As I traveled alone across the US, leaving family and friends my biggest support, heading for the Pittsburgh Nationals…. I thought about the past 14 weeks and my journey that brought me to this point.
I asked my coach if I could start back in my prep mode plan a couple of weeks earlier than I’ve normally done for previous shows.
I needed to get my head in gear! Juggling daily routines with family and 2 young boys, changes in kids schools, working and deciding weather or not to visit my home country and family in the UK…. All had me distracted.
But it didn’t feel the same… I needed to get my head into focus mode, I just needed to figure out what was holding me back?
I would chat with my coach Gina Aliotti who always has a great ear for me I knew my cortisol levels were up, I could feel and see it!
I had goals of competing in a few National shows over the summer but felt so guilty about not taking my kids to visit grandma…
I’ve always known its about creating a family balance and having their support, so went ahead and booked our trip!
As soon as I had a vacation set for the family my head seemed to be in a better place, things started to change fast and I was Focused!!
This had been my hardest prep yet to compete in a show both mentally and physically…. I felt that I had achieved my best look to date and held myself proud feeling like I was already a winner as I stepped on the Pittsburgh stage.
My family have been a huge support in my journey, with me taking so much time to train and miss out on fun food (so the kids call it
I have an amazing coach in Gina, with her knowledge and experience she has kept me moving forward and always supported me… I love the support of the other G-Fit girls too!
So as I was about to step on stage… I remember to take a step back as an outsider looking in…. I know in the future that balance is key… to having a healthy focused mind leading to a healthier body….
Re-post from my article at Myotropics.com
The debate on the pros and cons of early morning cardio will probably never end. For me it has always worked to get me in shape though. Still, there are of course those days, when I just don’t want to get out of bed.
Sometimes there are days when I don’t want to get out of bed.
We all know them, those days, when you just want to pull the duvet back up and ignore the 5am wake up. Regardless, when I am in show prep mode, I choose to do the the fasted cardio and in the end, it’s just a matter of being in the right frame of mind for me.
What do you usually do when you feel the motivation taking a dive? Think just a few more minutes in bed? Do you hit the snooze button time and again, to make the snooze turn into another hour only to end up totally missing your window of opportunity?
If your schedule is anything like mine, being a busy mom with 2 young boys, juggling it around school and activities, time is precious, nothing you want to waste lying around in bed out of sheer laziness.
We all experience these types of blocks at one time or another,, but it’s not like you would not be able to do something about it. Unfortunately, most tricks only work so long and in the past couple of years, I have tried them all. Still, ‘m always open to new ideas and tricks to keep it fresh. After all, I have found nothing to be as effective as early morning cardio to get me shape, when I am prepping for a show and in the end, i.e. when you eventually gotout of bed, it’s not so bad at all!
You do I feel that sense of accomplishment…
…by getting your cardio in early. And due to it’s powerful effects on your physique, you see changes happen much sooner, stay motivated and, not to mention, you do have much more time to spend on other things in your life.
5 Tips to Make Early Morning Cardio Work for You
So, even if it may take a couple of tricks to get yourself going and make sure you hit your own cardio goals for the day early, it is well worth it and among the following list of my personal favorites everyone of you should be able to identify something that works for her / him:
If you’re still wired at bedtime, try cutting out the caffeine after 2pm and give yourself time for a 20 minute read before bed with herbal tea instead of sitting at the computer on Facebook! There’s nothing like a little late night read to make the eyelids droopy… just try getting into bed before it happens and don’t end up on the sofa at 2am.
Set a date to meet a gym buddy for a session at the gym or meet outside for an early morning run, maybe ending with treat at the local coffee shop!
Place your alarm clock, whether it’s your phone or a Sony Sound Blaster, on the other side of the room so there’s no excuse but to get out of that nice warm bed and switch it off. On days when I know I’m going to need that extra push, I have a personalized alarm..”this is your mother calling” enough to get me up first time
Head to bed an hour earlier for an extra few ZZZs (the extra sleep will also help you to lean out!), than usual so you can get enough rest feeling charged for your early cardio. For me, 7-8 hours is what’s needed for most, usually still with a couple of hits on the “snooze”, but eventually I am up in my garage doing my cardio in PJ’s and running shoes (not a picture illegible to be posted , while the kids are still sleeping, then.
Set the coffee to brew 15 minutes before your wakeup. For me that’s the last thing I will do before going to bed, so that I will wake up with the lovely smell of fresh coffee in my nostrils!
