In the continuation of my #fitblog series on my experiences in natural bodybuilding and my competition season,  we move into the realm of what some refer to as the dreaded and often much anticipated “off-season” or “bulking season.”

image
Building season max weight: 132

This point in time for most bodybuilders is not our most “glamorous” time. Don’t expect to see that skimpy swimsuit on us, ripped and stage ready shredded. This is the part of our sport where we go back to being “normal” people with an edge. Still fit and lean with a little extra padding on our muscles while still maintaining a small degree of our definition,  compliments of our lifestyle and dietary discipline. #IIFYM!

image
Building season muscular definition: weight 126

We allow ourselves to gain weight,  some more than others unfortunately. i use the Rule of 10! No more than 10 pounds over the weight of my last competition.  Bulking is a horrible misnomer for some,  because they immensely interpret it as eat any and everything and get big. When in fact it’s the opposite,  yes you eat more,  but we still keep it clean with the occasional cheat meal. That’s how you stay within the appropriate weight range for competition prep. Gain slow, true muscle mass grows slowly.

image
Clean bulking: Weight 130

  During this time we also begin to train differently. Our workouts change, the schedule changes,  our focus is on progressive strength and mass gains. Maximal muscle hypertrophy and endurance. There’s a lot of work at stake. Once you have your feedback from the judges, that becomes the precedence for your building season. Building up the areas you were critiqued on most and maintaining the areas you were praised for the most, making them even better for next season.

image
Building season Post workout selfie: Weight 127

Don’t for one think that the “off season” from competing is an inactive one. Hence the reason I like to call it the “building season” and here’s why:

image
3 weeks into new training regimen: bulked 127 to 129

1. Growth – adding additional calories,  adds fuel to help the body, specifically your muscles, to grow, hence the moderate weight gain within healthy reason

image
Building season: Gaining strength, plus back, shoulders and hamstring thickness and definition

2. Strength – in the midst added fat free mass, and caloric energy, your body becomes stronger as evidence by being able to lift heavier with each week of your training. I keep the focus of my workouts on the primary big lifts, bench, squat, deadlifts, etc, those compound exercises that facilitate maximal muscle recruitment from multiple muscle groups using more muscle fibers in one rep.

image
Progressive strength on the bench press

3. Rest – nothing grows under constant stress all of the time. Stress is detrimental to muscular development. This is the season when you rest from your labor,  actively of course. Allow yourself an extra rest day from lifting,  you should be lifting heavier than during competition prep, so your body will need the additional recovery time to grow. 

image
Under Construction for 2015

In this sport the old adage is true: “Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is the body, so Lift Heavy, Lift Often…EatClean, Build Lean. To be continued..I AM CANDICE MARIA

image

So yes, I know I’m super late on this blog update. ..lol! However,  it’s a recap of the remainder of my competition season and I must say it’s been a blessed one!

image

The journey to the stage for the second round of my 2014 season was a tough one,  but I’m grateful for the people who supported me the entire way!

image

The beautiful team at Nancy Taylor Day Spa as usual are always so helpful in those inevitable girly girl finishing touches for the stage.

image

Waxing never hurt so good. ..especially when you’re ripped and shredded and clocking in pre competition at 122 pounds and 9% body fat…lol!

image

I can’t even begin to say how important a loyal support system is to the process. True friends are hard to find,  and I’m grateful for the people in this pic! Dymen “GrindSeason” Raimer, Atlanta based personal trainer and his client Ms. Carolyn have been my biggest cheerleaders since the beginning of this whole process! My last competition of this year, just about four weeks ago in September, was held in Atlanta and not only did Dymen ensure I had a place to get my final lift session in before the show, but his client Ms. Carolyn came out to watch me do my thing on the stage! So blessed to have them both in my life!

Most importantly the support of my friend and competition coach, IFPA Pro Ryan Davis, was awesome. Extremely grateful having his help to keep me focused and dialing in my macros everyday, as I juggled grad school,  life, work and competition prep, this man helped me create a lean mean muscle machine!

image

Until next time. ..Keep a Small Circle ….Winner’s Circle. …

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~ #AestheticallyAthletic

image

So with any level of success comes the topic most don’t like to talk about…. jealousy,  ignorance, and down right mess.

The spin off for this post will be on “Gym Pet Peeves” & “Gym Etiquette” which I will post eventually…lol,  as well as the prior post entitled “Unapologetic Swagger”

image
2014 IFPA/NANBF Global Cup Championship

In life if you aspire to reach beyond the mundane of comfort zones and live more than a mediocre existance you will be tested.

I call this the phenom of having ‘”Devils” among you’! These are the people who inadvertently and even intentionally do the following to your ambitions:

Distract – (verb) “to prevent (someone) from giving full attention to something.”
These are the people who will stop you mid workout with conversations and questions about your life,  what you do, your workout,  etc. Cut them short as before you know it they will talk you out of your next set or your turn on the stair mil.

