Uncategorized

My Gym Motivation

This blog is going to be more personal than my regular entries. I strongly believe that everyone obtains their motivation and drive for fitness from some source: social media, friends, family, a specific event, competitions, etc. Today I’m am going to discuss what made me take health & fitness so seriously.

To be honest, this was my sister’s idea. It is an inexplicably tough topic for me to write about. It was something that my family struggled to discuss for a long time, and thus it almost felt taboo to mention. It still kind of feels that way. Over time I realized that talking about it with those close to me has helped to ease the emotional burden, so maybe it is now time to go a little more public.


My family is chaotic in the best way possible. My parents were high school sweethearts and remain married now while in their early fifties. They are farmers, so there are always various animals around our house (cats, dogs, cows, pigs even… for a minute – that turned out to be not so great a venture).  Our family get-together’s are usually spurr of the moment, & we generally fire up the grill, eat, and crack open a cold one. It took a long time for me to notice that something was, for lack of a better word, weird. I would come over for our cook outs, and there would be food in the cabinets that was WAY past expired. There was a lot more food in the back corners that was even further past expired. We laughed and told my mom that she really needed to clean out her cabinets!

Fast-forward to 2012(ish).  I was wrapping up my junior year at a university. My boyfriend (now husband – Ace) began to really get into lifting and working out. He had always been a highly active person, and I think he was looking for something to fill the void that sports had left in his life. I saw the changes Ace made, & he inspired me to join him. Ace will always be my very first inspiration to get into the gym, & he will always be my number one supporter. We kept lifting and working out until I noticed some changes in myself as well. I enjoyed it. We enjoyed it.

I kept up with working out and lifting. It was fun. I tried to stay consistent, but I also didn’t hesitate to go out and have a good time each weekend. On weekends I went home, my dad began to express some concerns. My mom would leave to go grocery shopping and get lost. She’d be gone for hours and call my dad in panic. We were worried, of course, but wondered if she wasn’t just stressed or something along those lines. After all, she was only in her late 40s. What the hell else could it be? We were soothed.

Well… to skip the depressing details, things never got better. My mom is now 54 and she suffers from early-onset Alzheimer’s; a prognosis that happens to roughly 5% of people who develop this disease total. According to Mayo Clinic, that is roughly 200,000 in 4 million. She is now at the point where she needs help with all everyday tasks. My dad hired the nicest woman to come take care of her during the day because she absolutely cannot be left alone. She takes a shit ton of medication that does absolutely nothing to deter the progression. She had to watch this disease slowly kill her own mother (at a much older age, however), & now my siblings & I have to do the same.

At first, I refused to accept it. My family has never been the hug-touchy-feely kind. We didn’t talk about it. We just did what needed to be done.  We recognized that our lives were about to go through a drastic change. My dad became a completely different person – in a good way. My mom trusts no one else more, not even now. I can tell. Just a few weeks ago she came across an old picture of him and said, “he looks so nice.” Yeah.. I cried a bit.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve cried f*cking rivers. The worst part about this is how much you hate telling people because there is nothing for them to say. It isn’t like any other sickness. There is no “I hope she gets better!” That is not even a damn option. The pain, misery, and depression I feel about this is something I would not wish on ANYONE. For a long time, I had no idea how to cope. Hell… I still don’t.

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2015

You want to know what has helped me keep my sanity? Going to the gym. I’m not kidding. It has been a total godsend, & not in a “I’m hiding from my problems by throwing myself at the gym with every ounce of my being” way.. Okay maybe a little bit. Either way, it is more along the lines of being stuck in a rut of not being able to get out of bed because you can’t MOVE. The sadness and despair feels like it is crushing you, but you can’t miss your workout kind of way. So I drag my ass out of bed, throw on a hat, and move some weight around.

My mom always worked really, really hard to maintain her body as she got older. Sometimes it wasn’t in the best way (diet pills, etc.), but she put a lot of emphasis on it. I’d like to think that she would be proud of me for devoting myself to something so thoroughly. I’d like to think that she’d enjoy talking to me about the gym and asking me for advice or ideas. Maybe that is totally wrong; I’ll never know, but it is definitely a fantasy I like to entertain.

