Every day of my peak week I was greeted by a different battle. Whether it was peeing every 2 minutes, hunger, fatigue, thirst, stress – each day had its thorn. Here is an example (everyone is different) of what a typical peak week looks like for a Team Edge girl. The good, the bad, and the ugly…. For this week, I was required to drink only distilled water. Distilled water is the “same as regular water”, except it’s totally not. Distilled water has the potassium, sodium, magnesium, and allllll nutrients, micronutrients, and electrolytes stripped from it thru distillation. By drinking this water, all it’s doing is flushing out your system while NOT replenishing any of those vital nutrients. I was instructed to take one dose of fat burner in the morning, and another dose around noon. I was taking three capsules of dandelion root 3x/day and I cut all sweeteners (pre-workout, coffee, vitamins/supplements, Splenda). I was told that I needed to “run hard” for all my cardio this week.
MONDAY: Peak week began on Monday for me. I received my plan from Joe on Sunday afternoon, so I really didn’t have time to prep anything at all. Luckily, there are lots of really sweet girls on my team that I reached out to that were willing to give me the low down of peak week. I was incredibly anxious for this week even though it wasn’t my first go… New peaking methods with a new coach always led to some interesting and exciting results. Monday started with 40 minutes of fasted cardio on the treadmill. After my run, I went to see the woman who does my bikini waxes. I HATE bikini waxes. Some people say they like them, but I seriously want to stab my eyes out with a fork every time I realize I have to go in. Right after, I drove to Hastings to get my hair colored to match my Tory V hair extensions. My stylist, Kate, has been doing my hair since I was 18. We get along great, she isn’t (too) judgmental of what I do, and I am always in love with how my hair turns out. She works for 5th Ave. Color Company and I highly recommend anyone who works there! Today’s lift was simply an “upper body circuit” where I got to pick my exercises. I simply had to hit 2 lifts of 20 reps per body part (triceps, biceps, shoulders, & back). That only took me about 20 minutes, and then I was on to my 2nd cardio session of 20 min treadmill HIIT and 10 min steady run. I went to work like I always do, and actually felt pretty decent. I had to drink 2 gallons of distilled water and my nutrition consisted of fish, chicken, and about 70g of carbs.
TUESDAY: The first thing I noticed when I woke up this morning was that I was thirsty. The distilled water from yesterday didn’t hydrate me at all, it just “filtered” through me. I was instructed to drink 1.5 gallons of distilled water and my carbs were increased to about 90g for the day. My total caloric intake for this day was around 1,200 calories and I was at a high protein, moderate carb, and low fat intake. Again, my day started with 40 minutes of fasted cardio and transitioned into a plyo and isolated glute workout. I picked a few exercises per body part and did 2 sets of 20 like my plan said. After, I did another 30 minutes of cardio on the treadmill. This was my second day of zero caffeine (besides my fat burner) and I was really worried about getting awful headaches that would conflict with my regular responsibilities – but thankfully, they never came. I suspect it was the Super HD that held them off. Today’s battle was hunger. I couldn’t tell you why, but it was worse than it had been recently. It took everything in me to stick to plan… I did laundry, I cleaned, I did everything I possibly could to keep my mind off of food. I wasn’t allowed to have any gum, so I couldn’t even pop a piece to distract myself. I had asked Greg, Carrie, my mom, and a lot of people who care for me to pray for me. I needed strength and prayer, and God came through for me. I made it through the day sticking to plan.
