bikini competition

Bikini Competition Diet Tutorial

So you’ve signed up for your first bikini competition or you just want to look like a bikini competitor. The most important thing you will need to focus on during your training is your diet.

276

Exercise alone will not transform your body to its full potential, in fact most of the exercise you do during contest prep will be focused on losing fat and maintaining muscle. The diet is where the real magic happens.

Its also important to realize that every body is different and responds differently to different diets. Although there are general guidelines that work for MOST people, it is important to keep track of your progress and change things as needed. This is one of the reasons I think working with a credible coach is great. They can help tailor your diet to your body.

The first thing you should do is calculate your calorie requirements for maintenance.

You can do this using any of several formulas here is a link to a calculator to make it easy for you 😉

Next, you want to calculate how many calories you will need to reduce your diet to lose the number of pounds you think you will need to lose to achieve the look you are going for. Considering that a pound of fat=3500 calories you will multiply the number of pounds you want to lose by 3500. Then, you divide it by how many days you have until your competition. This will be the number of calories you will need to subtract from your daily maintenance caloric requirements you calculated earlier. Keep in mind that this is not an exact science, changes is metabolism will change you your body loses weight. As you lose weight your metabolism will decrease. Also, it is NOT recommended to go below 1200 calories a day.

For example, let’s say my caloric requirements for maintaining my weight are 2400. If I want to lose 10 pounds by my show date in 60 days:

10 lbs x 3500 calories/lb / 60 days = 583.33 calories/day

2400 calories/day – 583.33 calories/day= 1816.66 calories/day

Once you have your calories, you need to create a menu of food that approximately matches that amount. You also need to factor in the right ratio of macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

The recommendations for macronutrients are as follows:

Fats:

Average or low bodyfat: 1-2g fat/ kg body weight [between 0.4-1g total weight/ pounds]
High bodyfat: 1-2g fat/ Kg LEAN weight [between 0.4-1g LEAN weight/ pounds]
Low calorie dieting: You can decrease further, but you should maintain AT LEAST 0.30g/ pound.
Proteins:

STRENGTH training -> 1.4 to 2g per KG bodyweight (about .6 / pound)

Research has shown that 2.2g-3g per KG body weight can help with muscle retention which may be good as you are dieting down for a show.

Carbohydrates:

There are no specific requirements for carbs, so the rest of your calories (once you have subtracted fat and protein) can be carbohydrates.

 

Ok, now sorry but I have to throw some more math at you.  Once you have the number of grams of fat and protein your body needs you will need to convert those into calories. You can do this by multiplying the number of grams by the number of calories per gram for each macronutrient. Carbohydrates and Proteins are 4 calories/gram; fat is 9 calories per gram. Once you have figures out how many calories you will be eating based on the protein and fat requirements, divide the remaining number of calories by 4 to find out how many grams of carbohydrates you should be eating.

Got that? Hope your head is not spinning! If that was really too much math for you here is a link to a calculator to help you out!

Now, I hope you like puzzles, because you are going to have to play around with the types and amount of food you are eating to meet your requirements. If you are off by a little that is totally ok! I like the my fitness pal app to help me keep track of what I am eating and to help plan out my meals to make sure they fit my requirements.

Now you could probably plug in junk food and reach your macro goals, but I recommend eating whole foods as much as possible. This will help with your hunger levels and also help your body get all the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) it needs to function.

Here is a list of some foods I eat when I am competing (and usually when I am not competing) to meet my macronutrient goals.

Protein
Chicken breast
Lean ground chicken
Turkey breast
Lean ground turkey
Lean steak
Tilapia
Salmon
Swordfish
Sea bass
Mahimahi
Grilled calamari
Shrimp
Scallops
Cottage cheese
Greek yogurt
Whey isolate Protein powder
Egg whites
Whole eggs

Carbohydrates
Leafy greens
Green beans
Asparagus
Brussels sprouts
Brown rice
Potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Squash
Bell peppers
Onions
Mushrooms
Oatmeal
Quinoa
Water melon
Berries
Mango
Pineapple
Banana
Apple
Ezekiel bread

Fats
Fish oil
Flax oil
Walnuts
Almonds
Pistachios
Cashews
Almond milk
Vinaigrette
Olive oil
Coconut oil
Avocado
Almond butter
In general you will want to eat about 6 meals and have a serving of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats at each meal. Make sure you are paying close attention to your portion sizes. THE BEST WAY TO DO THIS IS WITH AN ELECTRONIC SCALE. They are pretty affordable and take the guess work out of measuring. Here is what a day of eating can look like for me:

