“I workout at home. I am not buying any more equipment. How do I make the workout harder?”
“The workout my coach gave me is too easy.”
So let’s dig right in and talk about your workout and the effort you need to apply to it. For amazing results, it should be intense. That means you should have laser focus and give 100 percent effort to your sessions.
We often see clients walking through their workouts with a very lacadasical pace.
Last week, I got a check in from a client who said “I need harder workouts”.
If you have ever thought that.. you need to work harder. This is on you. I can give my clients a series with 5 pound weights and I anticipate they will kick their own asses with that.
I will give you some really nice ideas here now to increase your intensity and raise your game. I’m throwing shade on that last check in.. Work harder!! I’m squeezing so hard here.. RARRRRRRRRR
Ways to increase intensity:
Lift heavier: I gave Mary Beth 3 sets of 10 reps with her bicep curls. She’s been doing 8 pounds on those curls for 2 months.
Your body gets used to lifting a certain amount and it adapts. So now you need to grab a heavier weight and push your muscle to do more.
Pro Tip: Muscle engagment. Visualize that you are lifting 100 pounds on those curls and resist!! Squeeze. Visualize your muscles growing!! Connect the hardware (brain)to the soft ware (body). Tell your muscles to grow!!
Muscles grow when they are challenged!! We have to keep on the progressive overload if we want results so keep lifting heavier!! Look for increases in strength to let you know you are building!! YES.
More reps: Our client said she’s not investing in more weights and the 10 pounds she has to use is all she is going to use. Hmmm..
I asked her to add sets. Progressive overload is still happening by using a more volume training approach. She can do 4 sets of 12-15. I promise you, she will burn out and feel that fatigue!! If you can’t increase weight.. increase reps.
Super sets: This is a fun way to fatigue the muscle. Fun for who? hahahah.. It’s a burn like none other.
Marybeth was given
bicep curls 3×10
Tricep kickbacks 3×10
No rest between those two moves. A super set is just putting two moves in succession. You can super set anything together. After she does her superset, then she will rest. Repeat 3-4 times.
Giant set: adding 3 or more moves in succession before you rest. It’s often called a Circuit.
Let me be clear.. if you can do more.. do more!! If you have energy for a second workout or could go take a class.. you did not do your job. You should be spent.
Ok.. here’s one for you..
Let’s say you are doing cardio blasts at home or the gym. You are bored or just not feeling the effort is there. You can increase intensity in your basic movement by using the STAR method.
STAR stands for Speed Tempo Air Range of Motion (ROM)
How to do this:
Start with a very basic move. Any one will do.
Round 1: do your basic move.
Round 2: change the speed (faster.. slower.. up to you)
Round 3: change the tempo.. to what? Doesn’t matter. Slow, fast slow fast.. just alter the tempo.
Round 4: Add a hop or jump to it!!
Round 5: See how big the movement can be!!
My video below shows this!!
My video shows a very basic movement. It can work with any thing!! You could increase the box height too. You could use a ladder.. you could just do super basic movements on the floor like skaters or jumping jacks. You could use a bosu too!
How to do this for cardio. Set your timer for 30 seconds work/ 10 seconds rest.
Pick one move then do the STAR method. That’s 5 rounds! Or do it twice! Mix and match rounds.. you got this..
In your weight training, you can also somewhat modify this to your lifts. Using tempo changes, holds, less rests, more rests, all create variance in your training. Our bodies need to be pushed.
One thing to remember, you are fully in charge of the work you are doing. So push really hard!!!
This is Baby Iggy. He’s very sure you can train harder. So go on and do that.
The culture of diets is as hostile as the cult of fitness. There is a mentality that says
“My way or the highway” .
“Keto is the only way to go. Low carb means you lose weight.” “Eat clean to lose weight.” “I only eat Paleo.” “I don’t eat any sugar, ever. It will kill you.”
So may people go from one style to another style in search of the holy grail eating but they foil themselves because.. these things are NOT sustainable.
If you have fat to lose you will do so by being in a calorie deficit. That could be by burning calories, or in taking less calories.
