Sunday, May 24, 2015

AMI Clubwear With A Memorial Day 45% Off #Sale

 Do you have AMI Clubwear on your short-list for fun, fashionable, sexy, and bargain-priced clothing? They are based out of California and they are known for their huge inventory, that is updated daily. They recently reached over 3 million followers and celebrated with a huge 45% off sale!

I looked through their site --I'm a modest person, not wanting to show too much skin--and found the following pieces at great prices! I would probably wear tights or leggings with the first dress and a flowing shirt over or T-shirt under the other dresses. So there really is something for everyone! I'd encourage you to take a look and find a few things for yourself!  You're gonna love it!

My friend, Lei, is modeling some active wear that she ordered on You must know that they seem to be phasing out their active wear line. She had some trouble finding things that weren't out of stock. They do have a huge inventory of dresses, shoes, swimwear, intimates, and costumes, though! Doesn't she look great? She recently entered and placed in her first Figure Competition. See her story here!

Look at this cute swimsuit!  You can receive 45% off the entire site for the Memorial Day Weekend! Just use code USA45 at checkout! 
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Disclosure: This site received compensation in the form of product for review purposes. All opinions at A GAL NEEDS...are honest, fair, and my own.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The World Of Figure Competition - One Mom's Journey Part II

Here is the 2nd part of Lei's first figure competition experience. You can read the 1st part of her journey here!

Now that the hard part, the training, was done, it was time for the competition prep. Lei was committed and ready to put her all into it, even though the fear of failure loomed ever present in her mind. But she had confidence that she could succeed because of her  initial  twelve weeks with Maria, her trainer. She had met her goals and it gave her hope and confidence.  Now she was on a more disciplined program, if you can imagine, and didn't want to let Maria or herself down.  Maria told her that she was a stellar client - "I am continuously impressed with your hard work, and consistency. KILLING. IT."   
The next obstacle to overcome was to perfect her posing skills.  Posing is so vitally important that, if lacking, women with great physique's have not placed because it.  Since she had never done it before, she had no idea of how to do correct posing. Lei completed six practices with Maria to feel somewhat confidant.  "She is a beautiful poser so I was taught by a great teacher. "  

Peak Week Each week Lei consistently followed her program - nutrition and workouts.  She did not miss any.  Her cardio increased from 25 mins to 30 mins of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and she continuously lifted heavier and heavier.  Finally the week of her competition arrived.  Peak Week was a little more rigorous.  By the end of the week she needed to drop water weight, so her water intake decreased from 150 oz. on Mon-Wed to 80 oz on Thurs, and 20 oz. on Fri and only sips on Sat.  Also,  the day before competition, you have a carb day and one on competition morning, to fill up the muscles.  Taking water out of the body shows off the muscles, and the carbs fill out those muscles so they are fuller.  "It was not as difficult as I expected.  I was not grouchy or irritable as some people get.  I just lacked energy." 

Tanning Appointment  Friday night was her tanning appointment and a meeting with the other women competitors.  Tanning was quite the experience.  She had never done spray tan before.  The hotel was filled with contestants--men and women all tanned, or soon to be.  It was quite the thrill for Lei to be with all those young people. 
No one knew my age, so I pretended to just be one of the girls, when I could have easily been a mother to many of them!!  The tanning company had individual tents up and we all had to strip down to nothing.  Each girl got into the tent and they sprayed us down the row.  We couldn't see each other, but you gotta let go of insecurities and shyness at this point.  A woman sprayed tanned us, so it was fine.  

Pre-Judging  Early Sat morning I had my hair and makeup appt.  It was fun to be pampered.  Then I headed to pre-judging.  All this happened at Cottonwood High School.  Figure girls were the first group after the men's pre-judging.  So at 11:30 we were ready to go.  My number was 301.  Because of my last name I was first.  Funny story:  So all during our line up the leaders were telling us, "ok walk to this X, do your poses, walk to this side"  "Don't worry, just follow the girl before you or the first girl"  So I was like ok, that works, I will just do what she does.  Then they called out number #301 you are here, meaning first in the line!  I was like "WHAT?" I am suppose to follow the girl before I AM the first girl.  Boy was that stressful.  But I just said to myself, just do it and have fun, I have been taught well,  just be confidant!!....So I went out there and smiled at the judges and did my posing.  