Meal 1

Oatmeal with flax oil

Egg whites

Meal 2

Ezekiel Bread with P28 peanut butter

Meal 3

Chicken Breast

Spinach

Walnuts

Sweet Potato

Meal 4

Protein Shake

Meal 5

Salmon

Green Beans

Quinoa

Meal 6

Cottage Cheese

Berries

Advertisements

Post Competition Binge/Depression

Anyway, today I wanted to do a little post on post-competition blues/binging.

Preparing for a Photoshoot

One of my goals for this year was to do a fitness photo shoot to document the hard work that I have put into my body. Luckily my coached helped me schedule a group photo shoot (to reduce the costs) with my team mates and renowned photographer Brian Landis.

274

Brian was a total pro and helped with posing and definitely made me feel comfortable but I wanted to share with you a few tips to help you prepare for a photo shoot in case you have not done one before. I had no clue what to expect when I arrived at the photo shoot and I was VERY nervous.

1. Choose a great photographer- This may seem self explanatory but it really is key to your photo shoot success. Remember, you get what you pay for and if you are doing a free photo shoot expect to work with someone who is not as experienced and just building their portfolio.

Try looking for images you like online or in magazines and find out who did the photographs. Ask around, if a a friend is posting gorgeous professional pics on social media ask her who she worked with and how her experience was.

A good photographer will know lighting, help guide you in your poses and make you feel comfortable without pressuring you.

Another point is that if you shoot with a published photographer and they like working with you they may decide to have your pictures published. This can be a great way to break into fitness modeling!

2. Learn how to pose- It is always a good idea to practice your posing and know what looks good on your body before you do a photo shoot. Also understanding what you want your photos to convey and how to show that. Here are a few links to some guides on how to pose:

 

3. What to bring- Clothes, clothes and more clothes! Bring more than you think you will need, but at least 6-8 looks. Try one your looks before your photo shoot and make sure everything looks good together. You will want to bring a few pairs of shoes to go with your looks too. Usually dramatic more extreme fashion statements are great for photo shoots. Some photographers work with a stylist and will bring clothes you can wear– so ask what they recommend. In addition here is a list of items you may want to bring:

  • Baby oil
  • Make-up for touch ups at least a lip gloss, powder and blush.
  • Scissors- you never know when they might come in handy
  • Snacks- make sure you have healthy fuel that will make you feel great
  • Music- Something fun to help get you in the mood

4. Hair and Make-up:  Unless you are really great at doing your own hair or make-up I recommend hiring someone to do it for you. This will ensure that you look your best in your pictures. Bring touch-up make-up or ask your stylist for a touch-up kit. Ask your photographer who they recommend for hair and make-up if you are not sure where to go. A good photographer will have a great network of professionals to recommend.

5. Body Prep: You want to go into your photo shoot looking great but you don’t have to be completely ripped. A softer look can be great for photo shoots. If you are a competitor, a few days after your competition is a great time to book your photo shoot because you will have that left over glow from your spray tan and you’ll still be in great shape if you don’t go too overboard on your after competition meals! Also make sure your skin looks great by staying hydrated and applying lotion.

I hope this post was helpful. Good luck on your photo shoot!

 

How to Get Rid of Stubborn Fat — No Gimmicks!

Hey guys!

Do you have stubborn fat? You know what I am talking about– your body just favors one place to store fat over another place. For women its usually but and thighs for guys its usually the gut.

277

One roadblock I had been coming up against is losing the fat right around my belly button. I am thin– 120lb and 5’7″– and I stay around that weight even when I am not competing but the fat right at my belly button does not want to go anywhere!

I started noticing this after I had my son, I know that it is not just loose skin. At first I thought it was due to a hormonal change, and some people said that when they stopped breast feeding they lost weight in there belly, but unfortunately for me this did not happen.

If you are a competitor, you know that a small waist is one of the key points that they look for and my body was just not cooperating.

So you know what I did, I decreased my calories a little bit and increased my cardio a little bit and my waist has come down an inch!

I believe that our body stores fat in preferred zones for many reasons including genetics and hormones. Although it may be the last fat to come off, it will come off if you continue dieting and exercising properly. While that body part may never look as good as someone who is more genetically gifted in that area, trust that by continuing to lose weight that fat will come off. Losing weight is a game of calories in vs. calories out.

