PhotoGrid_1450923392303A humbling discovery best sums up last year.  I dove into new areas of my faith, explored multiple fitness genres, overhauled what I knew about nutrition & strived to examine myself to the very core.  Each discovery was made outside of my comfort zone but it’s true what they say, that’s where all the good stuff happens. 

The part of each discovery that stands out the most are the strong people who surrounded me.  Not necessarily strong as in a look or size rather strong in their character, the impact they have to naturally influence others towards progress.  There they were nudging, encouraging & challenging myself & those around them to step forward.  These people are made up of family, old friends, new friends & complete strangers, some of who I won’t ever see again.  I also believe these people have no idea the impact they make by simply being & giving their time. 

Truth be told if you are reading this you are one of them & I’m so very thankful.

It’s exciting to end the year feeling like no stone was left unturned while in good company & now to set out for 2016.  My goal, keep discovering & do my best to pay forward the strength that was given to me.

As always thank you for letting me share.  Best wishes, my friends!




Team Motivation


This is a phenomenal example of strength!  Surround yourself with people that elevate you & everything else will rise as well!  A tremendous amount of inspiration comes from seeing people come together for a common goal of helping others while getting to improve themselves.  You are most like the people you hang out with.  Build a team, let the strength of your group be unstoppable.  They did & look what they accomplished, together!

HUGE CONGRATS & THANKS to Colby’s Nuggets & Kickin’ Asphalt for letting me share your pictures & inspiring us!

Kolby’s Nuggets at the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk

Chris Velasquez family & friends

Support Kolby’s Nuggets also learn more about Down Syndrome!

Colby's Nuggets

Kickin’ Asphalt at the Waddell & Reed Kanas City Marathon

Scott Battagler, Jamie Collins, Brandon Collins, Sarah Riney & Corey Van Dine

Help the beneficiary Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Kickin' Asphalt

You can find this & more motivation on the Show & Tell page!

*I got to see Kickin’ Asphalt team form…the support & encouragement they threw at each other through the training process was exciting & contagious. I’m so proud of each of them. I will continue to reflect on their accomplishment of winning as individuals who finished in unity!


Reading Nutrition Labels Made Easy

Regardless of the eating plan you follow it begins with knowing how to read a nutrition label.

Below I have put together a printable breakdown.  I recommend always checking the ingredients first & to move on from there as listed.

Also you’ll see a comparison of similar food, processed vs fresh. Bottom line, whichever food you choose make an informed decision. Do NOT depend on key wording from marketing to tell you what’s “healthy”.
Now compare the above label with the below labels.

Below you get more volume of food, less calories, less sodium, less carbohydrates & half the sugar. Plus it cost less & preparation time is the same.


Please feel free to share & you’re always welcome to connect with me via Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook!

Going For The Title

Today is a milestone. Today I will walk through the doors of my favorite gym & register for my 4th competition. Exactly a year ago to the date I was walking through hospital doors. I’ve debated with myself on what to share & how to share. The thing is the events of the last year challenged me to grow mentally, physically, spiritually & allowed me to embrace my atmosphere with a heightened passion. So here it goes…

I had a hysterectomy. The future plans of my husband & I didn’t revolve around how many children we would have if any at all however having that option pulled was not a breeze. I felt we were champs about the situation. We didn’t read anymore into the situation than necessary & came to the conclusion that it was a fate not worth stressing over.

Post-surgery… I wasn’t expecting the flood of feelings that rushed over me. Thoughts I didn’t know how to process. I had the world’s most amazing support system but I wasn’t supporting myself. I decided I would bury myself in a prep with the goal of becoming a Pro within 8 months. I lost focus on healing my whole body & concentrated on the shell. In turn my body responded with a fight. The mind is so powerful & I believe it can completely take control for the positive or negative, which ever you allow.

Competing has always been about self-improvement, a challenge, & an enjoyable privileged experience. Being tensely aimed on the appearance & literally letting it consume me negatively made me question everything. I had more closed door tears shed than I’d like to admit but it happened. My spirit felt drained. Three weeks out from the competition those around me started to question if I was okay. It was the very question that I needed ask myself. So I did. I decided to nix doing the show because I wasn’t proud of how I felt & finally let myself process those uncomfortable feelings.

The realization is that I don’t need a coveted title, of any sort, Pro or Mom. The joy of knowing life is right where it is intended & that I have an opportunity to make a difference is indescribable. I honestly feel that this plan was laid out before me so that I could reach more people, more children. Something I couldn’t have done otherwise.

