I started my 20(ish) week prep yesterday! I made a YouTube channel under AshleyStAndrews to document and track my progress!
I was having one of those mornings where I didn’t really want to get dressed and go to the gym. I’ve felt slightly frustrated lately because as I get closer to my ultimate goal, the weight is definitely more stubborn and harder to lose. I hadn’t worn this tank in months because the kids had shoved it somewhere and I found it while gathering laundry this week, and I got a great reminded of why I should look at the big picture instead of just the week to week. Just because the scale isn’t moving fast, doesn’t mean progress isn’t being made. Over all it turned into a great gym day =)
At least that is what I keep reminding myself. I don’t HAVE to do this. I choose too. I want to achieve certain goals. And to be able to do that, I have to make choices. It’s it that I can’t eat the ice cream, the fast food, the candy, I CHOOSE not to. I have the option to “cheat” or allow it, but that means I either have to make another choice to allow the treat and give up something in its place, or it’s going to take one day longer to hit my goal. My decision most days is that it’s not worth the extra cardio or sacrifices to fit in the candy bar or fast food. Yes, some days it sucks, but in the end, it will be worth it.
Decisions I make now WILL affect me 6 months from now. One day or week won’t ruin me, but that is a day or week that I could be working my tail off to create the best me possible. I would much rather get the extra weight off now, focus on maintaining and building, know what I’ve got going on and fix my weaknesses, then spend the next 6-8 months yo-yo-ing and stressing about getting the weight off in time for a competition. I have no intention of maintaining a stage weight for that long, I would just prefer to have 10-15lbs to lose over a 12 week period and not be trying to take off nearly 30lbs. I honestly don’t know that I even have 30lbs to lose, only time will tell, but yeah.
We just finished up at dollywood, and my mom came and drove, so I have some time to kill since I’m not driving. I don’t remember the last thing I wrote about, so as of Sunday I am down 7 pounds from week 6. I hadn’t show any loss in a few weeks so while 7lbs in one week is a lot, it had been building for awhile. I’m pretty certain most of it came off of my butt. Nothing I can do about that but work harder to build muscle there, or at least maintain what is there.
C and I went to a haunted house this weekend, I had never been to one before and we had a lot of fun.
I think he is planning on starting a 6 week shred some time soon? I don’t think he has any desire to compete just wants to lose the last few pounds he’s been hanging on to. I think he looks great how he is but I would never tell anyone not to strive to better themself. Should be interesting. We generally already work out together once or twice a week.
Anyways here is my current progress pictures
The grey and grey is week 6&7
This weeks back pictures
That should be in”” because what exactly is normal? It’s some obscure numbers that doctors have put together when it comes to your bmi based off height and weight which is extremely outdated but still used. Today is the first time in 12 years I can say I’m “normal” or that I could go to a doctor and not be told I’m overweight. Based off physical appearance and clothing size, I haven’t considered myself overweight in awhile but this stupid obscure chart has, so to finally hit this obscure idea of “normal” is a great moment. I’m not sure what happened but after not losing a single pound for a month, I had 7lbs drop off this week getting me over the hump I was stuck on. I’m estimating that I have 15 maybe 20 more pounds if you want to get nitpicky before I hit the leanness I want to see. I’ll be watching the scale, but mostly relying on pictures from this point out to know when I’m going to start a small bulk. Anyways! Just wanted to share this exciting moment! And since its flex Friday, I flexed my back for a bit this morning!
I’m obviously feeling extra witty today. I’ve just been my own worst enemy lately. Not really certain what’s up, but I’ve just been in this stubborn funk and want to sit here and eat carbs and Halloween candy. The problem isn’t so much that I want to eat one piece of the candy, the problem is I want to eat the whole bag of given the chance. I haven’t gained any weight which is fine, but I have clearly plateaued and probably eating close to maintenance calories which isn’t bad, but it isn’t going to achieve what I want. It also makes me grumpy and sluggish when I eat too much junk. I think some of it is I have been pushing so hard for 10 months now? And super hard for 6 months? I think my brain just hit the point of needing a break. I’m making a conscious effort to get my train back on the tracks. If I don’t buy it, I don’t eat it, so I just need to stop making excuses to buy it and my kids are going to have to suck it up too.
I’m slowly recovering from my fall last week at the gym. I tweaked my back up bad and I’ve been in a pissy mood. I’m 99% sure it’s just in the muscles and have been using a heat wrap at night and in the morning to loosen the muscles and it is greatly helping. I also scraped my knee up and today is the first day it is able to move freely without pulling at the scab. Tried to do some legs today and it just wasn’t ready… Hoping next week I will be good to go. I also need to hop back on the cardio train.
