Gaspari Nutrition

Ava Cowan


4 MONTHS PREGNANT!
11/30/2011

I guess I left out the "I LOOK" part but it is exactly how I feel I look sporting this distended stomach. To someone who is just starting to work out, I make look not bad at all! But just note, I can have 10 lbs of weight to lose in my rear, leg, sides and back but normally only a few to lose in my mid section. I don't normally get 'bloated'. So for MY tummy to look this size, something is dramatically wrong. Yea, sounds so great until I turn around to the back of my legs...that is another blog entirely. Keep in mind also, I KNOW how to pose to look my best. I took a few slouched pictures, and they horrified me. I mean just straight up horrible! I have b*lls...but common sense or ego one of the two overruled the decision to post those! For now, I think here are a few reasons why I may have an issue:

1. I haven't trained really since before the Olympia.

2. I went to India and I am quite sure I have a sea urchin that lives in my stomach. I am making an appointment with the G I doctor tomorrow to find out what is wrong with me.

3. I have been eating nonstop and couldn't care less. That is what the rest of this blog is about.

Over the past few months I have really thought about my role when I speak to others regarding life issues. I rarely speak about regular training methods. And though I know how to reshape bodies completely, I believe my gift is to help rebuild lives by being a living example. Through honest self appraisal, honesty about my truth and sharing with others is the way I am able to connect with others. If you have followed my journey or even if you have not, the fact is that my life has been filled with some challenges along the way. I have overcome many of them and I am in fact a survivor in the purest sense of the word. I have extreme trust issues most likely as a resulting from growing up with the emotional trauma caused by the physical abandonment of one parent and the emotional abandonment of the other. This feeling of loss was compounded when my only sibling left me to live at our grandmothers when I was very young. I dealt with immense confusion, chaos and loneliness. These issues I believe were for the most part the reason I started using drugs and alcohol as a way to not feel what I was feeling and I was able to fly emotionally below the radar. Additionally, as I have mentioned in a previous blog, I have battled debilitating depression that has been a struggle to manage me for over 20 years. I mention these facts not for sympathy as I know there are many that have endured much worse than I have. I share my life with you so that through my story you may see your own. The issues may be different, but the feelings may be very much the same. We all have events that happened in our lives that have molded and shaped who we are today. I believe that because I found some thread of internal strength when I was at my weakest is what made me the resilient woman that I am today. I have clawed my way up from the depths of my own personal darkness and made something of my life, and I am not even close to being finished. It is when I am in the most pain is when I dig the deepest. I know the feeling of turning the corner and finding happiness from within and from doing the things that make me feel good about myself. Getting in impeccable shape is one of those things. And being promoted worldwide by Gaspari is the way that I was most likely able to reach you. My connection to you is my chance to make a difference in your life. Not just because I can get lean, anyone can. But by sharing my truth I can help others to take a chance on themselves too. Even if it feels impossible and the hardest thing to do.

The decision to stop drinking and using drugs was not very easy for me. And I have not had a drink in over 8 years. I fought my depression and continue to read daily which helps me become a healthier version of myself every day. I am fighting the depression with medication and have been doing well professionally.

To move to the next level in my life, to be a coach in life, I think it is fair to be very honest with you. I have decided to share this next bit of my life so that you know that the "girl with the abs" is real, much more real than one snapshot that captures just one moment in time.

As most of you know by now, I am recently out of a very important relationship in my life. It is a fact of life that all of us experience heartache. Sometimes that kind of hurt can take months to get over. I know it is called 'heartbreak' because the pain is so strong it hurts physically. This is what I was feeling and going through right before your eyes in a very public arena. I actually moved out of my place 10 days before the biggest competition of my career the 2011 Olympia. In order to keep the diet and training together I held on as if my life depended on it. To me it was life or death. That is how much I wanted to be my best at the Olympia. I suffered privately and only a handful of very close friends and family knew of my struggles. Directly after the Olympia I went to India to compete in my last show of the year and I got extremely ill within a day of arriving. I was violently ill and sweating my way through prejudging and just counted the minutes until I reached the finish line in my mind of the finals that following night. I held on like a man grasping of a tiny branch as he hung from the side of a mountain in order to save his life. After that show, I just let go and all of that pain catapulted me into that dark place. I got home and couldn't even move or get through the day without crying. I knew it would hurt, that I had to walk through it and I also knew that time could and would mend me.

I made a decision then that I had to take time off from contest prep. I had been competing so much and I in no way would be able to emotionally handle the rigors of competition prep. I decided to skip all shows until next year's Olympia since I was already qualified.

The month of October I didn't even walk into a gym, and my only source of comfort was food. I didn't care about anything but surviving. Cake, cookies, sushi, hotdogs, Mexican food, pasta......anything, everything and a lot of it. In November I traveled most of the month and I may be trained 4 times total. The last two months was just about trying to put my life back together and figure out what I was going to do next. Competing was not on that list.

