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It may be already too late. You probably started off today (Wednesday) thinking that you were going to eat ‘good’ today because tomorrow is Thanksgiving and you want to be able to eat whatever you want. Even if you already threw down on a bunch of carbs today, don’t worry about it – eat whatever you want for the next few days: Thanksgiving and the day after. If you eat exactly like I tell you to, you won’t gain even an ounce. Basically, the two days after your holiday binge you are going to skip breakfast (except for a piece of fruit) and then go low carbs for 3 main meals.
Think of a good meat you like (fish, chicken, beef etc) and think of your favorite vegetables (avoid carrots, legumes, peas and corn for these 2 days). You’re going to eat 3 meals: Lunch – Afternoon – Dinner. If you want to eat Lunch, Dinner and then a meal later at night, that’s fine also.
Breakfast: 1 piece of fruit (your choice) I suggest an apple because they are crunchy and take longer to eat – this gives the sensation of having eaten something of substance, whereas you can eat a banana in about 20-30 seconds and it doesn’t seem like you really ate anything.
- Meal: #1: Meat, Vegetables/with teaspoon of oil
- Meal #2: Meat, Vegetables/with teaspoon of oil
- Meal #3 Meat, Vegetables/with teaspoon of oil
Meat: (chicken, fish, beef, tuna ) Stay away from processed meats, they often contain sugar. You can substitute – Egg Whites, Protein Powder, Cottage Cheese for your meat (if you skip the oil on the vegetables you can have 2 egg yokes with the egg whites). Amount: I’m not giving you an amount of meat to eat because it’s very hard to eat too much meat. (it’s the carbs and fats that we can easily consume too quickly).
Vegetables: 150 grams eat meal – spinach, greens, broccoli, green beans, onions, celery, mushrooms, green/red pepper, asparagus, lettuce, brussels sprouts, – Finish your vegetables at each meal. If you want you can have more vegetables, they are so low in calories that it’s almost impossible to eat too many vegetables.
If you eat badly for one day then follow this for one day… if you ate poorly for 2 days then follow the above diet for two days. It’s really not a diet, it just focuses you away from carbs as your main source of calories.
If everyone who reads this article ate like this for a week, just a week, they would lose 5lbs… easily!
First off let me congratulate Kerry for doing and awesome job at the NPC Nationals a few weeks ago. Kerry is a hard worker who does whatever she has to do to get in shape.
Check out RxMuscle.com to see her pics
I get a lot of questions about the difference in contest prep for a bikini competitor and figure competitor. When it comes to losing body fat for a show – drum roll please….. the preparation is exactly the same! The only difference is that bikini competitors don’t have to get as lean figure competitors.
OMG! How can a bikini competitor train the same as a figure competitor when getting ready for a competition? Well… what are they both trying to do to get ready for that competition? Answer: lose body fat and keep muscle. If that’s what both bikini and figure competitors need to do then why should they train differently? The differences will come in the off-season training when the bikini competitor won’t be as focused on building size (… actually the bikini champions have been more muscular the past few years)
One thing I noticed 25 years ago when I first started studying this sport was that so may people made it out to be more complicated that it really was – and today it’s even worse…. especially with the Scientifically Tested Super Duper Advanced Metabolic Enhancing Muscle Exploding Fat Incinerating supplements that flood the market. Give me a freakin’ break! This is a very simple sport… but very difficult to do. The mental toughness needed to compete in this sport rivals any other type of competitive sport.
- 50% of your success is based on your training and eating the proper foods (not supplements). The other 50% is
genetics, there ain’t a lot of room for much else. The most important thing I tell my competitors is to keep it as simple as possible, although each person is unique in many ways – it doesn’t mean that everyone must train differently or eat differently. Our bodies are more similar than they are different… it’s our brains that are all messed up!! ha ha
- My bikini competitors follow the same diets that the figure competitors do. There may be a little more flexibility…. but very little!!!! And the the workouts are just as intense!
So, for those who wonder what the difference is when it comes to bikini and figure competitors getting ready for a show…. the answer is…. very little.
