Category Archives: Bikini

Do Different People Need Different Diets

Terry, did you hear about the new diet? …EVERY week it seems someone is promoting a new diet (or fat loss supplement). They always have some breakthrough scientific study that ‘proves’ why they work.  But… like all the other ‘awesome’ new diets, they will disappear in a few months when people realize they don’t work any better… if at all!

Although this article uses competitors as examples. The same principles hold true for everyone, whether you are trying to compete or just lose a few pounds and feel better about yourself.

For the 937th time!…. There are no new diets that work better for competitors than the one everyone uses (or SHOULD be using) now! I see competitors coming into shows, far from contest ready because they tried some ‘new diet’,  that was supposed to speed up fat loss. There is actually a diet that has competitors, who are not lean enough for competition, EAT MORE FOOD! This is somehow supposed to promote fat loss for the competitor who is already behind schedule. The day that this works for fat loss…. I’m quitting!

Every competitor on this page got lean eating the SAME basic foods! No special, exotic or dangerous diets… just the standard competition diet! I know because I trained them all!

How to get lean for figure competition

A basic diet will get you as lean as you want to be

As far as diet is concerned –  If you are just trying to lose weight to get in shape, then I can understand wanting to eat something other than a figure competition diet – chicken and vegetables get a little boring after….. the FIRST day! I understand that. BUT If you are a bikini, figure, Ms fit/fitness competitor or bodybuilder, why would you not follow the diets that have worked for many, many years… and still continue to work today? Diets that can get you as lean as you need to be.

Cheat days should be a regular part of any weight loss journey. They help speed up your metabolism and they keep you motivated… give you something to look forward to. A few times a week.

Desperation will drive trainers to try all sorts of things. Every week, there is some new wonder diet that everyone is buzzing about.. or  fat burning  supplement that burns fat 137 X faster! …Let’s see, if this new fat burner burns fat 137%  faster than the other fat burner that was advertised to burn fat 70% faster…. then you should be ready for your competition after about uhhmm…  2 days of taking this supplement! Twelve weeks of training down to 2 days… amazing!

Seriously though… The women pictured are all competitors I trained and gave diets to. (bikini, figure, bodybuilding). Three of them just recently won pro cards! No crazy diets, no special shakes… no supplements.They all ate the same foods to get lean. The only difference is that figure competitors diet a little harder than bikini competitors, Ms fit/Fitness competitors diet a little harder than figure competitors and bodybuilders diet the hardest of all because they have to get the leanest… that’s it folks!

Losing body fat is one of the simplest things to do (…but also very difficult mentally). Your body can only accumulate fat from protein, carbs and fats… that’s it! All you have to do is eat regular food and learn to manipulate calories and macronutrients to cause fat loss. No need to go any further than the foods we eat everyday… it works for the top competitors in the world, I’m sure it will work for you!

With everyone trying to find the “New Thing” that brings results faster… I realize that doing the same thing that everyone else is doing can be boring. So you may be on the lookout for something new and exciting. This makes the conditions ripe for a slick marketing campaign (usually backed by a lot of money) to push their new diet on the public… through the internet, blogs, TV, social media etc. The idea is to expose you to it so many times that you think it’s legit (Oh yeah, I think someone posted about that new diet on Facebook the other day it must really work).  I’m sure I disappoint a lot of people when I tell them that I don’t have any diet secrets or special techniques to strip off body fat overnight… but I refuse to blow smoke up places it doesn’t belong… and i ain’t talkin about a chimmney!

Whether you are a competitor or just looking to get in shape – YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO WASTE TRYING NEW DIETS THAT HAVE NO HISTORY OF SUCCESS BEHIND THEM. You can get as lean as you need to be for ANY competition or life by eating: chicken, fish, tuna, oatmeal, egg whites, protein powder, a wide variety of vegetables, sweet potatoes, brown rice, good fats, some fruit  (not too much) and a cheat meal/foods multiple times during the week.

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Can 35 and Over Bikini and Figure Competitors Compete With Younger Girls

terry stokesFigure coaching over 45 competitor

More and more I get questions from women who are in their 30’s or 40’s who’ve been working out for some time and would like to compete, but they are afraid that they won’t be able to compete with younger competitors. The other day I had a 39 year old woman come to my gym telling me how ‘everyone‘ said she could never compete with younger figure girls. I showed her pictures from a recent show in which all of my competitors were 35 or over (35-45).  They won mutiple classes and one of my competitors missed a pro card by 1 point.