The reason I wrote this is tri-fold.

1: My sister suggested it. I struggled with accepting it because, as I said before, it has always felt almost inappropriate to discuss with anyone outside of family. However, I’m approaching this as my final step of acceptance. By telling anyone who reads this, I am truly admitting what is happening. I think that talking about it will help me to feel better.

2: I started this blog to inspire & motivate others to live a healthy lifestyle. If you are going through something awful, try turning to the gym. Try putting your health (and sometimes yourself) first. You might be surprised or impressed by the positive impact it can have. They also say that one of the only known ways to *hopefully* prevent or slow down the progression of Alz lies in diet & exercise. I am a firm believer that proper diet & exercise can help to prevent or slow down a lot of health issues.

3: Sometimes life is just freaking terrible. I read a quote on the back of a book recently & I’ve never read something that resonated so strongly. The author Mark Manson wrote, “Let’s be honest; sometimes things are f*cked up and we have to live with it.” My life has been & continues to be all kinds of messed up because of Alzheimer’s. Hiding it, being broken, and refusing to discuss it has done nothing for me. I’ve decided it’s time to live with it, and the gym is helping me to accomplish just that.

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Always,

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P.S. If you’d like to learn more or donate to help end ALZ, please visit the links below.

More Information: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/in-depth/alzheimers/art-20048356
Donate: https://act.alz.org/site/Donation2?df_id=32112&32112.donation=form1&  

Health, Uncategorized

My First NPC Bikini Competition

As you can probably guess from my last blog title, I recently competed in my first NPC bikini show. Before the show, I scoured the internet and YouTube for articles, blogs, and videos discussing show day and what I could expect. I found some useful resources, but I wish I could have read or watched more. So I decided I’d make my own blog entry about it, and hopefully someone else will find this insightful (and as always, a tad bit amusing). Enjoy!

Morning/Athlete’s Meeting

I woke up bright and early to start getting ready. I didn’t have a difficult time waking; I slept awful from trying to stay on my back and just general nerves and excitement. I sent pictures to my coach and he said I could have a cup of coffee and a couple sips of water (coffee = heaven). I did my own hair and makeup, so I started with makeup first. Let me know if you want any details on show hair/makeup! 

Ace and I headed for the venue around 7:45 for the athlete’s meeting at 8:30… which didn’t actually start until 9:00. The competitors spent this time scarfing down rice cakes and various other carbs. The meeting included the basics about the schedule and expectations, but I was thrown for a loop when they told us that bikini and physique were only allowed to hit a front and back pose on stage THE END. They were extremely adamant about it. A lot of people were looking around kind of irritated because they (myself included) had practiced a bit more of an elaborate routine. I made a mental note to modify with some minor changes later.  After all this, the meeting concluded and they warned us prejudging started in forty minutes.

Prejudging

Prejudging taught me that there is a lot of “hurry up and wait” in the bodybuilding world. There was a general level of chaos backstage, but people kept making comments about how the show was running smoothly. I suppose the chaos is normal! I did Open Bikini B class, and we went on around 11:30. They called out that we had five minutes before lining up, so I went over to get “glazed,” or have oil applied. I had just walked over when they started yelling for us to line up (five minutes, my ass), so the glaze guy was literally trotting down the hall with me while I made my way to the stage (shout out to that guy). Once I made it to the waiting area before going onstage, I realized I would be standing there for a while… hence the “hurry up and wait.” I didn’t have time to pump up before, so I did about fifty push ups (thanks CrossFit and adrenaline surge) so at least my arms would pop a bit more.

I felt confident and ready! Bring on the stage! As soon as I went up there and hit my front pose, I started shaking/trembling like crazy. What. In. The. I’m not sure what or why it happened, but Ace told me you couldn’t tell – thank goodness!

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1st Call Outs!

They lined up 1-7, 8-14, and then lined everyone up to the side. There were fourteen numbers, but only twelve girls (two didn’t show up). I was thrilled when I heard my number for first callouts! I started in the middle, worked my way to the outside, and then they had me shift back in. They say the closer to the middle you are, the higher your placing. I’d say that was pretty accurate based on my experience.

