Category Archives: figure diet
Don’t Gain More Weight By Dieting Wrong
I would say that 75% of the women I know/train are trying to lose weight. Anyone who’s ever tried dieting knows how difficult it can be. The best way I’ve found is to diet consistently throughout the week and have a cheat meal on the weekend. Unfortunately when staying consistent gets difficult, bad things start to happen… really bad things! Let’s take a look at a few of these contest diet pitfalls:
Starve and Binge:
- Sometimes people lose their ability to stick to a diet and go on a binge. This is often followed by starving themselves to make up for the binge. It doesn’t happen just once but often becomes a regular pattern. Instead of eating chicken, fish, potatoes and vegetables over the course of 3 days…. a person may binge on eat ice cream, chips, chocolate etc…. for 1 day and then barely eat anything for the next 2 days! Not very healthy! It happens more than many women will admit. Doing this will torment you mentally with feelings of depression and failure… I’ve gotten many a midnight text message from a clients in the middle of the fallout from one of these binges. Why one person can stop after one brownie, slice of pizza or candy bar and the next person continues until she wants to puke is something that’s hard to understand – but it happens.
Some competitors will talk about how closely they follow the diet… EXCEPT they forget to mention the constant nibbling they do during the day:
- a handful of nuts
- scoop of peanut butter
- piece of bread
- a little bit of this and a little bit of that
- etc, etc, etc…..
These calories add! These ‘nibbles’ are always on the highest caloric foods (fats) too: cookies, nuts, chocolate etc. No one seems to want to nibble on a few vegetables or a piece of chicken…. not only would that be better but your stomach would feel fuller. Those last few pounds you need to lose to be in great shape and reach your goals, may never come off if you don’t get control of the ‘nibbles’.
No carbs (or very low carbs) can be used as a diet technique BUT… you shouldn’t be using it on Day 1! This is a sure way to lose a lot of water, dehydrate yourself, slow your metabolism down and make it twice as hard to get lean (slow metabolism). If you cut your carbs too much, too soon, you will stand a much higher chance of mental and physical burnout when you couple this with hard workouts.
Sometimes women will go day after day on no carbs trying to lose more body fat… especially if they haven’t been consistent with their diet. They use this as a way to ‘catch up’. Your body gets real tired of this, real quick… pretty soon you will be walking around with your brain in a fog, like a zombie, struggling to figure out the simplest daily task (brain cells needs twice as many carbohydrates as the other cells in your body to function normally). Your workouts will become more difficult also. Low carbs + low energy + poor workouts (because of low energy) + slow metabolism = 1 miserable, unhappy person!
Those are 3 of the main diet malfunction I see. There are more but If you avoid these 3 and follow a consistent diet you should find it a lot easier to lose body fat (I didn’t say easy…. just ‘easier’).
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!
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.
You’ve either said this yourself, or heard someone else say it: “I’m on this new thing now It’s called the Blah Blah Blah Program. I’ve lost 8lbs… This product is GREAT and very nutritious. You drink two shakes during the day and eat a sensible dinner at night.” I hear this all too often these days. Most of the time this fat loss is not the real aim of the company that sells it. The aim of these companies is to get you excited about losing weight so that you can become a seller/distributor of their Protein, Diet, OR Health shake. Once you become a distributer then you are pressured to recruit more people into the business (“that’s where the real money is” they tell you, then they say that if you can just “get 5 of your friends to join, you can make money from their sales forever” blah blah…). THAT’S THE REAL AIM OF THESE COMPANIES… to get you excited (about your fat loss) then sign you up, then push you to recruit more people to sell their miracle protein powder. Then they say you will be “owning your own business” by recruiting more people (this is absolutely not anything like having your own business… but it does sound good). Wow, you went from losing 8lbs to starting your own business in just 14 days!
AN 800 CALORIE DIET? YOU MUST BE KIDDING?
They know that you are most suggestive in the first few weeks of any new thing (this just happens to be your fat loss) so they have you starve yourself for a few weeks with a diet consisting on 1 meal a day and two of their “special” shakes. Many times these diets are only about 800 calories (some have been tested and found to have only 500-600 calories). These diets are always low in carbs because a low carb diet will cause sight dehydration It doesn’t matter what you eat… if you are only eating 800 calories YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE WEIGHT regardless of what you eat! THEN you are afraid to eat anything but the two shakes-a-day plan because you know you will gain the weight you lost right back! You can’t continue to eat like that! It’s not healthy! Your body is designed to digest food… not powder for 66% of your meals. (it’s ok to have a few protein shakes a day but you need to be eating real food also at every meal).