This brings me all the way through Thanksgiving and to today. I am happy to let you know that I have turned the corner, and as of 2 days ago I have decided that I would like to ask for an invite to the Ms. Figure International. The second that decision was made, I found a renewed desire and purpose in my life.

The road back physically is going to take some work. And currently, things are not pretty! loll That is also a part of my 'truth' and if you have found yourself on the other side of life's lessons, you know exactly what this looks like. Well you know how YOU look I suppose. This leaves me with the decision to show you MY before picture.

Now anyone who knows me know or has met me knows I like to be put together as much as possible for appearances, competitions, and photo shoots. My online pictures are well picked and professionally edited. This is how attentive I am to detail and my public image. What I am about to share with you is where any one of us can end up after life happens. Through this venerability I also find renewed strength. As with every time in my past, it is always the darkest before the light and it feels like it is about 4 AM finding comfort in the fact that the sun will rise again in a few hours. It sure beats the distance and darkness of midnight. Every day I get a bit closer to my sunshine. The light of day will come after every workout, healthy meal, and cardio session over the upcoming weeks.

The happiness is alive in my heart, and I am ready to get back to work. Build Yourself.

DAY 1 NOVEMBER 28, 2011.

Member Comments

Zvezdana O from NEW YORK, NY
01/12/2012
Ava, thank you so much for this post. You are always the realest and most open and that's why you're my favourite! We come from similar backgrounds, and I am a happy person today, but there has been a lot of hard work done on my part to reach this point. I wish you all the best in 2012! I hope you win the Arnold or the Olympia, i'll be rooting for you. You're amazing.
Sherezada T from Palisades Park, NJ
12/28/2011
Eva!! Wonderful Post! Thanks so much for posting this. Winter/Spring/Summer 2011, were great for me, workout wise, I was in tip top shape & then suddenly, I fell off, got a little lost and started eating, & eating way too much for my own good. Next week, I back, harder then ever, again, because I know what I am capable of in the gym. However, reading your post was a true blessing. All the luck to you, in luv, health, mental health and all that comes to you during 2012. When you dont believe in you, know that you have fans that do. You have came an amazing way!! SO KEEP ON GOING!!! WOW, I feel truly inspired.
luke t from [unknown location]
12/20/2011
brilliant ava..i think its a good thing that you shared a tiny piece of your life experiences with the out side world (your fans)..Everyones had there own personal problems..drink,drugs whatever.im sure people look at your life, pics ,films,etc an think ,you have had a easy time of it.As any one knows with life experience thats 1 in a million..glad now some people will realise your just like the rest of us, if you want something you need to make it happen..And you have done that without a doubt. What you have proved here, is your a strong independent beautifull women.and its possible you can over come these things an be the best you can be.And you have become in my opinion the no1 women in pro figure in the world,its only a matter of time before your miss figure olympia..i wish you all the luck in the world ava, keep doing what your doing no1 no messing!!!!!!....that idiot avissi his loss,,had a women like you an let her go WHAT A FOOL !!!!!
Horice P from Lantana, FL
12/18/2011
Wow!!! I already felt a little connection with you because i also live in Palm Beach County, but now you actually seem "Human"... All i can think is wow. It takes guts to be so vulnerable in public. You are a unique woman.
donald g from kearny, NJ
12/08/2011
awesome story. wish i could say i relate but truth is we are all left alone to struggle with life's B.S. Whoever said you only get as much as you can handle had life whip their A** on the daily. on the less sh**tty side all the side stepping out of the darkness that keeps creeping in has left me in fabulous shape. But hey, like i said, great story. Hopefully one day you will finally find a way to let go of your demons and you can get off the medication. Sorry for the rant. Life's a garden. Dig it
marlene h from kamloops, BC
12/05/2011
Thank you Ava for exposing your soul. I have always admired you and have followed on your journeys always in awe star struck and at the same time always wondering who you are. Its easy to see in your interviews, you tube videos and such that you have a big heart and are motivated to the core which is always so inspiring to watch. And when I finished ready this blog my heart really went out to you! To go against the grain of the industry and peel away the layers and share that you really are human and yet a super human at the same time is so inspiring. Again you have left me awe struck! Even in one of your most vulnerable moments you found a way to motivate and inspire your fans and heal yourself in the process. And to think you held your self together so perfectly you even placed first at the Europa. Simply put; you go girl! Keep shining, I hope to one day meet you. Cheers! Marlene
Sheri P from Duncan, OK
12/02/2011