You’ll see once you tricked yourself out of bed, the actual cardio training will feel like a breeze and if you still need some support, pick a couple of songs from my TOP5 for July 2012.
Below is a re-post of an interview with the folks at Quest Nutrition.
For the last 12 weeks I’ve been preparing for my next fitness competition. This quest has completely transformed the way that I look and feel, which is hard to believe sinceI’ve always lived a clean and healthy lifestyle. I’m always amazed at the changes a new training program brings.
Gina Aliotti was my coach and she kept me eating a variety of foods so I never got bored. This was a big difference from my last prep, so I was able to eat foods that I’d never had previously pre-contest; Foods like pumpkin in my oatmeal, oranges, grapefruit, berries and Quest Bars.
Because of this, I got very creative in the kitchen, further helping prevent food boredom. Proteins like steak, chicken, shrimp or fish, chocolate egg whites & Gina’s Famous Protein Pancakes, all of which I loved.
This kept me sane. In fact, while eating with friends, they would see my food and couldn’t believe what I got to eat! The key to all of this was simple: Portion control.
I had tons of energy, and never felt deprived.
For cardio, I used the incline trainer in the morning and in the evening I’d use the step-mill (we have a love-hate relationship). My trainer and I focused on heavy weights with fewer reps for my upper body, with one body part per sessions. For legs, we lowered the weight and increased reps. We also incorporated hill sprints and bike sprints. My legs quickly looked leaner and longer (which is great since I’m 5’3!).
On competition day, I felt great but I was nervous about stepping on stage 5lbs heavier than my last show. But I put the number out of mind and stepped on stage at 128lbs. I never felt better!
My family and friends were all there to support and cheer me on, knowing how hard I had worked. They encouraged my journey with all their love and support. Juggling my lifestyle around my family with 2 young boys gave me a great sense of achievement. Without their support, I could not have achieved what I did.
Not only did I win the Overall Masters 35+, but also won the Overall Figure Champion at the NPC GNC Sand Diego. I made some needed changes and as a result I’ve achieved the best body I’ve ever had! We can always improve and make positive changes, no matter what our age or setbacks. That’s all the motivation I need to continue to compete, have fun and live a healthy life!
Please connect with me on my website @ www.onefitbrit.com and follow me on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/Onefitbrit
Photos by Zana Ikeda
The following is re-post of an interview with Promoting Real Women from October 25, 2011.
Q: First, Tracy, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: You are very welcome, Thank you for the invite.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I am a 43 year old married mom with 2 small boys. I was born in Sheffield, England and left home to move to Dubai when I was 23yrs to work for Emirates Airline as a flight attendant.I was there for almost 9 yrs before moving to Hawaii where i married my husband who was in the Navy at the time. We have now settled in San Diego, I’m currently setting up my own business with nutrition and fitness and feel very rewarded to help others reach their fitness goals. I am am currently involved in weight training, karate (red belt), boxing, running….. I love all aspects of fitness, and I love to get creative in the kitchen.
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: Yes very athletic…..I started in gymnastics at an early age of 6yrs and played in just about every team sport going, I was part of the track and field team and also was on the swim team.
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: When I finished high school I joined my local gym and started lifting weights, I was addicted and loved the changes I could see, it also totally boosted my self confidence.
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: It as an easy transition from gymnastics but a different feel, I became good friends with the instructors so joined in most of the classes, but it was the gym floor and the weights that I loved the most and the challenges that we set between each other.
Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: I had a few friends in the gym who had competed then one of my trainer friends said he would compete in the same show and we could motivate each other through the lead up to the show….. I was intrigued.
Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: Yes totally, at first my friends thought I was crazy to follow such a strict diet but when they saw how serious I was everyone was so supportive, my husband even bought me a stair master for my early morning cardio…….couldn’t thank him enough for that!
Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: I wasn’t sure what to expect, I just knew I’d tried my hardest each time with the prep for the show, so the show days was all about having fun and meeting so many amazing people.
Q: Can you share your contest history.
A: I can’t believe that it’s only just coming up on a year since I competed in my first show, I had a lot of support come to cheer at my first show in San Diego, I loved everything about it. A friend who’s a trainer at the gym said he would compete in the same show, just for support……I was a great experience and of course now I’m totally hooked.