Comment – (noun) “a verbal or written remark expressing an opinion or reaction.” These come out of the mouths of people who don’t know any better,  especially if they are negative.  The solution is to ignore them and laugh them off as ignorant.

Block –  (verb) “to make the movement or flow in (a passage, pipe, road, etc.) difficult or impossible.” Similar to the distractors, people who behave in this manner at the gym don’t talk, they watch and act. Literally stalk your workout looking for ways to become (noun) “an obstacle to the normal progress or functioning of ‘something’,” with that someone or ‘something’ being you, your workout,  and your progress towards your competition. Keep your eyes open and work the gym floor smart, fool them at their own games!

Criticize – (verb) “indicate the faults of (someone or something) in a disapproving way.” This may initially seem similar to “comment” but it’s on a whole different level! Someone who criticizes your ambitions issue not just a negative comment,  but one laced in judgement! These are harder to laugh off because they are usually delivered with “a force of,  they’re judgements of you are right and you better do something about it!” Usually issued in a more directive manner than a comment,  however both come from an ignorant mind. So fight the urge to acknowledge it! Examples I’ve experienced were direct criticisms about my body, the pointing out of flaws that I was already fully aware of, with the persistent advocation  of what I needed to do about it. The biggest issue is that, the critical person was neither my competition coach or a judge at any of my shows, and worse not even a competitor themselves. In fact they weren’t even fit!  So their criticism and advice ultimately no merit,  yet they blatantly pounded me with it, on the day before a competition.

So, the above outlines what I have personally experienced on this journey into natural bodybuilding. However,  these same types of people can be found in any ambitious endeavor you pursue in life, whether professionally,  academically,  or athletically.  Keep your eyes and ears open and stay prayed up. Do not be shaken by their ignorance.

Until next time. …#GracefortheJourney #PrayHard…#PrayOften….and #Elevate above the rest!

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

image
2014 Global Cup Championship - T-Walk

The following blog will show you step by step how I #IsolateandGrow with the help of my #IsoBag!

image

Step 1 : Stock up on healthy food and clean eats! Can’t eat healthy if your kitchen isn’t healthy!

image

Step 2: Pick a cooking day. Cook as much as you want to have ready in advance. I typically do 2 to 3 days worth because I’m in competition prep.

image

Step 3: Fill the handy containers. How nifty are these! I typically store what ive cooked and fill my containers nightly for the next day’s worth of meals.

image

If I know my schedule is going to be super hectic I will fill containers for 2 days worth of meals.

image
2 Days Competition Prep meals

Step 4: Refrigerate until morning or Pack your #IsoBag. If you filled your containers for the next day or several days just place everything in the refrigerator.

image

If you filled containers specifically for that day go ahead and pack your bag.

image

Step 5: Hit the ground running,  your #IsoBag has you covered! As a busy full time grad student, yoga teacher , fitness trainer, part time nurse and figure competitor staying fueled with healthy food on the go is essential to my success.

The following are just a few highlights from a typical day with my #IsoBag:

image
4:30 am workout at the gym
image
Study break in the park before class
image
Teaching yoga in the community

The list goes on! Trust the process,  trust the bag and #IsolateandGrow!

Until next time. ..#EatClean…#TrainDirty

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

image

Don’t forget to visit Isolator Fitness to vote for me to become your next #ISOAmbassador

It has come to my recognition that sometimes “fit people” intimidate, shock, or even inspire “not so fit people” without even saying a word…. #sorrynotsorry! I can’t help how I look and carry myself. ..like Bey and Nikki say ” Flawless…I wake up like this!”…

image

…because I grind day and night giving all I got to live this lifestyle and reach my dreams!

image

The Panel of Commentary – Can’t Take This Body No Where in Public…LOL!

“What inspires you to stay so fit?” – Grocery shopping

“Man I need your diet!” – Grocery shopping

image
Competition pantry restocking

“You work out don’t you?” – Post Office line mailing in my competition registration

“You look great,  but you look awfully lean!” – Owner at the yoga studio I teach at

“You look like you have one of those ‘Zumba’ bodies, I sell Amway, want to be a representative?” – Lobby of a residential site I train at

image
Trainer mode

These and other statements along with awkward stares, all but one happened within a 24 hour period by the way,  are a part of my day to day life during my bodybuilding competition season.

I usually just smile,  knod, respond the best way possible and press on, or if I feel like I can drop a little knowledge on a person to push a little harder then I make a deposit and roll on!

If this is how people treat an amateur,  I can only imagine what the other side, yeah being at the top feels like! The official winners circle,  pro status! “I must be doing something right!”

image

I continue to count down to September 27th and let the comments,  questions,  and stares be my motivation.