The judges took the longest with our group and we had to stand in our poses for what seemed like a very long time.  I entered three categories: Figure A (up to and including 5'4") Figure Masters 35 & older, and True Novice A (Never competed & up to 5'4")  Pre-judging is where the winners are selected.  The Final is the show in the evening. At the evening show, all participants are showcased, whether you placed or not.  Everyone walks out and poses.  However, you are called to stand on stage as a group only if you placed and earned a trophy.  I figured since I had not heard anything in between pre judging and finals that I didn't place.  I told myself that it was OK because I transformed my body and had a great experience.  But I didn't know that they don't let you know if you placed, it is a surprise. 

The Final  After going home to rest and then driving back up to Cottonwood HS, I planned to just enjoy my evening.  Figure Competitors were called to gather on one side of the stage.  The leaders called out the numbers of the gals who placed, to line up to walk on stage.  I didn't hear my number for Figure A, which I kinda expected.  However, when they lined up Masters A, I thought I could of had a chance.  But they didn't call my number.  Lastly they lined up the True Novice winners. I thought I heard my number, but I didn't want to assume, so I never  lined up.  All the four other gals did.  Finally the leader said I need number 301, I was happy...ME?  I am 301!!  So funny!  Of course I was first in line cuz 301, 302, 303...etc.  So all five of us walked out and stood waiting to hear our placing.  For fifth place #301.  I waved and walked to the fifth place trophy.  I was SOOO happy! 

It was a very fun evening.  Many of my friends wanted to come, but just a few made it.  My family was screaming for me when I was on stage.  After the placing, I walked out to the foyer and was met by my friends and family with leis they ordered from Hawaii.  It was a magical time.  We went back into the auditorium to watch the rest of the show.  Then we all went out to eat at Smash Burger.  I had the works and a shake (which I normally don't have, but deserved!) It was so much fun and I was not as nervous as I thought I would be.  It took a lot of confidence for me because I am more of an introvert, but maturity does something to you and you decide, "I don't care what people may think.  I am doing this for me and because I want to."

I planned to compete again but did not know which show...Aug, Oct, or Mar `16.  When I looked at the schedule, I noticed that the Aug show is on my 52 birthday!  To me there is no better way to spend my birthday than doing something I love.  What is even better, is my sister and her family are coming up to Utah the night before the show Aug 14.  I asked her if she wouldn't mind seeing me compete.  She said it would be great.  So now not only will i celebrate my 52 birthday, but my sister and her family will be there too. 

I have been working hard on building up my back more and getting my legs more cut.  My trainer is working me good right now.  I will call Maria soon to be accountable to her as well 12 weeks out to Aug 15th.  I love having new challenges.  First dropping body fat, then competing, and now building more muscle and competing for the second time.  It is great to be where I am right now!!  The fifties are AWESOME!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Little More Kindness + #MotivatingMonday

I just read an article about how emotional abuse could be the invisible marriage killer. The definition of emotional abuse is "any nonphysical attitude or behavior that controls, intimidates, subjugates, demeans, punishes, or isolates another person by using degradation, humiliation or fear." It might be a roll of the eyes, consistent criticism--even in the form of a joke, constant corrections, isolation, disrespect of personal space or things, humiliating comments in front of others, sarcasm, and so forth.  This is a continuous pattern and it ebbs and flows. It may be better for awhile but then the pattern picks up again after a time. Men or women can be guilty of this pattern and it brings unhappiness and lack of self-confidence in its wake. It is a relationship breaker.

Sometimes we can be guilty of participating in it ourselves and be unaware that we are doing so. It comes naturally to some and many times people do it to feel smarter, quicker on the draw, and have the upper hand. They don't realize that they can destroy someone's spirit by their actions. When children are treated unkindly and condescendingly by parents or caretakers, they develop a defense system. That line of defense is to be meaner than the person you are with. It is a  way to not be hurt.

