Friday, June 15, 2012

Coach of the Year Award: Laura Gutilla

I wanted to dedicate this post the one...the only...
Coach of the Year...Laura Gutilla :)
This is my Coach....she's AMAZING!!!!!
I competed in four NPC shows in the bikini class without a coach. I had the guidance of my brother, and a few close competitor friends, but for the most part, I was on my own. I went to the gym on my own and I constructed my diet on my own. I taught myself how to pose, and all of the other stage aesthetics for competing. I did pretty good, always making top 3 when I would compete...but that was not good enough for me. It wasn't fun always taking second place. Not when I was putting in the heart, passion, and making the sacrifices I was.

In April I competed in the 2012 Fox Cities Showdown. I was very, very upset with how I did in this show. I was use to taking top 3, so after taking 5th place I took a step back and re-evaluated what needed to be done. I looked at the beautiful, talented women who beat me...they all had a coach...they all had amazing physiques and top-notch posing. I knew it was time to take on the help of someone with more knowledge and experience than I had myself.

April 28, 2012....before Laura's help

April 28th, 2012...before Laura's help

I thought about my options. My hero, my inspiration, Laura Gutilla came to mind. I was in contact with her right away after the show, and shared my goals with her. I told her I wanted to compete in the 2012 MN State Championships, but this time, I just wanted to beat myself. I wanted to improve my physique and posing, and I had less than 5 weeks to do it.

She created my diet and stayed in close contact with me. She answered any questions I had, and was constantly checking in on me, and supporting me along the way. Even if I was having a bad day, and needed help or a boost about something besides competing, she was there. She is truly an amazing woman, with a heart of Gold.

Even with in different states, she was able to help me with posing. She gave me suggestions to follow, and minor things to tweak. She gave me the tools I needed to make it to the top.

Every week got a bit more challenging, but I did not give up. She pushed me through walls that were once there, and helped me achieve the impossible.

1 day out (before tn) I am so incredibly proud of the progress I made in such a short period of time. I am SO thankful I had an amazing coach to help me achieve my dreams <3
1 day out
1 day out

The week of the show, she was so excited about the progress I had made in the short period of time we worked together. Peak Week is very crucial, and this was a science I had yet to figure out for myself. It was so much less stressful knowing that every decision that was made, I had her full support and guidance. She taught me how to carb deplete, successfully cut water, and the final week workouts that should take place. She also worked as a team with my girl, Lori Schopf to make sure my hair and make up was perfect. Ladies...we make a great team :)

Thank you again, Lori and Baby Zach for being a part of the team!!!

Laura Gutilla made my dreams come true. In under 5 weeks, she helped me beat myself. She dropped me 10 lbs. from the Showdown, and she helped create my perfected posing routine. Not only that, but she helped me achieve a long term goal of winning my class in bikini. When my name was called on stage, and I walked out to receive my first place bikini b trophy in a class of 10 amazing women, tears filled my eyes. It was my proudest moment ever....and no one can ever take that away from me.

June 9th, 2012 with Coach Laura
June 9th, 2012 with Coach Laura

After the show, I called Laura right away and I was crying with happiness, and she shared the moment with me. I am so thankful for having such an amazing coach, and I truly believe she will help bring me to the top. My goal is to earn my IFBB Bikini Pro Card by age 25....I know it is going to happen....I believe it.

She made me into a WINNER Yes...I am crying...those are tears of happiness)

Now that the show is over, my contact with Laura continues. She wants me to be my best, and has helped me create an off season plan to keep me where I want to maintain my body fat, and also add the muscle development in the areas needed.

Goal: Win my class in Bikini......ACCOMPLISHED :)

You are an amazing coach, friend, and athlete, Laura Gutilla. I am so proud of your own accomplishments, and I know you are going to do great things in this industry. You will always be my inspiration, my coach, and my hero<3 Good luck with your upcoming show!!!!!! It's yours girl!!

<3 SJ XO

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

She BELIEVED she could...So she DID!!!!