THE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT (Don’t Fall for the HOOK)
I tell anyone that It’s much healthier and you will look much better doing it the right way (proper diet and exercise). That’s why I always offer a money back guarantee on any of my programs, because they are based on what has worked for many years with many types of women and men! I hate to see people taken advantage off because they are excited about their weight loss (which is mostly water from dehydration – these companies are really good at hooking you early with this technique). Don’t get caught up in the hype! If you or anyone you know wants a program fat loss program that really works and makes you look better (not drawn and exhausted looking). Then check out this 12 Week Fat Loss Program, complete with Maintenance Diets (very important).
PS the 12 Week Fat Loss Program is a complete actual 12 week program that I use to get women in awesome shape (workouts, diets, videos, maintenance diets etc). It comes with a full Money Back Guarantee
Women think because I train competitors that their diet is some special mix of foods designed only for competitors. Nothing can be further from the truth. Competitors eat like we all should eat to be healthy. The only thing that’s different is that during competition prep the diet is higher in protein than I would recommend for a year round diet… but this is only for a short period of time. The food choices for a competitor are limited only because it’s easier to now exactly what they are eating if the choices are limited, not because there are ‘special’ foods that competitors “Must” eat – for example, chicken is the main staple meat of most competiton diets but you can eat practically any meat as long as you know the calorie count. Below is a diet for a competitor or anyone trying to lose body fat.
Figure Diet: the competition diet is pretty basic. Lean protein, fibrous carbs (vegetables), complex carbs and good fats. The diet should be structured to change as the body gets leaner.
- Meat: Chicken is the food of choice 80% of the time with fish and tuna being eaten 20% of the time. Some competitors switch to fish in the weeks prior to a show to help with fat loss.
- Protein powder: Every competitor uses protein powder each day between, 2-4 scoops. Closer to competition, competitors will replace some of their chicken or fish meals with protein powder to keep fat loss going. You should choose a powder that taste good to you, otherwise you get tired of it real quick.
- Supplements: A multivitamin once a day and protein powder, that’s about it for 95% of my competitors. Creatine should only be taken in the off-season. If i find that someone is taking creatine during precontest training, I will have them stop immediately because it makes you hold water.
- Cheat foods: Peanut butter seems to be the big winner when it comes to cheating. Almost every competitor admits to cheating on the diet. 70% will choose peanut butter. Ice cream is enjoyed by 30% of competitors and potato chips are eaten by 40%. They say the best thing to do is make sure there is none of the ‘offending’ food in the house… otherwise it will be eaten.
- Compliance with the diet: 99% of competitors cheat on the diet. I know a few who I ‘think’ won’t cheat… but I can’t be 100% sure. They often try to lie about it, but i get the truth eventually. Actually cheats are harmless and can be beneficial if kept to a minimum. The brain (psychology) and body (extra energy) benefits from the extra boost a cheat can give them.
- Artificial sweeteners: 60% say they use some sort of artificial sugar or flavoring in their coffee (also about 80% drink coffee). These have to be eliminated the last week of a show because they can hold on to water in your body. You can lose 3 or 4 lbs just by eliminating artificial sweeteners from your diet (depending on how much you use).
I think other trainers and competitors expect me to have some secret food or supplements that I use. I don’t. The only ‘secret’ is how the diet is structured… but the foods are just basic foods.
The charts below are based on my competition diets (http://www.figurecompetitiondiets.com/)
Jody and Laurie ate a diet that we all should follow…
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.
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.
Then I received the following email a few days later…..
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
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.
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.
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/
(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:
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.
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.
One 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.
Over the past 12 months this issue has repeatedly been raised among newer competitors I meet. Figure competitors often want to know if they need to take steroids to compete in shows that are not drug tested. The answer is no. Many drug free figure competitors compete and are champions at every level. Do steroids give a figure competitor an advantage? If their goal is to gain muscle and lose body fat (depending on what steroids they take) then they absolutely will make it easier for a woman to achieve both of these objectives… but any competitor can gain muscle and lose enough body fat to compete, with time and hard work. Besides, when it comes to figure competition, you don’t need a ton of muscle to do well.
I just had two competitors compete and do very well in the Arnold Classic both are drug-free and one made top 10. Where there bigger more muscular competitors there? Of course there were – but figure is about more than just size, so my competitors never really worry about whether a show is tested or not – I just tell them to go in to competition in their best possible shape.
Although steroids can accelerate muscle growth, larger muscle may not be what the competitor needs. I’ve seen competitors change their physique so much that they began to do worse in figure competitions and had to switch to bodybuilding or one of the newer fitness/physique body categories that require competitors to carry more muscle. So competitor’s need to take that into consideration when deciding whether or not to take steroids.
I tell competitors who are worried because they think a certain competitor is on steroids or because a show is not drug tested, that their goal should be to bring the best possible package to the stage. Muscle size is only a part of winning a figure competition… symmetry, stage presence and proper conditioning are much more important. Just look at the top figure competitors in the world… they range from hard/more muscular to softer/less muscular. It’s the total package the judges are looking for. Therefore you should never let what anyone else does discourage you from competing.