spray tan

Skin prep for the Perfect Spray Tan

I have had the curse of a horrible spray tan every time I  have competed up until my last competition. Although, ultimately, I don’t feel that my bad spray tan really made that big of a difference in my placing, if you get the spray tan right, that is one less thing you have to worry about. Today I wanted to tell you what I did differently that made the difference between great spray tan and horrible spray tan.

Bad Spray Tan!

Bad Spray Tan! (That’s my stomach in case you were wondering…)

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Good spray tan! (didn’t have a close up)

Here’s what you will need:

  • Moisturizing Sugar Scrub (or make your own)
  • Non-moisturizing sugar scrub (or make your own)
  • Non-moisturizing gel soap
  • Baking Soda

 

First, the week before the competition I went to whole foods and bought one of the sugar scrubs they sell in bulk. The one I got was coconut/sugar but I am sure you could use another one as long as it has both essential oils and sugar. The oils are important because they will really moisturize your skin. You could also make your own by combining sugar with coconut oil. The point is that you want to exfoliate and moisturize.

Liquid Sun Rayz has a competition prep pack that has a sugar scrub and body butter that you could also use.

Use the scrub in the shower everyday the week before the competition up until the day before the spray tan. Because the scrub has the coconut oil already in it you save a step because you don’t have to cake on extra moisturizer. However, if you have really dry skin you might want to moisturize again either in the morning or at night depending on when you use the scrub.

Shave your whole body Monday, Tuesday and Thursday the week of the competition. This is to ensure that you get everything as smooth as possible. DO NOT wax because waxing can leave residue on your skin. Do NOT shave the day of my tan because it opens your pores which can leave little black dots on your skin if you get sprayed too soon after shaving.

The day of the competition, moisturize in the morning and then before you go to get your spray tan take a shower using a non-moisturizing scrub. I used THIS black sugar and charcoal scrub by freeman, but you could use the Liquid Sun Rayz scrub. Make a paste with baking soda and scrub that all over your body to neutralize your skin Ph. Then rinse with a gel, non-moisturizing soap to get all the residue off.

That’s it! Simple. Follow these steps and you will get a great even spray tan. Also don’t forget to wear very baggy clothing to protect your tan.

How does your spray tan take? Good? Not so good? Any tips or tricks?

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Breastfeeding and Bikini competition

Ok, I went back and forth on this post for a while.  Mostly because I feel sort of awkward talking about breastfeeding, but  also because I didn’t want to be judged for my decision to compete. Since breastfeeding is something I really believe in, and  since I couldn’t find much information on this topic when I was researching it, I thought I would share my experience with you. Although I can’t speak from the experience of breastfeeding an infant (my son is a toddler) while competing, I think much of what I learned would apply to younger babies too.

After pre-judging visiting the bambino

After pre-judging visiting the bambino

The first thing you may wonder when competing is how the diet will affect your milk supply. Since I competed  for the first time when my son was 15 months, it wasn’t a big issue. My supply was well established and he was eating plenty of solids so I didn’t have to worry too much about him getting enough milk. That said, I did keep my calories relatively high for a competition diet (around 1800-2000). Breastfeeding burns about 300-500 calories per day and for my normal diet I eat around 2400 calories, so that was enough of a deficit for me to lean down without starving. I was also very well hydrated, drinking over a gallon of water a day. The most important factor in maintaining a healthy supply is breastfeeding regularly. In fact, most lactation consultants will point out that our bodies have adapted to survive through harsh conditions and that women have been able to breastfeed through droughts and famine. That said, I would NOT recommend taking your calories below 1500 for any lactating mama, especially one working out like a fiend. I also would NOT recommend manipulating sodium and water intake in your final week whether or not you are lactating. There have been a few cases recently where competitors have suffered heart and/or pancreas failure due to dehydration.

Supplements were another concern of mine. I talked to my doctor and did research on my own before supplementing. The supplements I used were: Protein powder, Glutamine, Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc, Multivitamin, Vitamin E, Collagen, and Biotin. I did NOT use a fat burner. Heck, breastfeeding is its own kind of fat burner, right? Since whey protein is often the main source of protein in formula, my doctor said not to worry about protein powder, just make sure there were not a lot of additives or other supplements mixed in. I used Dymatize Elite ISO-100, which has a small ingredient list. It does have splenda in it though, so if you are not ok with that, you may want to do some research on natural brands of protein powder (Jay Robb, etc.)  A great resource for breastfeeding moms is the website Kellymom.com. Here is a link to the page where vitamin supplements are described in relation to breastfeeding.

