Tamika's Blog: Countdown to Competition

By Tamika Bickham, Reporter, tbickham@local10.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 05:10:59 AM EST
Updated On: Oct 23 2013 12:20:40 PM EDT
SOUTH FLORIDA -

Oct. 23, 2013

The final week is here!!!

Everything I've worked so hard for over the last 18 weeks comes down to Saturday. I cannot wait to get on stage and compete in my first ever National Physique Committee competition.

The jitters are starting to build knowing so many eyes will be watching. I've never done anything like this, getting on stage, under bright lights, in a bikini, in front of a panel of judges! I guess there's no backing out now?

Of course, I hope to do well in the show, but at the end of the day I know I have already won. My total weight loss in four months, as of this morning, is 33 pounds. I have exceeded my own expectations and I couldn't feel better!

SEE MY TRANSFORMATION HERE

The most important lesson I have gotten out of all of this is you really don't know your own strength. If you want something bad enough and are willing to work for it, you will find a way to make it happen!

I've had struggles throughout this process. This last week is one of them. I'm tired and hungry, but sticking it out is more of a mental challenge than a physical one.

Today will be my last workout before the show to give my body time to rest and recover.

This last week my diet is tailored specifically for show preparation only. I have no carbs, no eggs (because they are high in sodium), no fats, no sugars, and as of today, no sodium! I am eating six meals a day. Five of those are fish meals and one is a chicken meal, all plain with no flavor. This lasts until Saturday.

Whew! Dedication!

I figure if I have accomplished all of this so far over 18 weeks, what's a few more days?

With the workouts out of the way, my main focus on Thursday and Friday will be practicing my stage posing and my final suit fitting. Then it's the spray tan (everyone has to do it), hair, makeup and showtime!

My entire SoMi Fitness team will be there. Seven of us in total will be competing. Come out and cheer us on!

2013 NPC Dayana Cadeau Classic

Saturday, Oct. 26th 7 p.m.

Coral Springs Center for the Arts

2855 Coral Springs Drive

Coral Springs, FL

Tickets start at $20.

Check out some Local 10 viewers who have helped inspire me along the way!

Oct. 1, 2013

"You should be tired at this point," is what my coach Alex Cambronero told me during our last training session.

I think he could see it in my face.

While I feel strong, my body is exhausted. Three hours of exercise each day with no carbs and no sugar is not a good combination!

I am tired all day, every day. At times, it is a struggle to get through the workouts and there are days I just have to miss my second cardio of the day. I'm human and not perfect at this thing.

Alex says until this competition is over, I will be tired because this is the "hard part", the home stretch. My body is fatigued.

I don't even know how many hours each week I am spending on food preparation, training, and posing practice, but far more than 25.

I am trying to find everything inside of me to wake up before my 3:30 a.m. shift to do my hour of cardio, but as you can imagine, that turns into a vicious fight with my alarm clocks.

So I commit to cardio and training for three hours in the afternoon and my sleep pays for it. On a good night, I get 4-5 hours of sleep, but there are not always good nights.

It's nice to hear all of the wonderful compliments about my "transformation", but just know that it hasn't come without a ton of hard work, sacrifice, and some tears along the way.

I almost reached the point last night where I wanted to throw in the towel and say "it's just too hard."

I want to go out to dinner with my friends, sit on the couch and watch TV, and not worry about making it to the gym.

To be honest, I'm not a quitter. I've never been a quitter. So, I'm not going to quit.

I credit all of the awesome Local 10 viewers for that resolve. You are watching and sending me encouraging messages to keep going and it truly helps. Every week I get an extra push from you all to keep going! It's invaluable.

Even if I don't win or place or even do really well in this competition, I know I've given it everything I've got. At the end of the day, we are only competing against ourselves.

So for anyone wanting to embark on this wild journey, please understand this is one of the most difficult things you can put your body through. It is hard work and will not come easy. But I guess, if it were easy everyone would do it!

Sept. 25, 2013

I'm hungry and exhausted today! The diet plan is getting so challenging, sometimes all I can think about are sweets and pizza!

Two days ago, I received another change to my diet. I cannot eat carbohydrates for three days and on the fourth day, I will eat 125 carbohydrates. Then I will repeat this cycle to see how my body responds.

Even after only two days of no carbs, I notice a difference. My stomach is tighter and I feel lighter.

For my meals, I pretty much stick to egg whites, spinach, chicken, and tilapia. Mustard is my best friend and a life saver when it comes to no-calorie flavor!

Still excluded from my diet are dairies, fruits, and sugars.

On my no carb days I have two servings of fat, which can be avocado, olive oil or almonds.

It almost seems impossible to keep this up for another four and a half weeks, but if it's going to give me the results I need for the stage, then I am willing to try it.

