Competing in the Arnold Amateur

Hi everyone!  I apologize I have been MIA from blogging for a while, I was preparing for the largest competition I have ever had the privilege in competing in.  The Arnold Classic, aka the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, is an annual international bodybuilding competition held in Columbus Ohio.  “The Arnold” includes the well known fitness expo that showcases all realms of exercise and fitness.   Every means of exercise you can think of can be found at this expo– even those that you would normally not think of!  Such as pole fitness, arm wrestling, jump rope, etc. My boyfriend competed at the Arnold last year for Olympic Weightlifting and really enjoyed the whole experience, so he decided he would compete again.  That was when I had this crazy idea to apply for a position in the Amateur Bikini competition.
In order to be chosen, you had to have won a top spot in a national qualifier event within the past year.  My first place at my last competition in St. Augustine Florida made me eligible. I received my confirmation letter for acceptance into the competition approximately four months until the competition date.  I knew I needed to come in at my very best, so unlike my previous competitions, I prepared and cut for a total of 12 weeks– about 1 month longer than my previous competitions!


For this competition, again unlike my previous competitions, I had assistance with my macros and caloric intake while cutting.  My coach and sponsor, Lindsay Westfall of All or Nothing Fitness did a great job helping me get to my final goal during my cut.  I wanted to remove some of the stress of changing macros/calories during the prep as well as incorporate someones professional opinion.  If you are looking for macro guidance.  If you are looking for macro guidance for any means, not just competition prep, check out her website at www.allornothingfit.com Continue reading

HIIT Workout Wednesday!

IMG_3760-0Wednesday–half way through your work week–you’re almost there!  What’s one way of helping you energize and push through your hump day?  A high intensity interval workout!  I always feel extremely energized and motivated after completing a good HIIT workout.  This week we will perform each exercise for a total of 1 minute, then rest for 30 seconds.  Move on to next exercise once finished with the rest, complete the cycle 1-3 times through!!  Rest for 1:30 between the three cycles if needed!!  Each cycle should take 9:00 minutes total with rest.

1:00 on, 0:30 rest

  • Tuck Jumps
  • Burpees
  • Goblet Squats (with med ball, dumbell, or kettlebell —weight as heavy or light as you wish)
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Lunges
  • Skaters

If this is too intense for you, feel free to scale down to a 1:1 rest,  either work 0:30 and rest 0:30 or work 1:00 and rest for 1:00.  That will allow yourself more recovery time.  Listen to your body, you know it best!  Hope you enjoy this one!  It is a burner.  Embrace the burn and sweat.  You’ll feel great after the suck!  Plus, HIIT workouts are great fat burners 🙂  Get After it!  Any workouts or questions that you have and would like me to post or include in future blog posts– please comment below!! I love the feedback! 🙂 

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Reverse Dieting

Here is an unfamiliar topic– reverse dieting. What is that?! Reverse dieting is pretty well known with physique competitors.  It is what I am currently doing now that my show has past.  Everyone knows that one goes on a “diet” in order to lose body fat/weight, but what about when you have successfully lost the weight you wanted?  There is a point where you need to understand that enough is enough–one cannot diet forever.  It is fatiguing mentally and physically.  But what comes after the diet?  A rebound back to old ways? Gaining back every ounce you had lost over the past few months?  This doesn’t have to be the case.

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Once you are at that realistic goal weight you can then reverse diet to a higher calorie “diet” to maintain this weight or a weight close to it. Continue reading

Show Day Reflections and Advice for First Time Bikini Competitors

Hey Everyone! The day I had been waiting for finally arrived and went by in a flash! It’s bittersweet feeling! I finally can be less meticulous about diet and training, but I definitely will secretly miss feeling this lean!  I had an amazing time my first competition!  I thought I would be more nervous or awkward, but the day went by so smooth!  All of the alcoholic drinks I turned down while out to dinner, all of the meal preps, all of the cookies refused at work—all worth it!  Be prepared, this is going to be a LONG post. I’m going to reflect on the entire process but add in advice for first timers.