Downtime

Between shows, Ace and I went back to the hotel. Some girls ate burgers and fries between shows, but my coach had me stick to my prepped foods. I passed time by watching TV and attempting to nap (haha – yeah right). I was allowed another cup of coffee (hallelujah) and I touched up hair and makeup before heading back to the venue.

Night Show

Finally! It was time for the night show. I was ready. I knew I’d gotten my jitters out during prejudging, and I was ready to kill it. I ate my rice cakes with IMG_6624plenty of time. I spent a lot of time pumping up, got oiled, and pumped up some more. I was ready when they called for my class.

Overall, I was happy with my posing routine and how the night show went. It took a bit longer for me to get on stage since everyone was getting more stage time. Regardless, I got up there a did a slightly modified version of my routine, which wasn’t even necessary. They were letting people take as long as they wanted in their routine – the complete opposite of what they’d warned us about at the athlete’s meeting.  They had all bikini classes go up and complete their routines, and then they called up the top five for awards. I ended up with 4th place, and as I said before, I was absolutely THRILLED with this placing for my first show!

Post-Show

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Ace & I after the night show. Can you tell he was afraid of touching my tan? 🙂

You better believe I had myself a big bacon cheeseburger, fries, ketchup, and a glass of wine afterwards! I didn’t finish the cheeseburger or drink hardly any of the wine (Ace had to finish it for me), but I was feeling pretty darn good. We topped off the treat meal with some birthday cake ice cream with a brownie mixed in, of course. Annnnnnd I still didn’t finish that.

What I Learned

This blog is already much longer than I meant, so I’ll keep this part short!

1 – Get prepared soon. Take plenty of time to eat your carbs, pump up, and get ready right before getting on stage. You don’t want to feel rushed! I think that is part of what contributed to my shaking during prejudging.

2 – Take your time in posing! I didn’t rush as bad as I thought I would, but I still could have gone much slower. I worked so hard – enjoy your time up there! I also think my stage shots would have been better.

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Alright guys! I hope this was helpful. If you’d like further details on anything, let me know!

Always,

Han C

Uncategorized

Peak Week in all its Glory

Sunday (April 30th)

Today wasn’t so bad because it was my last high carb day until Friday. I loaded up on my sweet potatoes (my favorite) and threw in a little jasmine rice as well just to keep things interesting. I also enjoyed half a pint of Arctic Zero… not as good as Halo Top, but it was a lower calorie option. I did a longer steady state cardio session and went to the gym in the evening for a lower body lift. Overall, I felt pretty good. Bring on the week and the fish!  It’s peak week – I can do anything!

Monday (May 1st)

Words to describe today? Barf. That isn’t even an adjective, but it is the first word that comes to mind. I was literally – not figuratively AT ALL – gagging while eating cod fish. I hate fish. Omg. Guys… I honestly thought I was going to puke while swallowing it. Is that possible? I also had a full day of teaching and a class to coach after work (also after my second workout), so this day was rough all around. One day of fish down… three to go! I had some concerns about how I was going to make it.  I started today off with some fasted cardio and went back for a light upper body session. A good lift definitely cheered me up a bit!

Tuesday (May 2nd)

My coach is a lifesaver. If you have to eat white fish and you don’t like fish (ie: me), then eat swai. It tastes so mild compared to others and it is super thin, and for some reason I like to think that helps with the texture. I had this for my second and fourth meals today, and it went down so much easier than yesterday’s cod. I also started today with cardio and went back for a light lower body lift. I also had some appointments today to get ready for Saturday, so I ran around doing errands after work. It was a busy (but good) day.

Wednesday (May 3rd)

Today was an intense mental struggle. I missed my carbs and work was wearing me down. I kept getting online to read about the infamous peak week and what it was like for other people. I wanted justification that they felt as hungry and unmotivated as I did. I found that reassurance, and I also read other stories as well. Either way, I decided that I need to suck it up and keep on keepin’ on! The show is almost here. Just keep prepping.

Today consisted of my last steady-state cardio session. A few years ago, I would have rejoiced at this fact, but I’ve kind of come to enjoy steady-state. I use this time to catch up on YouTubers that I like [Heidi Somers, Amanda Bucci, Emily Duncan, Layne Norton]. I also did a light upper body session.

