What at a whirlwind these past 46 days have been. It all started with an email mid February from the infamous Paul Buceta, world renown photographer & publisher of Strong Magazine. He invited 8 women to join him in the Caribbean for a fun week of shooting and memories.
What an honor to be asked to join him on this wonderful venture! How scary too since it’s 4 months after delivering my second child via c-section at age 42! Holy %#^*!!
First question, CAN I PULL this off?! Really? Body looks like a post baby body (pics to come showing you what I mean) & I had only been working out less than a month. I forwarded the email invitation from Paul to my husband with no notes. Wait and see what he thinks. What will he say?!
That night as we lay in bed, he says I received the email you forwarded to me and I think you need to go for it. Ask Steven tomorrow his thoughts about getting you in shape in 46 days. But when opportunity knocks, take it.
And here we are. 46 days later and countless hours spent at the gym–many days, twice a day. Clean eating and nothing but shear dedication and determination.
I have never worked so hard for something in such a finite amount of time than this…and completely different this go around with my training & nutrition. Sled pushes, Jacob’s ladder, lifting heavy — things I’ve NEVER done. ..all while trusting someone completely from the beginning and not questioning, even when it’s our first time working together.
New diet methods were implemented, things I was not accustomed to…like not being so strict. Carbs at night, & fat, lots of good fat and other things too. Fruit? Sure. No problem. Protein shakes even up until the day I left? Absolutely!
I will say I had anxiety about all of it at first considering I was on a time crunch and the end result had to be there! The hardest part was letting go as I am an extreme type A personality and I like to control everything I do. So for me not to add my own input was tough. Very tough. Giving up control and trusting someone else with my end result stressed me out. But I took a deep breath and said, balls to the walls…all or nothing! Go for it!
So, here I am. Boarding the plane to Punta Cana…literally as I type this. Do I like my end result? Absolutely & I hope you will too.
What I’ve learned is to embrace change and with each child, change happens some good, some bad. Could I have looked better than I do now if I had added my own input? Nope! I would have done the old “self defeat” as many women do thus jeopardizing the final outcome.
Am I stage ready? Hmmm. Maybe or maybe not. It all would depend on what category I guess I would be entering. Do I have a flawless body? No and I don’t want one because it doesn’t exist; and chasing after one will forever make you unhappy.
What I have learned from this experience is that I weigh more than when I last competed, by 13 pounds. But my derrière is still here, something I lose when I lean out to compete. I have 6 pack abs, and bigger shoulders, back and arms.
My hubby says my bum is lifted more, which is a good thing meaning he likes my fuller, perkier tush. And I can fit into all of my skinny clothes.
I look completely different from day one and that’s all that matters. I’m ready to ROCK IT in Punta Cana & most of all have fun!
More posts and photots to come from Punta Cana!! Doors are closed & we are off!
What beautiful skies and sandy beaches to wake up to. A far cry from Albuquerque. We got in late last night and met up with everyone at dinner. What a fun bunch of people and NICE. You never know in the fitness industry how other women will act towards you. It’s sad but many aren’t as welcoming if they feel threatened or are one of those who constantly compares herself to others. But here, it’s a fun mix of great women. And men–Paul, my hubby and one other. Whew!
Elsa & Yasmine shot on Saturday and are sisters from Houston. They brought their styling assistant Kim along who is really nice. Love the Texas accents!
Also here is Monica, our tiny makeup artist, Tanya, Dawn, Liz, Sarah, who I met at Lori Harder’s Bliss Project & Shannon who is from New York. Shannon just found out some great news. I wish I could share but you will soon find out.
So after meeting everyone & chatting, we all moved over to the outside sports bar and hung out for a little while. It was great to talk with everyone and find out where they all were from & their background. I must say it was a little intimidating to hear all of them have shot with Paul before & numerous times. As for me, NEVER! What an honor to be asked on this invitation only trip but at the same time, I’m feeling the pressure now!
This morning we slept in -awesome since it’s almost non-existent at home with a 5 month old and 3 1/2 year old. We hit the gym mid morning only to find over half of our crew already there. Gotta love it!
The gym is actually great for a resort gym and the staff trainer was so very helpful and “spotted” us girls while lifting weights, even when we really didn’t need one. Haha. Thank you…I guess?
While we were at the gym Sarah told us about Paul. He has a version of Montezuma’s revenge so he had to cancel shooting for the day and everyone’s scheduled shoot will be pushed back by a day.
