Bikini Bodybuilding: The First Two Weeks

Bikini, bodybuilding

What to expect during this phase of your journey into bodybuilding.

 

Hey Everyone,

Well, today is officially the end of the second week of my training for my bikini bodybuilding show. I thought that this would be a great time, you know-while it’s still actually in my mind- to give you an inside look at what to expect during those first two weeks. In order to get to the 101 basics of bikini bodybuilding, I first have to walk you through the personal stuff so that you can see ways of dealing with the things that will come your way during this part of your journey. So, let’s take a little trip to make sure that your head is in the right place, so that your body can follow.

Let’s go back for just a second. When I told my husband that I was going to start training for a show again, he was not happy. He is not supportive of this lifestyle or this sport in any way. To be clear, I am not saying this for pity.  I need to say that so that anyone else who is in that position knows that when you finally make this decision for yourself, you will need to go it alone, at least in the beginning.

Two weeks ago, we had a huge fight about this, which I detailed a little bit in my last blog. The point that I want you to take away is that you have to state your goals, out load, for every and anyone to judge. You need to own them, represent them, and be proud of them. Some will judge you, but you will find that most will actually be pretty supportive, or at least encouraging. Strangely enough, most of the people who will actively encourage you are not the people who you are closest to. I really don’t understand why this is, but it is how it will begin for most of you. Knock, knock. Who’s There? Jealousy and Change. Nope, we don’t want you here. Accept that this will be reacted to in many different ways, and just know that it has NOTHING to do with you, and then move on.

For me, when you question something that I have said that I am going to do, it only makes me want it even more. Ok, ok, Raphaela, get back to it. 🙂 Any who, I told him on a Friday that the following Monday I would begin training. We fought. I prepared my meals, my workout plans, and laid out all of my outfits, slowly and deliberately throughout the weekend. I wanted to make this transition as easy as I could on everyone in my family, so I made sure to do these things on my time, not theirs.

On Monday, I got up, got the kids ready, then went to the gym. I worked out, ate clean, drank my water (1 gallon per day…seriously do not skip this). My husband gave me a bunch of lip about how it must be nice for me to go to the gym while he has to go to work. To that I say, I chose a different path in my life. I work for myself, and I have worked for more than a decade at my business to put it on auto pilot, or at least mostly, so that I could have the freedom to do other things. While he was going to work, getting promotions, getting accolades, and moving our family around the country, I worked my a*s off from wherever we were living. I rebuilt my business repeatedly to support him. I mean, I worked all the time, nights, weekends, during holidays, during his repeated deployments, during our moves, 3 hours after I had both of our children, and more so that I could have this freedom. So, basically, I think that it is kind of amusing that he is frustrated by my freedom, especially since it has no financial impact on him. Regardless, I just went right on with what I wanted to do.

At nights, instead of simply sitting down to dinner with the kids, then bath, then bedtime, I set up a mini activity for us each night. I knew that it would make the temptation of snacking or emotional eating less likely to derail my plans. It started with me making the kids meals in little to go containers and then pulling them around the park, or our city, while they ate. We saw a lot of really cool things that we would otherwise have missed. They really enjoy our little sunset dinner cruises. One of our evenings out, we had the opportunity to watch a pilot drawing in the sky. It was very cool and the kids loved it.

 

 

We saw someone writing in the sky.

We saw someone writing in the sky.

When Friday night came, I knew that would not only be a struggle, but a temptation, as we have gotten into the habit of having a few cocktails on Friday night after the kids go to bed and just spending time together. I told him that Friday morning that I would be watching a movie, not drinking and hanging out. He rolled his eyes, which I expected. When Friday night came, I made my 6th meal (right on schedule), and I turned on a movie that I have always wanted to see, and never made time for ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. He asked what I was watching, and I invited him to join me, which he did while saying, ” I reserve the right to go to bed in like three minutes because this movie is going to suck.” No matter, I turned it on anyway. We sat and watched the movie, and our son woke up and decided to sit with us for a bit. The whole time, my husband kept making fun of the movie, and I would just tell him how much I was enjoying it. I watched the movie, finally (only like 30 years late 🙂 ) and went to bed early. He stayed up doing whatever.

