Official Blog of Allison Ethier

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Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
Official blog of Allison Ethier NSCA Personal Trainer, ISSN Sport Nutrition, Educator & Mom

21 June 2008

47 days and counting

School & Work
School is pretty much over for me as of Friday. I corrected all my exams, entered my marks, and well just have to clean up my classroom a bit, and things are done. That means around 7 weeks of vacation - no bad for a teacher. We do get 12 weeks of vacation a year. This is very much a lifestyle choice, and every time summer rolls around I am sure that many teachers are thankful for this 'perk' of the job.

Diet & Training
Diet this week has been perfect. I made some huge strides in my physique this week. I am off to Toronto on Wed for a few photo shoots, so I am pushing the weight loss a bit faster than I would normally this many days out from a show. For the Arnold Amateur I only dieted for around 46 days. To have the process already started is a huge relief, as I will be traveling a bit, and then on vacation - but still bringing my food everywhere.

What am I eating - the same as most girls - oatmeal, yogurt, bananas, broccoli, sweet potato, chicken, salad, light dressing, some nuts, asparagus, dill pickles, eggs, egg whites, protein shakes, and that is about it. Oh, and my morning coffee.

Training has been consistent, and intense. I am making sure to get all my reps/set in, my cardio, and have some rest in there too. Since I am not 'teaching' I do have a bit more energy as I am not on my feet all day, and training at the same time. I still see that improvements can be made in my glutes (but what girl would not say that) - it is the last thing to come in on my physique. I like lifting heavy as it is challenging, and motivating. I can see my body taking that competition shape. Erik sent me a new program that I am very excited to have. Higher reps for some exercises. I like the higher reps as I feel stronger this time around. Usually I am just doing my workouts but am not mentally there - just going through the motions I guess. This is what I really needed - someone just to give me an extra 'oomph' to get excited about the gym again.

I have not started routine practice yet. I have managed to alter my music to make a routine that was 2mins down to the CBBF regulated 1min 30 seconds. I made sure it was not more than this even though some girls have been known to go over. I want to win this show, and something as little as going over the alloted routine music time could affect the outcome. CBBF has not been known to 'time' the routine but the one time I would not pay attention to this small detail would be the one time they do time the routine.

This summer I am planning quite a bit of travel. Some girls find it hard to travel and diet, and well for me I find it easier. Maybe it is because I am busier, have more people around me, and well they understand what I do - so there are no questions. They still even after all these years have questions, but then it keeps me more on track knowing they are 'watching' even though they are not really watching.


Here are some pics from Saturday 21 June:

16 June 2008

52 days and counting....

I cannot believe how fast time flies. This week has been very hectic for me. The first 3 days were spent at a math conference as my school (actually the province) is bringing in 3 new math programs for grade 10 next year. That was a good break from being at school, as I was able to workout and focus on my training, and still do my regular job.

Back home on Wed night, however, a major thunderstorm came though and in a nutshell, the power was out for 3 days at my school. The students are into exams during this time, and all the exams had to be moved to the following week. My students are a bit disoriented as they have more time to study, but usually they do worse on the exam, and longer you wait, the more they tend to forget come the actual exam. Plus they get 'summer fever' early and thoughts of prom draw nearer, making it hard for them to focus.

On the training front, I had a very good week. Dieting was ok. Sun/Mon/Wed really good. Tues had supper out, Thursday was quite stressed and ate some popcorn, and Friday is my cheat day - so egg salad sandwich it was. However, I try to maintain some consistency in my diet, getting in all the protein timed, every 2-3 hours. Some carbs but changing to more fats near the end of the day. This has been the best week yet, and I can only expect near week to be better.

I am trying to set up some photo shoots near the end of the month so training is in higher gear than it would be for this amount of time before the show. Starting to see changes in my physique. Routine practice will start this weekend. This week I am going to be swamped with exams and marking, as school officially ends on Friday. Everything has to be done on Friday. Since I am to be so busy, this is a good thing. Staying busy helps with the dieting.

Here are some pics of this week:

07 June 2008

The weekend....and 9 more weeks to go....

Ahhh, the weekend. We are always glad to see it arrive, but for me and my alter ego - the fitness competitor... it is not always a welcome sight. I enjoy the time I have to relax, and train but if there is any spare time, in which I am not busy, my thoughts tend to stray to food. It is not particularly tough in the beginning, (as is now) but near the 4-6 week mark from the show, there are moments when I just want time to pass so that the show can be here.

For this I tend to keep myself very busy - cleaning is one main thing that I do during this time. I organize parts of my house that normally you don't pay too much attention too...for instance: photos; having the laundry completely finish (washed, dried, folded, and put away); clean under the bathroom sink; hall closet; linen closet; basement storage; various cupboards/pantry, etc. You get the idea.

Another thing is being online. Although now I find myself with less time online, if I do have a few moments - I log on. I know that as the show draws closer, I tend to look up the competition, see who is attending, catch up with friends, results of shows, various fitness/figure message boards.

There are times that I create things for me to do at work. The things that I would put on hold and 'do later' tend to get done sooner. With being a teacher the work is really never done. Not even in the summer. You are planning new lessons, getting ideas, talking with colleagues, conferences, administration stuff, and always planning for the next year.

