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

27 July 2009

17 days to Nationals

Hi Everyone-

The summer is flying by. Unfortunately the weather is not cooperating - rain, rain, rain all the time. Which can be viewed as a good thing as we are having less BBQ outside this year. Isn't that what summer is all about - friend, family, food, fun and well BBQ fare. There is less 'tempting' food around which is a good thing. I never cheat on my diet, but not having it around does help.

Training is going really well. At first I was a little worried, as my weight does not seem to be coming off as easily as last time (in March was my last show). In hindsight, I did start cleaning up my diet a little earlier, near Christmas, for a first week of March show. Although I tried to follow the same time line as before, I am not working right now. Moving all day while teaching really does make a difference. I have upped my cardio a bit, and cut back on some more calories, and things seem to be moving in the right direction. I do enjoy seeing the changes, and really don't mind doing the diet. It is summer, so wearing 'cute' clothes always seems to go better when I am a little leaner. Post winter weight gain can be a bit depressing when the clothes come off for the first time.

This upcoming weekend I have a big challenge ahead of me -- a wedding to attend. It should be ok, but weddings are just so much fun (most of them anyways), and well having a few drinks with the hubby would be a good for a laugh. However, there is plenty of time for celebration after Nationals, and any other time of year. ;)

My routine is coming along and I can finally get through it. I think it is much better than what I presented at the Arnolds or the Naturals. Unfortunately, it is not up to me to decide if it is better. Still doing the same routine as before - a Star Trek themed routine. I do have a better costume - more flash - and a routine which I feel reflects me. Sometimes I get bogged down on what the judges want instead of what I want. Whenever I do what I feel is best for me, and do what is in my heart, things seem to work out better.

Physique wise, I think I have brought up my shoulders and back. But, like most women getting the butt to tighten up is really the last thing for me. Grrr.

I am really excited to see everyone at the show. I always love talking to the girls, and seeing how their prep went, and what they do in their own lives.

Right now I am still pondering over what to do about school. Take the new workload which I know I can do, but will take a while to get used to and not have sour grapes about how things were handled. I guess this really is the best option as then I have a job to go to and still have some spare time to pursue other interests. Like, actually doing personal training, and guidance for those girls who want to start competing. I just hope there is a clientèle out there for me to work with. English or French it does not really matter, however, my French is very basic, but I am always willing to learn. I seem to have quite a few 'friends' willing to share their information which gives me comfort to know that I can get help when needed. I wonder how hard it is to do online training?

My mindset right now is stable. I am not over thinking the show too much. I tend to allow my thoughts get the best of me, and well, this time, I will be prepared with all aspects of competition and just go there to do my best. I will be trying to take as many pictures as I can, as who knows what is going to happen tomorrow. I could get hurt, and not be able to compete ever again. I just want to leave my best product, best showing for that moment in time, on the stage. I have allowed myself to be part of the journey this time, rather than just going through the motions, and get to show day, and realize - "how did I get here?"

I was very nervous for the Arnold - and I am not really sure why. This time I will have excitement for the show, but will control my emotions to be more focussed, more in the moment.

I know my time is short in the sport and I really do want to make the most of every minute. I need to look my fears straight in the eye, and just go out there and 'do'. I have many more days of practice/workouts/meals/training ahead of me, and want to be present for every moment of it.

Here are some pictures from last week, and this week.

Pictures- 23 days to Nationals (my little guy wanted to try posing this time...and he helped me put on my shoes)

Pictures - 17 days to Nationals

16 July 2009

28 days to Nationals

The countdown has begun. I am really nervous. I am not working right now, as I am on summer holidays, and have time to be left alone with my thoughts. Sometimes this is a good thing, but when you are a bit of a worrier, like me, this is not always the best scenario to be in.

Prep time for me is best when I am really busy; no time to think or do. And somehow everything still gets done. None the less, I am still keeping myself really busy, finding things to do. I have a house that is a job that is never done, and have to prep for my classes for next year, so that makes for plenty of reading.

