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

17 February 2011

2011 Arnold Classic Blog Update 5

Hi Everyone-
Here is it the hardest part of the prep - the last 2 weeks.  I find that at this point in my prep the last 14 to 21 days all I am thinking about is food.  What am I going to eat after I compete?  And then the time comes and well, I really just want my diet food.    I see television commercials, read magazines, and just stare at the food.  I even subject myself to 'browsing' the middle rows of the grocery store to see what I will eat.  Funny how that works - we always want what we cannot have, and then when we can we don't want it anymore.

During this time I find myself getting annoyed quicker than usual.  Annoyed at little things that any other time (meaning more food) I would not pay much attention too.  There are times when I can feel myself going from normal to super cranky in a minute.  I try to see if it is hunger related, and most times it is.  I tell myself that 'this moment will pass' and basically have to check myself.  I cannot be cranky at those around me, as who is going to want to support me through these shows (and more shows) if they are constantly subjected to moodiness around the time of contest prep. 

My clients are noticing that I am having trouble focusing, and sometimes am a bit more giddy that normal - laughing and sometimes a little spacey.  Let's see what I did last prep (that would be November) - oh, smashed my head into a bar on a rack - and it was a hard 'crack'.  Last year this time - (check March 2010), I backed into the garage and fell down the stairs (with a brick wall hugging the stairs) with a huge recycling bin in my hands.  Yes, I have made mistakes.  So this time I am focussing on paying attention more, so that perhaps, just perhaps the mistakes don't happen. 
My son, who is now 4, knows exactly what is going on around him when I do the 'diet' and the 'training'.  He knows that I am going to practice my routine, and when I am 'dieting' as there are certain foods that I can eat and certain that I cannot - like any gummy worms he offers me.  One time we passed the ice cream store, and asked me for ice cream.  I told him 'no' and he said, 'mommy is it cause your dieting?'.  I was a little surprised that he knew, and I said 'yes'.    When I am not dieting he reminds me of that, so that he can get the ice cream.   So I do stop for ice cream, but most times when mommy is dieting, the house is dieting too.  This is not a bad thing, just there are less treat foods than healthy foods. 
I can remember my mom being the same way, so perhaps she instilled the good eating habits in me. Our only treats in our house was Cott pop and maybe vanilla ice cream. They were both gone in about 3 days after the grocery day, and anything 'extra' was always purchased with allowances.

But I digress.....

Back to the Arnold...

This year I will not be at a booth - I am competing on Friday.  On Friday there is quite a bit going on with the Arnold event as now they have added a 'meet and greet' with the pros for VIP attendees, and I will be there signing some photos.  Friday is a full day of tanning, meetings, visiting the venus, and the VIP meet and greet.  Should be a great time I am looking forward to seeing everyone again.

Saturday will be giving a presentation on my diet & training leading up to the Arnold at the ISSN conference on Saturday from 1pm to 2pm.  I would love to see you there.
I will also be shooting with some amazing photographers - My good friend Liana Saadi (now Louzon) will be taking appt for shoots you can contact her at: .  And another good friend who I have known for a long time - Harry Grigsby -

Both are excellent photographers, and are published. They have super rates and if you are looking to start your portfolio, expand on your current portfolio and are in shape for the weekend of the Arnold, now would be the time to do it. 
Over the weekend I will browse the event, and this time be able to spend some time with my friends.  I tend to run myself into the ground with these events as I love them, and this time decided to slow down a bit.  I am enjoying my personal training business, and want to grow and learn from the best in the industry. The Arnold houses many of these individuals, and gaining knowledge and understanding of this side of the industry is now a huge motivator. 

This weeks pics taken on February 13.  I just took a bit long writing the blog as time seems to get away from me.

Two weeks to go from today (to showtime) and counting.

I love seeing how I can make my butt 'look the part'.  Flexing the butt or not flexing the butt, ah, so many things to think about before the show.  And still a bit to go, as my butt is the last thing to come in. Some it is abs, some legs, me (and I think for the majority) it is the butt.  Shows are won from the back right?  :)

Front Pose - 13 February 2011

Not flexing the butt
Flexing the butt

Routine 3x this week - cannot believe I managed that.
3 x weights, and about 20-30 mins cardio.
Food really has not changed since day one.   I just make sure to eat on time and now everything is measured.  I usually just eye ball it as I have been doing this for so long, but even now and again I need to remind myself of how much I should be eating (or not eating).