We have a national epidemic of unkindness. We are on the offensive when it comes to being mean. We need to stop it! Here are a few questions to ask ourselves when we are in a relationship or even in public.

1) Is what I am saying constructive or is it aimed to tear someone down?
2) Am I being funny at someone else's expense?
3) Is my body language insulting towards someone else?
4) Am I rude to someone who isn't in control of what is going on?
5) When I am upset, do I unload verbal abuse?
6) Do I let someone know by my actions that I don't want to be with them?
7) Do I give off an air of superiority to those around me?

Refraining from doing these destructive things not only will help our own moods and give us a reality check, but we will be possibly preventing others from also being unkind and the epidemic that we see around us can be slowed down or stopped!
Today is Motivating Monday!  We all need a little motivation!  I, for one, love to explore other sites for motivating, mostly non-sponsored posts, tips, pictures and videos!  If I happen to find a great one, I'll link it up and share it with you on Twitter via the #MotivatingMonday hashtag!  It's like being featured!  Sometimes I miss some amazing posts.  So, in addition, if you'd like to link up yourself, you can do that too!  I'll visit your site, comment, promote and publicize! Don't be shy--I'm really very supportive!  Remember, any link to your posts helps your blog numbers increase!

Monday, May 11, 2015

The World Of Figure Competition - One Mom's Journey Part I

I met Lei 14 years ago, when I had just moved into the area. She was a friendly, out-going gal and had definite ideas about what she wanted, in all situations! She and I did a few things together, like hiking up to a waterfall, going on a bike ride, doing a Hawaiian dance class together, and going out to lunch. She was born in Hawaii and is very proud of her ancestry. Every Sunday she brought the most beautiful bouquets of flowers to set on the podium at church. It was a really special touch. 

I knew her to be very active-- into physical fitness, running and weight training specifically. We were members of the same gym at one time. We worked out at different times but each of us pretty regularly.  Those were the days when I was fairly hard-core (for me!), doing yoga, dance, weights and cycling. Time has passed, and now I am doing great when I walk my dog a couple of miles and do some of my exercise CD's!

Lei, on the other hand, took physical fitness to a whole different level after I moved out of her neighborhood a few years back. Before I left, I remember her stating that she wanted to do something cool before she turned 50. She is now right around 50 and yeah boy, she is showing what 50 looks like!

Lei just competed in her first body-building show and
walked away with a 5th place trophy in True Novice Figure A. She also placed 8th in both Masters A and Figure A! That is crazy good for the first time!
Here is her story and proof that it's possible to do anything you want and age doesn't have to be a factor!

In 1987 Lei became interested in body-building. She felt especially weak one day, as she tried to move the bed in her dorm room, making a hole in the dry wall in the process. She wanted to get stronger, and thus weight lifting was what she was drawn to. Back in the 80's Cory Everson was very popular.
"I looked up to her, even though I never aspired to become a bodybuilder at that time.  I just wanted to become stronger and toned.  I continued to lift weights and run from that time forward.  Back in the `80's it was thought that a woman should not lift while pregnant because the blood would be diverted to the muscles instead of the baby.  We know better now. So I would take time off  of lifting when I was pregnant with my first two.  Later, I lifted and ran when I was pregnant with the last two."
Lei with two of her 4 children

Lei continued lifting weights, but never went heavy. She always felt that running was the gold standard for getting fit and toned. She continued with that routine for years--lifting light and running for miles daily. She was a member of a local gym and her girlfriend was her trainer. She noticed miner changes to her body, but nothing major. But, she says, "Deep in my soul I did want to become more muscular, but never quite knew how to pursue it. I love muscles on individuals, especially on women. I wanted defined muscles and to look like a bodybuilder."

