BECOME who you are

There are continuous changes happening every day.  Thoughts spiralling up and down.  Body weight fluctuates. Traffic at a time when there normally isn’t.  Showed up at the grocery store today and all the vegetable shelves were empty.  What?  What do you do when these situations arise?  Freak out?  Sometimes….I mean why are there no veggies?  lol  Life is happening all around us and how we react or don’t react makes a difference.

Focusing on self awareness and my mindset is really opening up a whole new world for me.   Opening doors that I either have kept shut or just didn’t know they were there.  Like secret passages hidden away from my sight.  Now that I have found them lets check out what’s behind door number one ladies and gentleman… Awareness.  When you just put it like that is seems so darn simple.  I’m aware.  Of course I’m aware.  Well…not so much.  I am a very open person and don’t have anything to hide.  I’ve done some really stupid stuff and have made tons of mistakes.  I’ve always thought of myself as being aware.  Hmmm come to find out.  Yes I was aware.  Aware of others and how they felt and what they thought, but kind of left myself out of that one.  Now I am really becoming more and more aware of how I feel and why I might be feeling that way.


Today I walked into the gym and felt something.  I can’t completely explain it, but it was a confidence, a powerful belief, an ownership of sorts, a claiming of self.  That doesn’t quite capture it but think it puts the idea out there.  It wasn’t cocky or hey look at me.  I can tell you  that with that feeling going on inside me…what came up at the gym after that feeling was noticed as well.  I felt strong physically.  My lift was hard and heavy.  It was chest and shoulders today.  So not only did my workout pick up because of that feeling, but I also had quite a few people approach me to compliment me on how I looked.  Since I’m here in Oregon these are mostly people I don’t know.

Of course this is just an example of this awareness that happens to take place at the gym.  Most of my awareness is more about feelings and my thoughts which is going on constantly throughout the day.  Fears, doubts, joys, sadness, etc.


IMG_9520 IMG_9516 IMG_9521

I’ve been asked to post more pics of me doing what I do at the gym.  So here is a seated lateral raise for the shoulders.  This develops the medial delt.  Doing this move seated takes out any momentum that you can use with your lower body which makes the exercise more taxing on the muscle group you are trying to hit.


There is always work to be done internally and externally.  I am working away over here and it is paying off.  I have learned a lot on this journey about myself and how I can help others through what I am learning.


I am finding a strength and a peace within that I didn’t know existed.  I knew I was strong and now I am understanding where that strength comes from and how I can expand that to work in many different ways.  I’m putting in the work internally and it will shine through externally as I know that physically I am ready.

Without My Eyes

Check out this blog…I follow it closely as it is very inspiring and brings out so many good points to ponder.
This post hit me in particular as this is in the space I am currently in as well. Becoming who I am…

The Better Man Project


Close your eyes kid. Close your eyes and begin to see.

What do you see? What colors are there? Where are you walking? Who is around you? What are you wearing? What are the smells? Where in the world are you? Are you in one place? Are you traveling to many? What language are you speaking? What do your hands look like? What is your body like? How are things moving around you? What……….

Close your eyes and begin to see.

Close your eyes and write what’s in your heart. Close your eyes and begin to feel. Take away your sight in order to truly experience everything that is going on around you. What do you feel?

As time goes on, I’m living less like a robot controlled by outside factors and more like a man who is surrounded completely by choice. I see more than I ever have before…

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present in life

It isn’t easy to stay in the present.  Planning, working toward a goal, fitting it all in somehow.  I woke up this morning and had thoughts of all the things I should be doing, but my body was tired.  I took a deep breath and told myself to take this moment and do what my body is telling me…rest.  I did.  I laid there for another hour drifting in and out of a semi sleep.  Then when I got up I felt amazing.

I have been working on staying in the moment and being present in what I am doing.  Where I am very successful at this is during my workouts.  I am able to focus on that workout and even down to each rep.  Why?  Because I know it counts.  Meaning I know that each rep if I squeeze and push it just a little bit more it will bring a different result than if I just completed that movement.  When my coach directs me to do more than I think I can do….I somehow push through it and make it happen.  So if I let my own thoughts rule me….I would have done less.