Just look at the ages of some of the current bikini pros! A woman’s body doesn’t mature until she is in her 30’s!

The really great thing about this sport is that age is not the hindrance that it is in many other sports. Recently while watching the Olympics I would  heararnold classic terry stokes shrell the commentators praise competitors who are in their 30’s… for still competing with the younger athletes. In figure, age brings about wisdom, grace and often a better physique. I explained to this potential figure competitor that the over 35 competitor makes up the backbone of my entire team. I explained to her that each competitor from the recent show, besides leadership, brings something different to the table.

Then I hear this: “Won’t the judges always go for the younger competitor?” It doesn’t matter what your age is… if you have the best physique you will win, besides, judges respect the over 35 competitor… most judges are former competitors, and they know how much hard work goes into getting onstage at 40 or 45’s, when your metabolism starts to slow down, your skin is not over 45 figure competitor stokesquite as tight as it use to be and you have more life responsibilities which makes it more difficult to find enough time to train for a show…. they respect that.

Stokes fitness fat loss training figure competitorSo don’t listen to the naysayers… most don’t know what they’re talking about. If a trainer says you are too old, then find s trainer who is knowledgeable and willing to work with you – the truth is, a lot of trainers only want to train ‘easy’ competitors women who are 24 years old and in shape, who may have competed and done well in the past. They don’t want to start from square one with a woman who is 37 and never competed before… Ironically, as is often the case… that 37 year old will find another trainer (I hope it’s me) and show up at a competition and kick the other trainers competitor’s butt! Nothing like a little sweet revenge!

So without my ‘veterans’ …there would be no “Stokes Crew”

Exercises That Can Cause Injury: The Squat

Squatting too lowSquatting-type exercises are an important part of everyones workout routine. As a byproduct, there are a lot of figure competitors who have sore knees …or kness that are easily ‘tweaked‘.

Since the explosion of women athletics in colleges, along with the increased number of women in gyms… doctors have noticed that women have a much higher percentge of knee injuries than men. There are a number of reasons for this… but one of them is squatting technique – either in preparation to jump (as in basketball or volley ball) or in the gym doing squats, lunges etc., and not being careful with technique. Below (video) is something I see much too often that can lead to injury, if done on a regular basis:  “The Bounce”

Bouncing at the bottom of a squat makes it easier to get out of the lower squat positions – similar to bouncing the bar off your chest while bench pressing. The problem is that the knee tendons/ligaments are under a lot of strain during this bounce. Tendons are very strong and designed to handle more stress that the actual muscle the are attached to… BUT, you don’t want to repeatedly test their strength.

In the video below, the first few reps are done correctly (…no bouncing at the bottom). The remaining reps are done INCORRECTLY (bouncing at the bottom). Ideally, you should try to pause for a split second at the bottom of your squat to eliminate any possible bouncing. This is not only safer, but you get a better workout, because your leg muscle have to do ALL the work …with no help from the much stronger tendons.

Bouncing has always been a problem when doing regular bar squats, but it is even more of a problem now with the many plyometric based exercise programs that use jump squats and simiular types of movements – it’s very important to stay in control of these movements especially when you are tired or going for speed (form can become very sloppy wheh trying to ‘beat the clock’). Figure competitors must always keep in mind that an injury will make it very diffcult to reach competition condition… especially if your legs/knees are affected – because trying to do jump squats, cardio etc., on an injured knee is next to impossible.

Can I Lose Body Fat & Train for a Competition at Home?

 

What Type Of Equipment Do I Need To Lose Body Fat?

A lot of figure and bikini competitors think they need the latest high tech equipment or training philsophy to get ready for a show. I’ve always gone low-tech when I train clients. I use to work in large gyms with hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment…. but I would only need a corner of the gym, a few dumbells, a bench, a bosu ball and a few other low-tech pieces of equipment. My clients ALWAYS got the best results! This is why I developed my diets and training program… to dispell all of the misinformation out there about training, diet, and exactly what it takes to get ready for a figure or bikini show. I also realized that most of your training will be done on you own, without a trainer looking over you shoulder (if you’re lucky enough to get a knowledgeable trainer)

The other day, I received the following email from a Julie Valencia who used by online program to get ready for her first show in Toronto Canada. She prepared in her house without fancy equpiment or a trainer. She proves that determination goes a lot further than the latest piece of exercise equipment or DVD fad workout.

