Flex Fourth and Carry On

I’m being cheeky with the title, read on and you’ll see how. This post is long overdue, by the way. I realise I never updated you on the results of the fitness adventure I embarked on. I flew to the United States several days after the competitionΒ for a sabbatical of sorts and the last thing on my mind was “get laptop, update blog.” At least, at the time. I’m here now, so settle down.

medal

It was a gruelling 2 and a half weeks of contest prep which entailed intense daily gym sessions and an even more intense diet program. Why only two and a half weeks? Because I’m a sado-masochist. Haha no. It’s because I found out and decided a little late that I wanted to participate in the sports festival. I most definitely can handle the exercise program, but the dieting part is the excruciating portion of body building. I think it’s where I had to dig deep mentally because I can only take so much chicken breast and egg whites until my gag reflex kicks in and my body decides to upchuck everything else I consumed prior. What a waste of organic eggs and probiotic boiled chicken. So with my body fat down to 11% from 13% just three days before, and weighing in at 99 pounds, I was spray-tanned and ready to feel like the total rookie I was in every sense of the word.

GemmalynCros_3
The Top 5 (L-R: Me, Charie, Patricia, Clarissa, and Quisha)

I was the most inexperienced of all the 8 women I shared the stage with. They had been competing for years and some of them had at least six months to prepare for this particular competition. I was afraid and massively intimidated. But I wasn’t going to show it. I smiled and flexed and laughed my way through the entire program (which took the entire literal day–we were there at dawn and didn’t get to leave until about 8pm).

But as scary and nerve-wracking as the experience was, I was very pleased with myself for sticking with it and seeing this commitment through. Not to mention, it paid off! I placed 4th and could not believe it!Β Gemmalyn_Cros2

Safe to say I was bit by the bodybuilding bug and felt pure stoke. There was no doubt I would do it all over again someday–this time with a little more knowledge of what I’m getting myself into. I had no idea how much it would cost in terms of time, money, mental strength, and grit. I think the next time I compete, I will be better prepared in every aspect. It’s not just a matter of looking good, really, because your body isn’t meant to stay “on season” for a prolonged period. I have a lot more meat in me now and my cuts and muscle definitions are not as sharp–they’ve maybe even deserted me for now. (Disclaimer though, I have been vacationing for the past 5 months with very little gym time)

GemmalynCros_1
That is the face of a hungry girl.

There’s something about impulsively taking on a colossal challenge you aren’t even sure you can overcome that forces you to dig deep and find something inside you, a new kind of strength and motivation to push on until the end (or at least just to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself). You know it’s not about what others will say, but what you can tell yourself you managed to achieve because you believed you could do it. Or at least attempt to. If you fail, you still win because of the experience. If you win, then you’ve just affirmed your own gumption and moxie. Okay, I cheated. I didn’t JUST get motivated out of my own sheer will to MAYBE make a fool of myself in the body building world. I was recovering from a messy breakup that left me questioning myself and my adequacies (verbal/emotional/mental abuse comes in many forms, folks. Be informed and protect yourself). So I took this on as a sort of extreme way to push myself to new heights. I needed to do something to validate MYSELF and not seek that validation from other people or that one person to whom we choose to give so much love and power over us. And you know what? I’m absolutely glad I did it. Even if I didn’t place at all, I would have still been grateful for the experience. I met such interesting people, made new friends, gained knowledge, and have discovered a new interest that I’m now keen to explore further.

mission district b:w
late October 2015, Mission District, San Francisco, CA.

What challenge are you going to take on? What sort of limits or constraints do you need to break free from and out of? Do it! You’ll be better for it and you’ll be glad you did it.

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Author: Hilary Isaac

After experiencing a major setback, I picked up the million little pieces that used to be me, found a new passion to glue me back together, and started moving forward. I found solace in physical outlets such as running and going to the gym. In it, I found physical strength. I stepped outside my comfort zone, tried something new, and because of it, I found mental strength. I started taking time to pray and talk to God, and in Him, I found spiritual and emotional strength. It all really starts from within. When you find the peace to calm the storm inside you, then you can stand strong through any storm in life. What makes me a ToughGirl isn't just my body's physical abilities. What makes me tough is the determination to keep getting back up each time I get knocked down.

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