I woke up early on Saturday, the kids and I had a beautiful breakfast together and then we went for a bike ride together. Then came Saturday night, aka, the night that I am supposed to have a cheat meal, which I did, but I decided to cheat clean. This means that you eat something that is not on  your normal meal plan, but that you prepare or eat food that is still a healthy choice. Cheat meals can undo a lot of progress, and I just didn’t want to do that. I made my cauliflower pizza and it was soooo yummy. Seriously, I would rather eat this than @Dominos.

Cheat Meal Cauliflower Pizza with Spring Onions,  Tofurkey Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Faux Meat Sausage and Fresh Grape Tomatoes. Yummy!

Cheat Meal Cauliflower Pizza with Spring Onions, Tofurkey Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Faux Meat Sausage and Fresh Grape Tomatoes. Yummy!

 

I know, I know, you are thinking, “Wow, this really doesn’t have much to do with bodybuilding.” Hold your fire there sunshine, because you will soon realize that getting control over the space between your ears has EVERYTHING to do with bodybuilding. You have to train like a champion before anyone even knows your name. You have to show people, with actions that you are not going to be stopped. It doesn’t have to cause fights, but it will likely be uncomfortable in the beginning. In the end, who cares? It is not my issue if others are made uncomfortable by my progress, it’s theirs. That takes some time to really own, but once you really grasp that, you will become a MUCH better bodybuilder.

One night I was going to bed at 9:45 so that I could be in bed, sleeping by 10. He asked my why I was going to bed so early. I explained that I needed eight hours of sleep per night. He said, “Why, because you’re an athlete? Yeah right.” I said nothing. I know what I am, and I know where I am going, so I brushed my teeth, washed my face and went to bed. I could bore you with all of the antics and petty comments that he made, but at the end of the day, it was textbook behavior, so I just decided to pray for peace in my household, and I pressed on. I planned my work, I worked my plan, and I continued training. I set everything out the night before. I prepared my meals for three-four days, two times a week. I drank a lot of water. I peed a lot, like I am considering moving an iPad in there :-). I slept for 8 hours per night, period, no questions asked.

I can not stress to you enough the importance of rest. It makes it vastly easier to train hard. It has a huge impact on your ability to stick to your meal plan. It keeps stress levels low, and it really causes you to prioritize what needs to get done. I go to bed at 10 PM and wake at 6 AM, seven days a week. I do not make exceptions to that rule, because it simply does not pay off to do so. Some may think that is really boring, but anyone on a mission knows that this is absolutely necessary to be fully available and present in your life.

Yesterday, something magical happened. My husband actually texted me asked me how my workout went. I will look upon that as a sign on hope. Ok, that or he was just really bored at work. 🙂 Regardless, my story, and my path will be different from yours. Some of you may have a huge support system, and some of you may not. The point is to take control over these struggles, to empower yourself with the understanding that you can and will effect positive changes in your life, but that it may not happen right away.

Outside of the emotional side of it, there are some pointers listed below that I really encourage you to follow.

Bodybuilding Pointers:

-Write down your workouts before you get to the gym. Know how many sets you are going to do of each, how long you will rest between sets, and leave a space to write how much weight you lifted so that you can track your progress. Say it with me, YouTube is your friend.

-Lay your workout outfits out in advance. This makes it an automatic behavior when you wake up. You wake up, you brush your teeth, you get into your workout gear. If you work out at night, lay them out anyway. Take them with you to work. Finish work, change your clothes and go to the gym. If you have children, make sure your gym has a daycare. If it doesn’t, go during lunch, because you will not be wasting time running around looking for food, because you will already have food with you. Don’t give yourself excuses. I used to get up at 4:30 in the morning to drive 27 miles into Los Angeles to beat the traffic so that I could work out before getting to my office at 7:45 each day. Get it done!

-People say that it’s 80% Diet, 20% Food. I couldn’t disagree with that more. I think it’s 15% Mental (giving yourself permission to succeed, and not giving yourself permission to quit, not concerning yourself with what others think, and not robbing yourself of a goal that you are worthy of achieving), 15% Exercise (seriously 45 minutes of weight lifting 5 days a week and 3 sessions of High Intensity Interval Training 3 days per week should do it), and 70% Diet (It’s not a diet. It’s choosing to put fuel, not garbage in your mouth. It’s understanding that you are building your body, and that you must feed it the proper fuel to make that happen.) A piss poor diet, matched with endless hours of cardio at the gym will not give you a chiseled bikini bodybuilder body. Trust me, I have tried that plan. It DOES NOT work. Stay Focused. Train Hard. Eat Clean!