This week has gone by in a flash.  I am so busy at work, and loving it that the dieting phase of the training has not been that difficult.  I still have a lot of time to go - two weeks does not sound like much but to the diet and training of a competitor it is like another month.  So many things can change in 14 days!

This weekend's main goal is to get my luggage in order, photoshoot gear, and make sure my costume, and swimsuit (by Tamee Marie) is ready to go.  I don't think I have washed my costume since last show....hmm.

The light is near on the horizon,

Talk soon,


09 February 2011

2011 Arnold Classic Blog - Update 4

Hi Everyone -

It is funny how time flies, and then one day you wake up and someone makes a comment, "hey you are looking skinny".  Yes, it is happening.  "The change".  By 'the change' I mean that I am looking more in shape on the outside, and things start moving at a quicker pace.   Quicker, hmmm more top down I should say - a little bit everywhere but the top always gets leaner quicker than the bottom.  I just have to be patient to make sure the bottom catches up in time.

There are moments during the prep that I love, or I should say things about my body, and my life that I love when I am preparing for a show.  And of course to be balanced, there are things that I am not so fond of. 

For instance, when I am preparing for a show I am at my most busiest with my work, super efficient, organized, sometimes feel that there is a lot of work to do and am always moving.   Things are more likely to get accomplished, and I feel proud of how much I do achieve day to day.  Food is just fuel to move on to the next activity - to keep hunger at bay, and my body moving.  My social experiences are more focussed on the people rather than the food that is being offered.    For me when you take the option of having those foods that would not be considered part of a pre-competition diet phase out of the equation the stress of choosing to eat or not eat those foods is lessened.  Sure near the end of the whole process - let's say the last 2 weeks I am ready to eat, but when you are that close, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

For instance this weekend, I was out socializing, and even though those around me were eating regular food, I did not miss it (again depends on how good the meal that is being offered really is...;) and comments like, "Oh, Allison I never have to worry about you" often are said.

Another thing that I love is my skin - my skin has never been better.  The diet, consistent training, good rest, gives me good skin. I have found my 'trigger' for bad skin - too much saturated fats.   I know what to eat and what not to eat to keep my skin looking great.   Those dematologists who say food does not cause bad skin are wrong - at least in my case.  My skin clears up with a cleaner diet.

Right now with the show being so far away - about 4 weeks, the light is dimmer, but still on the horizon.  I still have plenty of energy to get through my day, and know come every Sunday I will be prepping my food.  Even if I was not dieting (referred to as non normal - official dieting mode), I would still prep my food. The difference between on track, and diviating every now and again is small for me.  This is who I am, what I was born to do, and am lucky that I happen to be in love with most of it.

At times the things that I do not love about "the change".  Number one is, how cold I am most of the time.  I wear a hat around the house a bit kangaroo hoodie, and at times splash pants or track pants, socks, and of course boot slippers.  Please don't read into this too much.  I do not have a metabolic issue because I am cold - I am just getting skinny, which means less bodyfat.  And with the temperature being -10 degrees Celsius or less, I feel the cold.  When not working out, my gym is a very cold place to work.  I am toying with the idea of having a heater underneath my desk at work.

Number two - My face - right now I like how I look, but getting down to those low number makes my face so skinny - smiling results in more lines than a map.  Probably out of everything this is the part that I like least.  I like my body how it is now - 4 weeks of consistent dieting makes me like my current physique.  If I had to choose a body to have all the time, this is the body that I would want.  The results come from the food (obviously) - and practicing the routine.  Once I start really getting into that training, my body takes a different shape and it is easier to keep the weight off when I am doing all this high intensity training - such as my routine.

Number three - the number of bathroom trips.  Always planning where to go, and how much to drink based on where you are going to be.  I am nearby a bathroom often as if I drink a litre of water about 30 minutes I need to go.  I drive my husband crazy with this one.  This is slightly annoying at this point, but really the worst time is when you need to go and you just got your tan done, and you are not dry yet.   It does get progessively worse during the prep as you are trying to 'fill the void' with something and of course the best option is to use - water.