Hello Everyone

2012 NPC MN State Championships, Bikini B WINNER!!!!!!!!

I wanted to finally update you with the amazing experience I had....not just over the weekend at the 2012 MN State Championships...but the journey I was on the past 5 weeks to make it to this point.

"Half of doing is BELIEVING that you CAN"

On April 28th, 2012 I truly disappointing myself in my placing at the Fox Cities Showdown. I took 5th place out of 13....and I knew that something had to be done. I could not end the season on that note. I found an amazing contest prep coach, Laura Gutilla, and she gave me the tools I needed in order to succeed. That might sound easy....get a new diet...try some new workouts..and BOOM! Actually, that is not the case at all. My diet was extremely restricted and my level of intensity in the gym was through the roof. I never slept so little, ate so much fish, and ran so many stairs in my entire life. It was worth every single minute though. My coach stayed with me through the entire prep, and she did not let me fail. She is amazing...and I am so thankful I had her at my side to work towards my dream.

A few weeks after the Fox Cities, I graduated from college, and the UWSP Strength Center closed....and it was going to be closed all the way up 'til the Monday of Peak Week. That is a LONG time to be creative and not have a consistent place to workout.  Did I let that stop me? Of course not. I kind of felt like Rocky during this time:)...running around campus, finding every stair I could tackle, every platform I could jump, every bench I could do dips on...I did not give up.

It did not matter how much sleep I got...or did not get....I was up at 4:30am....and I was running. At night I would run some more. I would run 2 miles to the cardio center on campus, lift with the limited resources they had available, hit the Step Mill for an hour, and then run home. I would use the river as my motivation. I knew that if I made it to the end of the run, I could sit by the river for 10 minutes and watch the sun go down (or up if it was in the morning), watch the ducks, and enjoy the world around me without a worry. This little bit of heaven all ended for me one night though. I got done running and I was sitting on the bench staring off in my own little world dreaming about the show, when a man approached me. I turned around and was startled because I thought I was alone. He told me he had been watching me. Every single day...and he would wait. He would wait for me to run by and he knew exactly when I was coming. He told me he knew where I lived. My heart was pounding and I looked around. The sun was going down, and no one was in sight. I stood up, and I knew I needed to get away. He grabbed ahold of me and said, "Where do you think YOUR going?" I was in terror. I tried to pull away but he grabbed on tighter. I stood still for a minute and then quickly was able to elbow him really hard in the side and then I ran faster than I ever did before...and I did not look back. I ran into my house, locked the door, and went into my room. I did not feel safe because this man said he knew where I lived. I called the police and reported it, and honestly after that, not one ounce of me felt like anything was going to be done to help the situation which is very disappointing. Later that night, I heard someone try to break into the house. I prayed and prayed that I would be ok...luckily I basically lived in a closet which would be less noticeable to find. I didn't sleep at all that night, and every time I closed my eyes I could see that man's piercing eyes.

In the morning I went to school extremely early in the morning and I waited for Mrs. S. I told her everything that happened. She handed me the keys to her car and told me to move everything out...and I was to come live with her and her husband. (I thank God every day for putting this amazing woman in my life. She always saves me). The entire time I was moving out, my heart was pounding. I felt like I was being watched and at any moment he could appear again.

When I was done moving out, I came back to school and I was greeted by my loving, second graders. One of them had flowers on my desk as an end of the year present and another made me gluten free brownies for after the competition. In an instant, I felt at ease and felt safe. My students smiles and warm hearts can make everything all better without even saying a word.

To add to the emotional roller coaster from the week, I also had to say goodbye to my students. They have all touched my heart, and I will not forget any of them.

On Thursday, Mrs. S let me hit the road so that I could be stress free and make it to MN in one piece. I was really worried about the drive. I have never done that drive before alone and I knew it was not going to be fun doing it carb depleted and dehydrated as well. I told myself though....."Be where you are...otherwise you will miss you life" In other words...enjoy the moment. Enjoy the journey taken to reach the finish line. It is all part of what you accomplished and over came to get to the goal. These are the moments to remember!

