Journey to the Stage 10 Weeks to Go

Overcoming guilt, confusion & water retention

At my 10-week check-in with my coach, IFBB Pro Kristi Tauti, I was hit with my first road bump. As I mentioned in my last post, the last week or so has been lacking in motivation and drive. Given this, I wasn’t feeling 100% confident heading into my check-in. While I was not certain about where my body would be, I was not prepared or expecting the results that came. At 12-weeks, I weighed in at 125.4lbs with an 11.2% body fat percentage. When I stepped on that scale at 10-weeks out, I weighed in at 131.8lbs—that’s a 6-pound gain in a matter of two weeks! To say I was shocked is an understatement.

JOURNEY-TO-THE-STAGE-7-INS2Immediately, guilt, confusion, disappointment and self-doubt rushed over me. Working quickly, Kristi recalibrated the scale and I stepped on again—no change. With sadness creeping in from every corner, we took my measurements for my body fat percentage, and the results? I went down .1% in body fat. What is going on with my body? My bewilderment just seemed to grow and grow as the check in went on.

JOURNEY-TO-THE-STAGE-7-INS3With a calm and professional demeanor, Kristi attempted to steady the waters. We came to the conclusion that I had gained muscle and am holding on to a lot of water right now. Gotta’ love female hormones. With her vast knowledge of a competitor’s body, Kristi adjusted my nutrition plan from 1850 calories/day to 1650 calories/day—lowering my protein slightly and changing my protein sources. With the nutritional adjustment, I did drop a few pounds over the next few days. While this change eased my mind a bit, my confidence was still shot. Whether or not the weight gain was due to a muscle mass increase, it still felt like I was farther from my goal with less time to get there.


Trust the process…that’s what I have to keep telling myself. I know that Kristi understands what is best for my physique and she will not lead me astray. With the check-in behind me, I entered this weekend discouraged. While one would think that those results would push me to work harder in the gym, it had the opposite effect. Feeling defeated, I had no motivation to hit the gym, and I wanted to throw my nutrition down the drain. I spent the weekend simply going through the motions, trying to combat negativity and move forward.

That said, with every crash there is a recovery. Mondays are an ideal day for recovery, for renewal, for rebirth. This Monday morning became my day of renewal, as I decided that this state of self-pity was over. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I was not strong both inside and out. It is incredible how powerful the mind can be. While I have been hindered by a slight case of plantar fasciitis, I decided to bite the bullet and hit my AM cardio hard, get my heart rate up, building a sweat-inducing cardio plan. Here’s what I did:

20 minutes Running @ 7.0mph
20 minutes Bike Hill Climb Intervals
20 minutes StepMill Intervals:
30 seconds @ 160 steps/min
90 seconds @ 75 steps/min
20 minutes Elliptical Hill Climb Intervals

I ran faster, spun harder, stepped quicker and worked the elliptical at a new level. This physiological shift in perspective directly translated into physical success. Since that workout, my mood has continued to improve. In addition to the physiological shift, I had an experience at the gym that has boosted my morale even more. While lifting shoulders heavy (my favorite!), I was given an incredible compliment by a fellow sister of fitness. She said she was training for a figure competition, and my physique was what she was striving to look like. I repeat my physique inspired her! Whether she realizes it or not, her comments have justified everything I am doing, erased that discouraged mindset and reignited my motivational fire.


To every woman brave and strong enough to step inside a gym, toe-to-toe with the men, you are an inspiration. Whether you are just beginning your journey to a healthier life, or a long time member of the gym rat club, each moment you continue to push on, you inspire others to do the same. I applaud you all. Without you, I would not have the desire and the passion to push on every day. Thank you. Never stop. Train hard.

Rachael Olkin

Rachael graduated from UCLA in December 2010 with a degree in International Development Studies. She is currently working towards admission to nursing school, where she hopes to obtain both a Bachelors of Science in Nursing as well as a Masters of Science in Nursing.

Rachael is also preparing for her first Figure competition and will share her journey along the way, including her goals, aspirations and struggles.

Find more of Rachael on:

Muscular Development