Training wise everything else has been awesome. I’m up to two good solid, controlled sets of chest presses with the 40lb dumb bells. I can get the up on my own now and get them down without bruising the crap out of my legs. My guy went with me last week and spotted me and this week something just clicked and it was second nature and no struggle.
I have a guy I am seriously seeing now. You could probably safely call him my boyfriend, he does. Total sweetheart, I really like him and he slid into my life effortlessly. He isn’t a gym rat, but he knows his way around the gym and likes to go with me when he can. He is totally cool with me showing him up. I guarantee on biceps he would beat me, but shoulders/chest/calves he has accepted that I train them harder I think. He jokes that before me he only used to train biceps. I don’t care either way, he can train however he wants, we have different goals and needs so we don’t have to train the same ways.
I had some importantish blood work done week before last which has also had me kind of stressed out. The results FINALLY came back today and it was all negative, so I can breathe easier again. I do need to schedule a general physical but I’m happy I had the blood work done. I had put it off way way too long.
It’s been 3 years…
Since I have written anything about what I went through in my marriage. I have written about it twice, and any time I have needed to write about it again, I have simply copied and pasted my original writing either in parts, or it’s entirety. It’s not something I speak of often. Most people are on what I consider a need to know basis. Three, maybe four people have heard me speak the whole story from beginning to end. This entry isn’t going to be so much of what I went to as I am going to try to focus on how far I have come. My journey. My recovery. What it took to become me again.
It’s not that I don’t want people to know what I went through, or that I am ashamed of what I went through, it’s just that when I speak of it or write of it, it makes it real. I have to acknowledge that it happened to me. This month marks 5 years since I decided to take my freedom back. 5 long years of finding the me that I lost. 5 years of re-learning how to live.
The first year(sept 09-10)…. It was hard. It was scary. I lived in constant fear that one day he was just going to show up and make good on the threats he had made. Or that he would show up and take the kids. For over a year, I slept on the couch next to the front door just to be sure that if he came in, I would hear him. I was terrified to take the kids outside to play. If we wanted to play outside, I would drive to a park in the town I grew up. He saw the kids sporadically under supervision of family members, but I never had to lay eyes on him. That first year, I didn’t live, I survived. One foot in front of the other, constantly looking over my shoulder, in my rear view mirror. I would stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning watching headlights drive up and down my road scared to even sleep.
The second year (sept 10-11)… At some point after the first year, I decided to take my life back. I’m not sure when it happened, but the first big thing I remember, was in November of 2010, I remember learning that wrestlemania 27 was happening 4 hours away in April, and I decided that I didn’t care what it took, I was going. The day tickets went on sale, I bought myself a $25 nosebleed seat to make sure I had a spot in the Georgia dome. Then in January, I learned about this thing called fan axxess. It’s this amazing thing, kind of like a comic con, and for a price you can meet everyone but the VIPs, well somehow (and it is amazing this happened) I managed to buy 1 of 150-250 VIP tickets to meet John Cena the Friday before wrestlemania. I was able to buy them first hand even, not resale (resale prices went anywhere from $200-$1000), and now my one day quick trip to Atlanta had become a long weekend. I remember driving out of my city, and just finally feeling free. I didn’t feel like I had to look over my shoulder. I didn’t feel like I had to be the quiet, meek person who couldn’t draw attention to herself. I was able to talk to people, and enjoy myself. I ended up going to I think 4 sessions of axxess and meeting over 25 of the wrestlers, some of which still remember me and I hear from occasionally on twitter. I met new people, which crazily are from my area, and we still talk occasionally. I talked to boys. Lots of boys and I flirted and I smiled and I had the time of my life. I also had a wardrobe mishap that I heard may still be spoken of from time to time but we won’t bring that up.
When I came back to town, I felt better. I remember still feeling apprehensive, and nervous, but I felt alive again. A month later I went to my second wwe show which was in my town, I had a 4th row seat, I met john cena again, before the show just by luck. I was one of the first people in my seat, and I look 3 rows in front of me and it was my exs friends, and they of course saw me, we exchanged polite words, and it did of course get back to my ex. There wasn’t fall out from it that day, but a few months later (and I can laugh about this now) I got a phone call while I was at work, accusing me, of being on “his” side of town in “his” Kroger grocery shopping with “some guy in jean shorts” and a shirt with the sleeves cut off or something strange. At some point he even accused me of dating john cena. That shook me up and rattled me so bad. At this point in time, I hadn’t even been on a date or kissed anyone since we had split. It was definitely a big blow to the confidence I had worked so hard to build.
Sometime around there, there was a girl I had met through twitter and we both had tickets to the same show in Lexington in august. She was coming from Indiana, and I was driving from Tennessee, and we decided to meet up and hang out before the show. We had a blast. We had a super interesting excursion looking for a specific Waffle House after the show that we decided to call quits when the third Waffle House had police cars, crime scene tape and a news crew. We decided to go to more shows together, and since Lexington, we have been to I think 3 more together, including a second wrestlemania.