“Hi Terry, 
   I just want to thank you for the training and diet program (http://www.figurecompetitiondiets.com/).  As you can see from the attached – I kicked ass today.  I won the IDFA      (International Drug Free Association) Transformation Challenge Award, Novice Figure Short Award and the  overall Novice Figure Award.
I stood by your plans and never gave into the negativity nor the other suggestions – I never gave up.  It definitely was one of the most challenging journeys to date (with two kids on my own)…but I managed. I did it!! All at home with a few dumbbells, a barbell and my own body. “

Then I received the following email a few days later…..

“Hi Terry, 🙂
    I want it to be known that I did not use one piece of gym equipment throughout the whole process and that I trained at home in a 8×11 room (except for dumbbells and a barbell).  🙂 
It was a frustrating process until I found your program…being a single mother …all I could think about were my kids throughout this whole process and how this would shape my business… (ValenciaFitness.com)
thanks, terry” 

What Program Should I use?

The most important factors in training to lose body fat or a show are hard work, the proper diet and smart training. Don’t get caught up in the newest piece of gym equipment, cardio machine or new fangled exercise DVD that promises to burn 3x as many calories as the last exercise craze. Whatever program you decide to follow, just make sure it burns enough calories and preserves the muscle you already have and it will work, as long as you train hard enough. The unfortunate part is that many of the workout programs I see, either don’t burn enough calories or don’t put enough load on the muscle (which may lead to muscle loss during the fat loss process). So pick your programs wisely.   …..Terry Stokes

Best Way To Build Glutes

The most often asked question of me is: “How do I build bigger, tighter, rounder etc… Glutes?”

I see so many magazine articles, online workouts and totally ridiculous infomercials showing how you should target the glutes. Most people know that most infomercials are nonsense but the magazine and online articles carry a lot more weight with women. The problem is that many of  these ‘glute’ workouts/programs that I see is will build bigger quads and have little effect on your glutes. Understanding why this happens is the important so that you can avoid it… and target the glutes instead of the quads.

Glute workouts stokes fitness

Everyone wants great glutes, but the location of them makes it very difficult to target them. Muscles like the biceps are very easy to target. You could do just one exercise like dumbbell bicep curls 3 x week and build nice biceps. You could even do them seated… it really wouldn’t matter. The glutes are a much different story. Because of their location/attachments, the glutes are hard to target without building the quads just as much. Good glute exercises such as lunges involve a lot of quads also. I see the magazine articles with these ‘glute’ workouts that, in actuality, will build bigger quads, than glutes.

Pre-Exhaustion:

What I’ve done is developed a system for training glutes that minimizes the quad involvement in these exercises. Don’t get me wrong, the quads still have to work… but the balance is shifted so that the glutes get more of the benefit. Pre-exhaustion is KEY when trying to target the glutes!

Pre-Exhaustion makes the glutes ‘temporarily’ weaker than the quads. When trained in this ‘weakend’  state, the glutes will have to work much harder during any exercise that involves them such a lunges or step-ps. The goal is to target the deeper muscle fibers of the glutes which normally are not worked hard, because the quads dominate the exercise. This may sound a bit confusing… but trust me, IT  WORKS very well!

Women use pre-exhaustion for glutes and guys use it for pecs:

Very few people understand or use pre-exhaust techniques in training. It can be used for any body part. For example, with men, the chest is a body part that some have trouble building because their shoulders take a lot of the load (shoulder dominant). These guys often have big shoulders but small pecs. Pre-exhaustion can shift the ‘load’ of certain exercises, such as the bench press, and place it more-so on the chest.

Glutes and Genetics:

Just like any other body part, glute development depends a lot of genetics. The problem is that most women NEVER realize their true potential because they can’t ‘reach’ their glutes enough with traditional exercises. They just say something like: “I’ll never be able to build my glutes!”  That’s nonsense! If you can build your biceps you can build your glutes.