Where the work lies is in my everyday life.  Being present with my thoughts and feelings around life in general.  I have so many things I want to do and be.  My mind can create many situations that don’t even exist.  Then that leads to worrying about it.  Then I am worried about something that doesn’t even exist.  It may potentially exist but it’s not there now, so at this moment why am I worrying about something that is merely a possibility?  My mind wonders so much. Especially now when I have all this time on my own.  VERY different than my usual day. Now most of my conversations are with me, myself, and I.  Believe me I am always talking to myself, but now when I have a lot less contact with others, it’s amazing to see how much self talk I can come up with.  Whew….do I talk that much to others?  haha

suppose to be

Trying to take out the “how its suppose to be” has been difficult.  I have been working to change up all the rules.  Why? The reason is that these rules were made up by others.  All previous habits of what we grew up with, or what society says, or how things have been done in the past.  All of that does not apply now.  It does not matter what others think.  This is my life and I am in charge of it.  We all want different things out of life so how can we all live by the same rules. What has worked before may not work now.  Create a new way.  Your way.


I am stepping forward in life.  I am on a path.  Creating things in my life that I haven’t had before.  Reaching out to others for support, developing a true inner strength, and really starting to live my life for me.  It’s hard to believe that it’s taken me so many years to get to a place to do this, but glad I am here now.  Being present to my needs and wants out of life.


Today I am grateful for all that I have at this moment.  Support of friends and family.  A coach who is behind me 100% in all that I am doing and cares about me as a person. Opportunities that are opening up to me.  My ability to do what I need to do each and everyday to create a Pro Physique. Grateful I can create what I want out of life.

she-was-unstoppable-not-because-she-did-not-have-failures-or-doubts-but-because-she-continued-on-quote-1All over the map today with my writing.  I am in a good place doing everything I need to do physically and mentally.  It feels so good to know that I am closer and closer each day to my goals.

dreams and reality

Work ethic – the principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward.

I’ve been asked many times how can you do what you do for so long. The simple answer is that I haven’t reached my goal yet.

Michael Jordan - End of an Era (JUNE 2005)
Michael Jordan – End of an Era (JUNE 2005)

The deeper answer to this really boils down to my commitment level and my work ethic.  When I commit to something I do not do it lightly.  This is in all areas of my life.  With my career being in the fitness industry I am committed to being a role model in health and fitness. In my thinking how could I lead others if I am not an example of what I am teaching?  I could not.  To me that would be fake.  What I do believe in is putting in the work.  Whatever is necessary to obtain my commitment a reality.


Michael Jordan is one of my all time favorites.  His work ethic stood out then and still reigns today for his ability to push through many obstacles.

Tonight was a test of my will.  This week my diet has changed up.  We are doing a 5 day low carb cycle with 1 high carb day and 1 med carb day.  Today was day 3 of low carbs.  Actually started feeling it a bit today.  Meaning my energy was a tab bit lower than usual (I’m usually a bit of an energizer bunny. lol).  To top it off today was leg day and we weren’t able to train until 7pm.  This was going to be interesting….

intereestand commitment

Leg day training:

Seated hamstring curls superset with weighted Sumo squats – emphasizing the glute squeeze

Free bar squats

Quad Sweep Hack machine lunges superset with Quad burner mini squats (50 reps)

Abductors superset with lunges

Calves, abs

Then finished it off with the Stair Mill for cardio.

This was a brutal workout.  The quad burner mini squats literally left me crawling on the floor.  These are no joke.  I can handle a lot of pain, but these get me every time.  Especially at 50 reps.

As I finished all the lifting I went to do my cardio and was beat.  I didn’t have a specific cardio called out so I got to choose.  I did not take the easy  route.  After all I am all in and going for Professional status…so yes I hit the Stair Mill.  Put on my motivational video’s quoting all sorts of emotion jerking, dig deep, gut wrenching moments.