WEDNESDAY: The lowest carb day of my entire 21 years of existence. I was terrified of this day honestly, and I really had no reason to be. I wasn’t hungry at all, but the battle of the day was the extreme fatigue that hit me. I was tired, unmotivated, and ready for it all to be over. I finished my 40 minutes of fasted cardio on the treadmill and ate my “breakfast”. I use quotations because it was probably the least breakfast-y thing I could have had: 4 oz chicken, 1/3 cup of rice, and 10 asparagus spears… At 7am, this is the last thing I wanted, but I had no oatmeal on my plan for the day. Wednesday’s nutrition was a high protein, low carb, and moderate fat day. I had a lot of almonds on my meal plan and I even got to have salmon. After only fish and chicken all week, this was heavenly. You never realize how much you love different things until you try them again after 5 months! Ha! My lift was a light weight and high rep full-body circuit. I hit 2 exercises of each body part and really just focused on trying to get a little bit of a pump. Without pre-workout in my system, I have a hard time focusing in the gym. This day was no exception and all I could think about was how tired I was. I needed to work on my posing, but I couldn’t bring myself to do anything to walk out to the car after my second session an 30 minutes of cardio. I was instructed to drink 1.25 gallons of distilled water.
Wednesday was the day the things changed and I realized that what I was doing may not be healthy. I had talked to a trusted friend/coach about the distilled water that I was drinking and he told me to stop drinking it immediately and that I was going to do some serious damage to my body if I didn’t. He told me I was going to get some serious cramps and mess my body up post-show. This terrified me. What terrified me even more is going against the coach that I had listened to religiously for the past 5 months…. What if changing my water back to regular was going to mess everything up? What if it makes me look like crap? After 5 months of working so hard day in and day out, what if this change made my body react negatively? I was scared for my health, I was scared to go against my coach, and I was scared that I was about to ruin all my progress. I didn’t know what to do. I cried. I was so torn. After consulting with my mom and Carrie, they both agreed that I needed to listen to my friend and make some changes before I did some serious damage. I had already had about 1/2 a gallon of distilled water down that day, and as I dumped out the remainder of the gallon, my anxiety climbed and climbed. I refilled it with normal water and resumed with my day.
THURSDAY: I had been drinking normal water for half a day, and my body still looked the same. For my 1 gallon allowance for the day, I decided to drink regular water again to get the electrolytes back in my body and hopefully get things to a semi-normal level – even though I am well aware that things are NEVER normal in your body when you are this deep in a prep. I had my last cardio session during this AM – you guessed it, 40 minutes of fasted cardio on the treadmill. After that, I was done. I had gotten thru all my cardio and workout sessions of my first prep! It was an awesome feeling of accomplishment and it got me really hyped up to get on stage in a couple days. Thursday’s nutrition was identical to Tuesday – with high protein, moderate carbs, and low fat. I didn’t have a lift, so I spent most of the day packing and preparing for the weekend. The plan was to leave with Carrie at 10am on Friday, and the last thing I wanted was to feel stressed. I packed up all my post show treats, competition suit case, and clothes for the weekend. Everything was set before I even left for work, and it put my anxiety at ease.
At the studio, all of my kids were amazing. They gave me hugs, wished me good luck, and a few even brought me treats! These kiddo’s experienced my entire prep with me. They spent every single day dealing with my mood swings, eating out of tupperware containers in the middle class, and listening to me explain that I was tired and was going to try my best to run class. Not only did they tolerate me, they encouraged and supported me. My oldest kids asked every single day how I was doing. They asked questions about my nutrition, my training, my struggles, my triumphs… They genuinely cared about my passion and everything I did. Having their support (and my coworkers) made all the difference during this prep. Rachel, one of my 16 year old students, wrote me the sweetest card, made me chocolate chip banana bread, Dunkaroo dip (if you haven’t had this, your life must suck), my favorite pull-apart Twizzler’s and the ultimate best candy in the world: ALMOND JOYS. Another one of my students, Meg, made me homemade peanut butter cookies. The thoughtfulness of my kids touches me more than anything. I love them so much and I attribute a huge part of my success solely to them.