Until next time…#EatClean…#TrainDirty

~I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

image
I AM CANDICE MARIA

Binge Clean – eat healthy,  fun and nutritious. Yes 1st thing I laid hands on were some carbs in the dressing room backstage… bruised banana anyone?…lol!

image
Post competition fit food "binge"

Get home to change clothes for the post show Ruby Tuesday meet,  greet, and critique and grabbed hold of a bowl of sweet potato,  broccoli

image

and a couple scoops of my food addiction #cashewbutter

image

So yeah my post competition “binge” was all healthy food… #dontjudgeme! …lol! Even after attending the Ruby Tuesday meet, greet, and critique with the judges after the show, it resulted in a salad to go as my meal choice!

image

The reason? I have another show to prep for that’s why! I #refuel my body for performance,  not for pleasure, it’s a huge difference!

image

But please believe every bit was devoured before the night ended, my muscles were famished. ..lol!

Stay tuned for Part 5…..

#EatClean … #TrainDirty….

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

image

Welcome to the main stage! The 2014 NANBF Trojan Classic in Troy, AL. This post includes stage shots,  awards and what’s to come for ~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~ ♡♡♡

image
Novice figure - pre judging
image
1st Place Novice Figure
image
Pre judging - figure open

image

image
I Earned this Bling
image
Still Shining!
image
1st Place Novice
image
3rd Place Overall

Next stop, revamped training and diet regimen and gunning for that pro card at the next show in September!  “Todo, we’re not in Kansas anymore!” No rookies over here! Welcome to the big leagues!

Until next time. … continue to #EatClean and #TrainDirty. ….Stay tuned for Part 4….

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

image

image
Competition Weekend food

So more on last weekend’s competition. My streamlined version of my diet is what you see above. This is what I packed and traveled with for the weekend of the show.

image
Novice figure pre - judging

My command from my coach on the day of the show was to wake up early  and eat a small portion of tuna, no carbs, sip some black coffee and very little water then go kill the stage in 3 hours. Needless to say that I did and don’t think for a minute I could just go kick back and eat until the night show that evening! Coach said, pics first then I’ll let you know if you can eat…… outcome “eat something healthy,  but no carbs” so imagine how excited I was about my #albacoretuna that afternoon. ..lol!

image
Excited to have my 2nd meal on competition day

The process that got me to the day I stepped on the stage are the foods and meals you will see in the following pics. Not an all inclusive list,  but trust and believe,  to get results you have to be willing to do without. My meals are low carb, low fat, high protein. My fat intake is healthy unsaturated and my carbs are complex… you have to choose to eat differently to be successful! I’m used to it, I prefer these foods over the common alternative because I love how my body feels when I eat clean!

Trust the planning,  Trust the process…#EatClean #TrainDirty!

image
That Cashew Mylk - Trust the Process
image
That meal prep - Trust the Process
image
The Diet - Trust the Process

Stay tuned for Part lll …..

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

image

So the next five blog updates are related to my experiences leading up to my most recent competition last weekend!

So my final days before the August 23 show involved some really intense workouts,  stricter dietary requirements and a #toughlove speech from my competition coach as well as a friend of ours from my gym!

I truly appreciate their motivation though because it fuels my ambitions.  Both are pro natural bodybuilders,  so I take every piece of encouragement and advice they give me to heart and make good use of it! #ironsharpensiron! To make pro status you have to associate with pro’s!

So to relax under the pressures of my upcoming stage presentation I let my  #yogapractice be my guide!

image
Yoga Practice midst leg workout...

The day before the big show,  my coach commanded me to only do what’s important and keep my legs elevated, rest and take naps as much as possible. ..wake up #sleepingbeauty with #musclegains!

image
#datarmveintho ...lol!

Continuing to let my #yogapractice dictate my relaxation approach,  #ViparitaKarani or Legs up the wall became my go to asana of the weekend.

image
Bodybuilding Yogi - #ViparitaKarani (Legs up the wall)

Even at my #athletescheckin and #polygraph testing you could find me posted up with my legs up and of course rocking my Kaiteki Sandals discount codes coming soon exclusively for my blog followers, clients, family and friends so stay tuned! These shoes are awesome! So cozy!

image
The command from coach to rest as much as possible

#Pranayama anyone?….lol!  Low #bodyfat percentage and a #coldroom can make taking a #polygraph a little nerve racking….good thing I came bundled up, and practiced my #Ujjayi breathing so my shivering didn’t interfere with my heart rate during the test! I’m too #nattymuscle for a false test result to keep me from competing!

image
The pressures continues. ..no worries though. ..lol! #nattymuscle

Stay tuned for Part ll….

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

image

An overview in pictures of the journey to the stage, I will be adding new photos as the big day arrives, so this post will have frequent updates so stay tuned:

image
Backstage Coach Checkin after prejudging

image
Making new friends - Erin a Womens Physique Athlete from South Carolina
image
Posing practice in the official suit!
image
14 Days - Bloat Week

.

image

image
Carb loading and my Gym Monster

image

image

image

image

image

image