-Don’t count calories, figure out your macros. There are all kinds of online tools to help you do this. I really love FitDay.com. Enter what you eat, adjust the proportions of food to fit whatever Macro split you are trying to hit. I am currently doing 50% Protein, 30% Carbs, and 20% Fat, but my goals may be different from yours. Macros help you to understand how much protein, carbohydrates, and fat you need to feed your body to make it do what you want it to do. Bodybuilding is NOT about counting calories, it’s about feeding your body the fuel that it needs to be able to perform the way that you want it to perform. Get a food scale. Click here to buy the one that I use. It’s not the most expensive, but it gets the job done, and has for the last 6 years. It’s the cost of a six pack of soda, so don’t make excuses, just do it. Prepare your food in advance, weigh your food, and eat only that amount. This is how you build a lean body.

Get A Food Scale Today. You can not afford to not own this. Don't count calories, understand Macros.

Get A Food Scale Today. You can not afford to not own this. Don’t count calories, understand Macros.

-Write out your weekly meal plan, and stick to it. I eat 7 times a day, no that is not a typo, 7 times per day. I eat at 6:30, 9 AM, 11:30, 2PM, 4:30, 7PM and again right before bed at 9:30. I eat basically every 2.5 hours, and drink a lot of water between meals. I never feel tired, or bloated, or hungry because I am always giving my body just enough fuel to burn and not enough to have to store. On cheat nights, do yourself a favor and cheat clean. The sky is the limit. Check out Pinterest for hundreds of cheat night meal recipes. I don’t eat anything but Fish (Pescetarian) and I created a Pinterest Board, which you are welcome to follow for those recipes. In case you don’t think that this works, you should know that I have lost 7.2 pounds in the last two weeks, so it absolutely does work. I promise. 🙂

-Drink your water. Don’t skip this one. Don’t short change your body, just drink it. Milk does a body good? I don’t know about that. Water definitely does a body good, well great actually :-).

-Watch videos on YouTube of competitions, look at pictures of bikini competition suits, and just generally recenter and refocus yourself several times per day. Trust me, do yourself a favor. People will say that what you are doing is not normal, but you have to remember that you are not shooting for the middle here. You are trying to effect change in your life, and yes, all of the things mentioned above are normal for competitive bodybuilders, fitness models, or anyone else who wants to live a healthy lifestyle where they are proud of their body.

-I would set up a schedule for yourself, as I have done for myself of when and what you are going to buy during what weeks. For example, this week, I purchased my competition heels, in two weeks, I will sign up for my NPC card, etc, etc, right up to the week where you buy your suit and make your hotel accommodations. If you do it in little pieces it will be less of a shock to your wallet, and it is like setting up a system of incremental rewards to keep you moving forward.

I hope you found this helpful. I hope you don’t give up on yourself. I hope you follow my progress, and I hope that you achieve the body of your dreams. If you want more regular updates, check out my YouTube channel for more about Bikini Bodybuilding and more. I shoot videos about a lot of things there, my life, my family, my fitness journey, and just yesterday, about repurposing your old tank tops and turning them into workout tanks. Don’t forget to subscribe so that you are notified whenever I upload a new video.

Here are a few examples in case you want to make your own, or feel free to take my ideas and recreate them. I would be flattered :-).

Ready, Set, Lift. My DIY Workout Tank

Ready, Set, Lift. My DIY Workout Tank

Leave Nothing DIY Tank Top. I wore this today and it really helped me to focus on putting everything I had into my workout today, and leaving nothing in the tank.

Leave Nothing DIY Tank Top. I wore this today and it really helped me to focus on putting everything I had into my workout today, and leaving nothing in the tank.

 

Thank you for spending some time with me. Now go plan your work, work your plan, and maybe I will see you backstage at a show some day.

Loving It All,

Raphaela

 

How To Set Up Your Business For Less Than $10…Seriously!

Hello Everyone,

I finally began shooting this series on Monday. This is honestly the most rewarding thing that I have done in a really long time. Thanks to my business now being run functionally by Amazon, I am free to share all that I have learned over the last 20 years with anyone who is interested. I have had to bootstrap everything in both my personal and professional life, so trust me, I get being on a budget.