Mrs. S let me use her vehicle and her GPS so I would feel at ease. It was only suppose to take 3.5 hours...but with construction, accidents, detours, and rush hour traffic, it took me a whopping 6 hours to make it there.  I was exhausted when I got to MN, but I was so extremely excited to see my friend Lori!!!! She was so kind to let me stay with her wonderful family for the weekend. I am so thankful we got that time together. She is so supportive, and it means a lot. She took good care of me while I was at her house and made sure I was all set for the big day. She did an amazing job on my hair and make up for the show!!!!!! Lori- you are truly an amazing friend, and I am so blessed to have you in my life!!!!!

Lori and Baby two biggest fans :) Love you both!!
Lori did a practice run on my hair and make up on Friday to make sure everything was perfect. When she was done, I tried on my suit....and everything was coming to life:)

I was so proud after seeing this picture. I cannot believe where I have come not only in two years...but just in the time frame between shows.

I was proud I mastered this pose...I saw a lot of girls doing it at my last show....and I really wanted to nail it this time!

I was all set....and felt great about everything!!! It was time to go visit Max and Mary for my 2 Toned Spray tan and go to venue to register for the weekend :) It was so nice to see everyone!! I saw a lot of familiar faces and made some new great friends right away too :)

I am SO happy with the way my tan turned out...5 shows...5 tans.....HANDSDOWN...2 Toned did the BEST tan I ever had!!!!!! :) THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

My heart was pounding Friday night with excitement. I wasn't nervous...just excited it was finally here. I did the work....I put in the was my time to shine :)

Lori was a sweetheart and dropped me off at the venue in the morning so I did not have to stress out with the city driving/parking etc. I headed to the pump up room for the athlete meeting. It was so nice to see everyone!!

Mashell and I :) It was so nice to see you girl!!! I am SO SO SO proud of you!

I was ready to rock after the meeting:)

"Hey Coach.....what can I eat next?" :)
Whenever I go to a show, one of the first things I do is I look for someone who is a first time competitor, and I help them out. I do this every show because when I did my first show, Sara Lynn did that for me. She held my had and walked me through gluing etc. My friend Lori did that for me too at Gopher. I remember looking in the mirror and struggling with my hair and she took me and told me to sit down and she did wonders in a matter of minutes :) I found three different girl that were looking stressed out and I sat them down and helped them with putting on their eye lashes or makeup, fixing their hair, or gluing their suits down. We all make it to this point, no sense in watching someone else struggle or stress out when they can be helped. I will always do this, every show I go to, because I know what a difference it made for me my first time.

Coach Laura was amazing and stayed in contact with me all day long. Even though she lives in Colorado, and was in school all day, she helped me 110% and kept me on point. I would send her pictures every two hours and she would give me instructions on what I should eat next etc. She is amazing, and helped me so much. I would not have had the physique I did that day if it was not for her help! :) Thanks girl!!!!!!!!

Moments before bikini went on stage I got a raging "charlie horse" all the way down my right quad down to my toes. The pain was indescribable. I never cut water this hard before, and I knew my body was not happy. One of the workers back stage saw I was in pain and it was almost my turn to hit the stage. He tried helping me apply pressure to the areas that were cramping. I stood up straight and told myself, "suck it up, you made it this far, and nothing will stop you!" So I went out on stage...did my individual posing routine and the entire pre judging with this unbearable cramping in the lower half of my body...and I did it all with a smile on my face. Even with the pain...I smiled past it and I showed off what I had been working so hard for. As soon as we exited the stage I ripped my 5 inch heels off and tried making myself feel better.

Other than than...Pre-Judging was a lot of fun. I felt really proud while I was on stage, and I was excited when I was moved to the middle right away. I could feel my passion and excitement just beaming off of me. I worked so hard the past 5 weeks on making a new "posing routine" and added new poses/transitions into it. I was really happy with the way it flowed, and I received some great feedback on my presentation. I had a competitive class of 10 beautiful women, and it was an honor being on the same stage.  After pre-judging, I had a pretty good idea that I made top three with the moving around the judges did, and talking to a few knowledgeable friends in the audience.