The style of eating you do over all is not what makes you lose weight.
So listen, I can understand wanting to jump on a band wagon for lightning fast results.
I understand the desire to grasp at magic bullets, or extremes but let’s start here.
If these things (diets) were fool proof, we would not have an alarming obesity rate world wide.
But let’s get back to you.. I want to help you feel better about your food choices so let’s give up the labels.
By nature, the restriction of food groups could trigger binges. Have you ever told yourself, “No more sugar.”
What is it you crave the most while on your new plan? Sugar.
When we restrict ourselves from certain food groups, we are essentially, white knuckling our eating. There’s no peace, there is militant, discipline and on the other side, failure if things don’t go as planned.
Keto: restricts carbs.
Paleo restricts Grains
Clean restricts “processed” food.
Competition Bro diet: No fruit, dairy, processed food.. good grief.
By nature, restrictive diets limit food groups and therefore micro nutrition suffers. When you are restricting veggies and fiber your body notices. When you are restricting fruit, you miss out on the glorious nutrition of vibrant colors and sources of vitamins!
When you restrict all sugar, you have to remove pretty much everything fun because even frozen yogurt has lactose which is technically sugar. Bummer.
Dairy can be a great source of protein!
Are you willing to let your overall nutrition suffer so you can sit at the back of the bus with all the ‘bros?’
By nature, labeling our eating style sets us up for failure and it’s not necessary.
This is the big one: The eating disorder, Orthorexia comes to mind here. The clean eater, is terrified of eating anything ‘not clean’ or things that are processed. What we typically see with the clean eater is frequent binges of ‘non clean things’ . So basically, it’s not sustainable.
“I only eat clean, until I’m face down in a bucket of icing or doing late night at Denny’s after the bar.”
“I eat clean, gluten free.. but I love this craft beer and I drink Whey protein”
Both are clearly processed. So it’s only clean because you made up that it is.
There is NO such thing as clean. Even blueberries are processed.
We often see the ‘clean eater’ purchasing large amounts of “clean” food for binges.
“I can’t help it. At night I ate 5 RX bars. I feel so bad about myself”
“I can’t stop eating almonds from Trader Joes, they are clean but I can’t lose my belly fat”
IIFYM/FLEXIBLE DIETING/MACRO COUNTING
The problem with labels is.. what difference does it make? You could stop labeling your eating style and follow IIFYM which could be done any way you like.
With IIFYM we are simply counting
and the micro nutrient Fiber.
All food has macros. All food. You can find that information on the label or look up nutrition on sites like FatSecret.com
We set your macros for physique goals .. whatever that is. Then we eat them and stop when we are done. We are not locked into to one style of food and each day we could enjoy variety as long as we are hitting our macros. That mean..
The style of food that we like.. is how we should eat.
Your macros are not dependent on clean food, paleo or zero sugar, but you could eat them any way YOU like.
If you find Dairy upsets your stomach but egg whites are ok.. that’s good! You can choose your own adventure!
If you like a snack treat now and again and it keeps you from feeling deprived, you can certainly work that into your plan without it being detrimental to your physique goals.
If your doctor has asked you to limit gluten or keep your fats at a certain level.. that’s ok too. You can eat for your body, your health and your own likes! You never have to eat food you don’t like.
I like lower carb though.. I just do.
IIFYM doesnt’ mean you can’t eat toward your style. Use your carbs for fueling your workouts and to get your fiber and veggie/fruit requirements. You are not required to eat poptarts or high carb snacks. But you could.. if they fit your macros.
If you feel better on no grains, you can certainly make that work too.
If you don’t want sugar foods, or snack treats in your life because they trigger you. Maybe you feel better when you don’t eat food like that.. Maybe you just enjoy whole fresh fruits and veggies.. totally fine too. It’s all about YOU.
When you let go of labels, you have no fear of mistakes. You simply figure out how YOU enjoy eating and tweak to hit your macro/micro nutrient goals!!
There is much freedom in the ability to be consistent and live without the restrictions that diet labels give. Being consistent is how you reach your physique goals.