Biotin (a B vitamin), calcium, zinc, magnesium, and most of the vitamins in my multivitamin are water soluable and should not affect your breastmilk or baby. You need to be careful with your vitamin A & E intake though, since they are fat soluable and can accumulate in your milk. Gultamine and Collagen are both essentially made up of amino acids that occur naturally in the body. Gultamine helps with recovery and Collagen helps maintain healthy skin. Both should not affect your baby if you are taking the recommended doseage. While it is not necessary to take supplements, It is a good idea to supplement vitamins if you are going to be cutting calories while breastfeeding. If you have trouble getting enough protein, you may consider supplementing with a whey shake, especially after your workout when your body is primed to use protein for building muscle.

Closer to the competition my main concern with breastfeeding was competition day and the tan. Since I had the experience of competing once before I got pregnant, I knew what a pain the spray tan is. It is so easy to mess up your tan and I was really worried that I would not be able to breastfeed and/or hold my baby once I got sprayed. Here’s what worked for me: The week before the show I made sure to exfoliate well especially on my chest. I wore “Lily Pads” (silicone nipple covers) to get spray tanned so my baby wouldn’t have to eat the tan to breastfeed. Once tanned and DRY I went home and was able to breastfeed, keeping most of my body covered with a robe or loose henley top. Feeding my son did not really mess up my tan, but I was careful of how much contact he had directly with my skin. I was lucky because both shows I participated in were relatively close to my home (less than an hour away). This meant I could feed my son first thing in the morning, drive to the competition site to get hair and make-up, do the pre-judging then come home for a quick break before the night show to feed again. Once I finished the night show I went home to feed him to sleep. If you are competing away from home. I recommend pumping at least 3 times throughout the day. I use a Lansinoh pump and usually pump for about 15 minutes to make sure I am empty. The pump did not mess up my tan or leave lines that were visible outside of my suit.

Overall, the experience was a lot  easier than I thought it would be. I hope this can help some lactating moms out there who are interested in competing. Please shae your experience if you have one.

 

XOXOX

FitVal

I’ve got the itch!

Now, before you go off and assume I’m infected with lice, or worse, crabs, I have to tell you, its not that I’m itchy, just that I’ve got the itch for competition. Bikini competition to be exact. My first experience in fitness competition was 3 years ago. At the time I was struggling with a lot of changes and wanted to do something to re-claim myself. Since I was always working out with no goal in mind, I decided to compete. I went into the competition rather niavely. I am not sure if I just thought my banging body would win out because I was young and spent so much time working out, but when I arrived at the competition I realized I was vastly unprepared.

Pre-spray tan, hit by my nerves

Pre-spray tan, hit by my nerves

First of all, I had a great base tan from tanning beds (which I think of now as coffins). Since they had free spray tanning on site, I figured I would come the day of the competition and get sprayed to top it off. That was a big mistake. Most of the other competitors had come the day before and since I showed up already in make-up, the fine mist they sprayed on my face wasn’t enough to match my body color and only made my make-up look sloppy.  Also, being shy I had to wait until another competitor asked if I had been sprayed to find out where the spray tan set up was and how to use it.

My uneven spray tan

My uneven spray tan

Next, I didn’t research enough preparation “secrets.” I had no PAM to spray on or bikini bite to keep my bikini in place and I had no idea you were supposed to bring wine to help dilate your blood vessels. Thank goodness the other competitors were really sweet and loaned me stuff but I felt totally embarassed and clueless.

Finally I had no coach or even a supporter in the audience. Since the competition was sort of a way to reclaim myself after getting married, I didn’t invite my husband along. I also never hired a coach, in the interest of saving money. As a result I didn’t really have an objective opinion of how I was doing or how I should structure my program. I entered the competition way too lean and without enough muscle mass. Plus I missed out on all the little extras like the “secrets” and posing help.

Valerie-West

My competition “official” photo way too lean

Why am I glad I did it? Well I ended up placing 3rd in open and 4th in novice (OK, so there weren’t that many competitors, but no one needs to know that). It also took balls! I was so proud of myself for having the guts to sign up and do everything myself, even without experience. I ended up learning a lot.

Thinking about it now, I can see that I have a similar reason for wanting to compete again. After all, since becoming a mom, my life has changed drastically and I really would like a way to reclaim myself and my still breastfeeding body. It is also a step in getting closer to my goal of being a fitness model and mogul! I want to prove that I can do it so that I can inspire and teach others to do the same thing.

However, I plan on doing a lot of things differently this time. I want to hire a coach. I feel that this will be essential to my success and confidence. I also think there are still a lot of things I need to learn. I also plan on being serious about my training and diet. Last time, I just dieted down the week before the competition. In addition, whereas I competed in Figure last time, this time I plan to compete in bikini, which is a less muscular look that I think suits me better and is more attainable. I am so excited to get started and to try this again. Let me know if you have tips or know of a great coach in my area.

XOXO

FitVal