Category Archives: Figure dieting
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’).
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…
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 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.
More and more I hear figure competitors complaining about how their competiton diet destroyed their metabolism. If you want to understand what really happens, just watch the video below:
I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with this post …but if you can show me some REAL research to back claims made by supplement companies then I will change my mind (don’t bother looking, you won’t find it).
I apologize to my friends who sell supplements… Sorry, but I gotta do, what I gotta do!
From the mouth of a well-respected (and well-paid) copywriter: “I get paid between $10,000 – $20,000 to write a great ad for a new supplement so that it sells like hot cakes, and when the public realizes in 6 months that it doesn’t work like advertised, the company will develop a ‘new and improved ‘ supplement and I will make another $10,000 or $20,000 writing an ad for that one also”
The above picture (from a presentation I gave) shows how marketers combine different words to come up with utterly MEANINGLESS terms that are slapped on labels to make products seem incredible and amazing. You can combine any word on the left side with any word on the right side and come up with some pretty cool… but meaningless product claims… try it!
The fact is that many supplements have overblown and unsubstantiated claims on their labels. Many people believe that if something is on a label, then the FDA has approved it. Actually, supplements are not approved by anyone before going on store shelves! It’s only after consumers report problems (ex. Ephedrine) that the FDA steps in and investigates. You… yes YOU could literally throw some sugar, dirt, talcum powder and pixie dust in a bottle, print up a nice shiny label and sell it in stores. You could then get some obscure piece of research and use it as ‘evidence’ that your ‘Metabolic Optimizing Muscle Exploder’ really works. Just watch this clip from the documentary “Bigger, Faster Stronger” if you want to know the truth:
Here are my thoughts on dehydration before a figure competition…
I get so many questions about last week prep and dehydration/cutting water. My stance is still the same… It doesn’t work! Although it SOUNDS legitimate when someone explains how it supposedly work… that doesn’t mean it works.
As far as dehydration before a show to increase definition (bring out your ‘cuts’)… I’ve always said that it makes muscles smaller and decreases definition (and women can’t afford to lose any muscle size or definition going into a competition). Below is a video about one of my favorite bodybuilders, Kai Greene, and his prep for the Arnold Classic. This excerp shows how dehydration can have very negative effects on muscle size and definition of one of the greatest bodybuilders in the world. If it can negatively effect him… what in the heck do you think it will do to your physique!?
Not only is dehydration ineffective in making you look more definined… it will most likely have the opposite effect!! The only tricks are hard dieting and hard work. Competitors are always surprised when I accuse them of dehydration (when they sneak and do it against my advice). They don’t realize that I can tell from the audience and from pictures. It may be a day, a week or a month … but they eventually confess. They think they are going to make up for that last 5lbs they should have lost with diet and training, by losing 5lbs of water right before the show… this doesn’t work and you may very well lose placings because of it.
(I apologize I was supposed to post this about 4 days ago… i forgot to hit the ‘publish’ button and it stayed in ‘drafts’ …sorry, BUT it’s still not to late to try this – it will still work!)
Eat whatever you want over the holidays and still lose over the holidays:
I realize that most people will cheat over the holidays so I try not to be unrealistic and ask women to abstain from all of that good holiday food. There is a way to that you can eat whatever you want and not gain a pound… you may even lose a pound! Basically you will need to eat a really clean certain days surrounding the holidays. It’s predicated on something I do with figure competitors to get them to lose weight in between back-to-back shows. If you follow it you will probably lose weight even if you go nuts eating on the holidays.
Take a look at the charts below, It tells you how to eat on particular days surrounding the holidays. If you need a little more explanation then check out my website http://www.terrystokes.net/holiday.html The password is: 1234
The weight you gain after eating on Christmas and New Years will be mostly water… you will lose that in a day or two if you follow these guidelines
http://www.terrystokes.net/holiday.html (password: 1234)