So I was in Vegas this passed weekend. Las Vegas. The city of sin. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. The land built on shattered dreams but shines glittery and bright with endless possibilities. Everything is large, excessively huge even - everything from the casinos, the shows, the hotels, and even the boobs. What a town. Where else can you walk around with cocktails all day, smoke inside, and party fear and loathing style? And there I was, on a strict diet and an even stricter workout regimen. To make it even worse, it was my first time there.
This is where you ask the question, what would Buddha do?
I've already compared this practice to a meditation, and the closer to the show I get, the deeper the meditation becomes. Now, every day, I struggle with keeping it all up. I can't slip up, I have to focus, everything counts. The harder it gets, the harder I have to keep pushing. At a time when all I want is to cheat, I have no wiggle room at all. Keeping my mind and body on target is a full time mental occupation. Breathing and letting go of my cravings, mind over matter through the pain, and calmly breathing through the emotional roller coaster is the name of the game.
So, where does Buddha come into this?
When Guatama Buddha was sitting underneath the bodhi tree, he was tempted by the demon Mara. Mara personifies unwholesome impulses, unskillfulness and the death of spiritual life: in this case, the city of Las Vegas. Me, the meditator, the initiate, the practitioner, the Buddha character, was presented with the most luscious temptations. I was threatened to be seduced by poolside cocktails, all-night dance parties, gourmet salty fatty buttery delectable cuisine, sleeping in and leisurely decadence. It was all there in front of me. My imagination could taste all the pleasure that all of those things could give me. Wild abandon and reckless fun. I longed for it all.
Steadfast I had to stay. I have come this far. I have worked this hard. I couldn't throw it away now, because if I slip up now, there's no going back. It's a little less than 3 weeks from my competition. 3 WEEKS!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! <breathe, breathe, breathe>
What could I do then to make it all ok. I did what any normal, rational person would have done. I decided to protein load. In a situation where I couldn't cook my own food and was totally at the mercy of the restaurants in the casino hotels (well, all except the hemp milk, vegan protein powder and gluten free brown rice "O's" my wonderful Other provided for me in the hotel room), I ate veggies where and when I could, egg whites where and when I could, sashimi when I could and had a big, delicious lean filet mignon every night for dinner. Although I wanted the porterhouse more than I could possibly explain in words, I suffered with amazingly scrumptious black and blue grilled filets. Yep. It's a tough life, but someone has to do it.
In balance to that however, I had to totally beef out my workouts (no pun intended). I lifted heavier and cut deeper and in 3 days, I feel like I've put on a considerable amount of muscle mass. Not too shabby as you can see in the photos. Before I left, I had my body fat measured with an ultrasound. It was at 16%. I have to get down to 14% for the show. Totally doable in the amount of time I have left. I spent the weekend feeding my muscles and now I have to let my body feast on the remainder of my fat. Fitness Barbie, here I come.