As I was stepping I felt each and every step.  Burning the legs that seemed to weight a thousand pounds.  I was struggling but kept telling myself there is no pain, there is no pain.  I also think of the many people who do not have the privilege to be able to walk or even have legs to use .  Those people would love to be able to feel pain in their legs.  You don’t know your limits until you reach that limit.  I was making it happen.  The voices from the videos kept going on and then something hit me.  Raw emotion.  I was half way through my cardio and a voice told me, Michelle you are doing it.  You are making your dreams happen.  You are already there.  You can do this. You are a Pro.  I had a surge of emotion and chills ran up my spine and my eyes welled up with tears.  I am doing it I told myself.  Push through…pain is temporary and achievement is permanent.  I then picked up the pace and powered through the rest of my cardio.  Wow…that was intense.  Have you ever wanted something that bad?  Enough to push yourself through it and know that it is worth it?  This sport is not easy.  It’s very much a mental game.  The body can take so much more than you know, but you don’t know until…well until you know.  lol  I haven’t reached that spot yet.  I’m a fighter.  I have committed to making this happen and I am fighting for it every step of the way.  I’ve got heart.  I’ve got passion.  This is not for anyone else.  It is for me.


The Human Body is Capable of amazing deeds.

If we could just free ourselves from our perceived inhibitions and tap into our internal fire, the possibilities are endless.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to make your dreams a reality?  The only way to do that is by taking action.  I’m ready to live my dream.

Train, eat, sleep, and what are the rest of these thoughts?

walk aloneToday has been wonderful.  Started off my day with a run in the park about 6am this morning.  It was gorgeous.  Really took it all in.  No music.  Nature has a way of bringing a calmness to your mind.  It is a way to take you out of the crazy everyday world and helps to ground you. In this calmness there is a power.  The energy I get from being in the midst of nature sometimes surprises me.  It just resonates so differently.  It’s lush beautiful colors are invigorating and you can almost feel the color leaping out to you.  There is a softness ground.  It just feels like you were meant to be here.  It’s comforting, exhilarating, and powerful in the most gentle of ways. Here is a picture of where I ran this am.


So I came home and fixed breakfast…egg whites and oatmeal…my favorite meal of the day.  Had that with some peppermint tea which is refreshing.  Then off to the Chiropractor to keep this body moving properly.  There is no time for injuries now.

Then the real work begins.  GYM TIME.  Today was Chest and Shoulders.  Then my daily abs, calves, cardio, and stretching.  Felt strong.  Got a serious pump today.  During cardio I had all sorts of things crossing my mind.  Work, training, competition, certain people pop in my mind.  Then I had a motivational video rolling to help me get through the grind of cardio and keep pushing.  It was tossing out all sorts of quotes and stories.  One of which really got to me.  Made me think of a friend that is on an amazing journey.  The video started spouting off a quote about how people come into your lives for a reason and you can ignore it or take it in as an opportunity to grow.  Boom….goose bumps and a surge of energy hit me in a flash.  I start pushing harder as I think about others on their journeys and how hard I know they are pushing for their goals.  I was amazed at the energy and was blasting the Stair Mill.  How awesome is it that another’s journey can help you rocket through your own. hahaha


Then I had some down time.  I’m on my own most of the day time and have lots of time to think.  Yep…here is where you can get yourself into trouble.  As I was driving I’m thinking of what I can do and how I should spend my time over the next few hours.  I felt the loneliness start to creep in.  Thinking about my life and where I am at.  I wasn’t getting sad about it but just letting my mind wonder.  I am the type of person who likes to give and share with others. I’ve got a very tight circle of amazing friends who I know are there for me whenever and whatever I need.  For that I am very grateful.  Many of them are married or are in relationships.  It’s so nice to see that and love being around them.  Then of course you get to thinking…What about me? When will it be my time to find someone, and by someone I don’t really mean just someone.  I am talking about the one.  The one who gets me.  Understands what I do and who I am.  I am so much more than what many see.  I am deep.  My ability to care for another is massive.  I give from the heart.  So as I analyze all these thoughts bouncing around in my head.  I realize that maybe I haven’t been ready.  Maybe I haven’t truly grasped who I am.  Now of course I know who I am, but have I really portrayed that and lived up to my own values.  Unfortunately no.  I’ve always tried to be the people pleaser and taking care of others first.  Put their feelings above my own and in the end was left depleted and without what I truly needed.  That’s what happens when you are not true to yourself.  When you always put others as a priority over your own needs.  Of course there are times you need to do these kinds of things.  It’s just not always how you need to go about it.


Interesting how having more time on my own has really given me some time to reflect.  I have to say this is because I have really made some ground in just being me.  Before I would have worried about what I was going to do and have to be in contact with people frequently to just feel ok.  Now I’m taking this time and diving into the well.  I’ve been pulling up buckets from deep within my soul and pouring them out to see what its all about.  Amazing how when you change your perspective that these “awful” situations you’ve been through turn into some thought provoking lessons.