When I wake up each day, I scroll my IG feed for other fitness/pole friends. I am truly motivated by people who are already up and killing it. So don’t call narcissist on anyone who is doing gym selfies. I’m the person who gets hyped when I see happy people at the gym. I see new moves, new ideas and love to see if that’s something I can learn or follow leads to new information!!
CENTERING MYSELF AND MY DAY I spend a few minutes centering myself with the #spiritualawakening . I need to focus each day on positives and healing and moving forward. This is self care.
I like clothes. I choose my outfits and I go the the gym feeling good. I don’t schlep. It hurts my workout game.
I have a ritual in the AM. I have my amazing prep pancakes because my hubs makes them for me. I smell them and we say “that smells like 1st place.. hahahahah”
I have 2 containers of oats under my prep table at all times. Those are security oats. We will NOT run out of oats.
HACKS My project/prep.. is only 18 hours. It only lasts for the hours I’m awake. I can do 18 hours easily. When I wake up the next day, I repeat what I did yesterday or tweak what I needed to change. I never get mad when I mess up because, I can readjust and go again tomorrow. There is not “fail” there is only learning/adjusting/tweaking.
One thing I do not do, EVER. Not allowed.
I do not make decisions about my day while I am lying in bed. If I want to skip the gym I only allow myself to make that decision after I get up and have a shower or coffee. Do I skip the gym? Yep.. Sometimes, my body needs recovery. Sometimes I can rearrange and do it later. My day is in my control but it’s NOT a knee jerk reaction to being “sleepy, crabby or unmotivated”.
One thing that happens to clients is they constantly throw the baby out with the bathwater. Oh.. I messed up well.. screw it.. I failed.. I’m out.. done.. I’ll find something new to do next week. I’ll try this and that.. but they dont’ NEEEEEEEED something new. They need to be consistent!!
Consistency is not for sale.
Everything we want is waiting for us.. but we have to discover how to motivate ourselves each day to check off the boxes we need to. Soon we have strung together many, many days of success and we are reaching our goals.
How do you stay motivated?
Here’s a picture of Mango and I. We know you can do it!
When it comes to sticking to your macros while traveling—it doesn’t have to be a struggle… it is what you make it! Don’t let “ but..I travel” be an excuse!
Before you leave, make the decision made about what foods you are not willing to bend on!
Think about how many meals you will need to pack per day. If you are traveling for business, chances are you know the name of the restaurant that you will be dining at. Pull the menu up online ahead and decide what you are going to have as your meal, or call ahead and explain you have special dietary needs. Don’t feel embarrassed, or ashamed! We have goals and we are sticking to them! Trust me, your guests will respect your decision.. heck they may thank you because now they don’t feel pressured to eat something that’s not on their typical menu!
You can stick closely to the types of food you are typically eating at home. Look for the hidden fats and ask them to be removed from your food.. example: filet, ask them to cook with no oil or butter, veggies ask them to be steamed, or no oil. Salads, really read the ingredients and review everything that it contains… think about your macros… if you don’t want it, ask them to remove it!
We all know the secret to this…and I have to admit, I’m not afraid to just stick with water and lemon, or a diet soda…However you know your macros. Go in with a plan! Remember, You don’t have to take your clothes off to have a good time!
You can stick closely to the types of food you are typically eating at home. Look for the hidden fats and ask them to be removed from your food.. example: filet, ask them to cook with no oil or butter, veggies ask them to be steamed, or no oil. Salads, really read the ingredients and review everything that it contains… think about your macros… if you don’t want it, ask them to remove it!
I most always bring a packets of oatmeal and make a protein shake as my pre-workout meal. If additional carbs are needed, I pack some dried blueberries or cranberries or other fruit. Most workout facilities have fresh apples available, (but don’t count on that).
My post workout meal is usually a shake and oatmeal again if a restaurant isn’t available. Starbucks has those turkey egg white sandwiches that are Divine! (There seems to always be one close to or in the hotel)
Really, there are so many options and I’m always up for a challenge to myself. How can I make what’s available to me work! It’s like a game of survival… Could you do it?
