Views From Here

May 29, 2016
by Shalama Jackson

It’s almost show time

Preparing to compete and working on my bikini posing routine with a little curtseyI can’t believe that I am suppose to compete in a week. I am excited and nervous about getting back on stage again. Can you believe that it was just six months ago that I competed for the first time?

I am registered for the NPC Upstate Classic. I have also booked my tan.

There’s nothing keeping me back now that my bikini has arrived. There was a lot of heartache around getting it in my possession, but it arrived yesterday.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if it didn’t get here.

What were my other options?

  • Purchase a suit: I could purchase a suit from a designer.
  • Rent a suit: Instead of spending money for a brand new one, I could rent one.
  • Not compete: It almost sounds absurd that I would get this far and then not compete.

I was not spending another dime for a suit. I paid for two suits and that was all that I was going to spend.

The beginning of peak week 

2 gallons of water in preparation to competePeak week means changing my water and food. My coach has me doing things differently this time.

This week is a lot of fish, asparagus and water. I am excited to get sweet potatoes at the end of the week. I haven’t had sweet potatoes in more than a month, so I am looking forward to them.

I am not sure which my heart aches over more – the fish only protein diet this week or the gallons and gallons of water I need to drink these first few days. I like water but somehow seem to get stuck around 80 ounces. I make it to one gallon a day but to drink two today and tomorrow will be somewhat of a feat.

It will be a crazy week with all the preparations and tweaking for the show on Saturday, but I will Periscope from backstage around 11 a.m. Want to follow? Find me @shalamajackson. I plan on doing broadcasts once a week following this weekend.

Are you on Periscope? What’s your handle?


May 24, 2016
by Shalama Jackson

Who’s that?

My friend, Kimberly Paul, spoke at a TEDx event and it touches me in a very special place.

My father was several years ago by a car that hit him as he crossed the street. Well, he didn’t technically die in the street but he never spoke to me again.

I remember the phone call that I received from my cousin in New Jersey that Friday morning. He called to say that my father was hit and taken to a trauma center. He said that my mother, brother and I needed to get there. Well, I live in South Carolina and there was no just getting there. So, I called my mother and brother and told them what I had found out so that they could get there immediately. I would get there but I wasn’t sure how.

I did get home to New Jersey the next morning and went directly to the hospital. I already knew what needed to be done. My parents have been open with my brother and I about their wishes. I just needed to be able to follow through despite what others might say.

You see, this is where things get difficult.

The doctors explained to me that my father was brain dead. It almost seemed illogical. How could a man that battled cancer and be in remission die because someone hit him just steps away from his job? But it was true. I stood in the hospital surrounded by family members and made a decision that was needed to be made. My father didn’t have his wishes in writing or not anywhere that I could find but to leave him on machines because I wasn’t ready to let go did not make sense. My father deserved more.

My mother, brother and I were in agreement.

The rest of my family…not so much. We called people and shared what we knew. We asked them to come to the hospital if they could and wanted to see him one last time. And while we sat vigil, people came. It didn’t get easier and I did question my decision, but ultimately I knew what was best.

Let me be honest. It was easy and it was hard. It’s still hard today to take it all in. I am not sure it would have been any easier if his wishes would have been in writing because when you let go of someone you love, it hurts. One of the many things I did learn and continue to share with people as Kimberly does here, it’s important to have your wishes written down for those around you. My issue didn’t have to go through court or a battle but it could have. However, my father’s death has forced me to reevaluate life and death. Since his death, I ensured that I have a living will and health care power of attorney. I do not want there to be any disagreement about what should be done or how I want things handled.

Do you know Eddie? Have you had those hard conversations with the people you love?

May 18, 2016
by Shalama Jackson

Sprint until you almost puke

When you sprint and push your body so hard you can pukeI have jumped on board this crazy sprint train in an effort to knock out some HIIT cardio during my competition prep.

My cardio sessions are short but powerful. Basically, the HIIT session is pushing your body to its limit with fewer rest periods that can leave you gasping for air.

My sprint intervals on the treadmill

5 minute walk warm up at moderate speed
5 sets at 8.0 of 15 second sprint and 45 seconds rest.
5 sets at 8.2 of 15 second sprint and 45 seconds rest.
5 sets at 8.4 of 15 second sprint and 45 seconds rest.
5 sets at 8.6 of 15 second sprint and 45 seconds rest.
5 minute walk cool down

I typically want to puke by the time I get to interval 10. It doesn’t matter that it is fasted cardio. I still feel like everything and anything that is inside of me wants to come out.

Sprint training on a treadmill is an amazing effective way of boosting the metabolism and burning body fat.

There are a number of benefits to sprint intervals

  1. It’s a total body workout and improves overall body strength.
  2. Decreases body fat by 10-20%, while maintaining lean muscle mass.
  3. Boosts your metabolism so that you burn a lot of calories in a short amount time, especially long after you’re finished.
  4. Builds muscle the same way weight lifting exercises do as well as building incredibly strong legs
  5. Improves heart capacity

It definitely beats long distance walking or running on a treadmill for an hour. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy some long distance running every now and again, but it’s much more later than now.

You don’t have to go gang busters out the bat if you aren’t ready. Take your time and allow your body to get used to this or a similar workout.

Do you enjoy running? How often do you do exercise?

May 12, 2016
by Shalama Jackson

3 Ways to Relieve Sore Muscles

3 ways to relieve sore musclesThis week I have been extremely sore from lifting heavy in preparation of the upcoming competitionand the sprints as a part of my cardio. My quads and hamstrings are still screaming even though I rolled them out with my favorite foam roller.

It is amazing how many muscles are in the legs and how the slightest adjustment makes you reach deep inside yourself because you didn’t know they were there. Well, that’s how it is for me. I roll and think things are fine and then all of a sudden I pause. I pause because it hurts so good. Yes, hurts so good. Do you know what I mean? Have you ever foam rolled your legs?

Here are three things I have been doing to help with sore muscles and you can too

  1. Drink water. Water is the ultimate rehydrator. It’s best to avoid or minimize caffeine and alcohol because they can dehydrate you.  My goal is still a gallon a day. I don’t make it every day, but on more days than not I am successful.
  2. Move. Even though you might want to flop onto the coach with a cold drink in hand, get up and move a little. Slow is fine. The point is to get the blood flowing into the sore muscles.
  3. Massage or better yet roll. I can’t afford to get a massage every week, but my two foam rollers stay on the floor in my living room.

What do you do to help relieve sore muscles? How much water do you drink daily?