My mind wanders quite a bit.  I miss my friends, my routines, my comforts of home, and my clients.  This is temporary.  I am here putting in the work physically, nutritionally, and mentally day in and day out.  This is a part of me.  I am who I am for a reason.  I truly want to make a difference.  This journey has really opened my eyes to what is possible.  You know what that is?  It’s me….I am possible.  I can create things to happen in my life.  I am so grateful that this opportunity is opening up so many doors for my future.


life on fire

There are so many changes being made in my life.  Changes that I am directing, molding, and straight out working hard for.  I am in a very good space right now.  I have really opened my eyes and started seeing things in a whole new light. The more I am seeing the more I am believing that this journey is so much more than I even thought it could be.  I am learning a whole different perspective of how things can be done for my competition prep with my coach who has a very different approach than what I have seen.  Also some serious changes in mindset and thought processes.  This is wear the real magic is at.

How you think plays such a huge game on anything and everything you do. More than you realize.  All those little thoughts throughout the day add up.  Here’s an example of some things I use to say that are very negative but you don’t think so in the moment; I forgot to take the trash out….I’m so stupid.  I’m so clumsy, I’m such an idiot I left my wallet at home. These are things we don’t really take as negative statements, but they are.  Would you tell your best friend they are an idiot because they forgot something at home, most likely not.  It’s not necessary, mean, and just not true.  So why say it to yourself?  hmmmmm.

As I’ve been on this path for fitness for a while and more specifically my goal for competing in the past 3 years I have been all over the map in my thinking.  While I have always basically been very positive especially for others.  I have been very tough on myself.  I have been my own worst critic and still working at being less harsh with myself.  I am an achiever.  I like to push toward goals and make things happen.  You have to have discipline, drive, and determination.  Theses do not require you to be harsh on yourself.  Many lessons have been learned around this.  In the past I was very concerned about what others thought and how I was perceived.  It’s taken so long for me to get to a spot where that is not the case anymore.  I have always been a little “outside the box”.  Not average in anything I do.  That is not because I have some huge ego or a know it all.  It’s because I do things with passion.

Passion is energy

As I am here in Oregon with my main focus on preparing for my competition that is now less than 4 weeks out I am seeing changes.  Changes in my body, my mind, and my spirit.  As I post pictures in these last weeks is when you will see the most changes physically.  The truly amazing part of this transformation is something you may or may not be able to see.  The shifting of my thoughts which is creating many pathways of opportunity.  It’s an awareness.  I’m noticing how my thoughts are creating different views of situations which allow me to have a different outcome.  I have been tossing out the “rules” or “habits” that have been given to me in the past.  What I mean by rules is more of what society believes or what other people believe is the right way to do something.  There is no right or wrong way to do anything.  Just like this journey I’m on.  I had some people tell me that there is no way you can take a month off from your clients and go somewhere to train for your competition. It’s not realistic.  Then continued to tell me how I’ll ruin my business and I’ll come back to nothing.  Was that a possibility?  Sure, I obviously had thought about these things.  That’s not how I envisioned it. I spoke to clients, talked to my core group of people.  I made my decision to take this opportunity to grow knowing that I will come back and make it all happen.

IMG_9568Today’s post has seemed to go all over the map. That’s just where my mind is…..all over the place…in a very good way.  Opening up my mind is allowing opportunities to show up for me that I may have never even noticed before.  I am grateful for all I am learning and all I am becoming.

remove doubt

Today I found myself in deep thought as I was exploring Portland’s Pearl District.  Adorable downtown area with cute boutiques, coffee shops, parks, interesting people watching, and a ton of fun looking restaurants.  It finally was sunny today after 3 straight days of rain.  I was so happy to see the sun.  The grey skies tend to bring my energy level down a notch or two, so the brightness of the day was invigorating.