Between the shows, I stayed at the venue and took it easy. I made some phone calls, touched up my hair and makeup between the shows, and ate my meals.

Killing time between shows... :)

 Even though pre-judging was over, Laura and I decided to keep it strict so I would stay on point for the night show. I am so glad that I followed her guidelines. A lot of competitors will eat freely after the morning show, but I suffered through some more cold tilapia out of a baggie and some asparagus :) I made it this far....what's a few more hours?

Turns out I have a long lost twin :) Nice meeting you, Blair!!! Keep it UP!

I went to the athlete meeting and it was nice to see everyone after the break. The anticipation and excitement for the night show was amazing. I could not wait to get back out on that stage! Every show I have ever competed in, bikini usually goes on stage in the beginning and by intermission, we are done with everything. This show was set up a little different so I had to be patient and wait a little longer. I am glad it worked out this way though because I had more time back stage to hang out with my friends. This time is always cherished because we all live in different areas and usually only see each other at these events.

Mizz ThunderGunz!

I had a lot of fun, and made some great friends. You know me...always wanting to be a body I wanted to find someone to get some pictures with. I turned around and I saw a guy...and he was eating peanut butter. My eyes got huge....I looked at the jar of creamy JIF, (I haven't had peanutbutter...let alone fats at all in WEEKS) then I looked at Alec, and it was probably like a child looking at a giant piece of cake. He offered me some but I knew I was under strict orders and had to wait :) I didn't get to eat pb...but I got some awesome pictures with him!!! Thanks dude ;)  Always like to let the little bikini beastmode in me come out!

Moments after the pose down, I started cramping up. Again. Oh great...right before I am suppose to go on stage. I talked to Laura and told her I could barely stand up. She told me to find some! I asked everyone...and of course...the day of a show...most athletes aren't thinking about eating salt. Luckily, my girl Mashell had white cheddar rice cakes packed. So there I am....licking the salt off of rice cakes. It was kind of funny, but all together pretty painful haha. What an experience.

It was now time....dun dun dunnnnn......Bikini B was going to line up and head out onto the stage. This is the moment I have been waiting for...and it was finally here. As we were lining up, we were told we only get to do two poses. "Oh Crap...two poses....::as my mind is racing because I have like 5 poses that transition together into my routine::....what will I do? Two poses? How do I make two poses flow....and which two do I choose?" I slapped myself (not really haha but figuratively) and pulled it together. I went out there and I hit my front pose and turned around for my crossed-legged booty pose and turned around at the judges and then went back to a front pose before ending my routine. I felt really good about the way it went. We were all filed on the line and just did one quick front/back comparison....and then we filed off.

As soon as we got behind the curtain, we were told if we made top 5. When number 67 got called...I felt proud. Yes. Top 5....that is great! 10 beautiful girls, and I am going to be in the top. Always a good feeling. We were told to stick around so we did not miss awards. Here I was thinking I had to wait about 10 minutes and then it would all be happening. 10 minutes turned into like an hour and a half and it was finally time :)

Top 5 filed out onto the diagonal line and trophies were called out individually starting with 5th place. By the time they got to 3rd place and my name was not called yet, my heart was racing. It was down to the amazingly beautiful Delanie Jean Neal and myself. (Last year when we competed in MN State we were also the top two placings). I turned toward her and we held hands as we waited anxiously for the results.

They called....runner up...Delanie Jean Neal! My eyes filled with tears of joy and we hugged each other.... this FINALLY happened...

..AND THE WINNER OF THE 2012 MINNESOTA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP BIKINI B CLASS IS....SARA...JEAN!!!!!!!! I walked over to my trophy and had tears in my eyes. Proudest. Moment. Ever. Pictures were taken of top 5 by our trophies and then we were filed off of the stage.

Max Stockbridge, 2 Toned Tanning, handed me a kleenex as I got off stage. I could barely breathe. I was so incredibly proud. Holy Shit! I just won my class! It FINALLY HAPPENED!!!! 5 NPC SHOWS IN ON much time...dedication...sacrifice....passion..and heart...and I was finally rewarded for it. My friend Kris was like...Sara you have to go out for the overall now! I'll hold your trophy. Not kidding...I kissed my trophy haha and handed it to her like it was my baby.