Thursday (May 4th)

I took a half day at work today to get ready. I originally had a photo-shoot planned, but that was shifted to next week. I took a rest day today and just spent time packing and making sure I had everything ready to head up to Chicago in the AM! Let me know if you’re interested in a blog about what I packed – I was quite happy with everything I brought! 🙂

Friday (May 5th)

THE DAY BEFORE THE SHOW! Today’s major focus: freaking out about my spray tan. So. Many. Horror. Stories. People sitting on the toilet and getting a ring on their legs, girls who splash too much while using the restroom and getting spots… AH! Can you imagine? Turning for you back pose and have these weird spots?? This caused me much anxiety if you can’t tell.

We left for Chicago around eight in the morning. We had a few pit stops to make along the way, and I entertained myself driving while Ace slept (poor guy had just worked the night shift). We got to the gym for registration and tanning nice and early. Registration was a breeze. I ended up measuring for B height class even though I had originally signed up for A *oops. It was an easy switch though!

Okay. The big event: tanning. It was definitely interesting to say the least. I went upstairs where they had me strip down and put on a hairnet – attractive, I know. I was then sprayed with one layer of a dark, I-spent-a-month-in-Mexico-with-no-SPF tan. After a second layer, I was ushered into a room full of girls standing in front of tans drying. Naked. All naked. Everyone. I definitely felt like some kind of a crazy alien standing with this dorito-y tan naked with my arms sticking straight out, but honestly… I’d worked my tail off for three months for the best body I’ve ever had, so the naked part didn’t bother me once I got past the initial shock. No one else really cared either. After standing around for about thirty minutes, I was released from the warm-ish fan room into the brisk hallway and told I was free to go. I gingerly put my clothes back on, bought some glaze to put on right before stage, and out the door I went.IMG_6517

We were checked into the hotel pretty early, so we spent the evening watching TV, checking to make sure I hadn’t messed up my tan every ten minutes, and “relaxing.” I was SO ready for the next day!

Saturday (May 6th)

SHOW DAY! Another blog coming soon… 🙂 Spoiler: the tan thing truly was not a big deal, so don’t panic about yours!

Uncategorized

Hello! My name is…

Hello!

My name is Hannah Camfield. I am a twenty-something Illinoisan who is starting a blog for a multitude of reasons. I guess that is the purpose of this first post… to introduce myself and explain the “why” or purpose behind my writing.

I’ll start with the first objective: to introduce myself. I always have mixed feelings on how people should describe themselves. I’ve been listening to a lot podcasts and doing more “for fun” reading lately, and they argue that what you do is not who you are… but this is how everyone always introduces themselves. “Hi, I’m Meredith, and I’m an accountant.” What else are you supposed to say? “Hi, I’m Meredith, and I love ice cream and books.” That might make for more interesting conversation; maybe people should introduce themselves like that more often!

Regardless, I’m Hannah and I teach English, coach CrossFit, and do the whole fitness thing. I find my scope in fitness to be a little different than others – I love CrossFit and coach at my local gym, but I also have competed in an NPC bikini show. They are sort of on the opposite side of the fitness spectrum. One is focused on performance and athleticism while the other emphasizes aesthetics. They each have their perks, and I highly enjoy both. CrossFit pushes me to my absolute physical limits and tests my physical strength. Bodybuilding enables me to slow down and truly focus on a long term goal. I am lucky enough to meet some wonderful people through both these activities, and I honestly could not imagine my life without fitness in it.

I also have a wonderful, supportive husband and two cute fur-babies. My husband, Ace – cool name I know, is currently taking classes and will soon apply to a few Physician Assistant schools. That is about to be a whole other adventure itself. We will have to move, but I am looking forward to getting out and trying another new city! As for the fur-children: one french bulldog (Elsie) and one black cat (Eva).

I feel like this is probably a long enough first post. I have to maintain interest, right? So this is where I’ll cut. Next time I will discuss the purpose behind this blog. Until then, I’ll just keep you guessing 😉

Always,

Han C

P.S. Still figuring out WordPress.. so sorry if anything seems absolutely crazy!