My training I felt was always good, and challenging but evidently I have been enlightened and brought to a new level of fitness. Why do I say this? This week was a particularly fun week in the gym, as I went to my first Mike Davies fitness camp in Columbus Ohio.

Not knowing what to expect, I signed up for the camp with the intention of getting a bit of motivation and inspiration for Nationals, and perspective on what it is like and/or what it will be like when I turn pro. I definitely achieved my goals, and I got a huge bonus in being able to hang with some really cool girls for the weekend. Including a couple of fitness pros.

Tina Durkin and Nicole Duncan just happened to be there for the weekend. How cool is that? I get to go to my first Mike Davies fitness camp and hang with the Pros. Including his wife Julie Palmer. I picked their brains as much as I could without seeming like too much of a fan or stocker. I really know quite a bit about many of the pros, and respect them highly as I know how hard it is to do what they do. And keep doing year after year, and never giving up. That is serious dedication and passion for what they do. Amazing to be able to hang with them.

There were some other girls Gina Molinaro, who just happens to be competing this weekend at the Figure Masters. Mona who is new to the scene, but has a body that is going to impress many when she does take the stage. Kim was in fantastic shape, looked liked she was competing this weekend. And Debra Lavette who is 'bringing it' to North America's.

It was an absolutely fantastic weekend.

We training immediately when I got there on Friday early afternoon, then we ate supper together as a group. On Saturday we trained at 6am, then early afternoon bootcamp (killer) and posing. We rested for the afternoon but I decided to go to gymnastics. For me that was a big mistake at this point I was so sore in the legs that I could barely walk. I was useless at gymnastics. We arrived back to the house, showed, and ate a meal out. Not too bad, just a little something to keep us motivated. Sunday morning I training and then left for the airport. It was a quick in and out, but I learned so much.

This is a camp that I would attend again. It was great to hang with girls who are just like me and just be who I am. I felt very comfortable being around everyone, in that atmosphere where whatever I eat is not being judged. Not that people around me judge my food, but they do ask questions. I just felt really comfortable. Like this was my place to be. It does make me think about teaching and how much anxiety I am feeling towards next year, and maybe I am doing the wrong profession? I mean if I am going to start all over again, which is how I feel about the 3 new classes I am getting next year - should I not be starting all over in the thing that I am most passionate about?

Last week and this week have been great for training and diet. I was super sore and really had to take Monday off, but once I got back in the gym the movement helped relieved the soreness I had. Today is Thursday and I am feeling better, but not 100% yet. By the weekend I should be ok.

Here are some updated pics as of Monday. I could not flex my legs as it was too painful.

This week I have been working the routine. I think I have finally come up with something that I am happy with. Now I just have to commit it to memory. I love when I finally get to the place where I know my routine and have the confidence that I can do it. I am also working on a new costume. Hopefully the judges will think it is more 'flashy' this time. It is still in its early stages but it is coming along nicely.

I was considering going back to a few older routines. I will probably do that when I turn pro, but for now I am more motivated to move forward. I know I can do my 'Star Trek' routine better, so I will do just that.

I was some other girls blogs/photos of their progress, and well I think I am going to stop doing that. I think it might cloud my focus and get into my head.

Till next week.


07 July 2009

38 days to Nationals

Hi Everyone-

Here are the pictures update. I have made progress. I weighed myself the other day at home and I was around 126lbs. I know 125lbs is a comfortable weight for me and 116lbs is way to skinny for a show. I did 12 weeks when I came into the Naturals and I was too skinny. Too cut, too lean, too everything - but I did really like the way I looked. I am not sure of what the 'look' is for this year, but I am seeing a 'softer' trend. A trend away from the hard cut look of years previous. Fitness, figure and now bikini continues to surprise many. When you think you have the look defined, bamm, the judges come up with something new.

This week's focus - the routine. Gotta get'er done!