As I was on my self guided tour I stopped at a really cute coffee shop Cafe Umbria.  I liked the name because I love Italy and have been dreaming of going back someday.  I grab my black coffee (yep still on that prep grind) and go to put a dusting of cinnamon on top I spark up a conversation with a guy doing the same thing.  We are chatting it up and then he asks why I’m visiting Oregon.  I tell him the brief version.  Then he said something that kept me thinking for a couple of hours.  He said, “Wow you are so lucky that you are able to leave work and hang out while you train for your competition”.  At that moment I just agreed and said I am very fortunate.  Then took off down the street window shopping.  After a few minutes went by I start having a conversation with myself:

Is it really luck that got me here?

Did this just happen to me?

This opportunity didn’t just fall from the sky.

I wasn’t just thrown into this without thought.

I created this.

I had an idea – I collaborated with my coach – I reached out for help  – I had conversations with my clients – I got creative with finances – then created this to happen

This wasn’t luck at all…this was me stepping out of the box.

This was me reaching out to others to help me make it happen.  Which was so amazing the support I received.

Here I am.  Making it happen.  Taking action on my dream.

We only live once.

Yes that is the conversation that went on in my head.  I honestly am amazed that I made the decision and then made it happen.


This journey has already made a huge impact.  While I have a good support system at home there is just an entirely different groove here.  One my coach is watching every move. Checking me daily.  Training me daily.  He also is instilling in me the fact that I have this time to enjoy myself.  Yes we are training hard, and I’m not entering the last 4 weeks before my competition, but I am not doing what I have had to do before.  I am not starving or on hours of cardio each day.  I am enjoying every rep of every set.  I am seeing my dream come true with each workout.  That is what I tell myself while I am on my cardio busting my butt.  It’s hard and I want to stop believe me.  I would rather grab a steak, fries, and a huge glass of red wine, then have a brownie for dessert.  That will not get me to my dream.  Doing the necessary work will be the building blocks to make that dream happen.


It’s like I am on one side of a cliff and I need to get to the other side, but there isn’t a path.  I need to create it.  I need to build that bridge to continue my path and reach my destination.  I’ve been building this path for 3 years now.  This bridge that I am building is the last step to my journey.  Those steps include sticking exactly to my food program, making each lift count, burning up the fat on cardio, and working on myself internally to be confident yet humble.  It’s not been an easy bridge to build.  Many obstacles show up that you have to then work around or through.  It’s worth the grind.  Not for the trophy and not even just for the Pro Card.  It is one way I can show others that if you truly stick to a plan and want it that you can make it.  It’s not an instant gratification adventure.

My journey has had many detours, road blocks, and mud slides but I am still on the path to my dream.  Hang on because it is just getting interesting.  This last 4 weeks is when all the real transformation happens.  It is the most drastic in the last 2 weeks where it all starts coming together.

The dreams you have can be a reality.  Work hard toward them whatever they may be, gather support around what you are doing, get creative, and give it your all.


Once in a lifetime

I am a not a one in a million kind of girl,

I am a once in a lifetime kind of woman.

I believe this statement above.  It is not because I think I am better than anyone else.  It is because I believe in who I am in this world.  We are all unique and each one of us is a one of a kind.  The quote above is not really about how I look on the outside.  It’s about how I feel on the inside.  While my sport is very visual and we are judged on how we look, the creating of this body has deep routed internal components.  Many people believe this is a vein sport and every competitor is looking to have the perfect body.  I can tell you straight out…no one has the perfect body or every will have the perfect body. What is perfect anyway?  It is all conditional on who is judging what’s perfect.


While I do enjoy looking good.  It is not why I do this sport.  I am a competitive person.  I have played competitive sports all my life.  Softball being the number 1 sport.  Until a few years ago I played year round ball since I was 4 years old.  Competitive cheer and dance, track & field, cross country, tennis, and even archery.  I got into bodybuilding because I needed a personal goal.  A goal that forced me to work on myself.  Not rely on anyone else to accomplish it.  While I have coaches to guide me no one lifts the weights, eats the food, or does the cardio for me.  I either put in the work to get the results or the results do not happen.  It made me take the focus off of doing everything for others and start doing things for myself.  That does not mean I still do not love to care for and give to others.  I now have just been able to give to myself.

Confidence – a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.

Confidence is very different than being cocky or arrogant.  Feeling strong in who you are and what you believe in is confidence, but can sometimes be mistaken for arrogance at a glance.  That is why I really work on not judging others.  A glance of a situation may be perceived one way, but the story behind it may be very different.