*2010 NPC Border State Championship – Figure Division, C class 3rd
*2010 NPC Border State Championship – Figure, Masters A class 35+, 3rd
*2010 NPC Excalibur Championship – Figure Division, C class, 3rd
*2010 NPC Excalibur Championship – Figure, Masters A class 35+, 1st
*2011 NPC San Diego Bodybuilding – Figure Division, C class 1st
*2011 NPC San Diego Bodybuilding – Figure, Masters A class 35+, 1st
*2011 NPC LA Bodybuilding & Figure – Figure Division, class C, 2nd
*2011 NPC LA Bodybuilding & Figure – Figure, Masters A class, 1st
*2011 NPC USA National Championships – Figure Division C class 16th
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I always felt my shoulders/arms where my strongest part, but since I switched up my training I love leg day!
Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: Legs & glutes are my favorite parts to train, squats get me every time! I like to be pushed by my trainer.
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I get up early and do my Stair Master cardio in my garage before I have to get my kids up for school. I pack all my food and after dropping them I head to the gym for my weight session. My diet remains clean, with a refuel meal once a week. When its prep time for a show the diet get’s tightened up as the weeks pass. I also start to pick up the cardio to twice a day during that time.
Q: When someone sees your physique or hears you compete for the first time, what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: Positive mostly….. people I hardly know will ask for advise and how I fit it in around my busy family life. I love to share my story to help encourage others that no matter what age or how busy we all are, there’s still time and goals to reach if you want it bad enough!
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I get fed up of hearing people say, “oh it’s all your genetics’……..like it has nothing to do with my extreme training schedule
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A:I wish people would understand that it’s a competitive sport just like any other sport, and that women are just as serious about it. It’s about dedication and hard work and putting the time in to get the results you want to see. It’s not about the quick fix or a 12 week plan, its a lifestyle
Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part of training is how I feel during and after completing a session……having a goal to work towards is a big motivator for me. Worst part is finding the rest time in between.
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Huge admiration for my coach Gina Aliotti………..also Cheryl Brown, as a mom of 2 young boys myself, I admire her dedication and commitment to achieving her goals and dreams, with having balanced family life too.
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: If its my refuel day I would rather have a steak with a couple of glasses of red wine, over a dessert…… love the nut butters too.
Q: If another woman told you she wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would most want to give her?
A: I would ask if she is mentally set to make the changes for herself? Also that there will be ups and downs along the way. When it comes to following the nutrition plan……..preparation is key to the success of her goals, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Q: Do you think its becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: Yes, I think it’s the misconception of women lifting weights equals getting big and bulky that stops them from entering the weight room. Most women also seem to just need a little guidance around the floor, I think that once they know there is as support system near by then most are willing to give it a shot.
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Yes, I love to run, I’m also a red belt in karate, I’m working on the black belt goal. I love to get creative with food,also spending time with my family and friends.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Tracy Allen.
A: I get up to do my morning cardio at 5.30am before I have to get my 2 boys ready for school, Once I drop them off I head to the gym for my weight session. I usually try to get in a couple of hrs study time (Nutrition Certification)
Pick up my boys from school them head to activities for the day with them. Homework, playtime and when they are asleep, if I have a show coming up I’ll head into the garage for 2nd session of cardio. Sit down to chat and eat with my husband….
Q: Describe Allen in five words.
A: Motivated, Determined, Multi-tasker. Fitness fanatic, Busy Mom.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I became a US Citizen after living in the US for 11 yrs so I could compete in the National shows (also my boys talked me into it.
I’m very approachable, I think people get intimidated in the gym, I love to help and motivate others by sharing my story and helping put in any way I can.
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I’ll probably do a show here in San Diego in March of 2012, then wait for the NPC National’s in Pittsburgh or maybe the USA’s again in Vegas….. will see what the new year brings…
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: I would like to thanks my sponsor for supporting me and providing me with all the supplements I need, www.betterbodiesbychemistry.com
Also special thanks Gina Aliotti, my Nutrition/Lifestyle Coach for my mental state of mind. Hugs!! www.ginaaliotti.com
Thanks to Ryan Corder (my trainer) at www.blackopshumanperformance.com for pushing me to my limits every time! Photographers: OAMG, Holly Ireland, Nga Azarian, Ron Avidan.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors. If so how can they reach you?
A: I would love to do some fitness modeling, promotional work you could find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/tracy.a.liversidge
or my website at www.OneFitBrit.com
My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Tracy, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: I appreciate you asking me do the interview, also for any women out there who are on the fence regarding competing……give it a go, challenge yourself! support is all around. Thank you, for the support for women in Fitness.