All the meanwhile I was watching a very dear friend go through her own child bearing grievances. I watched her closely & took note. I didn’t want to come right out & say I was hurting. Her poise through the process was inspiring. The intent of this post is twofold, 1, whatever obstacles have been given to you search for the gift in it. I guarantee there is one to be found. 2., Stay strong & encourage each other. Your actions have a huge impact on those around you when you least expect it.

Next weekend when I step on stage I can hold my head high & know what a genuine gift I have been given. As hard as it is to share I hope those out there that are focused on the shell will let their heart start doing the growing because as cliché as it sounds I’ve already won.

As always thank you for reading & letting me share. Live life big & best wishes my friends.

The Value & Belief

With it being the start of a new week I thought I’d share a way I stay committed to my goals, short term & lifelong.

You see I believe I have grand purpose, actually I believe we all have a purpose of great magnitude. Some aspirations are personally set & others, for me anyways, are faith driven. I’ve found the key is to establish the value & belief. Simply put, my purpose is like gold to me so that decisions & follow through leave little room to be debated. I suppose I rarely feel distracted because I consciously chose these values & ultimately decided to make them my priority.

Yet like everyone I get worn down & tempted to sway with convenience. This is when I take a moment to weigh my options & the outcome they will create. Do I want the things most important to me to fade away & fail? Absolutely not, so there my values take over & navigate my next move.

My recommendation, connect to your goal on another level, what is it worth to you. Then raise the standard of what is acceptable. Whatever it is in your life that makes you feel alive is valuable. Merely “saying” your family, health, etc. are priority followed by actions of repeatedly making choices out of convenience is a direct reflection of the significance they actually have.

This is your calling, your life & you have the choice to display what is worthy of your time. Now tell me, what do you value & how will you go forward. I believe you can do it because you too are gold.

the short side of it

A Nearly Missed Message

Tonight’s usual routine of me moving nonstop to get my “to do” list done wasn’t any different except…

As I moved from task to task our dogs let me know someone unfamiliar was on the street.  As I glanced out the window I saw it was a door to door salesman.  I decided I’d pretend I wasn’t home & go about my evening because I’ve got so much to do plus I don’t really care what he has to offer yet for some reason I went to the door to greet him.

He began his pitch then suddenly stopped.  He stopped to say thank you.  Thank you for coming outside to listen & how much he appreciated it.  The man was shaken from repeated rejection but mostly from being treated like a burden.  As he shared how he’d been getting treated I could feel his vulnerability & countered it with some encouragement.

When I headed back in I realized how quickly & easily we can disregard others especially strangers.  I lean on my faith to guide me & present lessons to become a better person.  I feel tonight’s lesson was to remind me to always greet other’s with kindness & be more surrendering of my time.  Because tonight a few minutes turned into a message to keep my heart open.

10 Things To Know For Your First Physique Competition

No matter what federation or division you enter here are ten things to know to get ready for your first physique competition….

1.  “Normal” will never be normal again…ever.

Be aware there seems to be some invisible line that you can never cross back over to.  Ask any competitor & they’ll tell you it’s true.  Your current idea of what “normal” lifting, cardio, food, body image & even what’s fun won’t ever be the same.  You won’t bring your body to an elite level then turn backwards, you just won’t want to do it.

2.  Time commitment

Prepping for a physique competition will require a large chunk of time, time, time.  Think of it as a marathon not a sprint.  You will have lifting, cardio, posing & the ever so important food prep.  There aren’t any shortcuts.  You will need to be creative with your time & to do list.

3.  List your expenses

Consider the expense that goes into competing.  Gym memberships, supplements, nutrition coach, posing lessons, suit, tanning, food, trainer, entry fee, & possible travel or drug testing.  You don’t want to get half way into prep & realize your budget can’t cover the final expenses.      

4.  Get help

My personal view is do NOT skimp out on a prep coach, posing lessons or stage color.  Get referrals & meet with them.  Ask questions, you’ll want to discuss post show programs as well. You want the people involved in your prep to be a right fit for you.  Once you have your coach realize you hired them so listen, do the plan & log it.

5.  Everyone’s prep is different

Everyone’s body responds differently to proteins, carbs, lifting techniques, cardio, etc.  So stick to your plan.  As you meet other competitors you will share tips, recipes & exercises but do not expect to copy someone else & get the exact same results. Use the off season to experiment with what worked for someone else.

6.  A melt down will happen

Your body & mind will get tired.  From nowhere you will feel overwhelmed & doubt your outcome.  Stay positive & regroup.  Immediately take time to remind yourself why you want this & that you can do this.  A melt down should not occur daily or even weekly but maybe once or twice through your entire prep.  It is indeed crazy but it’ll most likely happen.