Search for hotels that offer a mini-fridge and a microwave in the room. Most will bring one to your room at no additional charge or there is a community microwave is available. (However, the Kuerig in the room is easily manipulated to my oatmeal warmer). If I had to choose between the two, I would pick a fridge.
My co-workers know when we travel a gym is super important to me, so we always check it out online before we go or search for nearby full size gyms. Obviously, a hotel most times does not offer the same equipment.
If you need additional items or want something specific, plan to make a trip to a nearby grocery store.
What to Bring?
All food is safe to bring on an airplane, it’s how you pack it that matters. TIP: if you have a suitcase that you are checking, pack your food in a insulated lunch box with an ice pack! It will be fine!
In you carry on bag, pack an empty shaker cup, use this as your water cup throughout the day… you will also get through TSA with it being empty. Once through security, fill it up at a water fountain, or most restaurants are happy to fill it for you with ice water. (I always go in showing a few bucks in my hand)
Snacks: nuts, protein bars, carrots, hummus, rice cakes, almond butter (individual packets are available) lunch meat, protein powder, jerky, apples and other favorites of yours. (Yogurt is subject to the liquid TSA rules, but is available heavily throughout most airports)
In summary, don’t stress or worry, do your best.. and learn from each trip that you take!
Ok, so listen there are a few things we hear from new athletes when they are in prep/offseason.
“I don’t know what to do, I’m traveling” “I can’t travel or do anything with my family while I’m in prep.”
Traveling is super overwhelming simply because most of our preps are 12-16 weeks long! It’s nearly impossible to assume that nothing is going to come up during that time.
Prep is not a social death sentence.
Strategies: If you are on IIFYM your life will be so much easier than our Bro-plan sisters.
There are so many options for travel and eating well on the road.
TSA: OY.. that’s tricky. I put everything in my suitcase so I don’t even bother with frozen chicken breasts and a six pack cooler. That’s so old school and unnecessary any more.
If you ‘must’ bring your chicken breasts with you, freeze them. I never found any of this valuable. I don’t like eating thawing food. I’d rather just buy deli chicken. But, feel free to exercise your beast mode mentality and take it with!!
How I do it:
1. Pack dry stuff in single serve packets in your suit case. Example: Oatmeal packets
whey isolate in small zip lock bags. Label them with the macros!! Remember to bring a few blender bottles and your scale!
2. Keep Protein bars, like Quest bars in my carry on or purse for hunger emergencies.
3. When I get to my destination, head to Walmart for supplies. I buy deli turkey and cottage cheese for protein. I also pick up cutlery because I forgot to bring it. You can also get some from your hotel restaurant or the lady at the deli counter at Walmart will give you some. I know her. lol
4. Veggies. I always book my hotel room with a microwave so I get the veggies that steam in the bag or are in serving plates.
Restaurants: Our team does not eat in restaurants in prep. I have brought my own food to many restaurants. The reasoning is.. you don’t know what the chef is putting on your food. They may not tell you that they spray that buttery spray on your chicken breast and that is lots of fat.
When I’m in prep, if I can’t see how it’s made, I don’t eat it.
Caveats: A bowl of lettuce or raw veggies. I’ve done that. Fruit.. ok. I’m good there. I carry my scale. Truth bomb: 12 weeks out vs 4 weeks out.. my macros are considerable different.
There is no room to have extra macros unaccounted for as I near the finish line.
Strategies for eating:
Fueling my workouts is my number one priority. Getting my protein /fiber /veggies is next in line. I might save back carbs and some of my fats for ‘unknowns’ . I’m going to hit my macros like a boss but I’m a huge fan of carb cycling for my life. If I have more carbs on a day I’m walking around more.. so be it.
Also, I know that sometimes, it’s hard to get all your food in and no one wants to be back at the hotel after an all day meeting having 6 protein shakes to hit your numbers.
When you are at Walmart pick up Protein Water to drink during the day!!
There are actually good hotel options for athletes!! Our Coach Ashley, recommends
Extended Stay America. “Stay at Extended Stay America if there is one – you will have a full kitchen…and generally the cost is super cheap so companies usually don’t have an issue with reimbursement for them.”