Then in 2012 she saw an ad for a 90-day challenge.  Both she and her husband signed up as a couple.  Unfortunately the trainer did not know how to train individuals that already had a pretty good knowledge of weight training.  She did well with clients that were new to weight training.  Lei knew she needed to get to the next level  Her girlfriend referred her to a trainer that was an MMA fighter.  She started training with him and noticed a huge difference right away.  He was very knowledgeable and made her work hard.  She progressed under his tutelage, dropping body fat and weight. Her goal was to lose body fat, but she did not want to just become skinny or thin.
 "I didn't want to be a skinny fat.  I wanted muscles.  My trainer knew what I wanted and did things to help me achieve my goals.  When I grew enough that I could train on my own, I found that I plateaued. I stayed at this weight and body fat for about a year. It was a good weight, but I wanted more. I started subscribing to Hers Muscle & Fitness magazine.  I would follow their workouts and nutritional guidance.  I found some success."
But mainly her success was through having a personal trainer and nutritional coach. This was news to me because I really thought one could go the distance on their own, if they had the discipline and knowledge. Obviously, you need an expert to help you if you want to pursue the course of building lots of lean muscle. And that is what Lei found out. She says that even trainers have trainers because it's all about accountability and support.

 She chose someone she knew at a local gym, who had actually competed before in the Masters Division and placed. She felt like she would be a great fit with her objectives and personality. They met weekly and she gave her an individualized nutritional plan, tweaking it every week to help her meet her goals.  She was the one who said Lei should compete.  "When someone believes in you, it is hard to resist", she said. Truthfully, she DID want to compete.  That is why she chose her in the first place. So to have her say she should compete was motivating and what she wanted to hear.  
Her initial twelve weeks went from 26.3% body fat and 130.3 lbs. to 19.1% bf and 119.0 lbs. Of course she was dedicated to the nutritional plan and never deviated.  "I continued following my nutritional program even though I stopped meeting with Maria.  I knew the NPC (National Physique Committee) was having a show in March 2015; I had attended the show in Oct 2014 per Maria, just to see what goes on at competition.  I really liked the show.  I also knew that I needed 12 weeks to prep for a show, so I contacted Maria in December and told her I wanted to compete. "


Lei started her transformation Dec 18th.  "I was happy that I maintained my body fat and weight at 119 lb. and 19% Body Fat. This made it easier to train, because I was already pretty lean, muscular, and conditioned. I got down to 111.1 lbs and 12.1% bf.  This is important to record because in the future, we will know where I need to get to to be competition ready.  My biggest inspiration is IFBB Pro, Erin Stern.  I love her philosophy and she is so down-to-earth.  Besides, she works hard and I love her physique." 

Not all Lei's family was supportive at first.  Her oldest son was from the start.  Then her youngest son quickly became supportive. Her daughter struggled a little, then got on board.  Her husband had issues through the training, all the way to the competition.  "I don't believe he really was fully invested until the night of competition.  But when I started getting praise and congratulations from people, he changed his mind!"  

Since this was her first time competing, Lei and her trainer didn't know what body fat % she could get down to and be lean, but not too lean.  So Maria, her trainer, wanted to see how close to 8 or 10% she could get.  During peak week, the last week she got down to 12.1%  So that is now her base line.  They felt that if she got any leaner, she would look skeletal.  Everyone is so different, and someone can get to 8% and be good.  "My body was good at 12%  So in the future that is my goal."  The BMI is really just a calculation based on a persons height and weight.  It is not a measurement.  One focuses on body fat.  The weight will come off and is not as important as the % of fat.  "I gained 2.69 lbs of lean mass (muscle) and lost a total of 18.1 lbs.  I lost a total of 14.2% bf and 17.5 inches off my body.  I am so pleased with my results!!! I could not believe the numbers.  Every week I would drop.  Sometimes I gained, but it was oz. not lbs. and less than 1%! Then the next week, I would drop what I gained and more.  I would often forget what the numbers really were.  I was so stoked. "

Some people would be amazed at just seeing themselves transform into a lean, athletic speciman. But that wasn't enough for Lei. She had come this far and now it was time to compete! 

Check back for Part II of Lei's personal journey into the world of Figure Modeling Competition!