I know I've made great progress (I lost 25 pounds!), but I still don't feel like I am where I need to be to step on stage just yet.

Of course, I have fears that I won't be ready in time. My coaches continue to tell me that I will if I do everything they tell me to.

They are the professionals, so they should know.

I know at this point, it's all up to me. If I cheat on the diet, that will only hurt me and my chances at competing.

So until it's over, I will stick to my egg whites and chicken and look forward to the days when I can have brown rice and ezekiel bread (my carbs of choice)!

Sept. 17, 2013

Not everyone has three hours each day to spend on working out! Trust me, I don't most of the time either.

So here's an idea if you want to kick up the intensity, do something effective, but keep your exercise limited to 30 minutes.

Head to a track with bleachers.

Warm up with light jog around the track one to two times.

Then, move on to stairs. First run up every stair and run down every stair. Without stopping, run up every other stair and then down every stair. Next, walk up every third stair. In this move you must really lunge deep, use your legs and move slow to avoid hurting yourself. Then run down every stair. Once you complete this, it is one set.

Rest no longer than one minute.

If you can, do four sets of this stair combination. 

Then move down to the track  where you will sprint 100m and walk/jog around the curve. Sprint again and walk/jog around the curve.

These sprints are intense. When I began, I was only able to do four of them. Aim for four to ten sprints. If you can do ten, that's impressive!

Then of course remember to cool down and stretch out your muscles.

This is a great workout to burn fat and lose inches on your lower half, a problem area for most women.

I try to do one of these workouts at least once per week.

Sept. 5, 2013

As competition day gets closer and closer, the diet gets harder.

Right now, I am doing "intermittent fasting." This involves fasting for 16 hours out of the day and eating four meals within eight hours. 

This method is not an easy one, especially as my metabolism increases, but it's effective. I am losing about two pounds per week -- of course with proper eating and exercise.

So what do I eat?

When I began this journey about ten weeks ago, it was a high protein, low-carbohydrate diet. That means about six meals per day of four ounces of protein at each meal with plenty of veggies. I would have 75 carbs or less each day. Meals were eaten every 2.5 to three hours.

Some examples of what I would eat: plain Greek yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, sweet potatoes, brown rice, oats, almonds, natural peanut butter or almond butter, and avocado.

The meats are always lean meats like chicken, turkey breast, or fish. I would also eat egg whites and drink protein shakes for a meal.

Now, with about seven and a half weeks to go, my carb intake is much less. I cycle my carbs every three days: 75, 50, and 0 carbs. Then I repeat the cycle.

When I can have carbs, my four meals are three ounces of protein with green veggies and brown rice.

I have had to cut fruits and Greek yogurt. I also don't eat my favorite almond butter anymore. Salt is very limited.

Also, I drink a gallon of water every day.

It sounds strict, but my one cheat meal per week means the world!

The most important thing I've learned along the way is you can't starve yourself to lose weight and build muscle. The body needs fuel, but it has to be the right kind of fuel. Eat more to build muscle. The more muscle you have will burn more fat and you will see the results.

Sept. 3, 2013

The hardest part of this journey, my "countdown to competition", is the diet!!! 

In eight weeks, I plan to get on stage in South Florida to take on a National Physique Committee competition. In front of a panel of judges, I will pose and be judged on symmetry and muscle development.

Success on the stage cannot be accomplished without a clean diet. For me, this is the biggest challenge. 

Right now at 7 a.m., I am in the middle of my fasting period of the day. I fast 16 hours and eat four to five times during an eight hour period. So, I have about six hours until I can take in calories and I am already hungry! Although, I know when I do eat, I will have more than enough food.

A lot of Local 10 viewers have been writing to me and asking how I find the time to do this.

Well to be honest, it is far from easy! The dedication it takes to accomplish this goal is tremendous. 

I've committed about 20 hours per week to competition preparation. That includes two to three hours per day of training and cardio. I'd say I spend about six hours per week on preparing my meals.

So how do I find the time in addition to a 40+ hour per week full time job? Well, I just make time!

If I have to, I wake  up at 1 a.m. (my shift starts at 3:30 a.m.) to do my morning cardio. If I can't drag myself out of bed that early, I hit the gym right after work, take a nap, then get back to the gym one more time. 

Here's why the food preparation is so important. When it's in tupperware, portioned out, and ready to go, you don't have to spend extra time during the week preparing anything. Just eat it and go! It leaves more time for you to get your work out in and do everything else your busy life requires.

So, to answer your question, we all have challenges and busy lives, but if you really want something bad enough you WILL make the time!

Please feel free to write to me at tbickham@wplg.com with any questions or words of encouragement! I would love that :)

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