Friday, April 29, 2016

Fun back and chest workout

Last week, I created my own workouts to add some "fun" into my prep. I am a little over one month away from the NPC Jr. USA show in Charleston, South Carolina. Guess who is excited?!?!

My favorite body area to train has been back. I think it is one of the most difficult body areas to train. You definitely need to have a focus with your mind and practice the movements so they target your back. Sometimes, our arms get too involved in back exercises.

Continue learning how your body works and what you can do each day and workout to become stronger!

Caroline's Cues | Back and Chest Workout - Progress

Check out that forearm vein!

I am at a lower body fat percentage right now as I lean down for my show. One thing is for certain: there is a direct correlation with increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat. Exercise alone will not make you reach your aesthetic or health goals. However, I hope workouts like the one below can help.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Cream of Rice Protein "Sugar" Cookie Recipe

I've always been a cookie fiend. Growing up, mom would always have homemade cookies on the cupboard and even in the freezer for the next time we needed a sugary snack. When meals get monotonous, as they are often are on prep for a competition, I try to change things up.

Today, I did just that.

Cream of Rice Protein "Sugar" Cookies. 

Caroline's Cues | Cream of Rice Protein "Sugar" Cookies Recipe

You might be thinking, "how in the world is she making sugar cookies while on her strict bodybuilding meal plan?" That's the funny part -- they are not sugar cookies. However, with a few awesome ingredients, they have a similar taste and consistency to the most recent sugar cookies I had [over Christmas]. Sigh... so long ago.

Many of today's food and nutrition companies are using science to their and our advantage. They can research and test many flavors and components. They also make them safe and affordable for consumption. These are a few reasons why I love Optimum Nutrition supplements. Not only are their products tasty, but they are very transparent and forward to consumers about why they create their products to help others find their "true strength". 

The past few months, I have had a hankering for "cake", "birthday cake" and "cake batter" flavors. Don't ask me why. Bizarre, I know. Therefore, when I placed my next order to stock up on whey protein, I chose the cake batter flavor of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Rising up with Ryan's Root to Rise Yoga

Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth.

Inhale... exhale...

Caroline's Cues | Rising up with Ryan's Root to Rise Yoga

The loft in Kindred was warmed to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Stationery candles surrounded the small area for yoga mats, blankets and blocks. Nine yogi's joined Friday morning for a session designed to help athletes and their sore or tight muscles.

Laura Ryan, owner and instructor of Ryan's Root to Rise Yoga led the one-hour session focused on hip openers, flexibility and balance. If you were not sweating within the first 15 minutes, you must not have been in the loft with us!

I credit a lot of muscle development to having a "mind-muscle connection". This is no different than in yoga. When I entered the loft, I knew I had to have my mind focused and willing to let go of outside emotions, thoughts and factors to get the most from the session. It worked.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

No matter the placing, I finished first at my second show.

The jitters and nerves did not ramp up until 10 minutes before show time.

I competed in my first bodybuilding competition in August 2015 (blog here). Experience increases comfort and confidence. I definitely carried more of both for this second show. The 2016 NPC Central USA Natural Championships was held at the Century Link Center in Omaha, Neb.

Caroline's Cues | No matter the placing, I finished first at my second show.

This go around, the show seemed to fly by. Saturday morning was prejudging.

I made a few mistakes.

That evening for finals, those errors probably added to my results.

I placed second in my class.

Caroline's Cues | NPC Central USA Natural Championships Presentation 2016
Stage photos courtesy of

Initially, I was bummed.

I had worked my tail off. Yet, again, I got second place.

After some reflection and kind words from my coach and friends, I knew that in reality, I finished first.

There were some tough competitors in the group. I brought a better physique and stronger confidence to this show. I also practiced posing much more and it felt much more natural on stage. For only my second show ever, placing second two times is a big accomplishment! I even made some friends along the way.

Caroline's Cues | Bodybuilding Figure Friends
It's fun meeting other competitors, especially those who live nearby!

Why I am so critical on myself and don't take time to celebrate the little successes? It was a local show with a comforting environment.

The most comforting part was the group of people there supporting me.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

5 steps to meal prepping for beginners

Meal prep and GO! That's all it takes.

OK, in reality, it takes a bit more than that. I know from experience. However, like anything, you have to reach a point where you are willing to dive in, head first, and start. If you don't, you will keep telling yourself you either might not have time, don't have money for healthy foods or you are doing OK at selecting healthy foods or resisting temptations on your own.

It has been nearly one year since I began focusing on meal preparations and dieting, specifically for my body building shows. Whether you are training for a contest or not, I still think meal prep has aided tremendously in how much time I save. It has helped me better budget grocery expenses on a weekly and monthly basis. It has heightened my awareness about nutrition, serving sizes and food labels. All of these takeaways and more have maintained my interest and investment into the meal prep ideology.

Forewarning: it might feel weird or unnatural when you start making adjustments for meal preparations. However, do not let that set you back or scare you. I have had many friends reach out to me about my health and how to begin. I'd now like to share five steps to meal prepping for beginners.

Caroline's Cues | 5 steps to meal prepping for beginners

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Trust and a coach

Have you ever had a coach where you doubt them? I know I have.

Caroline's Cues | Trust and a coachI think back to my high school track days. Freshman girls track, Mr. Hemsoth was a tough coach. Often times, the girls would do their best to avoid running extra drills or find a way to make whatever instructions he asked us to do "easier". He demanded a lot of his team and pushed us to run more than you thought possible. He "encouraged" me to run the 800 meter open and 800 meter relay. I was not pleased. His stern demeanor gave him this persona of an all or nothing we gotta win type. (He was not much different as the social studies teacher either.)

Mr. Hemsoth made me doubt his coaching abilities and whether he had my best interests at heart. I have never been the best runner. However, putting me into mid-distance races pushed me to a limit. I ended up quitting after that season for various reasons including an injury. I attribute a larger portion of not returning that next season because of my doubt of him as a coach.

This past week, I had a meeting with the Nebraska Farm Bureau Leadership Academy. This meeting, we focused mostly on agricultural policy and industry current events. The second day, we worked with Richard Fagerlin, author of Trustology.

I first saw Richard speak at the AFA Alliance Meeting last November. However, that was more of a keynote speech. This time, he got to work more closely with our group of 10 upcoming leaders in Farm Bureau. It refreshed me of the importance of trust.