Saturday, December 31, 2011

::Another Year of Opportunities::

Hello Everyone! Happy New Year!!!!

I hope that everyone has enjoyed time spent with their families during the holidays- I know I have. With New Years Eve in mind, everyone has their plans of celebrating with friends and family tonight, but I would like to take the time to reflect on the accomplishments of 2011 I have done, and the goals I have for 2012.

At the end of January 2011 I started my contest preparation for my first NPC competition: Fox Cities Showdown where I would compete in the bikini class, and my brother would compete in body building. My social life came to an end, and my priorities revolved around the lifting, cardio, constantly improving my body, cooking, posing practice, working two jobs-oh and being a full time student.

In Feb I started this blog. It was my sister, Amanda's idea for me to do this. She thought it would be a good way to record my thoughts and emotions during the prep for my first NPC show. It is almost a year and I am still writing, and people are still reading. I like documenting my success and struggles with being both a college student and competitor. It is also nice to have so many supporters and followers. Thank you!

I continued to work hard every single day, and by the time April came along, I decided to compete early, in NPC MN Army National Guard Gopher State where I took 2nd place and qualified for nationals at my first NPC competition. I'd like to thank my good friend, Jerome Dinh who supported me along the way and encouraged me to do this show. Another thank you to my partner in crime, Sara Lynn who guided me through my first show and helped make it a memorable experience. GO TEAM SARA!
At this show I also made some more great friends. {Lori, Mo, Tasha, Lucy, Willie, Tina....thanks for the memories<3}
Jerome at I after I earned my 2nd place trophy at Gopher State

Just four short weeks after that, April 30th came along and I made it to my goal of competing in the Fox Cities Showdown with my brother. We both earned a 3rd place trophy in this show. This was an unforgettable experience that I was able to share with my brother and I will never forget it. I am so proud of you, Joshua. Thank you for believing in me. Another shout out to Demetruis for putting on a kick-ass show!

My brother, Josh and I
3rd Place trophies

At Fox Cities Showdown, I made a life long friend, Diana Kersten. I am so thankful I met her. We have shared so many memories together already, and she has been there for me though the great times, and struggles. She is an amazing individual, and I am looking forward to continuing on our fitness journey together.
Diana and I at Fox Cities Showdown

In June 2011, another successful semester wrapped up for me in college. I did well in all of my classes, and was excited to only have one more year of schooling left. I had a few more weeks to complete my last NPC show for the year, NPC Army National Guard MN State which took place on June 4th. Diana and her daughter also came to this show for support.

MN State: 2nd Place Bikini B
SARA JEAN Bikini Princess shirt custom made from Ken and Miss Fit clothing :)

I took 2nd place at MN State and I knew that it was time to give my body a break from competing, and to focus on other things in life. I moved home for summer to live with my mom. I had the opportunity to spend more time with my family. I always enjoy summer time and being able to reconnect with family and friends back home. I worked as a nanny for the summer for 2 great kids as well.

Inside WI Sports magazine article

In July, my brother and I were featured in our first magazine, Inside Wisconsin Sports and they wrote a story called Building a Bond about our relationship and shared passion for bodybuilding and fitness. It made me feel very proud to see myself in print.

Quad progress: July 2011
I added 3 inches to my quads

I still went to the gym everyday and worked know me...NO EXCUSES ALLOWED. I made some great gains in the summer, and saw noticeable size added on my quads, and also started adding more to my upper body.


Summer came to an end, and my final year of college would begin in September 2011. In this this semester of college, little did I know, I was going to have the time of my life and I was going to make some amazing, life long friends. I made friends a priority this semster, aside of school, and decided for the first time in 5 years of college, I was going to live a little.

Halloween 2011

I went out on the weekends, and went to hockey games with my friends. Thank you to my room mates: April, Brenda, Grace, and Candace showing me what it is like to experience college.

Emily and I...we love going to our hockey games!!!

I also had the opportunity to train every day with my good friend Corey. I learned a lot more variations to exercises and increasded not only my strength, but also added a substantial amount of mass to my upper body. I was very proud, that by the end of the semester I was successfully benching plates-something I never would have imagined myself doing. Thank you Corey for believing in me! You will be missed!

In October 2011, one of my photos was featured in a newspaper in Ohio titled: 5 Exercises to take the Gluteus to the Maximus. That was quite a surprise to me, and I was excited to see myself in print again, especially it being in a different state.

(Note: Date on photo is not correct)
At the end of October I began my 8 week placement in a classroom teaching 2nd graders. This was an amazing experience where I was able to apply so much that I have learned from my education professors and my own peers. I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with this same group of students in the spring for 18 weeks for my student teacher placement.

Thanksgiving project I did with my second grade students.
Just as the year was wrapping up, I was surprised with being featured in a Golds Gym advertisement. I had no idea this was happening and I was very proud when I saw it. Never in a million years did I ever think that I would be doing this. If someone would have told me two years ago that I would be in a Golds Gym ad, I would have laughed in their face. Heres to show....never say never!

Golds Gym advertisement
I also ended the year with purchasing my very first "real" car. For those of you that know me, I have never had a reliable car that lasted more than a year. Knowing that I have freedom again is unexplainable. I am very, very thankful.