If you want to try this technique out, this is the only glute workout program that uses pre-exhaustion for building glutes: http://www.ultimatebikinibutt.com/

….Terry Stokes

When you Can’t Lose Another Pound!

womans_fat_loss_bootcamp_buffalo_terry_stokesThe dreaded weight loss plateau

(the article below was originally written for a course I ran for figure competitors… But this is actually the same advice I give anyone who has reached a plateau in their weight loss efforts. it’s simple advice but it comes from training hundreds of women)

One of the most frustrating things about getting ready for a figure competition is when you encounter a fat loss plateau. As a competitor you understand that there is no buffer for not getting in shape – you either hit your mark on contest day… or you don’t (then you kick yourself for training and dieting for 12 weeks and not getting in your best condition). So when you get to a point that fat loss slows or stops, it’s easy to go into panic mode. Slashing calories in half is what some competitors do. For those who decide to do that, they are going to have a miserable time mentally and physically as their body tries to adjust to 50% less calories. This is something you definitely want to avoid at all costs.

When overcoming a fat loss plateau you must attack it from 3 sides:

  1. Diet
  2. Workout
  3. Cardio

Diet: First you must tighten up your diet. This may mean cutting your diet by as few as 100 calories a day. You want to avoid cutting too many calories because this may cause your metabolism to slow down and go into ‘starvation’ mode.  Once this happens, it’s hard to fire the metabolism up again.

Workout: You must increase the intensity of your workouts. Basically train harder: (1) lift heavier weights, (2) perform your normal workouts (same reps and sets) in less time, (3) add on an extra 15-20 minutes to your normal workout time, (4) take less time between sets so that the workout is more cardio-like etc. There are many ways to increase workout intensity. The important thing is not to ‘coast’ but make sure each workout is at a high intensity level.

Cardio: Step up your cardio intensity. This may mean just going harder for the same amount of time, for example, you may be able to run 3 miles in 30 minutes. What you want to do is try and run 3.2 miles in the same 30 minutes, then eventually 3.5 miles in that 30 minutes.

– Or you may change from a less effective form of cardio cardio workout (ex elliptical machine) to a more effective form of cardio (treadmill or outside running). This is a very effective way to increase the amount of calories you burn in a workout.

BIG MISTAKES:

One mistake I see is when competitors try to do it all by slashing calories… DON’T do that! You will lose weight initially but your metabolism will slow down too much and all progress will stop. This will make it very difficult to lose further body fat. It’s much wiser to attack it a little from all 3 factors instead of just one.

Another Mistake I see is competitors who decide to double their cardio in order to lose body fat. This will work initially but it may take a toll on your body and mind… this can lead to burnout (mental and physical exhaustion).

So, If you do experience a plateau, don’t panic and do something drastic that will cause your metabolism to shut down or that will cause you to burnout… Just use moderation in adjusting your diet and training. This is the one ‘secret’ behind my success in training fitness and physique competitors over the past 10 years.

How to increase intensity in your workouts

When someone tells me that they’re eating good but are not seeing the results they want (usually fat loss), the first thing I do is watch them workout… because when it comes to results, what matters most is effort and the amount of work that is actually done during a workout. Many times a competitor may think they are training hard, they talk about how hard they are training, how many hours they spend in the gym… and even tell others how to train… but in reality they should be working out much harder themselves.

Take a look at the video below. The first few reps of the squat rows look ok… but in reality Laurie could lift heavier weight, which would give her a much better workout.

When Laurie increases the weight from 55lbs. to 140lbs for the last 12 reps, this greatly increases the amount of work she is doing.

Let’s compare the two:

  • 12 reps with 55 lbs = 660 lbs
  • 12 reps with 140 lbs = 1,680 lbs
If Laurie does this exercise twice a week for 3 months in prep for a figure competition she will have lifted 120,960 total pounds using 140 lbs on the weight stack… but she will have lifted only 47,520 lbs, if she only used 55 lbs on the weight stack. That’s 250% more work done in the same time period of time. You can see why some competitors have to work out for 3 hours a day, when someone else (working with higher intensity) can get better results in half the time spent in the gym.

Imagine the difference in someone’s physique if they used the heavier weight for 3 months, instead of the lighter weights. This is why I always tell figure competitors to put their work in early in competition prep because there is no making up for lost time …. you can’t catch-up if you slack (at the lower weight) for 11 weeks and think that there is some magical trick that will ‘bring it all together’ the last week before a show –  sorry but it’s not going to happen! So train hard everyday so you get the results you want …and so that you don’t have to spend all day in the gym.