This final week flew by.  I worked 5 of 6 nights, so it was a lot of work, little play.   Luckily I did not need to work out much this final week.   I worked out Sunday through Wednesday and took off completely Thursday, Friday, and Show Day (Saturday)   Nutrition stayed the same, except I tried limiting dairy products.  I didn’t really notice a huge difference, so I am unsure if this was truly necessary.  So, I’ll run you through my competition timeline so any first timers may gain a better idea of what to expect. Continue reading

My Favorite Products Helping Me Lean Out While Staying Healthy and Sane! (NPC Competition Prep)

And “fat burner” pills are NOT on the list! Competition prep is tough! Any “diet” is tough if you have to restrict foods.  I am a huge advocate for cheat meals once per week so you do not go into the binge eating roller coaster of a restrictive diet, but I am unable to indulge until my competition is over because I must “lean out”.  Stage weight is very different than everyday weight–  Any bikini or physique competitor will tell you that. Stage weight is NOT sustainable throughout the entire year. That being said, in order to reach that fat loss, restrictions must be made for a couple weeks to a month.  I am still following IIFYM and not restricting carbs or fats–but with calories being lower than normal, in order for me to get enough meals in, they have to be pretty clean/low calorie items. As soon as my competition is over, I will reverse diet and go back to my maintenance of 2150 cals/day with a cheat meal every Saturday.

Until then, here is a list of the couple items that are helping me through this prep.  I want to mention, I am NOT (unfortunately!!) an ambassador or affiliate with any of these companies or products—I am not receiving compensation for speaking about these products.  I am simply and honestly telling you my personal favorite products that I think anyone whom is trying to stick to a diet, lose fat, or maintain a healthy lifestyle would benefit from!   I highly recommend them and think you will thank me if you purchased them yourself, so I have included the link to the product on (of course) AMAZON.COM –my favorite, as you may have noticed!!   Right click on the links and “Open in new screen”  to stay on my blog and finish the rest of the list!!

1. Gbutter–
Gbutter (The Healthiest and most Delicious spread) (2 Jar Count)


I can’t get enough of this nut butter.  The macros are great!!  Much less fat/carbs/and calories than any peanut or almond butter on the market.  There are two flavors, chocolate cashew butter  and cinnamon bun walnut butter. BOTH ARE AMAZING–right off the spoon, or in morning oats, mixed in with fat free greek yogurt or cottage cheese, in protein smoothies, topped on protein pancakes— you name it.


I have to say, my favorite of the two is the cinnamon bun–it tastes like a spoonful of cinnamon brown sugar poptarts! BUT, the chocolate cashew has less calories and fats—making it my go-to during my competition prep!

2. Quest Bars
Quest Bar Cookies & Cream
Questbar S’mores –12 Bars


I’ve said it a million times, I do not EVER let my questbar supply run dry.  I am constantly ordering these bars from amazon.com.  They are the cleanest protein bar out there with little to NO sugars.  Low in fats and high in proteins.  I’ve linked my two absolute favorites  SMORES is amazing when warmed in the microwave for 10 seconds (or left in the car while your inside the gym—mmmmmmm)


Look at those big chunks of chocolatey goodness!  I also highly recommend chocolate brownie, chocolate chip cookie dough, and chocolate peanut butter.  I always have at least 2 of those 5 flavors stocked at my house!

3. Artic Zero
ARCTIC ZERO Fit Frozen Desserts


This is something I have never ordered on amazon myself, but it ships in a freezer box just like omaha steaks do, and I know many people order online to get the flavors they can’t find in stores)  I find this in my local grocery store next to the sorbet or soy/coconut milk ice cream.  This is an incredibly macro-friendly healthy ice cream option.  An ENTIRE PINT of this ice cream is only 150 calories, and it actually tastes good!  My favorite and go-to flavor is the cookie dough chip.  It’s a must if you crave desserts but can’t fit the fats/carbs/calories into your macros/diet.  It is great alone or covered in the Gbutter I mentioned earlier.  I also love to make a protein mug cake and top with this  — see Chocolate Protein Mug Cake Recipe

4. My kitchen scale
Ozeri Kitchen and Food Scale

This is lame, I know, but I am telling you– I never really understood portion sizes until using my kitchen food scale. A chicken breast is NOT a single serving of 4 oz. chicken!  It wasn’t until I started to measure out my meals did I lean out and  lose that extra body fat  that I was not losing with 5-6 days of intense exercise.  You really do not need to be a prisoner to the scale, because after a month or two of using it consistently you will be able to pretty accurately “eyeball” portion sizes.  It is the only true way to follow an “If It Fits Your Macros” diet, and allows me to stray away from the bland bodybuilder “chicken rice and broccoli for every single meal” diet  and continue to have options while on a serious cut before my bikini competition.

5.  “Meal Management” Lunch Box
Jaxx FitPak(pictured below)
Isobag 3 Meal Management System

 

I added two examples each different and depends on your personal needs.  The first is a bit smaller with only 1 shaker bottle compartment– cheaper option.  The second is a larger bag with 2 compartments for shaker bottles.  I personally bought the top option, (PICTURED ABOVE) because for my shifts I do not need it to be any larger–It actually fits 3 larger tupperware containers—like pictured above— if you don’t want to use 6 small ones. It comes with 6 smaller containers that are dishwasher safe and great sizes for meal prep as well! I know multiple people that have the second option, the Isobag, and swear by it!  Plus it comes in cute color options, but it’s a little more pricey. Both are great choices!

6. My Nutribullet
NutriBullet Pro Blender/Mixer


I will have to say, if you do not have a Nutribullet it is something I recommend investing in.  It may seem a little costly at first, but I’m telling you it is totally worth it.  There is no blender that compares to this system except for a Vitamix (Which costs 300 dollars MORE)   I use this on a daily basis, multiple times per day.  For everything and anything.  Mainly for protein smoothies, it grinds ice and frozen fruit to a pulp–no chunks left behind.  It is also magical when it comes to juicing—yeah, juicing.  I add fresh strawberries, fresh spinach, and a splash of water or fresh Orange juice and it yields a perfectly smooth–no chunks or pulp (TRUST ME I HAVE TEXTURE ISSUES) juice that contains ALL of the nutrition from the veggies and fruits (regular juicing strips a lot of the fiber and nutrition to the pulp).  This blender is AMAZING.  If I put a frozen banana with a splash of almond milk it will turn it into the consistency of ICE CREAM– smooth, and thick enough to eat with a spoon, not a straw!

7. Flavored sparkling water-   no link necessary, find this at any grocery store.   I take a bottle with me to restaurants and bars when I’m meeting friends or having dinner with my boyfriend.  I do not let a “diet” keep me from enjoying myself and socializing with friends!! I just ask the bartender for a tall glass of ice with a lime and add my own sparkling water– looks like I’m enjoying a gin and tonic, but calorie and carbohydrate free!!

Zucchini in Oatmeal (and 3 Weeks Out From Stepping On Stage!)


I can’t believe that another week has gone by! Only three weeks shy of my first bikini competition.  Progress pictures above. Reflections of this past week are:

1. I have been slacking in the posing practice part– I haven’t been wearing my heels around the house to “get comfortable” walking in them either.  That may bite me in the booty later.  Goal for the next three weeks is to step up my game and practice, practice, practice!

2. Picking up from last week, I tried to stay around the 1,850 calorie/day diet.   I just felt tired.  I took a nap EVERY day.  By Thursday, it was time to work night shift, and I was a SNAIL.  I was moving so sluggishly and falling asleep charting at the computer at 10 pm — only 3 hours into my 12 hour shift.   I ended up eating a sticky cinnamon bun topped with candied pecans that was part of a baked good gift basket a patients’ family had brought in.  It was the calories and carbohydrates my body needed— I felt rejuvenated and the rest of the shift was a breeze.  YES, if I had a healthier, competition prep friendly carbohydrate (like oatmeal) I would have eaten that, but I was stuck at work with just the protein high food I brought.

I’m telling this story because I am not trying to hide the fact that I am human. Continue reading

4 Weeks Out

I can’t believe another week has passed by already! This leaves me only 1 month until stepping on stage for my first NPC bikini competition.  This week has been challenging, yet beneficial.  I met with a posing coach at the beginning of the week.  She gave me great feedback and recommendations.  Although, she completely tore apart the posing I was practicing and had me do a completely different routine.  This was stressful at first, but I have plenty of time to practice this new routine and make it habit!  She is a bikini/figure competition judge herself, so she really knows what the judges are looking for!   After practicing her routine in front of the mirror, I could tell how much it really highlighted my features and made my waist appear thinner.  I still do not feel very graceful in the heels.  So now it is just practice, practice, practice!

This week in nutrition has been a little bit stressful.  It didn’t help that it was my boyfriends birthday so he had a giant delicious pizza around the house and I made him a nutella frosted donut cake.

The struggle is real— tupperware meal instead of Chicago Style Pizza

I attempted to cut down on carbs (even limiting fruits) and calories (staying around 1700-1850 calories), but I ended up miserable by Thursday.   I was MIS-ER-A-BLE.  I came home from night shift and ate a nutella whipped cream covered donut (part of that birthday cake I mentioned previously)  and a pint of Artic Zero with Nutella on top. Continue reading

Glute and Hamstring Focused Workout

Recently, I met with a posing coach to begin to get this posing thing down for my upcoming bikini competition.  Surprisingly, this may be the hardest part of the competition prep!  The posing is very awkward and unnatural–and then you throw in 4-5 inch heels!  My grace resembles bambi on ice  BUT nevertheless, it is a work in progress and every day I am improving.  Meeting with the posing coach definitely helped.  The coach–whom is also a renowned bikini competition JUDGE– gave me great positive feedback!  I was a little worried she may believe I am “too muscular” or need to “soften” a little bit, but she actually said I looked great for bikini!  Her only criticism was that the next four weeks i need to focus on my glute and hamstring development. Which was something I already knew.  i have begun incorporating lower body workouts 2-3x/week.  Here is an example of my glute/ham workout:

Cable lateral leg raises  5×15 each leg

Donkey Kicks with dumbbell 5×25 each leg  (rest dumbbell in crease behind knee)

Leg Press 5×25  (focus on pushing with HEELS, foot placement with toes almost hanging off platform.  Activate hamstrings and glutes each press)

Laying Leg Curls 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8 (begin with a lighter weight, continue to add weight and decrease reps by two)

Hip thrusts with laying leg curl machine (or use barbell if you feel awkward using this machine in that way!!) 5×12

Hip Abduction 5x   25 reps leaning forward  10 pulses  10 reps sitting upright

Tacos and Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes 

Happy Tuesday Readers!  It’s that time again to share with you Meal Prep Monday Secrets and recipes!  This week I made tacos, southwest stuffed sweet potatoes, cilantro lime chicken, and ranch turkey meatballs!

Ingredients I used:

  • 4 lbs of lean ground turkey (1lb) was extra lean
  • ~2 lbs/1 package of chicken breast
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (mrs. dash– if watching sodium)
  • 2 bundles of cilantro (or cilantro paste)
  • 1 can southwest style corn
  • 3 limes
  • 1 packet ranch seasoning
  • corn tortillas or romaine leaf lettuce
  • veggies: for me, asparagus and broccoli
  • toppings for tacos: for me, chopped onion, jalepenos, guacamole

First, clean up your sweet potatoes, pierce them with forks, wrap in foil, and place in oven at 375 degrees. Bake until soft (~25 minutes)  Next, I began by making my Cilantro Lime Chicken— See recipe from last weeks post Here

While the chicken was marinated, I fixed up the tacos!

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Monday Motivation: My 6 Month Transformation 

Different Body, Same Mint Green Phone Cover 😛  I do want to mention– Jan 2015 I WAS working out 5x/week.  There has been no change in my workout frequency.  It is true when they say fitness is 70% diet 30% exercise!!

Good Monday readers! I wanted to share with you my transformation–and no, the dates are completely accurate. I also want to share how I did this–no starving, no diet pills, & no cutting carbs. It doesn’t happen overnight, but you may see results quicker than you think!  Once you see results there’s no stopping you! I found this quote while on “Pinterest” :

“It takes 4 weeks for you to notice a difference in your body. 8 weeks for friends and family to notice a difference. And 12 weeks for everyone else”

Continue reading

What is IIFYM?

IIFYM

  
IIFYM, or “If It Fits Your Macros” is a diet that takes macronutrients into consideration for your weight goal. There are three major macronutrients that the human body needs in order to function properly: carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Essentially, this diet is providing the body with exactly the macronutrients it needs for your goals–whether that be weight loss, maintaining current weight, or bulking/weight gain.  IIFYM is sought after for its ability to be flexible and nonrestrictive when it comes to the foods you can consume.  Nothing is off limits if it fits into your macros.   Continue reading

Low-Carb Mini Pizzas!

Even if you do know personally know me, if you have spent any time looking around my blog I’m sure you’ve noticed that I mention pizza, A LOT.  Pizza is my weakness. Pizza is my cheat meal almost every week–and yet, I NEVER get sick of it.    Continue reading

6.12 Leg Workout

 Today was leg day! Honestly, my least favorite day–but my greatest weakness, so I work legs twice a week!  Usually Monday and Friday– start and finish the week off with a bang!  Here is an example of a leg day workout utilizing a barbell or straight bar.  Feel free to use dumbbells or anything that could add some weight!Split Squats– 3 rounds of 10/each leg  For split squats: Focus on staying tight in core, keep your chest up!! Do not let knee pass your toes on your squat!

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High protein snacks 

In a rush?  Crazy Schedule? Your diet doesn’t have to suffer!  Forget the fast food garbage or the gas station junk.  Grab one of these snacks to keep you satiated throughout the day!  Here is a list of my favorite high protein snacks that are great on the go! Continue reading

Back workout 

I love training back.  Here is my routine from yesterday 6/10/15:

Superset:

  • seated cable rows (3×8-10 with close grip attachment, 3×8-10 sets wide grip attachment)
  • dumbbell pull-overs  6×10

Superset:

  • Pull-ups (5×5)
  • Face-pulls with rope attachment (5×10)

Superset:

  • Standing wide grip lat push downs (3×8)
  • Wide grip lat pull downs (3×8)

Superset:

  • Narrow grip lat pull downs (3×8)
  • Behind the neck lat pull downs (3×8)