FIGUREREADY.COM (password: figure1)
This is my brand new website. It was designed to take you step by step through training and learning to pose for figure competition. You still need a password to get in, at least for a few more days, so check it out before the memberships run out:
The first time I met Rachael was the day before her first figure competition. She came to my gym to get a competition spray tan from my wife. I noticed she was leaning against a wall seemingly ‘out of it’. I asked her if she was ok. She told me that she was extremely exhausted, had not had water in over a day and was on a very low calorie diet which contained only two foods! (i think it was fish and crackers!). I tried to get her drink a little water while explaining to her that extreme tactics are both ineffective and dangerous… she still refused the water. I worried about her the rest of the day. I’ve seen girls hospitalized for dehydration before. She looked about 2 steps away from the emergency room.
Competition Day: Backstage getting my competitors ready for prejudging, I notice Rachael standing off to the side. It became clear to me that she had followed the wrong diet in preparation for her first competition. I didn’t get to see her the day before when she got her tan, because she was completely covered by her sweatsuit. Having gone through the dehydration, bad diet etc., I assumed she was really lean and in terrific shape… this was not the case. Rachael came in last place…
I felt bad because she seemed really motivated… but being motivated is not enough, you need to follow a diet specifically for competitors. Some of the other competitors suggested to her that she call me. A few days later she called and told me how much she wanted to do well in figure. The journey to turn Rachael into a figure competitor began…
Like a lot of new competitors, Rachael did not have a lot of muscle so it was imperative that she came into her next competition lean. A lot of competitors think you need to be really muscular to compete in figure. I told Rachael to worry about putting a quality physique onstage instead having a ton of muscle… She went on to earn her Pro card in her next show by winning the overall championship!
Diet: There was to be no more guessing about her diets… All herdiets would be very precise, every day mapped out and every meal measured in grams. If I was just a few pounds off, it could mean a big difference in her placing for her next show. I wanted to make sure I knew exactly what she was eating. Many competitors like Rachael who tend to carry more weight in their hips, butt and thighs will look bottom heavy if they are off by just a few pounds. I believe that competitors who have this tendency have the hardest road to a figure competition because body fat in these areas is NOT easy to lose… and is always the last to go. Often competitors have to train hard all the way to show time before their legs ‘come out’.
Workouts: Rachael spent a lot of time in the gym preparing for her first show but her workouts were not burning calories. She also did a bunch of cardio… this apparently wasn’t the
answer either. When getting ready for a figure show each resistance workout should be also be geared toward burning calories. Too many competitors will ‘lift heavy’ and then rely on cardio to burn fat. WRONG! Your resistance workouts should also be geared toward burning calories… done correctly Rachael’s resistance workout would burn MORE calories than her cardio workouts.
Rachael worked hard everyday. She came in early and left late. She had a point to prove… to herself! Notorious for leaving pools of sweat on the gym floor, she left the gym exhausted everyday. As the body fat started to decrease, the fat around her hips that threw her proportions off was now gone. What remained was a lean symmetrical physique …although she wasn’t the biggest competitor, her physique was well balanced with no obvious flaws. Rachael won the overall championship and her pro card. She is currently getting ready for her second pro show!
After the show: One of the coolest things happened after the show. Rachael’s mom (who I had never met) came up to me and gave me a hug. I thought it was because Rachael won the show. I was totally wrong. She told me it was because Rachael looked much healthier for this show than for her first competition… that was cool!
The diet I gave Rachael(click here) made it possible for her to maintain her muscle while losing body fat (this was very important because she does not carry a lot of muscle). Not only did she look healthier… she was a winner.
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).
There 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.
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!
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.
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
Everyone wants bigger arms but few women know what the best exercise is to get bigger biceps. Is it dumbbell curls? Concentration curls? Cable machine curls? Barbell curls? …uhhh Nope! The best bicep builder is underhand chinups!
Why? Because if you can raise yourself up with an under hand grip, this means you have lifted your entire body weight mainly with your biceps. That’s a lot more work for your biceps than curling two 15 lb dumbbells.
Now, there are a few problems with underhand pullups:
1) most women can’t do then
2) those that can will only be able to do one or two pullups
Solution: a) Start with underhand pullups on a lower bar (modified). this will build bicep strength without the need to support your total bodyweight. Once you build enough strength you can try regular pullups.