One of the things I try to bring out in my clients is confidence. I work with a variety of people that are all different ages, in various situations, and all over the map in fitness levels.  I really try to build confidence around what we are doing while we are training.  No matter what level anyone is at there is a comfort level I want them to feel when they walk in the gym.  I’m not trying to get them to think they are a bad ass at the gym.  Just confident in walking in and knowing that they are taking care of themselves by doing what they need to accomplish to reach their specific goal.  It’s a constant area to work on as we continually change things up and work toward new goals and learn new types of movements and change up nutrition programs.


I work on confidence continually.  New things pop up, the past tries to grab you, the rug gets pulled out from under you, or amazing opportunities fall in your lap.  All of these things can rock your boat.  They rock mine all the time, but I am confident that whatever may come into play that I will make it through it.  Just like I’ve made it through some situations that I thought were impossible.  Here I am. I’m not just surviving.  I’m thriving.  I am moving forward and continually growing and expanding internally as well as externally.



In my life I have accomplished many things, survived some terrifying situations, got stuck in depression, and have had some amazing happy times.  I have always strived to do well.  I like to put in more work than average and bring in good results in most situations.  I say most situations because until recently I have not put in the work to put myself as a priority.  I always have been the person to be the giver.  I actually enjoy giving to others and bringing joy or comfort into peoples lives.  Sometimes though that can go to far.  Meaning sometimes when you are only giving and not receiving you can get taken advantage of.  What I have come to learn and now realize is that I allowed all of it to happen.  I was afraid.  Afraid to stand up for myself because of what might happen and that maybe those situations were the best I was ever going to get.  The fear of being alone, the fear of what others would think, the fear that maybe I just wasn’t good enough.

Over the years I have developed my inner self awareness.  I have learned a lot and been able to take that and use it in many capacities. Much more recently I have been able to surround myself with some amazing people.   People who are really there for me.  When I am down they pull me up.  When I am good they are there to enjoy it with me.  They believe in me when I have not felt full belief in myself.  When the doubt is circling they are there to help reassure me.


Here is where the turning a corner comes in…

Over the past couple months I have not only gone all in on my training for my competition, but I have dedicated myself to diving internally as well.  Through working with an amazing life coach and taking the time to do the necessary work it has made a huge difference.  A difference that is noticeable in all aspects of my life.  It’s not a confidence, or an attitude, but more like an energy.  Like a light was finally turned on and now brightening the whole room, but then add feeling to that.  Not the easiest to explain.  But I feel it.

It makes a difference in my training, in my work, in my relationships, because it exudes from within it encompasses all of who I am.  It is pretty interesting because now I feel like I can even give more but am able to set boundaries that are workable for me.


I’m seeing this all come together day by day.  Actions, thoughts, feelings are coming up and I am handling them differently.

I believe that my body will be phenomenal on that stage.  It will look so much different than it did a year ago, but what will win it is the energy that exudes from me.  They will see it in my eyes.  I am the real deal.  I embody what I believe a Pro should be.  Turning this corner has been a big change in my life.

Meditating, being aware of thoughts, feelings and when they arise.  Seeing things with a different perspective is making a huge difference.

Hitting the road…..


Started my day at 4am this morning.  Left home by 5:30am headed to my Coach Mouss El Bakkouchi’s home town of Beaverton, Oregon.  Driving out as I am here for the next 4 weeks as I strive to reach my goal.

The drive took IMG_960411 hours.  Though it was long time went by fast thanks to some amazing friends who are supporting me through this journey of life.  Talked on the phone, had a dance party in my car, sang incredibly loud, took in some beautiful sights, and had some interesting thought provoking moments.

All my meals were of course right there beside me and only stopped for the necessary pit stops as I consumed 1.5 gallons of water on my way here.

I was welcomed like family into my coach’s home by him and his wife (pregnant with twins).  We caught up on life in general and discussed some fun bodybuilding topics.  Unloaded the car, got settled in.  Then we planned the next week of training and diet.  At this stage food, cardio, and how you train is critical.  It’s not the same as when you are building.  I am sitting at 127 lbs with 122 lbs of lean muscle on me at this moment.  Looking to continue to tighten things up as I grow into the show.

Preparing my week with good rest, intense workouts, and some exploring of the Portland area.

LEG DAY tomorrow.