I was like holy crap I need to pull it together haha I need to go back out there!! And oh my gosh!! The over all! I get to be out there for the overall!!!! It was time to go out on stage, and the Bikini A winner was missing, so after calling her name several times we started without her.

Front Comparison Overall: Bikini C and Bikini B

Back Comparison Overall: Bikini C and B
We did about 4 face the judges/face the curtain comparisons and then after that, she finally came to the stage.

Front Comparisons Overall: Bikini C, B, and A   (A, Red, Winner)

We did only one more comparison of us three competitors, and then we were placed back on the diagonal line. At this point, I was not sure how I was going to do, and I was so just so proud I won my class that I was not going to have any emotional let down if I did not win.

Back Comparisons Overall; Bikini C, B, and A  (A, Red, Winner)

They called out the winner....Bikini A Winner/ Masters Bikini Winner was also the Overall Winner. I had no emotional connection to the placing and just went off stage, went back by my friend Kris who was holding my trophy, and headed over to her red velvet cake for a bite of celebration :)) A few minutes later my phone rang, and it was my brother, Joshua. First words..."Sara...I am SO proud of you!" My eyes filled with tears again, I was shaking so I had to sit down. Hearing those words from my brother meant the world to me. I do not have a dad to hear those words from, so when Josh says world is lit up. I love knowing I have exceeded his expectations...especially in this sport.

Finally :))

After, I ran out with my trophy to find Lori and baby Zach. I kept crying because I was so happy. My dream finally came true. I gave Lori the biggest hug, and we called Laura together. Laura was SOOOOO proud!! :) I started crying again. It felt so good knowing I had my two girls (and baby Zach hehe) right here with me to share the moment. I thanked Coach Laura over and over because I was so happy she worked hard and pushed me so I could get to this moment. I was on a cloud of happiness.

It was late when the show was over, so going out for sushi wasn't an option. But thats ok...Lori had me all set up. She had a cooler with chocolate covered strawberries and pineapple that her wonderful mother made me. We went to the grocery store and picked up some sushi from the deli (good enough for me...I haven't eaten anything other than tilapia and asparagus for weeks haha) and we headed home. We didn't even get home and I felt sick. I was in a lot of pain just from the small amount of food I ate.  It always amazes me what food can do to you. I laid down for a while and Lori and her mom made me gluten free pasta with chicken and gave me a gluten free brownie :) It was a nice way to celebrate.. Ohh and of course I had to enjoy some peanutbutter :)))

I <3 PB!!!!!!

It was an amazing day, and I was so so so proud!!!!!! I fell asleep next to my trophy...dreaming of the next challenge :)

In the morning I woke up....and yep...I made egg whites. I could have eaten anything I wanted to...and I chose...liquid egg whites. haha I wanted to make sure I felt good because I had about a 5 hour drive back to Mrs S....then I had to move out...and then drive almost 2 more hours to make it in time for my nieces birthday party.

:) There she is!!!!

 I buckled my trophy in next to me, and we hit the road by 8am. It was a great opportunity to reflect on the weekend, and make new goals for what is to come next.

PROUD Mrs. S :)
Thank you to everyone who supported me. It means the world to me...I would have never thought that two years ago I would be winning my class in bikini. What a dream come true!!!!!

Stay tuned...this is just the beginning!!!!!!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

All Great Things Must Come To An End....

Hello Everyone!

I hope you are all doing well! Life has been jam packed for me the past few weeks, but I work best under stress with a lot on my plate (good thing or I would be in trouble!). I have been very blessed in this past week to land a job teaching summer school in a really great school district! I will also spend my summer nannying for a really great family as well. I am so thankful for both of these opportunities! It feels great to have graduated from college and have a job lined up that is in relation to my degree.