I completely understand what it feels like to have a dream, and no way, or no help towards reaching it. This is my way of giving back. I am not selling anything, just providing information for people that need it. If you know someone who you think could benefit from this series, please recommend it to them.

This series will walk you through the step by step (literally) instructions for how to set up your business. The first 3-part video discussed how to come up with and choose your business name, make sure that no one else is using it, and see what others think about your name. The second 3-part video discusses how to set up your blog, domain name, and matching email address yourself. I have already filmed a few videos about how to sell on Amazon, and I will expand on this going forward at the end of this series. Tomorrow, I will be talking about how to secure all of your social media names, link everything up, design your own logo, print your marketing materials, and help your customers find you.

You do NOT need to hire anyone to do any of this for you. If you have been wanting to set up your business, or want to ‘polish’ your brand, then these videos are going to provide you with some very valuable content. Please click subscribe when you are there so that you will be notified when I upload new videos in this series, as I do not regularly post them to my blog.

I am so excited to be filming these, and I hope you find them a valuable nudge towards your dreams.

Gratefully,

Raphaela

 

How To Choose Your Business Name

Hello Everyone,

I just shot a 3 part series (total of roughly 15 minutes) that details what I believe to be the most cost effective and efficient way to choose your business name. Whether you are thinking about starting a business, have recently started one, or are rebranding, these videos contain very valuable (and free) advice about how to get the job done quickly and correctly. I hope you enjoy these. I am posting the first one below. If you like it when you visit my You Tube Channel, just watch parts 2 and 3. Thank you.

Gratefully,

Raphaela

Mirror Mirror On The Wall..DIY Luxury Gold and White Mirror Redesign

DIY, To, Do, Tips, Mirror, Design

This is a fun and super quick project to change the way your mirror looks. Create Your Own DIY Luxury Mirror for Only $3.00.

We are finally just about settled in here in New Orleans. This city is absolutely amazing. You will never want for something to do if you live or visit here. That said, I have spent most of the last 8 weeks inside the walls of our home, not out of them. Am I a recluse? Um, survey says, No!

Then why would I do this? I am the kind of person that must settle my home after a move. I have this cathartic need to open every box, ask myself if I still need it and what I need it for. If I no longer need it in its current form, I try to repurpose it, or to redesign it. If that doesn’t work, I call the Salvation Army and make a sizeable donation.  They will pick up your stuff, so that you do not have to pack it all up and haul it over there. Check, that’s one less thing on my to do list :-).

I have been ‘designing’ things forever. As a result of being a military family, we move quite a bit, so I have a lot of practice. I know that I love to read about how other people repurpose or redesign things, but I definitely have my own wild and crazy design ideas. It just never really occurred to me that others would be interested in that. However, after seeing some of my projects, my mother in law suggested that I should be showing other people how to do this. So, I thought about that, then I bought a domain name, and now I am writing the first post for that new section of my blog ‘Girl Meets Tool’.

The mirror in this project survived my final round cuts of ‘Flip It or Skip It’ (this is the name that I have given this ‘sorting’ process every time we move). I have become absolutely obsessed with painting everything. There were so many items in our home that have been given a new personality with a simple touch of color. Seriously, the people at our local hardware store know me by name, so I think ‘obsessed’ is a fair word to describe how much time I have spent in their store building my paint and tool collection.

I have so many exciting DIY projects to share with you over the coming months. I have taken hundreds of pictures and videos to use on this blog, so let’s get started with this super easy mirror redesign.

This mirror sat in our entryway for years, and for some reason it escaped my clutches until now. I was sorting through all of our mirrors after everything was opened, and this one was the right width and height for my new vanity, but the color—yuck! Spray Paint to the rescue.

I took this dull metallic mirror from drab to fab for about $3.00.

 

Painters, Tape, Mirror, DIY, Butcher, Paper, Redesign

This is the mirror before anything was done to it. I taped off the edges with painter’s tape and butcher paper over the mirror.

Total Cost: $9.50 **Materials used for this project were only about $3.00, because I still have a lot of all 3 left over.