FRIDAY: I was allowed to have 16 ounces of water all day. SIXTEEN. On Monday, I was at 256 oz. Just the day before, I was at 128 oz. And now, I’m at 16 oz. I made the decision to go back to distilled water for this day to help with the drying out process. Looking back, I regret this. Carrie and I left my house around 10:20am and we headed straight east into Wisconsin. Our car ride consisted of lots of country music and just enjoying eachother’s company. We talked about training, our coaches, our goals and dreams, our past, boys, and everything else under the sun. I had my first serving of “dry oats” and surprisingly it wasn’t as awful as I anticipated. It started off really drying and crunchy feeling, but as your saliva (sorry, it’s gross, I know) kinda got worked into it, it started to soften up and it was tolerable. For one of my meals during our car ride, I had 1/2 cup of oats tossed in 1 tablespoon of peanut butter with a little bit of Chocolate Donut Flavor God. It kinda ended up being like granola… Kinda. Carrie indulged on some chips, crunchy M&M’s and other delicious treats as I struggled! Ha! The joys of off seasons. We ended up getting to the hotel around 3pm and we only stopped once simply because I needed to eat and I couldn’t drive and eat chicken and asparagus at the same time without running us off the road. We checked into our hotel, and got our room keys. There was only 1 elevator and long story short, it took probably 20 minutes just to get to our room itself. We were on the 3rd floor, and when we got in our room, it was HOT. The air conditioning wasn’t on – and our room was connected to the pool making it incredibly humid. I was already super angry and annoyed with the elevator situation, and the heat didn’t help! I finally figured out how to work the AC and then we started to unpack and settle in. I opened up the fridge to put my ice packs in it, and what do you know……. Warm. Not plugged in. Why are these things not taken care of BEFORE people come???
I took my last shower at the hotel, blow-dryed my hair, and headed down to the athlete check-in at around 5pm. I brought my NPC card (which has the wrong birthday – apparently I’m 46, who knew?) and was heighted. I came in just below 5′ 6″, like I knew I would, and was placed in Bikini C. I got my number and athlete badge, listened to one of the promoters give me the low-down that I already knew, was handed my swag bag (which SUCKED), and received my show t-shirt. And well, that was it. Carrie and I went back upstairs and waited for my tan appointment.
At 7:45pm, I slipped on my dark tanning clothes and flip flops and headed down to the lower conference level of the hotel where the spray tans were being done. I walked into a room with a bunch of chairs and people just waiting around… I went to the table, gave them the money, and they checked for my name. I took a seat and waited. Once it was my turn, I walked into the tanning room. It was medium-sized and filled with individual tents. A lady guided me thru the maze and told me to strip down and leave my clothes inside the tent. She put these weird sticky things on the bottom of my feet to keep the tan off, and put a barrier cream on my nails and palms to protect them from the tan. I was confused as to why she told me to keep all my belongings INSIDE the tent… Aren’t they going to get tan all over them?? Then she told me to follow her. So here I go, completely naked, walking thru this maze of tents with other naked people in the them. I walked into the “spray” tent and got my first layer of tan, which took about 5 minutes, and then walked back (yes, still naked. yes, still surrounded by other naked men and women) to my “drying” tent. IT. WAS. SO. COLD. There was a little fan in my tent that really did nothing but nip cold air at my ankles. I hung out in my drying tent for about 10 minutes, and then I got another layer of spray tan. More drying. More shivering. The entire tanning process took probably 45 minutes.
I got back up to the room a little before 9pm and started to get things situated for tomorrow as carefully as I could without screwing up my tan. I felt sticky still and I always think I miss the feeling of show night until I remember how much it actually sucks! It’s a challenge to move in general, let alone pee and do things that you need to do! I was trying my absolute hardest to not think about water and how thirsty I was. It was really bad. I cringe thinking back to the feeling of that night. Carrie and I were in bed and lights were out by about 10pm. I fell in and out of sleep all night – and it was incredibly frustrating. I would sleep for 45 minutes, wake up for 15… This cycle kept me restless until about 2am when I fell asleep for good. And then…. the show-day nightmare! These dreams never fail to visit me the night before a show. I ALWAYS get them! My dream for this show was that I couldn’t find anywhere to park at the venue and ended up missing pre-judging. I eventually decided to park in the grass about 3 million blocks away and run to the venue, but obviously in dream-world it was raining and completely washed off my tan. Then I woke up, and morning had arrived. Go time.