7.  Be nice

Smile, say thank you and appreciate all the people that are involved in this with you.  This means your family, friends, coaches, co-workers, the mail carrier, strangers, back stage expediters, competitors & the judges.  You can be in the best shape of your life but if you act ugly there is no real achievement.

8.  Get out

Go to family activities & hang out with friends.  Do not be a hermit.  Bring your food with you & enjoy being around others.  It’s the time with others that make the memories not the food.  And this may be difficult but try not talking solely about your upcoming competition.  Your family & friends love you but they may not want to hear about food macros & lifting nonstop.  If they ask then that’s great, maybe they’ll learn something new.

9.  Good & Bad Comments

Expect comments about bringing a lunch box everywhere you go, how often you eat or the type of food you are eating.  You will get complimented & you will have flat out rude remarks thrown your way, you’re too this you’re too that.  Keep yourself surrounded with as many positive people as possible.  You don’t need the approval of the one’s making foul comments so stay on point & keep doing you.

10.  Enjoy it

Prep is challenging but I enjoy seeing how my body responds to different foods & training.  I love all the amazing friends I’ve made along the way.  And I’m down right mind blown when I think about the changes I’ve made to improve myself on a physical & mental level.  You can make your journey as great or as miserable as you want, regardless you will spend the same amount of energy on it so you might as well enjoy it!

Let It Go

Holding on to the past, that’s where I was up until a few weeks ago.  After surgery I found myself on a constant hunt to find the pre-surgery me. I had settled into a daily ritual of comparing everything from where I was beforehand to the present.  In every aspect from body to mind I felt behind.

It finally came to light when I put a competition progress picture together.  It was that simple moment of seeing a picture that sent a “What am I doing?  I don’t want to go backwards” thought racing through my mind.  The obvious had been hidden from all the self-comparisons I was inflicting. I don’t want to be the pre-surgery me.  I want to be better.

The Picture


Granted I think it’s instrumental to remind myself of where I’ve come from but not to allow the past to set my parameters for today.  Breaking the habit has been refreshing.  To know I’m confronting a new set of challenges has me anticipating the future & I am excited about it.

I’ve said time & time again on posts that I actually have a hard time sharing my experiences.  As more eyes see this blog I know I’m revealing more than I am comfortable with however I also know I’m not the only one that has let the past become a standard.  Whether you’re holding onto pre-surgery, pre-pregnancy, something from 10 years ago or yesterday, if you can, let it go.  It’s time to be better than ever before.




An Update

Soon it will be a year since I last competed. So what has a year of non-prep given me?

My body fat & weight is at a peak. It’s not at an unhealthy high just higher than it’s been this last year. Interestingly neither of those factors consumes me at the magnitude they once did. It’s not that I don’t think about it or I’ve changed my goal instead I upgraded my view. Now I think about how I’m building myself rather than what I need to lose. I focus on the strength I’ve gained instead of the deep cuts I’ve lost. And the opportunities I’ve gotten to enlist in to have an ever expanding circle of friends.

When I direct my energy to what I don’t have or what I need to lose it sends a negative message to my conscious. Then it eats at me & clouds my outlook. When I get in my head I divert my thought process to recognize the gains not the losses.

I think this is incredibly important to remind myself of this more than ever. Not just with fitness but in life as a whole. When faced with trials it might be difficult to find the gain but if you seek it out you will find it. This lets me keep pushing forward & appreciate all the incredible things I have.

I can confidently share this last year has been a journey of enlightenment, humbleness & fantastic opportunities. As usual thank you for letting me share & I’m looking forward to what’s to come.


Best wishes~


Picture by Joey Lyday Aug 2012

Want Discipline

My posts are sporadic. I never know quite what I’ll write till I begin to type.  It’s what’s on my mind & what I want to share.  When I force a subject it’s apparent & I trash it.  Similar to when you do with anything in life because you think it’s what you should do or need to do.  It gets trashed.  We are all the same in that our actions always reveal what it is that we want.  Think about it.

There isn’t a trick to finding discipline.  Decide what it is that you want?  I mean what you really want.  Establish the intensity of how badly you want to own it.  True desire grants the discipline to tag along.  Train the mind to evaluate your behaviors.

Whatever it is you aspire for either you do or don’t do what it takes to make it happen because that’s what you wanted.  Be unstoppable.  Show everyone. Show yourself.


Coming soon different workout routines will be added!  Remember to visit & like The Short Side’s Facebook!

stina pics 153