During this time of preparations, I find that I am more involved at home, more involved at work, more involved with friends, and family. I do not put my own life on hold just because I am preparing for a show. I do however, let those around me know that I am 'training again'. And that is about the end of it. Luckily I have been doing this for a while, and my extended network is very familiar with what I do. I have explained myself many times, and really don't mind explaining to anyone new who may be apart of the staff. They usually have questions, and luckily I love to talk, so it works out well.

Those who do not like to explain yourself 'all the time'; have patience. People around you don't know what you do and are generally interested. If they make rude or sarcastic comments, try to explain to them in a 'matter of fact' way. Some people in your life may never understand what you do, but I feel if you hold your ground long enough people will come around. You just have to firm and direct with your explanations. We would like more fans of the sport, and maybe a few more athletes as well. I would love to hear some of the comments people have made to you and how you reacted.

Do I stay away from social events? I try not to. If you would have asked me this 5 years ago, I would have said yes. But now I have found that I can do both and still be successful at fitness. I always somehow thought that the more I suffered through my preparations somehow this would translate into a better result at the show. I am so glad to have let all those foolish beliefs go.

I have a son now, and he keeps me very busy. Not that I am recommending kids, but they do keep you on your toes. Some moms I am sure would say they fall victim to eating off their children's plates (you know who you are), and those who compete know that this is a huge 'no-no' at any time. (extra food = extra calories) He is now 2, and loves being at the park, being outside, and I cannot wait to bring him to the beach this summer. If anything, at this time in my life, he keeps me so busy that eating is just to fill the void, and move on to the next activity.

There are times that I do sit down and truly enjoy my food. These are considered special occasions. If they happen everyday, they are not so 'special' anymore. I know that the food will be there tomorrow, so I don't have to eat all of it today.

CBBF Fitness Nationals - still many days are this weeks updated pics.

04 June 2008

64 days to go

This week has been particularly difficult for me. My hubby is away, and it is the official last week of teaching at my school. So that means I am uber stressed for my students and how they will do on their exams. In my high school they write exams for 2 weeks. So after Friday I am not teaching anymore, but have plenty of work to do for the next year.

My diet right now is about 80% clean. I cannot go from eating regular food, to eating diet food in one day. Others might be able to but I prefer to gradually get into my diet. That way I do not suffer from mood swings or feelings of being 'deprived' of those things I used to have in my diet.
My diet off season, vs on season is not that different. I just take out the 'extras' that I like. Or the extra special meals that I have at friend's houses, or eating at a restaurant. If I skip meals off season that is ok, however, in season this is not ok.

Workouts this week are not consistent as I had to take Tues, and Wed off due to my hubby being away. Thurs am I will be back in the gym, Friday and Sat. I will try to find time to work on modifying my music so that I can being to get my gymnastics, and flexibility skills back on track.

For my students, on the last day of school I always do a back flip. So that is 4 back flips on Friday as I have 4 classes. I am very excited to see the end of this year.

Not sure why but this year at school has been particularly stressful for me. Even recently the stress came out in my skin. I look like a teenager again. I am over 30 and still get major breakouts. I notice this happens when I change my diet to on season, and then usually I am ok for the rest of the prep. Anyone else experience this?
(side note...just found out what my breakouts are....cold sores...I am really stressed about my students and their math exams...wonder how they feel?)

I will post some updated photos this weekend.

01 June 2008

9 weeks and 5 days to go....

Currently I am on a strength/mass building program. Upper body and Lower body workouts, 4 day split.

I am working with Erik Ledin of I have always done all my own workouts on my own for the last 10 years. But since having my son, I have found I have less time to sit down and develop my own programs in order to see some results. It is great to have Erik on board to get a second pair of eyes, and keep my workouts interesting and motivating.
I was starting to feel a bit stale in the gym.

Soon, we will change up my program again so that when I start practicing my routine it will not be too much for me to handle. My routine is quite athletic, and I need to reserve some strength and power for that.

My diet right now is about 90% clean. This weekend I had a few treats - a muffin, egg salad sandwich, granola bar. Will I beat myself up about it - no! I know that during the weekdays I am very clean with my diet - perfect - like 100%. And if I am having an off day I will have a mini-cheat - a granola bar - or nuts, or yogurt - something that will satisfy me, but not set my diet back 3-4days. I try to be very clean about my diet during the year, and do have treats one to two times per week. If I am feeling like I need to cheat. If I do not feel the urge - I just don't cheat. If I am balanced emotionally, feel strong at the gym, am sleeping well - no need to change things.

Weekly I will weight myself just to see, but ultimately I do let the mirror and how my clothes fit be my guide.

Since the Arnold I have been trying to put on size as that is what they like in Canada. I know that I have, but a bit more and I think I will be more symmetrical. Changing federations is tough as you never know what the CBBF is looking for. The look changes from year to year. It can be very frustrating, but you either have to accept this or not compete. You cannot let the possible outcome affect your performance.

Do I try to give the judges what they want? Yes, and no. When it comes to the routine, I always try to present the best package that I would be happy with. I do take a similar attitude to my physique as well. I like to come in as lean as I can get as that is what I am happy with. I just always hope this is something the judges will reward. Sure I do want my pro card, but if you constantly listen to what others have to say, you will be always second guessing yourself. Sometimes having too much information or getting too many opinions will mess with your head in a negative way.