Nope! You Still Gain Muscle and Lose Body Fat at The Same Time… Sorry!

personal training buffalo ny terry stokesOne of the biggest misconceptions in physique sports is that it’s possible to build muscle and lose body fat at the same time. Sorry to go against all of the ‘experts’ out there, but this is impossible to do! Whether it’s a trainer telling a client, someone selling a book or someone repeating what they heard another person say, it’s just not possible.

Basically in order to lose weight you need to take in LESS calories than your body needs to maintain it’s current weight. The exact opposite is true of someone trying to gain muscle/weight: you need to take in MORE calories than your body needs to maintain it’s current weight.

Can’t count the number of time I’ve read something online about someone losing body fat and gaining muscle at the same time….. STOP please! This sport is filled with nonsense – from competitors believing that if they aren’t champion material by the beginning of the final week before a show, that there are some secret prep-week tricks that will get them into championship condition by show… uhhh No! Or the 110lb figure competitor who thinks dehydration will make her look leaner before a show – in actuality she will become a 105lb figure competitor who will look flat onstage because she just sucked the water out of her muscles! ….I could go on for hours!

Back to muscle building and fat loss: I just don’t understand why this simple concept is not more easily understood among those in this field. Sometimes you just have to tell the truth to clients/competitors: “No you will not be gaining any muscle while losing body fat, what you can do is maintain your existing muscle as you lose body fat by doing resistance exercises.” It may not be what a client or competitor wants to hear, but it’s the truth, and you should never lie just to attract or keep clients.

How Figure Competitors Build Great Glutes

squatting glutes workoutWhen it comes to building glutes, figure and bikini competitors should be experts on what it is they need to do, to bring out this important asset. One of the main principle is that you must squat or lunge low in order to activate the maximum number of fibers in the glutes. In order to get out of  a deep squat or lunge, the glutes have to do a lot of work. Your quads do most of the work after that – so you must go low if you want maximum glute development.

SAFETY: A lot has been written over the years about the knees being susceptible to injury when you squat below parallel – this is nonsense! This ‘logic’ based on nothing scientific… or anything seen in the real world. You ever seen Olympic lifters? If anyone should have bad knees it should be you neighborhood Olympic lifter… instead it’s guys like me who did stupid things like play basketball on cement for many years and tackle football on concrete with no equipment… yup we were real geniuses back then. The “Squatting low is bad for your knees” came from the guys who had big upper bodies and little ‘chicken’ legs because they didn’t want to squat!

The great thing about most of the glute exercises is that they should be done under control and fairly slowly – especially in the low position. Therefore making these safe exercises even safer.

You want to really focus on contracting the glutes in the low position. If you have too much momentum you will loose this ability to focus and the quads will take over.

You will never get in a size 4!

Saxonny is one of those competitors who doesn’t say much… sorta gets in her zone and proceeds to bust her butt during her workout, sorta gets all sweaty and stuff. Then she will quietly leave and RUN home… running home is hardcore ’cause my workouts ain’t easy! So one day I asked her what motivated her to get in shape… then her eyes lit up, it was something a friend said to her once:

“You will never get in a size 4!”

That’s what a friend told Saxonny when she picked up a a size size 4 one day. She was shocked, angry and embarrassed. The fact that she was a size 14 made the statement all to real!

I always say that successful people are more often driven by negativity that by positive feedback… Saxonny is no different. We’ve all heard the feel good stories of “The teacher who told me I was special motivated me to accomplish great things”  – Those stories definitely have their place, BUT… proving others wrong, now that feels a whole lot better and is a much better motivator! The end result: A bikini champion and NO trouble getting into that size 4 anymore!!!!

The one thing Saxonny hears that makes her skin crawl is: “It’s easy for you to stay lean because you are naturally thin” (Saxonny) “It angers me when people assume that I didn’t have to work for the body I have. It took the proper diet and workout to get in this kind of shape. People are usually shocked when they see my ‘before’ picture… then they realize how hard I had to work. Once I started working out, I began to look forward to the adrenaline rush I got from being totally exhausted after a workout or run… now I’m hooked for life!