I have heard several different theories on how to spot reduce, but I do not believe anything has ever been clinically proven to reduce fat in a targeted region.

That’s the beauty of body building– you can’t choose where you burn fat but you can choose wear you build muscle, its all about building muscle to create the illusion of  the figure you want and then losing the fat to reveal that frame.

Although it can be hard to trust the process and you may feel like you will never lose that last little bit of stubborn fat. I promise that it will come off if you stick with you diet and track your progress. Hope that helps!

Where do you store fat? Do you believe you can spot reduce?

 

Skin prep for the Perfect Spray Tan

I have had the curse of a horrible spray tan every time I  have competed up until my last competition. Although, ultimately, I don’t feel that my bad spray tan really made that big of a difference in my placing, if you get the spray tan right, that is one less thing you have to worry about. Today I wanted to tell you what I did differently that made the difference between great spray tan and horrible spray tan.

Bad Spray Tan!

Bad Spray Tan! (That’s my stomach in case you were wondering…)

166

Good spray tan! (didn’t have a close up)

Here’s what you will need:

  • Moisturizing Sugar Scrub (or make your own)
  • Non-moisturizing sugar scrub (or make your own)
  • Non-moisturizing gel soap
  • Baking Soda

 

First, the week before the competition I went to whole foods and bought one of the sugar scrubs they sell in bulk. The one I got was coconut/sugar but I am sure you could use another one as long as it has both essential oils and sugar. The oils are important because they will really moisturize your skin. You could also make your own by combining sugar with coconut oil. The point is that you want to exfoliate and moisturize.

Liquid Sun Rayz has a competition prep pack that has a sugar scrub and body butter that you could also use.

Use the scrub in the shower everyday the week before the competition up until the day before the spray tan. Because the scrub has the coconut oil already in it you save a step because you don’t have to cake on extra moisturizer. However, if you have really dry skin you might want to moisturize again either in the morning or at night depending on when you use the scrub.

Shave your whole body Monday, Tuesday and Thursday the week of the competition. This is to ensure that you get everything as smooth as possible. DO NOT wax because waxing can leave residue on your skin. Do NOT shave the day of my tan because it opens your pores which can leave little black dots on your skin if you get sprayed too soon after shaving.

The day of the competition, moisturize in the morning and then before you go to get your spray tan take a shower using a non-moisturizing scrub. I used THIS black sugar and charcoal scrub by freeman, but you could use the Liquid Sun Rayz scrub. Make a paste with baking soda and scrub that all over your body to neutralize your skin Ph. Then rinse with a gel, non-moisturizing soap to get all the residue off.

That’s it! Simple. Follow these steps and you will get a great even spray tan. Also don’t forget to wear very baggy clothing to protect your tan.

How does your spray tan take? Good? Not so good? Any tips or tricks?

Reflection

Hey guys! I have not posted in a while. I had planned on doing two competitions in the past few weeks but I ended up just doing one. I placed disappointingly at a local show and decided that it was not worth the extra expense to do the national show I had planned on doing if I didn’t think I had a chance at winning.

The good news is that I definitely see improvement since last year.

Front pose east coast 2014

2014 Front

Back pose east coast 2014

2014 Back

val npc nationals front pose

2013 Front

Looking good from behind ;)

2013 Back

Check out the huge difference in my rear view!

The bad news is my feed back– I need to work on my conditioning!

I really want to be honest with you all. I have been competing under the premise that you can be healthy and still win, but now I am not so sure.

I have been healthy so far in my preps– eating whole foods, watching my calories and macros without cutting them to extremes, doing reasonable albeit challenging workouts (no two a day cardio).

Maybe that is not enough to win. Maybe you have to cut calories to extremes and workout like crazy and maybe even take banned substances. I have made huge gains this year but is it enough? Will it ever be enough? Can I go pro without sacrificing everything else in my life?

I SURE HOPE SO!

I am going to keep trying. I have been a little stricter with my diet and kicked up the intensity on my workouts and I am seeing results. I have a competition planned for August 16th so I will see how my new strategy works.

I love this sport because of the challenge to improve yourself and your body. I am constantly motivated to learn more about diet and exercise. Until I lose that love I will keep going and keep trying to prove that a healthy-looking body should be a healthy body.