Year 3(sept 11-12)… At some point, I had joined plenty of fish, I had talked to some people, but I had never met them, just never took off with anyone. I didn’t feel comfortable enough with any of them to meet. Somewhere around this time, I met my best friend, the person I had waited 3 years until recently to meet face to face. The connection was instant(we have always had this crazy, strange, amazing connection), but mentally, I just wasn’t ready for what he wanted, and decided it was best that we not continue(in other words we had a huge fight and I couldn’t process it or handle it). That was when I realized how lonely I was. How much I missed having someone to talk to, I was starting to miss things like hugs and kisses and cuddling. I started to take trying to find someone to date more seriously, but in was absolutely terrified of the physical side of a relationship. I know some people don’t believe that a spouse can rape or sexually abuse a spouse, but it is something I believe can happen, and to this day I still occasional (very rarely) have problems with. After a few dates with one person that didn’t click, I met a great guy, and we were serious for a few months, in the end, neither one of us was ready to be serious, and neither one of us was able to provide what the other needed, he did end up meeting the right one for him shortly after we broke up, but I have no ill feelings towards him.
Sometime around the time I broke up with that guy, I some how wound up back in contact with my best friend, the one that I had had the major fight with, and things quickly picked up where they left off, same connection, same feelings, but at some point, I can’t remember the reason, but we decided that we needed a break and lost contact again.
Sometime around the time of the breakup, my wrestling buddy and I decided we were going to go to wrestlemania. In MIAMI. ROAD TRIP! Our crazy butts decided to drive the 17 hours (she came from farther) to Miami for wrestlemania 28. I only thought that I had felt alive in Atlanta. We had so much fun. We went to 4 or 5 axxess sessions, met 10 or so of the wrestlers, laid out on the beach, had girl time. It was so much fun.
After I got back, I dated a few people, nothing clicked, but I was more relaxed, I got out more. Decided I needed to move from the house with so many bad memories. It was so nice to know that my ex didn’t know where i was living. I no longer had to worry any time a strange car drove down the street, it was great.
The fourth year (sept 12-13)… At some point in august or sept or 2012 I met a guy for breakfast, and to be honest, it wasn’t an instant connection, we got along, we texted here and there, rarely saw each other, both of us dated other people too, but we kept in touch. At some point early in 2013 we started seeing each other more and more, and without giving too much of his own personal story, I was ready for more than he was, and I nudged and pushed for more, and he gave what he could. We spent a lot of time together. I fell for him hard. Whether he knows it or not, he taught me that I could love again. He couldn’t say it, but in some way I know he loved me, even if he couldn’t see it. He was convinced that he wasn’t worthy of love and couldn’t be loved, and honestly, we were doomed from the start. The fourth year taught me so much. I learned even more that I could trust my gut, that I have very good instincts. I learned that I have some amazing friends that could be leaned on. I learned that even though I am damaged, I can love someone and have so much to give.
The fifth year (sept 13-14)… He and I were on and off for the early part of that fifth year totally ending it a few days before my birthday which SUCKED. He made a bunch of promises that I didn’t expect him to keep and he didn’t, and looking back on it now, it’s for the better. During that 4th year, I once again wound up back in contact with my best friend. Totally platonic, we were both in relationships, but it was nice to hear from him occasionally, I owe so much of what I have learned about myself to him, and other than a month or so in 2014 we haven’t lost contact sense. He has been my rock many times even though he is several states away.
So what does a girl do when she goes through a really bad breakup? She changes herself to make her ex regret ever losing her of course! THAT worked SO well. I think I lost maybe 15 pounds by starving myself because I was too upset to eat, and then I would try to do 2 hours of straight cardio. That worked for about a month until I gained 20 pounds back.
Sometime after Christmas, I started dating a guy I grew up with. We had fun, we liked each other, meshed well, but it just wasn’t the right time for us.
In February before he and I stopped dating, I started having health problems and kidney stones, my anxiety was also really out of control (it always had been since I had split with the kids dad, I just kept shoving it down with temporary fixes) and it was somewhere around then, I realized how far I had let myself go, at 5’1.5″ 190-195, I was always in constant pain, my clothes didn’t fit, I was moody and always tired, I needed to make a change. I needed to do it for me. I started back with reasonable amounts of cardio, and I was eating, but eating less, and making what I thought were smarter choices ( I was living on salad and lean cuisine), I stopped soda, but was still drinking powerade. I think I lost about 10 pound in a month and a half. My best friend kept telling me to stop the powerades, but I wouldn’t listen. I’m a little on the stubborn side. He offered to write me a diet plan and a weight plan and I declined, bound and determined that I was going to do this my way, the way that had never ever worked in the past.
