Monthly Archives: September 2009

Intensity Intensity… INTENSITY!

If you want to compete in figure or just want to look like a figure competitor then you must learn to work out with intensity. The kind of intensity where others in the gym say: “Damn, she is hardcore.” I am mainly referring to the precontest (fat loss) phase when you are trying to burn as many calories as possible in the gym (although off season training is also hard, the pace is much slower, the weights are heavier and breaks between exercises are much longer).

2009-09-20_2248There are a lot of women who train hard…. you must be able to raise your intensity up another notch. Remember you are not trying to do something ordinary… but extraordinary. So along with your mental decision to take your body to the next level – you must be determined to push your body physically in the gym… to the next level.

You can’t be afraid to sweat, mess your hair up and you should leave the gym in desperate need of a shower …no prima donnas here! Trying to look cute at the gym will not get you results! You should see some of the outfits in my gym…. cut-off pants, sweaty old t-shirts, beat-up sneakers…  I LOVE IT!

When you train it should be obvious to everyone that you are ‘getting ready for something’ if you blend in at the gym then you are probably not training hard enough. You know you’ve reached the right intensity level when the local gym dude expert guru comes over and says: “Hey honey be careful, don’t hurt yourself” …although you may be boiling with anger (honey?) – be happy instead, because you know you’re working out at a level that’s making people take notice.

Check out the video. Remember that these are regular everyday women busting their butts in the gym. school teachers, secretaries, moms etc., they succeed through hard work and proper dieting. They do well in competition because they get in great condition and many times beat competitors with better genetics or who have more experience.

Are you training with enough intensity?

When trying to lose body fat for a figure competition you should be exhausted after every set. To be quite honest it’s very difficult to train in this manner… this will decrease the amount of time you have to spend in the gym (because you are burning so many calories). On the contrary, if you train with only moderate intensity expect to spend many hours in the gym… every week!

Offseason Figure Training

If you need to build more muscle in between shows, your off-season workouts should be heavy and focused on basic exercises that allow you to lift more weight. Now is not the time for cutesy exercises (ex. 1 arm kickbacks with an 8lb dumbbell)… and don’t worry about perfect form – you gotta get a little hardcore and throw a little weight around. Unless you have great genetics, building muscle takes time.

If I had a nickel for every woman who has told me: : “I don’t lift weights because I will just blow up.” …or “I don’t lift weights because I get too bulky real fast,” (not just fast but… REAL fast!). For those of you who

are truly trying to build muscle… if it was only that easy!

In this video you see Jessica working with heavy weights. When lifting heavy you should use a little more body movement (‘cheating’) so that you can lift heavier weights and squeeze out more reps. You want to try to increase the amount of weight you can lift each week. Many times this may mean just adding another few pounds onto the bar or weight stack. The idea is to keep trying to improve consistently in small steps. There will be weeks where you are not able to increase the weight…. that’s ok, just keep pushing and eventually you will be able to perform the same number of reps with a higher weight. Keep your reps between 8-12. Lifting too heavy (2-4 reps) or too light (15-20 reps) doesn’t promote as much muscle growth as the 8-12 rep range.

Figure Competition Training In The Off Season

Offseason mass building exercise:

  • Rowing movements: for the lats
  • Bench press: chest, triceps, front shoulders,
  • Pushups: chest, triceps, front shoulders,
  • Pullups: lats, biceps
  • Lat pulldowns: lats, biceps
  • Squats: quads, butt (IMPORTANT: the lower you  squat the more your glutes work)
  • Hamstring curls: the absolute best hamstring builder… period
  • Shoulder presses: shoulders, triceps
  • Weighted crunches: abs