This week - did 3 days of weights, about 20-30 mins of cardio after (depended on how busy I was at work) and only one day of routine - on Saturday. It was a really effective and efficient practice, however, I would like to have 1-2 more routine days per week.   I am hoping to get in more time with practice this week and am looking for time for it in my schedule.  I think it is doable.

For routine practice - I don't normally put the routine music on and just think about my music and practice.  I tend to move a bit quicker to feel the fatigue.  Then I top the whole practice off with some plyometrics and/or some cardio. 

You can tell I am tired as my feet are not pointed, and the steps are not as 'bouncy' as they should be.

It is about 4 weeks until the show, (a little less) and 3 weeks, before I leave.

This weeks pics are absent (eek sorry...), and there was no one at home to take the photos. I could ask someone at my gym, but I will just wait until Sunday.   Or I could ask my 4 year old.....naah.

You do, or I should say I do, get quite tired near the end, and really I have had moments this weekend where I was not paying attention.  Even my clients know now about my absentmindedness at times during the prep.  Thank goodness they are so forgiving.  This whole progress is only temporary, and I won't be competing forever. ;)

Until Sunday or Monday next week, (with pictures)


01 February 2011

2011 Arnold Classic Blog - Update 3

Hi Everyone-

Officially, it has been 21 days since the beginning of my diet. 

Training - I am always training, but not always on point with my diet.  My family would refer to this as 'normal' or 'doing your training thing'.  They always ask me if I am training for anything - and well, this past year it has always been yes.  In fact the last 3 years I have been in 'diet' mode quite a bit.   I remember back in 2009 when I was trying to get my pro card, and I was 'in season' for the CBBF Nationals in August of that year.  My father-in-law has asked me if I was in training for anything, and we happened to be at a wedding in which I was carrying my ever so prevalent essential to any competitors lifestyle - my cooler - and I told him I probably would not be eating 'normal' until October.  The wedding was in July. 
His response was wide eyes, and well, we all had a laugh. 

It does amaze me at times the lengths we will go to in order to achieve what we want.  I don't see these little instances, or events in which I am dieting as a restriction to what I do.  Eating well is what I do all the time. Sure the event might be a bit nicer if I could share in a drink with friends, or even just a hamburger.  I know that this whole process is just temporary, and anyone who has been around me, and has shared a 'normal' meal knows that I can chow down like the best of them.  I think that many who do this type of lifestyle really love to eat, but have habits in place to know when is ok, and when they should probably cut back. 

There are always signs of weight gain. For me it is bad skin, joint pain, back pain, and more obvious things like, my clothes not looking the way I want them to look.  So I know for me these signs means 'cut back'. (fear of back pain, and bad skin usually can keep me in check).  However, with this being said in no way do I 'diet' all the time.  I do feel much better when things are on track though.  ;)

This weeks training - similar to last week - different training plan.
4 days weights
Cardio:  2-3 session of 20mins
Diet - on point.  A few missed meals. 
Routine practice: 2x this week - started full out routine practice. Messy but got through it.
I felt a twinge of pain in my calf last week - could have been one of 3 things: 
1. lack of gas in the tank at the time of my routine practice
2. improper warmup
3.  body not ready for the pounding.

Although I do think it to be a bit of #1, #3 is most likely.  It is hard to go from doing nothing (even just training), to doing a routine full out.  I find my body needs time to adjust to the demands I place on it.  For example, fly pushups, and tumbling.  I see spots every now and again, but last practice things were ok, so I do think I am over the hump of the adjustment period.  Now since I will be getting leaner, and working harder with the routine - up to 3x routine practice next week - I have to be careful to work it as hard as I can without injury.  There are times when I pull back as I know I am tired, or am close to my next meal.

I try to time my food with my routine practice so that an hour before I eat, then train for 1 hour, and pretty much am ready to eat again when I am finished.

Photos -
I see good progress this week.  I cannot wait for next week, as this is the point when things should really start tightening up.

I have noticed that the lighting plays a bit role in how I 'perceive' my body to be responding.

Until next week,