Thursday, September 13, 2012
1 Month Out from Competition
I stood in the sandy waters of the Pacific Ocean in stunning Malibu, California, for one of the most exciting shoots of my life recently. On September 10 and 11, I was once again invited to shoot for Oxygen magazine. It would be for a cover try - as no one is ever promised a cover. I would have to work hard and earn the spot if it were to come true and that is what I did. I gave everything I had to those two days because it is still an enormous thrill to be given the chance. To stand in front of the camera once again filled me with excitement. Yes, I was thrilled to be doing it, even though my years keep adding up. Normally I am filled with terror about having to strip down to the slightest of outfits, but this time there something new in the air. In truth there were many new things in the air.
I should explain that this shoot came about as a request from Robert himself, just weeks before he passed. He requested of editor-in-chief Stacy Kennedy (now Rinella) that we shoot in California and that we try not only the standard covers but some more unusual ones with the wonder of nature as a backdrop. He also requested that Stewart Volland be the photographer and Nancy Jambazian be the hair and makeup artist. This was going to be a very different shoot for all of us.
I had only shot with Stewart once before and that was some ten years ago, so I would have to get used to a new style of shooting. Every photographer has his or her own style. Stewart does beautiful light setups and moves around you as you stand before him. He uses a fan to "blast atoms at you" which is his way of energizing his subjects. I like that idea. It's the same way I feel when I am shooting outside. I like to relate to my surroundings. Stewart does not rest until the shot is right and we have exhausted his creativity and that of Stacy Jarvis, Art Director for Oxygen magazine. The two of them kept me going all day long for both days with the goal of getting the most and the best shots. We did that, I am sure! I love their positive energy and endless passion for the art of photography.
Nancy tried some new hairstyles for me including a long ponytail, which was super fun! Wait till you see those shots! And of course she creates a beautiful, Oxygen fresh, clean face. I like the makeup so much, I have to confess, I sometimes leave the eye makeup on for a day afterward, so I don't have to do my eyes again.
Julia Perry, the clothing stylist, pulled some amazing outfits and I confess I took home one of the hottest suits ever. So excited to wear it again at home. There were so many fun, colourful styles throughout the two days it is hard to pick my favourite but I have to say I think I liked a little purple number best. I also really loved the Rogiani line and the new Body Rock workout bras. Cute!!
As for the body … well, I think with Rita's help, I am tighter than I have ever been. I felt confident and strong, knowing I had done the hard work for weeks and months in advance. I had some abs which I am super proud of and lots of good definition too. It takes a lot of people to pull off a shoot and Rita, though she was thousands of miles away in Spain, was right there with me. I am grateful for her dedication in training me properly for this shoot and for the upcoming contest.
But now I am back to reality here in Canada. I have four weeks to go and no time to lose. Each day counts heavily towards the final result, when I stand up on that stage in my bikini and compete for my Robert. Rita will mix it up all over again and I will be right there to catch whatever she throws at me. Right now I have to go and train my lower body. When I think about it, there may only be 6 or 7 more lower body leg workouts and maybe at least that many upper body sessions. I am going to make every one of them count because I have come this far and don't intend to let up on my desire to win.
Keeping it contest tight for another 4 weeks!
From Coach Rita:
I can vividly remember the first conversation I had with Tosca about her desire to compete in honour of Robert. I was thrilled, I was honoured - and most of all I was scared SH#$%$LESS!! Don’t get me wrong, I have trained hundreds of people, from all walks of life, and for many reasons, competition included. But this was and is different. This was my mentor, my idol, the woman who helped me lose weight on my own journey with her Eat-Clean Series. On top of that, I had never trained someone-ahem - a little bit wiser - for a show. I think Tosca and I were both thinking, hormones, age, etc. and how they would affect the process. As always, each client presents me with personal challenges and new perspectives, always welcome and refreshing.
Here we are, 3 months later, and 1 month out from Tosca’s big show. I can tell you that all of my previous fears quickly diminished as I started training Tosca. I experienced the desire, drive and “dos cojones” attitude that she exuded. I knew quickly on, that her preparation and “journey to stage” would be challenging, a sacrifice, but successful to say the least. I don’t want to jump the gun with the success button, but I had a sneak peak of her recent Oxygen cover try photo shoot in Los Angeles, and let me tell you - WOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!! Tosca was glowing & her body was on point and tight! From the few tidbits I saw, Tosca exuded confidence in an ageless, defined and healthy body. Goal for photo shoot exceeded expectations!
Now for the final push to show time.
Those of you who have competed or know people who have, know how important the last month is - never think you are ready and relax, nor can you back track and make up for last time. Tosca is right on track, but no relaxing allowed. Today after her post-shoot carrot cake (coach’s order!) she is right back on track.
As a coach, I love the final haul before a show. It is exciting to see the daily changes that happen, as well as the ability to see the shining lights of the stage at the end of the tunnel. Not everyone however can afford, or have access to a coach to prepare them for a show. I get many messages from women who would love to compete, but just can’t make the financial sacrifice. I personally have competed in shows (and many ;) both with and without a coach by my side to guide me. I did my first few shows alone, others with an online coach. I think anyone can follow a plan and have success - but the moral, mental and motivational support of a coach for many is imperative - that is priceless.
Thank goodness for the internet - there are many meal plans, workouts and pre-show manipulation articles and protocols you can follow. The only downside is what works for one body, may not work for another. I know many girls, who just cut out their sugar, add some extra cardio and look amazing; others doing double cardio sessions towards the end and eating nothing but asparagus and tilapia. Some of my friends eat fruit up until the day of the show, while other competitors cut it weeks out. How do you know what will work for you? Trial and error works, but takes time and show after show to get it right. Each body is different - there is not one plan for everyone. So, although there is information in books and online, and you could possibly have success via these routes, personally, I like to have the support and “guaranteed” success of working with a knowledgeable coach.
For my first show, I followed a really great book that I still recommend to potential competitors looking to train themselves, The Body Sculpting Bible for Women by Hugo Rivera and James Villepigue. For nutrition I followed the strict Cooler Plan from the Eat-Clean Diet. I must say, I exceeded my goal of looking how I wanted at that point (now looking back, I think I looked too thin, no curves, no butt) - but I got there. However, I can remember how tough it was mentally on my family and me, and doing it alone with no support was not the best journey. In a nutshell, do what is right for you, your family and your finances.
1 month to go Tosca - we are almost there. I know you can taste the sweet success on your lips (or maybe it’s the left over carrot cake;)
I am proud, thrilled and no longer scared SH#^%@LESS - I am stoked beyond belief to continue guiding you and hold your hand as you slip into your blinged-up suit and shine for all to see.
Your ever- present coach, friend and fan,
Signing off from Spain,
Posted by Tosca Reno at 5:45 PM