LESSON 1: Being flexible is key. When shooting, things can happen like bad weather, shoots running long, equipment malfunction and even well, getting sick. If you want to succeed in the fitness industry or be invited back, be flexible.
Am I bummed? Of course. I was really hoping to shoot and then enjoy Tuesday and Wednesday with my hubby on the beach with some very high caloric drinks, you know the one’s with umbrellas in them. Plus, trying to cut sodium and water two days back to back is tough. Oh well. It’s probably best because I am holding water from traveling and something else…
After breakfast and the gym, we hit the VIP beach for an hour or so before heading to meet the crew. The VIP beach is designated to those who upgrade their room while staying at the resort . Is it worth it? Not sure yet. I will let you know.
The day was spent hanging out at the beach and pool. It was actually great because everyone got to know each other better and goof off. I must say, the girls Paul chose are DOWN TO EARTH. All could be divas in their own right but they are true gems. I gathered that Paul doesn’t put up or hang out with the “high maintenance” ones based on the comments from the girls. Who has time or energy for that? Right?
We ended the night back at the buffet. Yes, buffet. They had limited things we could eat but the guys sure had a field day day with it. All I can say is Tuesday night, I am sooo devouring the pastries. J/k. In all seriousness, salt is my love. Like chips and salsa. Oh and a margarita with lots of salt!
More to come from Punta Cana tomorrow. Happy Easter!
So tomorrow is the big day. 8:00 am is call time for hair & makeup. I am so excited and nervous all wrapped up in one. I am currently chugging 160 ounces of water with a cut off time of 5:00 pm. Then, no more. I will elaborate more in another post about diet man ipulation for shooting but for now I’m going to focus on the topics above.
So when I was asked to do this shoot, we were told to bring outfits to create 4 looks. Fitness, bikini, lingerie and whatever else. The tough part is deciding what to bring and what looks I want. Do I shoot lingerie? I’m a now 43 year old mom with two kids, a hubby who is with a BIG practice and a child that’s about to start private school in the fall. What to do? Well first and foremost, I’ve learned to include my husband in all of the decision making process. So, 3-4 outfits later from Agent Provacateur, I think you know his response.
So swimwear…what should I bring? Well, we will be in an exotic location so the suits need to be sexy & exotic. No Victoria’s Secret or suits that can be found at your local pool. I have 3 favorite sites. Beach Bunny Swimwear, Southbeachsuits swimsuits & Sauvage Swimwear. Beach Bunny has an amazing assortment of sexy suits. Sauvage does too and I hope Paul chooses the metal suit for me to shoot in. And Southbeachsuits swimwear has everything and I could spend days at that site looking through them all.
The key to all of this is bring as MANY outfits for the PHOTOGRAPHER to choose from. I feel if you are shooting with a very well known photographer who knows what he is doing, let him put together the outfits. He or she knows what looks best in front of the camera. Just make sure all of the outfits you bring look great on you, compliment your physique and that you feel comfortable shooting in.
Next, pack everything in zip loc bags with your name on them and bring it in a carry on suitcase or backpack if traveling by plane. I brought my Lululemon large backpack (easier on the back) even when it weighs 16 pounds. Notes about zip lock bags -so nothing spills or ruins the outfits. And carry it On the plane in case your luggage is lost. See example above.
Invest in professional hair & makeup. Day makeup is completely different from photo shoot makeup. Here in Punta Cana, we have the adorable teenie tiny Monica Kalra. But don’t let her 80 pound self fool you. She’s the BOMB!
Last, I really feel the key to a good shoot is to go in with NO EXPECTATIONS about anything. Be flexible about outfits, looks, types of photos (as long as it stays within your core values) and try fun things. You hired the photographer because you value his work. Respect that.
More to come tomorrow! Night, night.
What a crazy, fast paced day of shooting it has been! I woke up at 6:15 am after a little less than 6 1/2 hours of sleep from the night before. NOT recommended for future shoots or those contemplating booking a photo shoot. But the night before, Paul was back in full force and it’s kind of hard not to hang out with everyone. 🙂
Once up, I quickly showered, and I mean quickly, as it was FREEZING! I must say, trying to shave your legs when the water is ice cold is crazy. Mute point. Lol.
Anyway, shower done. Up next COFFEE! If anyone knows me, they know I can’t function without my morning cup of coffee. I quickly rushed downstairs to the lounge an ordered a coffee. A cappuccino was delivered instead. “Oh well”, I said, and downed the thing in 5 seconds flat! Then 2 more! Seriously? Yep.