05 July 2009

40 days to Nationals

Hi Everyone-

After my rant of last week, things seem better. Perhaps this is the wake up call I need in my life to pursue employment that is more in line with my true passion. Sometimes I think I do things that others expect from me, although they are not putting this expectation on me, but it is my perception of what I feel they want from me. I am a bit of a perfectionist, and funny thing is that many girls are perfectionists and the have a passion for fitness, figure, bodybuilding, etc. I have always been athletic and interested in health, fitness and training. However, I always went against what I was good at as I fear that once my hobby becomes my job, I will not have passion for it anymore. Teaching allows me many freedoms that I enjoy, and the students are hilarious. This would again depend on what day you ask me, but in general I enjoy them. But, I do have other goals, and this change of workload might be a sign that it is time to look into other options.

This week I was on vacation in the Maritimes, near Moncton NB. This is where I am from and have many awesome memories from my time growing up around here. Yes, the people are different. They are uber nice, welcoming and will talk to you anywhere, and anytime. It is more laid back here, no one is in a rush. If you try to cross the street (not at a cross walk) people will stop - try to do that in Montreal. The only downside to my vacation - the weather. It rained all week. So here we are at a cottage on the beach, and it was raining all the time.

We spent much of the time with family, friends, and meeting everyone's children. There are so many new babies arriving, that I cannot seem to keep up with the names. There are times when I do wish I lived closer to home as all the grandparents are in the Maritimes, but there are many positive things to living in Quebec as well. For example, $7/day daycare, and the focus on the French language.

Before my vacation, due to the amount of stress I was under, I trained everyday. It was hard some days, as I only had 4 hours of sleep but I did as I needed the movement to calm my mind.

I am not supposed to be training everyday. I have to stop that. I am trying to maintain my muscle and over training is not going to allow me to do that. So this week, I trained 4 days, non consecutive. I still have not started routine practice. Not sure what is holding me back from starting the routine practice?

I am excited to be back in my own gym at home. I like the familiarity. I do need to get into a dance studio this week, as I am away next weekend. My goal is to have at least the main structure of the routine finalized, and the music finalized. That way when I get back from my trip I can spend the rest of the time just running the routine full out.

Before my vacation, my diet was perfect. I guess stress will do that to you. I cooked, I ate, I cleaned, and well I worked. I was in and around the school this week, trying to clear up marks, and clean up my classroom a bit. (gosh I love my classroom) I really need to be drinking more water. That I will set as a goal for the following weeks.

Thinking I could keep up with the diet while on vacation this week, I did plan to eat well. However, at certain meals this was not possible. I did eat clean most of the time, but there were some meals that were not so great. When you are in an Italian's house, you do not refuse food. They would have understood if I pulled out my broccoli, chicken, and sweet potato, but when there is a 4 course meal offered to you - by an Italian - you take it.
Let's just call that my cheat meal. ;)

When you travel is it important to have all the tools necessary to keep on point. Hindsight, I would have cooked more meals, and traveled with that. I had cooked twice while I was on vacation, as I did have a kitchen but was missing certain things to watch portions - such as measuring cups. Packing the food was tough as I did not bring any Tupperware, but did have zip locks, so I used those. I usually keep my protein shakes in my diet up to around 21 days before the show, and well I ran out of protein powder. All rookie mistakes, fixable, and well I just could not be bothered.

I was trying to maintain a certain amount of family/vacation balance, to the point where it is not noticeable that I am dieting, and not to throw my family out of whack too much. I mean, I think about Nationals all the time, and don't want my life to pass by me and not to be a participant in my life for the next 6 weeks. I want to be able to enjoy my summer some, and still be a contender for the top positions and ultimately my pro card in August. I do not feel that suffering through the diet phase equals more success on stage.

Last show, I was way to skinny, and you never know what kind of body they are going to reward at a show. My focus is being able to diet down slowly as to not lose muscle, enjoy the process, and live my life, visit with friends, family, have parties, and socialize. Summer is so short, and I want to be able to enjoy it. It just has to be without those summer foods for the next 6 weeks.

I will update pictures when I return home.

Talk soon,


Insist on yourself; never imitate.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson