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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

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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.

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!