cami
TOP: Lululemon Cool Racerback
LEGGINGS: Lululemon Make A Move Tight
SHOES: Nike Women’s Flex Experience Rn 4 Black
Other Similar Styles:
✓  Lululemon Womens Black Cool Racerback* SE Shine On
✓ Lululemon Wunder Under Yoga Pants Hi Rise Mesh Black Shine On Luon 

 

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Bridal Prep Upper Body Routine!

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Strong, Sculpted Arms Are Yours Bombshell!

Today’s Bridal Prep ARM routine – is actually an older one I posted but also one of my most popular! Some of you have requested a printable for this workout – so here it is!!  It takes you through a sequence of my favorite, ultra effective moves to tone your arms, shoulders and upper back. If you’re yearning for beautiful biceps and sultry shoulders, follow along below!

What you need for this workout:
– A pair of dumbbells (I like to have two sets handy, so I can drop down if I start to loose form)
– The gymboss interval timer app (optional)
– Some water

Choosing weights: Start with anywhere from 5-10 lb and work your way up from there as you get stronger. You can also do drop sets, which means you start with a higher weights and drop down to lower as your muscles become fatigued.

Incorporate this routine a few times a week from now until summer. Those arms will be so defined, everyone will be doing a double-take!

Get your printable here Liveng Proof_Printable Bridal Arms Workout – Just Right Click and Select “Save Link As…

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Liveng Proof Bootcamp @ Lululemon Greenville Showroom | Highlights

Sometimes before I teach a class I feel like I am 12 years old again; I’m nervously standing behind the blocks before a race at a swim meet. I have thought about this moment all week. I have that nervous/excitedness churning feeling in my stomach. And I do a lot of the same things to prep for it. I mull over how I want the workout to flow, scratching out rough ideas on paper, drawing out what equipment goes where.

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And the week leading up to the event I know I’ll need to prep 3-winner giveaway bags AKA me running around town buying things in good-better-best-sets-of-three. At anthropologie the girl at the register noted “I’m guessing this a gift since there are three of everything?”. And at GNC I planted my generously-loaded basket onto the counter to checkout  and  in a do-you-come-here-often-tone the guy goes  “A basket huh? We don’t see many of those” ….Yeah you know, just my regular weeks supply of SUPS;-)

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Bust out a  handwritten-welcome poster. Babe did you print the sign-in & waiver sheets?
Then there’s the creation of a solid spotify playlist for the big day (which you can check out here).

 

I have a new-found respect for people that host events – there are seriously so many details that you need to keep track of for everything to run smoothly. And let’s just say I’m not the most laid-back type…

And I guueeeessssss you could say I’m a bit neurotic when it comes to the day-of. I have to get ready hours before I actually have to be anywhere. I have a whole stretching routine I do. And as you can imagine I’m cray about being “on-time” (which is actually 10-15 mins earlier than real time). Props to my husband for being so tolerant of me when I’m in this zone…thanks babe. But the morning could not have been more perfect. The forecast had said there was supposed to be showers early Saturday morning. But when I woke up – they couldn’t have been more wrote. It was sunny and in the 70s – literally couldn’t have been any better!

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Leading a class is invigorating – for that hour it’s GAME TIME! 100% of my focus is on my people. Watching their form, encouraging them, directing them, making sure they have a good handle on what to do, and above all else making sure they are having fun!

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Sometimes I hear myself saying the most ridiculous things – somehow they make it past my usual filter. For example I was having people plank in a class one time and I had them do glute squeezes while they were planking and I said “pinch your cheeks hard, as if you were trying not to poop” – they all burst out laughing! Their form improved after I gave this cue & they were laughing = win-win in my book!

Quite often after I teach a class I am hit by a wave of “was that good enough?” “was that a challenging enough? fun enough? different enough? class”. As an instructor I have to remind myself that although I am leading – the focus is not on ME – its on each individual listening to me! The class is for them. I am there to give them an amazing workout!

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I think that’s the only way I am able to “perform”. It’s not like I’m 9 years old again playing in a piano recital in front of an entire church full of people (are you seeing a trend? and OMG my palms are sweating just thinking about the anxiety I would get from those recitals! lawd!!!!)… This is of course noise in my own head, but I think we’ve all experienced the “am I enough?” noise before. Am I smart enough? experienced enough? pretty enough? rich enough? funny enough? thin enough? did I do enough? Am I enough?

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And the answer is YES. I am enough. YOU are enough.

I will leave you with a quote from one of my favorites<3

“Wholeheartedness. There are many tenets of Wholeheartedness, but at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness; facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough.”
―Brenè Brown

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summer ARMS workout routine!

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Hey Ladies!

What’s the best summer accessory!? Sexy, sculpted arms!! Today’s NEW  summer ARMS Routine will leave you ready to rock tank tops, sleeveless dresses and your favorite bikini with ridiculous confidence!

You’re going to feel the burn, and fall in love with your strong, attention-worthy arms!

Follow along in the video and let me know if you liked this routine 🙂 Be sure to warm up and stretch in-between exercise whenever you feel it necessary! Really aim to challenge yourself during this workout. Try doing this with a heavier and lighter set of dumbells near by, only drop to the lighter set of weights if you start to lose form!

Get your printable here: summer ARMS workout routine – Just Right Click and Select “Save Link As…”