Sometime in march, I saw that one of the former wwe guys, had a fitness plan coming out. It was a book that was part motivation, and part plan, and when I read it, it just made sense. I had always been on the right direction, I was just a street or two over from where I needed to be. I replaced the powerades with protein shakes and water, cut out the lean cuisines and started eating the right amounts of fresh food, and in the first two weeks I think I lost 15 pounds. I was ecstatic, I had energy, I was starting to gain confidence, I went from taking pictures of myself only when necessary, to taking pictures of myself very frequently, probably too frequently. I think at this point I still hadn’t quite bought into weight lifting part of the program, but seeing that the rest of the advice had been correct, I gained the confidence to start trying out some of the weight machines. Looking back at my first few weight work outs, they were so all over the place and so unfocused. I don’t know how I didn’t hurt myself. This is where I finally told my friend that I needed help. I could have asked gabe tuft, the guy who wrote the book for help, but I was so overwhelmed by all the option at the gym, but also all the restrictions, I begged my friend to help. I sent him copies of my workout notes, and I’m pretty certain he probably laughed, but to give him credit, he never talked down to me. He’s never actually ever written me a full workout, he just gave me the knowledge I needed to write my own. He helped me group everything into a three day split, and get the reps and sets set. He helped give me feedback based off how I was feeling, and never once has he told me anything but great job (and a back off the leg days). Never an I told you so or anything.
I finished the 12 week plan a totally new person. I was over 40 pounds lighter, and I was confident, I saw life and light in my eyes. I had gone to different events and made new friends. Took some of them to the gym with me to show me new exercises I could do. I took the kids on our first family vacation(to wrestlemania 30 in NOLA), and I did it alone.
When I left my ex 5 years ago, I never imagined that frail scared girl, ever being able to take the kids to the grocery store alone, much less on a 10 hour drive to one of the wildest cities in America for what basically amounted to a party of 80,000 people. I’m no longer scared to talk to people. I’ve learned that I can still love. I’ve learned that I deserve love. That I’m not willing to settle. I’ve become strong, both physically and mentally. It’s not to say that I don’t still sometimes crack, break down, cry, but I have learned that I have what it takes to pick myself back up and continue. To try again. I go into the gym and try new things without giving it a second thought. I no longer give a flying fuck what people think of me 95% of the time. Some guy told me my arms made me look burly and I laughed. I’m something now that I didn’t think I would ever be again. I’m happy. I’m strong. I’m confident.
One of my favorite things to do on the period of time before I go to bed now is to watch motivational videos on YouTube… Both plain motivation and sports and body building motivation. It’s amazing how much some of those words stand out in your head when you need them the most. That moment when one last rep seems impossible. When you don’t want to do that last 5 minutes of cardio. When you are wondering if you can put any more weight to that bar. When you are scared to fail. You know what? FAIL. It is okay to fail. The only way you can fail is if you try, and if you keep trying and keep failing one day you will succeed. Even if you don’t you have the knowledge that you didn’t stop. Ever. You kept getting back up and when you look at it that way, did you ever really fail?
When I started working with weights last April, I had a friend go with me to show me some things and get me on the right track. One thing he had me doing was a smith machine bench press. To be honest I could barely move the bar. It’s not an exercise I am totally comfortable with doing without someone to help spot me, even with the safety’s, so when I started really focusing my workouts in July, I decided to add a dumbbell bench press to my exercises. I remember the first time I did it, it felt so awkward and unsteady, that I stuck with two 10lb Dumbbells. It was easy, but just didn’t feel like I should up the weight (I’m looking at my workout notes to get the weights right as I write this). The second time I did it a week later, I went up to 15 and 20 lb weights and the 20s were so wobbly and all over the place, but I would steady myself and keep going. A week later I got the 25s up and then the next I got some partial sets up with the 30s failing at 6 and 8 reps. The next few weeks I tried and tried to even lift the 35s up over my head and couldn’t even get them up to where I could start to push them up. Today, after two or three weeks of just trying to get those suckers up, I got a set of 8 AND a full set of 12 in.
The feeling, past total exhaustion of those muscles, was absolutely amazing. To know that I worked my butt off for that moment AND achieved it? Absolutely indescribable. I might have possibly wrote #beastmode in my notes. I can neither confirm not deny that though.
I also recently discovered drop sets. Um wow. Those suckers… They make you work. I’m loving incorporating them into my workouts. I’ve also made a lot of little refining tweaks and am loving those as well. I’m feeling the burn better and I am dialing in my muscle focus too. My instincts are improving and I’m starting to be able to notice when something is off and how to adjust it so the movement works in the correct area.
what are some goals you have set for yourself?
The back pictures left to right is June, early august, and sept 2