This week not only marks out the excitement for the final 6 days of prep before the 2012 Minnesota State Championships, but it also includes the countdown of my finals days of student teaching and living here in Point. For all of you that have competed before, you know what an emotional roller coaster peak week is, so to add these two other variables into the equation are going to make it a great obstacle to overcome.

This week Wednesday is the last day of school for my students. I have been in the classroom with the same group of second graders since October. It is going to be very difficult knowing that I will not get to see their smiling faces every day. I wrote each student a note and included pictures from the year from field trips and other fun things that we did. I have a very hard time letting go and saying goodbye from my past since I never had closure to say goodbye to my dad so in doing things like this I am able to let go. I know that each one of my students has memories of me, and they know how special and important they are. I feel more at ease having to say goodbye to them knowing there is closure.

On Thursday, the teachers will spend a full day at school cleaning up their room etc. This is going to be an even more emotional day because I have to say goodbye to now, who is like a best friend to me, Mrs. S. She has been the most amazing mentor I could ever ask for, and outside of giving me the tools I need to become a great teacher, she has supported my dreams and goals, and has had my back along the way. She has done so much for me and I could not thank her enough. I know I can always come back and visit her, but it will be very, very sad knowing that I will not get to spend each day with her.
Mrs. S and me at my college graduation

After school on Thursday, I am probably going to be extremely emotional and before I head off on my adventure to Minnesota, I have to get one final workout in. The Strength Center opens up again this week, so I will be able to workout in there one last time. It will break my heart as I walk out of the doors of the gym, and have to officially say goodbye to my second home, and the wonderful memories, and people that have come into my life because of that place.

Finally, after saying goodbye to my students, Mrs. S, the gym, and my friends...I will have to drive out of Stevens Point knowing that my time here has come to and end. I had an amazing experience living here the past four years of my life and attending UW-SP. This is where I discovered who I am, and what I truly want out of life. This place will always feel like home to me, and I hope someday I can live here again. All great things must come to an end, so that new experiences and opportunities can find you on the next journey.

...and then I'll be off for a 3.5 hour drive to Minnesota and stay with my friend Lori! Let the excitement begin!!!!!!!!!!!!

The final week of prep is always very exciting. So many things run through my head, and the anticipation increases daily knowing that I get to shine on stage again soon. It is so rewarding to see daily changes at this point as well. Right now, hands down, I am the most conditioned I have ever been in my entire life. I feel amazing and I am very proud with the way I am looking. My prep coach, Laura Gutilla, has been nothing but supportive and encouraging along the way. She has helped me climb over walls of obstacles and push me to the top. I feel at ease knowing she will be there every last step of the way to ensure I am on point the day of the show, and I couldn't be more thankful.

This show isn't about beating anyone except myself. I am not happy or proud of the way I looked at the Showdown, so MN state is an opportunity to set new goals, and go after them. I want to be proud of myself and know that I did my very best. I want to look at pictures and think, "Wow! I can't believe I look like that!"  or "I can't believe how far I have come!"

The final week of prep also brings along more emotions that come at the end of the process. The whole time I am getting ready for a show, it is my priority and every single day the decisions I make are impacted on the final outcome of my competition and goals. I always feel on top of the world, and each day I feel like I have a purpose.  Once Saturday, June 9th is over and Sunday morning rolls around, there is an empty hole. This happens to me after every show. Waking up knowing I don't have to do a.m. cardio if I don't want to, knowing I can ultimately eat anything I want, knowing that if I'm holding water here or my abs don't look perfect it wont matter because the show is over. I always feel like my purpose went away, and it feels like something is missing.

This time around,  I am going to head into my "off-season" with a different approach. I am going to stay in control of my actions and make sure that I continue to work hard and maintain the condition my body is in. I know it is not healthy to look stage ready year round..and that isn't my goal. But this time around I will really want to stay within 5 lbs so that when I have my game plan made up to move onto the National Level, prep won't be as long, and instead I can focus my energy into tweaking the areas that my body needs to improve on.

Thank you everyone for your support. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers this week as it is going to be a challenge...I am going to need that extra push.

Stay tuned!!!

<3 SJ xo