What are your thoughts? Do you compete? Do you think competing requires extremes?

PS I’ll post a competition re-cap soon!

XOXO

FitVal

To Plyo or not to Plyo

Plyometrics.

Love them? Hate them?

I have to be honest, for me plyometrics are a total mind f*ck. I mean, by then end of a good plyo sequence, I feel like I am going to die. So in order to do a plyometric workout again I have to trick my mind into believing that I’m not going to die.

For bikini competitors, plyometrics are pretty standard as part of the training program. However, I was really, really tempted to skip them each week because they take a lot of energy, and are pretty hard on my body. That’s when I started to do research to see if they are really worth the torture that I feel they are.

For those of you who don’t know, plyometrics are, plyometrics can be traced to Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky, a Russian scientist who developed the method after observing that Olympians. He called this training “shock method” which incorporated both depth jumps and depth drops. Yuri developed his method in the 60’s and 70’s. Today Plyometrics has come to mean almost any type of training that involves jumps or explosive movements.

I started doing my research to find out how plyometrics impact physique hypertrophy and muscle building. Specifically, I wanted to know if plyometrics would help me in my pursuit to improve my physique.

What I found was this small study showing that plyometrics increases the area of type I & II muscle fibers. I also found this study comparing the effects of resistance training and plyometrics. It found that plyometrics were the best at increasing power, and both resistance training and power were similar in increasing strength and gross muscle size. Finally I found this study comparing a program of only strength training to a program of only plyometrics to a program that incorporated both. What they found was that the program incorporating both strength training and plyometrics worked best at increasing both strength and power.

So in conclusion, it looks like the data supports that plyometrics help build muscle and that the best program is one incorporating both strength training and plyometrics.

Even though I am not a huge fan of doing plyometrics I will continue to incorporate them into my workouts. I find that plyometrics are easier to take if I superset them with a traditional strength training exercise. For example, supersetting squats with high jumps. I also think plyometrics are great for mixing things up or getting an intense workout when you don’t have a lot of time or equipment.

Here is a simple plyometric plan. I usually repeat it circuit style 4-5 time:

  • 15 pop squats
  • 15 switch lunges
  • 15 wide stance jumps holding for 5 seconds at the bottom of each jump.
  • 15 narrow stance jumps
  • 15 frog jumps

Do you do plyometrics? Love them or hate them?

IIFYM vs. Eating Clean for competition diet

Hi guys! Hope you are having a great weekend!

I wanted to contribute to the great debate on competition diets.

If you have been involved in the fitness industry, you are probably familiar with two of the main meal plan styles when it comes to body building and competition prep: IIFYM and Eating clean (aka traditional body building diet). IIFYM stands for “If it fits your mouth macros.” Meaning that you calculate how many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fat you should have in a day and can eat whatever you want as long as the numbers add up at the end of the day. “Eating clean” can mean many different things but for the purpose of this post I will use it to mean a “traditional body building diet” of whole, unprocessed foods with an emphasis on high protein.

For my last few competitions, I did more of an IIFYM style of eating. I tried to eat healthy, unprocessed foods whenever possible but I would often turn to protein bars and other processed foods when I was in a time crunch.

This time around I have actually been sticking pretty closely to my meal plan and ONLY eating whole, unprocessed food.

Since I cut out the processed food I noticed huge changes in  my body. First of all, I feel better. I have more energy and feel like my body is just running better if that makes sense. Secondly, I feel like it is easier to lean out this time around. I have always been pretty lean, but I noticed that in my last prep, I was looking a lot softer than in my first competition. This time I am looking more cut and defined. Although the numbers on the scale have been going up, my body fat has stayed the same, which means I have gained muscle. With IIFYM my weight and body fat were slowly creeping up.

Check out these two progress pics:

Image

Today (June 1) Back Pose on “Traditional Eat Clean” diet

Back pose April 2014 IFFYM

Back pose April 2014 IFFYM

Check out the definition in my glutes and hamstrings in my recent “eat clean” photo. I think that my skin tone even looks better now. Even though I have been training hard, I am positive that my diet has made a huge difference.

Its interesting because when I started this journey I wanted to believe IIFYM. IIFYM makes dieting a little easier because you can be more flexible about your food choices. And, after all, 20 grams of protein from a chicken should be the same thing as 20 grams of protein from a protein bar, right?

