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Mondays With Mason: My year in fitness..

braceyourself

Well, 2013 is coming to an end. The New Year is upon us, the perfect time to reflect on the past year and to make new plans to reach our goals in 2014.

Now, after this past year I realized that I’m not huge on New Years resolutions because I don’t think you need the turning of a new year to make moves to improve yourself.

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In light of the new year, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on 2013, my journey, and how the realm of fitness impacted my life.

In January 2013 I made a resolution like I do every year to get a 6 pack. I started eating “clean.” I was still a vegetarian at the time and I even thought about going vegan. Other than that, I was your typical college girl. I partied pretty much every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I had technically graduated college in December 2012 so I didn’t have to worry about anything besides holding down my two jobs. When I would be out drinking I would eat pizza, and other bad foods. Back then I worked out maybe about 4-6x a week. My workouts consisted mostly of lifting, and I rarely did cardio. I also started to do meal prep. I worked as a snowboard instructor at Greek Peak and I didn’t feel like spending money on food or having to eat burgers all the time. (Weird, I know)

February I got accepted into the program of my dreams at Springfield College in Massachusetts to get my masters in strength and conditioning. I still can’t believe it to this day how lucky I am to be apart of this amazing program.

In March I started eating meat again after being a vegetarian for 2.5 years. Needed that extra protein to reach my fitness goals, plus I just genuinely missed eating it. I also cut back on my drinking. I still went out with my friends, had a few, not as much as before, but still ate like garbage on the weekend, undoing all my other weekday healthy behavior.

Around April/May my sister and I decided to prep to compete in a bikini competition. While she didn’t end up competing, she was an invaluable support system for me. This launched the competition movement. My sister and I were training partners, pushing each other past our limits in the weight room, and we held each other accountable in the kitchen. I wouldn’t trade this experience with her for anything.

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In June I met with my competition prep coach Lisa Thomas. She insisted that I had the body for a figure competitor, that my lats were too big for a bikini bod. She also advised me to do a few shows before the “big show” in November. Meeting with her made my goals of competing more of a scary/exciting/nerve wracking reality. I began prepping on July 1st.

Over the summer I worked as a sales associate at Fossil. I would have to prepare my meals for the day, and make sure to eat when my coach said to. I wasn’t taking any chances of messing up prep. This was hard to do, especially working in retail with limited breaks and my job responsibilities. Luckily my superiors at Fossil understood my situation and allowed me to eat when I needed to.

In August I was asked to write for this lovely site!! Hopefully providing information and inspiration to all of you loyal readers. 😉

Also in August I moved to Massachusetts to start on my path of becoming a strength and conditioning coach. I was still in full-on competition prep mode too. I don’t know how I pulled this off. I had to meal prep, and get my workouts in all while completing my internship duties…in a new state…away from my family….this all led to a great deal of stress. So much stress that on a couple of occasions I suffered mild panic attacks. I didn’t know what to do. My chest closed up, I couldn’t breathe, I legitimately thought I was dying. To relieve some stress I considered giving up on my competition prep. At that moment in my life, prep didn’t take first priority, especially over my studies and future career. Even though I wanted to give up, I didn’t. I had already invested so much time and effort that I wouldn’t accept defeat. I figured out how to make it work. After about a month or so of living in Massachusetts I finally got into a rhythm and at this point I was mere weeks away from my shows.

Also, while preparing for my competitions, I had the pleasure of becoming part of a “Fit Fam” aka my fellow Elite Fit team members. My new fitfam became an incredible support system because they knew exactly what I was going through and always had encouraging words. For them, I am grateful.

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On October 26th, after 17 weeks of prep, I competed for the first time ever. It was an experience that I can barely explain with words. Refer to my article “my first bodybuilding show” to get the inside look.

November 9th, after 19 loonnnggg weeks of prep, was my second show. I came in leaner and happier with my body. Not to mention my family got to see me on stage!! Here are some pics:

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After my show I took some time off. I indulged a little more than I needed to and gained some fat back. However, I also gained strength and power with my new endeavor of Olympic lifting, and lifting other super heavy things up and putting them down repeatedly.

I finished up my first semester of grad school with a surprising 4.0 GPA. After dealing with everything over the semester, my internship, prep, homesickness, and what seemed to be endless homework, I was still able to reach my goal of a 4.0. Unbelievable.

Now it’s December 30th and as I reflect on my year I realize it was pretty darn epic. A year full of ups and downs, full of self-reflection and improvement, a year of growing up. I grew intellectually, physically, and emotionally. I moved away from my family to pursue my dream. I competed..on stage..in a bikini..in heels… All words I never thought would even be in the same sentence long less actually happen in real life.

2013 rocked. If 2013 was this epic, I can’t even imagine how awesome 2014 will be.

I plan to start off 2014 the right way. The last week I’ve been getting my diet in check after gaining some holiday fluff. After much research, I decided to try out the Keto diet. Low carb, high fat, and moderate protein. See how that works out. I am also planning to compete in April. This time with some real nice muscles and a six pack. 😉

So, before the clock strikes midnight tomorrow, I challenge you to look at the last year. Appreciate everything that a you have gone through, no matter how small, because everything that happens to you shapes you in some way.

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Now that you have reflected on the past, make plans for the future.

The new year is the time when everyone makes big hairy audacious goals, which aren’t bad, but most of the time are unrealistic. Make some realistic goals this new year, some short term, and some long term. Then, after making these goals, make plans to attain them. Like I always say: “Fail to plan, plan to fail.”

What are your New Years goals? Share them in the comments!!

Have a happy new year!! See you next year!!

-Kate

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