$4.50 Each Can of Paint (I could do another 2 or 3 mirrors with the paint that I have left)

$ .50 Painter’s Tape (I still have 75% of the roll)

Tools Needed:

-Spray Paint: Flat White and Metallic Gold (I use Krylon with primer)

-Painter’s Tape (Any width will do for this project)

-Piece of Paper (old magazines, a trash bag, anything to cover up the mirror)

-Pair of Scissors or Exacto Knife (to cut sharp corners in the tape)

Step 1: Cover the mirror with anything that will block out excess spray paint. Some suggestions would be; a piece of paper, a bill that you don’t feel like paying :-), or that nasty old shirt that your boyfriend/husband just will not throw away.

Step 2: Spray the entire mirror flat white. 

Flat, White, Luxury, DIY, Mirror

After taping over the mirror, spray the entire mirror border and sides flat white.

-Put some old books, bricks, or whatever you have on hand down under the mirror to lift it off of the ground while you are spraying. Otherwise, you will almost always get these little marks where the mirror was in contact with the surface that you were spraying it on.

-Walk around the mirror when it is on the floor and spray from each side to make sure that you cover all of the angles and sides evenly. For example, stand one side of the mirror and spray the side across from you, and the edge nearest you. Then simply keep moving around the mirror until you have completed all four sides. Yeah right, like I am the only one who dances with the things that they are painting :-).

-Three light coats are better than one heavy coat. Allow 2-3 minutes between coats. If you try to cheat on this step, you will end up with paint drips, so just don’t do it. Trust me, I have old projects that still stare at me every time that I walk by them and beg to be repainted, because I tried to do it the easy way.

Step 2: Allow mirror to dry overnight.

-Your project requires two things inspiration and patience. Don’t put the tape down just yet, or you may rip it off when you go to pick it up. I find it helpful to work on three or four projects at once, so that I am always rotating back and forth between them. This way I am not only distracted, but patience isn’t really an issue, because one of the four is always ready for the next step.

This is my patient face :-)

This is my patient face 🙂

 

Step 3: Add painter’s tape to the inside corners only. This mirror has a recessed lip so that was easy, but if yours does not, just create your own by moving the tape in about 1/4 inch from the border all the way around.

Mirror, DIY, Design, Idea, Inspiration

Apply the tape just inside of the mirror’s border.

Step 4: Very Important Step: Respray the mirror in white.

-No, I am not drinking on the job. This looks requires very precise lines. I read once (sorry, can not remember where) that to make sure that you have very sharp lines, always spray a coat of the base color (in this case white), before spraying the accent color (in this case gold). When you pull the tape, you will see why. The lines are perfect every time, but DO NOT SKIP this step. You do not have to wait more than 2 minutes before beginning to spray the gold.

Step 5: Spray the border (the area without painter’s tape) in gold.

Spray, Paint, DIY, Mirror, Lux, Luxury

Spray the border, not the edges to complete this look.

-For my mirror, I wanted the gold to just be a small line, so I did not spray the side edges of the mirror. I also did not want to tape off each edge, so I just sprayed the gold on from across each side to make sure that I only hit the trim area with the gold spray paint. In other words, if you are standing at the foot of the mirror, you would spray the top trim piece only from that angle, and then work your way around the mirror. This will give you a nice gold trim piece, while leaving the edges a beautiful white.

DIY, Gold, Luxury, Spray, Painted, Mirror, Idea, Project.

See how the gold is only on the trim area, but the sides are still white.

Step 6: Another heaping helping of patience. Relax, it’s manageable this time. You will be able to paint your beautiful face in this one before your hot date tonight.

-Wait about 20 minutes (or 10 if you are just too impatient) and then pull the tape off slowly. I find pulling tape straight up and back leaves me with the cleanest lines.

Painters, Tape, pull, direction, guide

Pull the tape straight up and back to get crisp clean lines every time.

Step 7: Hang on your wall, stare at your unbelievable beauty, and figure out where to invest all of the money that you just saved yourself. 🙂

After, DIY, Mirror, Redesign,

Finished DIY Mirror.

I hope you love this DIY mirror tutorial, and that it sparks an idea in your mind to do something fun with a mirror that you already own. I would love to see your take on this idea if you want to share. Stay tuned for many more of these types of DIY projects.

Thanks for spending a few minutes with me.

Gratefully,

Raphaela Laurean