Well, now I don’t think so. I think that this may be the result of many factors including the thermogenic effect of food (how many calories it takes your body to process your meal), producers not being entirely accurate on their nutrition labels and the possible the effect of food additives and/or lack of nutrients on metabolism.

IIFYM may work for some, and it may help you reach your goals if you are not worried about minor physique details (i.e. fitness competition). There are also many ways to do IIFYM and I think taking and “eat clean” approach to IIFYM would be great (like eating all whole, unprocessed food to meet your macro requirements.) However, I now know that a liberal IIFYM diet does not give me my best results. I need to be a little more strict about my eating to look my best.

I am excited to see how my body will transform in these next few weeks as I prep for my 4th contest.

Have you all experimented with your diet? What did you find worked best for you?

 

 

Competition Prep Workouts

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you all are enjoying the long weekend and taking some time to appreciate and remember those who lost their lives serving for our country.

I spent the morning teaching classes and then met up with my trainer for a quick work out. I hope to go to the pool later today.

I wanted to talk a little about what my competition prep workouts look like because I am always curious to see what other competitors are doing. As you may or may not remember, I had switched to a “traditional bodybuilder” plan for my off season. I have now changed it up again to get competition ready.

Currently, I am doing a 5 day split. Here’s how my week usually looks:

Monday: Quads focused leg day

Tuesday: Triceps/Shoulders

Wednesday: Back/BIceps

Thursday: Hamstrings

Friday: Glutes, Shoulders, Chest.

I rarely work abs because I already have a wide waist and I do not want to build it up more. I also do a lot of compound lifts so I am still strengthening my core indirectly.

The exercises I do varies week to week but lately it is usually I do about 9 different exercises at 4-5 sets of 12-15 reps. Often I am supersetting those exercises into 3-4 supersets

I mentioned before and I will say it again I DO NOT DO TWICE A DAY CARDIO. In fact, If I am honest the most cardio I do lately is 20 min. This is mostly because I still need to build muscle and don’t want to burn it away. It is also because I do not believe that 2 hours of cardio a day is necessary for anyone including competitors who do not need to build muscle and are only looking to slim down. I believe that if you take care of your diet, you simply don’t need to do extreme amounts of cardio.

The cardio I do now is mostly focused on building muscle: stair master, lunges on the treadmill, plyometrics and heavy resistance bike or elliptical. I do cardio 6 days a week with one of those days devoted to plyometrics.

I am trying to keep better track of my progress time around by charting my body fat and weight weekly. I am excited to see changes in my body!

What are your workouts looking like lately?

 

NPC Bikini Posing Clinic

Hi Guys!

Sorry I haven’t posted in such a long time… Tax season got the better of me. Anyway, I hope my post today will make up for it. Last weekend I went to a posing Clinic hosted by some of the leading judges in the Northeast as Reaction Nutrition. Basically the clinic went like this: We were broken into groups where judges gave us tips on what to do and what NOT to do. Our poses were critiqued and improved. At the end there was a raffle for some really great prizes including a gift certificate to CJ’s Elite competition wear. Too bad I didn’t when anything.

The theme of the clinic seemed to be “help us pick you.” There were a lot of details on what they are looking for and your goal when you are on stage is to show the best version of yourself at all times. Here are some of the most useful tips that I took away.

What NOT to do:

1. DON’T move too much- they have to judge you against the other girls and if you are moving all over the place they can’t judge you so they will move on to the next girl.

2. DON’T look back in the back pose- again when you look back you add movement an lose symmetry which makes it harder to judge.

3. DON’T do the legs crossed back pose- Legs spread shows off glutes better.

Source: Fitnessrx.com

4. DON’T lose posture when you are on the side of the stage- Even when you are not front and center, you are being compared to the other girls on stage make sure you look your best at all times

5. DON’T copy figure poses

What to Do:

1. Back pose- Toes point slightly out, legs spread not too far but not too narrow, arch back as much as possible hair should be down.

Image

2. Front pose- Legs spread, weight on one hip with torso twisted. Try twisting to different sides, staggering feet and twisting to different angles to find a pose that shows off your figure the best.

3. Transitions- Should be smooth with good posture, confidence and sex appeal.

4. Use the competition tanner– Rookie mistake is showing up too light.

5. Use good taste when it comes to your suit- Remember it is a family event.

6. Leave hair down

Have you guys ever been to a posing clinic? Any tips you learned about?