Thank you!!! for sharing... for opening up, for being "real". That is more inspirational than any number of wins or trohpies will ever be. Your right, alot of people who read this will fee and understand where you are coming from. Anyone who has competed in this industry will absolutely know how you feel. I always wondered how the professionals rebounded, bounced back, lived their real lives, didn't lose it, handled the situations - because what us local competitors get to see is all the FAME and glory, not the guts and determination, the heartaches, the failures, the bloat, the "bad" body - even though millions of women would gladly accept that figure, it isn't good enough for industry standards much less fitness magazines. So Ava, thank you for making some of us in the body building industry feel comfort from knowing that the trials and tribulations we are facing, are the same ones you professionals are facing, and in the end, we can pull ourselves up and compete again. So sorry for your heartache - glad to see that your on the road to healing. Truly enjoy your blogs, posts, and workout videos. Sheri
christina l from indep, MO
12/02/2011
I couldn't have read this at a better time. Thank you from every ounce of my heart for sharing. NO one gets into the griddy road of post competition. You are AMAZING.
Tammy Y from Alvaton, KY
12/02/2011
In these pictures you just look like a normal girl, and there is nothing wrong with that. Seems like being 'Super Human' has a price! You were my first inspiration and that remains, when you trained me for those 3 days I was starstruck and excited about your new relationship! I am extremly sorry for all that has happened and wish you the best but please remember someday the lights of a stage & camera will not be shining on you and it is then when you will need fans at 'home' to get you through....let issues of the past be that or they could ruin the future.
Delisa G from Albuquerque , NM
12/01/2011
Thank you Ava! I'm looking for strength right now. I just competed in Fitness America on November 18th and I always struggle with my diet afterward. I want to eat everything! This week I wanted to start eating clean, and for the most part I did. I wasn't able to eat as good as I wanted though. I hope to get a handle on this diet soon, because it is such hard work to get the fat off. It is not enjoyable. I admire your strength. I hope to follow your example. Thanks again for your candidness.
joseph b from delray bch, FL
12/01/2011
Ava, Thank you for sharing your pain and your struggles....you are not alone!! Thank you for your inspiration, I have been sober for 30 days and your story has given me strength for many more !! Thank you !!! -Joe
Maria J from houston, TX
12/01/2011
You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have :)
Heather K from Osakis, MN
12/01/2011
Bravo and thank you for showing your "human" side. It helps those of us who are "humans" as well. This is where we can best gleen the inspiration and motivation that is within us, by relating to others and knowing that we are not alone. Go get 'em, Ava. You truly are and will continue to be not only a survivor of life, but a connoisseur of life and what it has to offer when you take it by the reigns. Thank you :)
mary m from san antonio, TX
12/01/2011
Thank you for posting that Ava! You are such a fighter, so strong..we are so much alike! I wish you would write a book about your life Ava, you would reach and help so many people and also give them hope... find an inner streangth within themselves to be spectacular! I really believe in you Ava, I hope positive wonderful energy surrounds you and gives you more power then you ever had to make 2012 you best year yet!!! - Mary Medina
faraday h from jacksonville, FL
12/01/2011
so brave for sharing! I didn't know you but now have an all new respect and like for you. Thanks for sharing something so personal!
Andrew K from Alpha, IL
12/01/2011
I know it is hard, and I know all about heartbreak in my life for that I have gained nothing in that area in my life then that. I Survive that physical pain by going to the gym and working as hard as I can, so then I have a pain that overs that one. My roomate has also been a big impact on my life, without him I might not be here today. I have been in the best shape of my life, but I feel your pain, and hope that you do better. It will pass and for the record you are a awesome figure for Gaspari Nutrition, and I don't think the place would be the same without you. And I hope you the best in the futrue. Andrew K
Doreen M from Chandler, AZ
12/01/2011
Thanks for sharing this! Very motivating, personal and honest! It's as if you were speaking directly to me about myself!! I turned that corner as well and am looking forward to prepping for my 2nd figure competition in March. Since my 1st show in July, I indulged more than I would have liked and feel like I'm starting from scratch again. Thanks for reminding me that I can do it...and it's exactly what I need to feel like myself again!
Bill T from East Amherst, NY
12/01/2011
Hi Ava, I can identify so much with your story, depression, alcohol issues, heartbreak, poor eating habits, etc. After a failed marriage and alcoholism, I am since 3 years sober, lost 90 lbs and at the age of 50 started lifting weights and seeking to compete in masters bodybuilding. You are one of my heroes. Perfectly human, dealing with common things that affect all of us. This blog today and honesty has allowed everyone to see the complete Ava Cowan, beautiful, mortal, but courageous, not compromising or settling for excuses. I wish I could motivate you as much as you motivate me. I guess in a way I can by passing my experience and hope to others. I can't thank you enough for sharing your life. I had hoped for a top 3 in the Ms. Olympia this past year for yourself. This year, I know you can win. Be the champion you were meant to be! Kind Regards, Bill Trudell
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