Solution: b) or you can have someone assist you as you perform pullups in the gym. You should start out by doing a small number each workout. Maybe you have someone assist you with 8-10 reps each workout for the first few weeks. Split this up over 3 or 4 sets (of 3-4 reps each set). This puts a lot of stress on the biceps so take your time and build your strength over 2 or 3 weeks before you increase the amount of reps you perform.
These exercises will build bigger arms than all the different bicep curl exercises combined! Your biceps will grow as you improve in the number you pullups you can do.
I am writing this post out of anger, The anger over the Hydroxycut recall by the FDA due to suspected liver damage and the anger I feel after learning a local figure competitor ended up in the hospital a few days before a figure competition after following some crazy competition diet prescribed by a trainer whose only goal was to put a competitor onstage at any cost. Both of these result from ‘shortcuts’ being taken to get lean for a competition.
No figure competitor should ever follow a competition diet that they feel is ‘strange’, ‘not normal’ or take supplements they think will bring about faster weight loss… just go with your common sense.
– if someone wants you to eat the same two foods everyday for weeks…
run like hell!
– if your trainer tells you that fat burners are the only way to lose weight
…run like hell!
– if you start hearing terms like, dehydration, carb loading, carb depleting, clenbuterol
…start thinking about getting your money back.
– If a male bodybuilder says: “You can follow the diet I used for my competition”
– If it’s a week out from a competition, and you look in the mirror and you look out of shape (too much body fat for a competition) but your trainer says that you are just holding water and he/she will carb load, carb deplete and dehydrate you the last week to get rid of it.
… you should run and run a lot because the only way to get rid of that fat is going to be some extra cardio (but hurry, you only have a week!)
The bottom line is that a figure competition diet should consists of common and basic foods in the proper combinations and ratios. There are no supplements, special or secret diets that will get you leaner than a basic diet which changes as your body changes (the key to getting lean). And don’t believe athletes who promote supplements, the only reason they do so is because these companies approach them after they become popular.
It’s what you do in the first 10-11 weeks that gets you ready for a show… not what you do in the last week.
If you’ve seen or heard about the ‘Secret’ you know that everyone in that movie talked about positive thinking and how you must ALWAYS be positive in order to succeed. Well that all sounded good and the people in this video made a ton of money because this is the kind of feel-good stuff people want to hear… but they forgot to talk about the real ’secret’ to success. The fact is, almost any really successful person will tell you about how they were fueled by the fact that people doubted them, laughed at them, about the teachers who told them they wouldn’t amount to much. People are ashamed to say that the negativity of others is the reason why they tried so hard. The top motivational speakers in the world will tell you to embrace these feelings and use them for positive… because it’s normal to try and silence your critics. Those of you who are looking for a career in fitness/personal training are going to hear this: “When are you going to get a real job?” …and being a figure coach is even worse.
Negativity and training for a figure competition:
Every once in awhile I train someone who has a lot of support and not a whole lot of negative forces operating in their lives. THIS IS A GOOD THING! Unfortunately this is not often the case. As i mentioned in my earlier blog (’Why men hate me’)… the smile you see on stage comes with a price to pay. Arguments, questions and criticism all add up as you prepare for a show. What started as this quest to: “Do something awesome” ; “Set an example for my kids” ; “Do something for myself” ; “Finally get in shape” …or whatever your reason is for competing is – has turned into a battle to prove to the naysayers that you can do this.
You would think trying to something like this would be an inspiration to others – and in the beginning it is! You hear: “You go girl” or “Wow, that’s awesome… keep me posted.” As you start to see results, the compliments keep coming: “Girls you are looking good.” As you see more results you get more excited, but the people close to you don’t seem to share your excitement when they realize that you are not just trying to look good for the beach… you are getting ready for a serious competition. Just when you need them most, they start to say:
– “You’re getting too skinny… are you eating?”
– “You don’t want to start looking like a man, do you?” (‘hmmm…. let me think about this for a minute, you ask such tough questions!’)
– “Why do you want to ‘prance’ around in a bikini anyway… are you trying to build self-esteem?” (‘Maybe i am, and what’s wrong with that? One more thing… It’s called POSING!)
– “Who is this trainer and why is he making you do this?” (Newsflash: “I want to do this so, so badly, that I am actually paying this guy money to train me”)
– “Are you obsessed, do you have an eating disorder?” etc. etc. etc…. Read the rest of this entry