Apr 28

Be Perfect Today: Part XXVIV – Sometimes Things Just Go Sideways

YOU are the only one who knows whether you have won“Remember, winning – taking 1st Place – isn’t the criteria for success. It’s the effort and sacrifice made for improvement and achievement that is most important. 1st Place is nice. We all want it. That’s what we train for, right? But sometimes that’s just out of our sphere at this point in time.” David R. Patterson.

Several days ago I wrote on a great friend and competitor, Joe DeRousie.  It was well-received as so many people know and love Joe. But today’s blog is about a much lesser-known competitor. In fact, in the bodybuilding community probably only my team members from last year know of her. I’m talking about a young woman named Rachael DeRoche.

Rach in aircraft cargo bayRach, as I call her, is a Captain in the U.S. Air Force. Not only is she a Captain, but she’s a pilot. Not only is she a pilot, but she’s the lead pilot on a C-17 cargo plane. Rach has it going on, and is busy from before sunup to waaay past sundown.

Somewhere around 2-2½  years ago, I received a call from a female who said she wanted to talk to me about training her for a bodybuilding show. I asked all the standard questions and when satisfied, we set an appointment to meet so I could take a look at her and give her a timeline. I seldom ask people on the phone what they do for a living as I consider it a bit too intrusive as I don’t know them yet. So when this woman rang my doorbell, I was surprised to see a female in military gear. Not only military gear, I saw it was a flight suit. Not only was it a flight suit, I saw Captain’s Bars on the lapel. I was blown away.

Rachael DeRoche - cockpit“You’re a pilot?”

“Yes,” she quietly responded.

“Wow!  I had no clue from talking to you. I mean, I hear this kinda high-pitched voice on the other end of the phone who sounds like she’s 16-17 years old, so I’m thinking 22-23 year-old female…wait…how old are you?”

No…that’s none of your business how old she is. She can tell you. Not me though. I value my life. N-E-Whooo…she came inside, we chatted for a couple of hours, and at the end of the consult, she’d decided to join the team – TeamBuffedBods.

Rachael DeRoche and sisterRach had a work ethic about her that would rival Big Joe’s (DeRousie, that is). Every single day she was supposed to be here, she was. But here’s the thing…most days she was exhausted from flying all day. Living in Des Moines, which was about 40-45 minutes away from the base, she had to commute every morning and evening. So Rach would be up as early as 4 am (sometimes earlier) to get to work, fly all day and well into the evening, and then drive home. This was normal. Now add in the contest prep. Yup, it got hard real quick, but she hung in there.

Rach never once complained about what she had to do. I suppose to get to where she got to as an officer and pilot, you learn to keep your head down, your mouth shut, and just handle your business. She did just that. I’d actually feel sorry for her, dragging her bag in every evening still geared up in flight suit. She. Was. Exhausted. Towards the end of her prep she’d simply walk in, sit in the extra-wide chair in the living room (my gym is out back of my house so all clients/competitors come through the house. I have an open door policy), curl up in near-fetal position and be out like a light within a few minutes. I’d just put a blanket on her and let her sleep for 30-45 minutes to recharge the batteries. She’d open her eyes and ask, ”Ready to do this?”, and off we’d go into the gym, sometimes getting started well after 8 pm.

DSCN2754Rach took no prisoners when she trained. She gave it her all every single rep of every single set. Day after day, week after week. Her body changed. She built muscle and lost bodyfat. We picked a contest that would give us enough time to diet her down. Being the Co-Captain of her C-17, Rach was into numbers and being exact. Everything was charted and put on an Excel spreadsheet if I remember correctly. All grams of proteins, carbs, and fats were exacted out. Foods for the next day were prepped when she got home. She learned how to cook in bulk to make life easier.

Many times after a training session it’d be time for me to eat. Rather than have Rach drive home on an empty stomach, I’d make extra for her. She got to love her 7 oz. of salad/green beans, potatoes, rice, or yams (when they were allowed), and 4-5 oz. of grilled chicken (every now and then we’d have salmon or beef, but mostly chicken).

Her body changed initially, but then kind of stalled out. We tried a few things, and a little more progress was eked out, but that look we were shooting for didn’t happen. She’d been perfect on everything. Cardio, foods, training, but sometimes things just go sideways.  We finally nailed it down to not enough sleep. Her body simply wasn’t recovering from the imposed stress placed upon it, what with the flying, the training, cardio, and commuting. It was too much and her system shut down. We did a slight refeed and kept going.

DSCN2251We did the shows. Rach didn’t crack Top 5 but I was more proud of her than any previous teammate before and since. She looked good…very good! They just looked better. Every single thing that was asked of her, she did. She suffered. She sacrificed. She endured great punishment physically, mentally, and emotionally. But she hung in there. During an entire contest prep she continued to fly sorties and travel on TDY. At one point she even had an overseas mission. Yet she was perfect on everything. I’d get weekly check-ins on her foods, weights, cardio, and pics. She wanted to win. She was training to win. But winning, in the sense of 1st place, just wasn’t in the cards for her at that point in time. But in MY mind, she’d won. She’d won by doing her absolute best and giving her absolute all. What more could a coach ask for?

We do this competition thing to win. But for most, that just won’t happen. No one wants last place. But someone will get it. Everyone wants first place. Only one person will get it. The one thing I’ve attempted to do this blog series is to get you to look within. To take out the external outcome-orientated thought process and turn within to the internal locus-of-control and become performance-oriented. To take a hard look at yourself and ask, “Am I doing EVERYTHING today I possibly can and should be doing to be at my absolute best?  Am I being perfect today?”

Rach was. For almost 16 weeks Captain Rachael DeRoche, Pilot, USAF, was absolutely perfect. She knows of no other way.  I know it can be done. Be Perfect Today.


Dave and Rachel at Tacoma show 2013

Rachael Susie Stephanie Yayoi at Gladiator Classic 2013

Rachael DeRoche - C-130 plane2Rachael DeRoche - Flightline1Rachael DeRoche - takeoff



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