Looking back on the year, I am very proud of everything I accomplished. I am enjoying the journey that I am on, and all of the wonderful opportunities I have been given. I am looking forward to what 2012 has to bring for me. I have one more semester left of college and then I graduate, hopefully some competing...maybe at the national level, and looking for a full time teaching job. I am going to continue working hard in every area of my life, and hope for the best. I have so much to be thankful for. Thank you everyone who believes in me.

-Remember to :NEVER: settle for good enough-

Have a safe, and very Happy New Year!!!!!! I am staying in tonight so I can start the new year off right with my two a days :) Super excited!
<3 SJ

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

{Looking Ahead}

Hello Everyone!
I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your families. I was so happy to spend quality time with my loved ones. You cannot ask for a better gift than that!

I have a lot coming up and I am planning everything out so I can accomplish all of my goals for 2012. I will be spending 18 weeks for my spring semester student teaching in a second grade classroom. That is going to be my #1 priority. I am really looking forward to learning from my cooperating teacher and touching the lives of children every day. I am hoping after I graduate I can find a job teaching summer school right away, and then look at a full time teaching job for the upcoming school year.

It has been going back and fourth in my mind about competing again. I know how much I love doing it, and the feelings it brings to me are unexplainable. I had just been given some recent news late last week that I have Celiac disease which means I cannot have gluten anymore. For those of you who are not familar with it, there are a lot of foods that contain gluten in it (the doctor gave me a nice 5 page list of DO NOT EAT). My body has a difficult time digesting it and it makes me feel sick. When I got this news I was sad because I only looked at the negative aspects. I just thought about all of the foods I could not eat. I looked around the kitchen and knew I was not going to be able to enjoy any of the delicious holiday treats my mom made, or the Christmas dinner at my grandparents. On Christmas day I  packed up my chicken, green beans, and sweet potatoes so as my family enjoyed the delicious meal prepared for the holiday, I was going to have to eat what I brought because I knew it was safe. We live in a society today where so much of our lives are based around food and eating. I know I continue to face challenges with it every day, but if I continue to plan my meals ahead like I have learned to, I will be just fine.

I then thought about the positives about making this permanent lifestyle change. I am going to feel a lot better, and I am going to be making better choices for my body. A lot of the foods I am allowed to eat are similar to the way I eat when I am getting ready for a show. Since I will really have any temptations when dieting because my body will no longer let me eat those foods anyway, I thought how hard can it really be? I know they make a lot of gluten-free products but I am probably not going to tempt myself with those for the time being.

Everything happens for a reason, and God gives you obstacles to test your strength.This is just a little bump in the road, and if anything it should push me a little further in the right direction to meet my fitness goals since I have one less disraction.

Keep pushing forward. Write down your goals, and make yourself accountable for every single one. If you truly want something, you will make it happen!<3 SJ

Monday, December 19, 2011

::She's BACK::

Hello Everyone!

I am sorry that I have not posted in so long. I have just about finished another college semester. One more to go and then it is graduation time! I had 18 credits this semester and an 8 week placement in an elementary school teaching second grade. I learned a lot these past 16 weeks about what it takes to be a great teacher, and the opportunity to apply it as well. I am looking forward to touching lives and making a difference this spring in my 18 week student teacher placement.

This semseter was a complete change from spring. Instead of having the constant stress and worry about my body in prepping for shows I was able to focus more on school, learning, my students, rebuiling old friendships, and creating new ones. Don't get me wrong, I was still killing it in the gym every day, but I had a different outlook on everything. I had the opportunity to train with some of my good friends and learn more about reaching my goals. Thank you Corey for kicking my butt in the gym everyday and pushing me futher that I knew I could go. (Good Luck with your internship....the SC won't be the same without you!) I have put on a lot of muscle since summer, and continued to increase my strength weekly. I am lifting more than I ever thought was possible.

For the first time in the five years of college I had fun, went out with friends and partied, and had experiences that every college student should have. I made and learned from my mistakes, and contitnued to grow into the person I am today. These experiences gave me a dose to fill in what I thought I was missing out on. I had an amazing time with my four wonderful roomies April, Brenda, Gracie, and Candace. Thank you girls for teaching me how to live life a little more, and shared so many unforgetable fun memories together.

As fun as this semester was, a part of me was missing. I miss being on stage and working towards my fitness goals. I have a lot of plans for the future in that area of my life, and I am ready put that foot foward again taking it up another notch. I am not committing myself to another show that I will annouce, because I know my #1 priority this spring needs to be student teaching. This does not mean I am not going to try my best to make it happen. I know I can do anything I put my mind to, as I have said and demonstrated so many times previously. The fire has been ignited inside me again, and I am going to keep pushing forward and not look back. I am looking forward to spending my weekend nights doing extra cardio in the gym, prepping meals, and making sure my posing is perfect for my next stage appearce. Stay tuned for my upcoming plans as I continue to move forward to Nationals.. I am very excited to see what happens next!

I am looking forward to moving home on Wednesday to see my family and spend a month with them. Have a blessed holiday with your families as well!. <3 SJ