I then texted my trainer, Steven, to see if he could FaceTime with me. I wanted him to see my abs, legs & shoulders. I wanted to know if I’m dry enough and how much carb loading he thinks I need to do. HAHA. If that can even take place here considering the limited food options.
We coordinated a time to talk as Punta Cana is 2 hours ahead of ABQ. 8:00 am my time is what we settled on. Perfect! I can get all of my packing finished for the day and my hubby and I can FaceTime with our girls in the meantime.
(Me Facetiming with NO MAKEUP ON, LOL)
After packing and Facetiming with our girls, I headed to breakfast to meet Dawn, the other model I was shooting with for the day. Dawn is from Ottowa and is in Punta Cana wit her boyfriend, Dave. She is a SAF athlete and has shot with Paul many times. We loaded up on some carbs and chatted about our family & our experience so far in Punta Cana. FYI, Dawn has 5 boys! Crazy and she looks amazing!
After breakfast (and while walking to get my makeup done) I Facetimed with Steven. FYI, you always want to be early for a shoot–never late! Steven & I reviewed my eating “game plan” for the day and while talking to him I got to see my other trainer Alex and one of my good friends, Shanda. Shanda was recently published in Strong Magazine & also is a Figure Pro, for those of you in the fitness competition arena. It felt so good to see all of them and it gave me the boost of energy & confidence to get me ready for the day!
Once in the hotel room where makeup and hair was scheduled, Monica got to work. She is the teenie, tiny makeup artist I mentioned in a prior post. She’s so cute! Her comment was that Paul would make our hair very messy when not shooting fitness photos so be prepared. If you look at his photography, that is kind of his signature look. Love it!
(Monica finished with eye makeup – up next hair)
We finished up around 10:15 am and headed over to Paul’s room. Once in his room, we signed our consent form and then got to work showing him outfits for him to pick from. As a reminder, I brought outfits I felt comfortable shooting in & felt looked good on me. It’s now up to him to do his magic as I know he’s the expert and can work his magic.
One more note, when shooting off location, the location for photographs become anywhere. In other words, it can me a hotel lobby, hotel room, outside by the beach, in the village, etc. It is not an in-studio photo shoot so you need to be flexible with where you shoot and know that some of the best shots come from odd places. 🙂
Dawn shot first, which was fine with me as I wanted to watch and get a feel for his way of doing things. Then it was my turn. Paul was awesome at making me feel comfortable. We started outside on the balcony to get the natural light and then shot inside up against a wall. The photos came out amazing. And I will post some here soon.
We then headed downstairs for lunch. He wanted to shoot us on the beach but needed to wait for the sun to go down some. We met up with the “crew” at the snack bar hut by the beach. We sat and ate lunch (what food I could eat) and just talked and laughed. It was great to relax a bit with everyone.
Around 3:00 pm we decided to get our fitness shooting over with for Strong Magazine. Dawn, Sarah, Tanya, Liz, Shannon and myself, along with Paul, Monica and my husband headed to the village. Paul wanted to shoot us running in the streets of Punta Cana.
I must say it was a bit scary at first. A group of fit women in the streets of a not so nice area with many natives around was nerve racking. At one point, one of the girls commented that a guy had a machete. We quickly got the shots we needed and got out of there!
We then headed back to the resort where Paul shot us running on the beach – which was a blast. He also got a few “piggy back” photos of us goofing off. FUN. Once we finished, Dawn and I got our swimsuits on for night shooting on the beach.
I shot in a metal swimsuit by Sauvage Swimwear. The swimsuit is soooo cool and well, I’m going to have to figure out a way to make this suit into something I would wear again. As of now, it’s just a metal top. You will see what I mean in the photos. Ummm, it’s not something I could wear to the country club pool…that’s for sure!
Shooting on the beach is messy. You get sand everywhere, the water is COLD and the current can be rough. All part of getting a good shot though and you just have to suck it up. No complaining on my part. I thought it was awesome!
Paul asked if Dawn and I could shoot on Wednesday morning as well. He wanted to get some more fitness shots and felt we ran out of time today. I said YES!! Why wouldn’t I? If the publisher of a magazine and the one and only, PAUL BUCETA, asks if you want to shoot some more, you can’t say no!
It just meant eating clean ONE MORE NIGHT as Wednesday at 1pm John and I have to leave back to the states. We are going to the Masters golf tournament.
We still ended the night popping open a bottle of champagne and toasting to good times and new friends on the beach. YUM!!