I’ve also stayed at Marriot Courtyard which also has a full kitchen.
If you don’t need a full kitchen, I recommend Marriot suites! They always have a fridge and Microwave.
When I was in Las Vegas I booked through Fun Jet this lovely condo!
It’s the Hilton Grand Resorts on the strip. It had a grocery store in the lower level
and a Starbucks. These hotels are all over the world. Just Google #Hilton Grand Resorts!!
One recommendation is to join a chain gym that you can use while on the road.
Gold’s Gym or Lifetime are good choices.
I will tell you that if you try to buy a week pass you will pay massive fees.
We wanted few day pass to LVAC and it was 100 dollars.
Since we now can Uber around, it’s worth it if you need a gym that surpasses your hotel gym.
With Hotels like Marriot, we typically see a nice gym but in NYC.. NOPE!! It’s a tiny room with a mat. Be sure to navigate your potential workout facility before you go.
As a coach, I have lots and lots of brand new athletes who begin their journey on my team.
As their shows grow closer and closer ,it’s common for them to tell me.. “I thought I’d
1. be showing more muscle
2. look just like the Instagram competitors
3. be tighter
4. be more defined
5. have more muscle
or some variation of this.
The hard truth is If you started your prep having not done a full off /grow/build season, you did it backwards. Yep. I said it. As athletes.. we NEED a full grow season before we begin to prep for stage.
It is very common to see people who “workout” think they can cut down to what you see on the gram. It’s not the same as taking a strategic off season, eating, building, and then cut to unveil what you have built.
In 2012/2013, it was common to see coaches advertise “12 Weeks to Stage” and starve a sister to stage lean. It was a simpler time back then because the bikini physique was not pumped , super conditioned or showing striations. It was beachy. BEACHY.
Fast forward to the ultra competitive nature of the stage of today. Conditioning needs to be on point. If a new athlete has begun her prep without mature muscle, she will come in lean and sexy but without the visible conditioning she is thinking she should see.
In every cut.. we lose muscle. EVERY one. That is real. We work so hard to keep what we have when we are on a cut. If you are lifting heavy and training with high intensity and keeping your protein higher.. you are doing your best to keep that valuable muscle for stage. You will not be building any muscle in a caloric deficit. If you are on the normal path of losing body fat, and your calories are lower, you will be fighting to keep the muscle you have.
If you have very little muscle to start with.. you can certainly come in lean and gorgeous but with visible work to do.
WE ALL HAVE WORK TO DO.
Does that make you unworthy to compete?
Not at all. Does it mean you are going to lose?
Not necessarily. Can you even win?
Of course you could!
Why bother? UGH.. well..
Because this sport is about improvements. When you compete, you must look at what you brought to the stage and work with your coach for improvements.
Do the work and come back with a better package.
Your first show should be a baseline. It’s a BASELINE.
You gain experience, you gain, knowledge of your body. You gain reality checks and you lose the nerves associated with the competition process. You become less about the madness and all about strategy.
We all have to take the time to build mature muscle to get the IG look. Some of those women are NOT natural and it’s deceiving. No offense to anyone who is not natty just be realistic!!
There is no fast track to mature muscle when you are natty.
It’s surplus of calories and progressive overload on your muscles. It’s diligence and time spent to create the physique you want. #science
No magic. Science.
Post Show: Bad sportsmanship is never ok!!
I should have placed.
The judges hated me I’m quitting my coach for another coach. I should have won. I’m quitting the sport. I deserved to win, that other girl didn’t.
This show is rigged. The judges have their favorites.
Boy, doesn’t this sound familiar. First of all.. being an athlete isn’t’ when you are walking on stage in your sparkly bikini, it’s how you handle yourself. Being a real athlete is about sportsmanship as well as hard work. Frankly, being pissy because you didn’t get what you wanted actually shows on stage. Yep.. you don’t think it does.. but it sure does.
It shows in your social media. It shows in how you treat others in your show. It shows.
Disparaging other athletes in public or social media reflects badly on YOU. Your friends will always side with you. Pro-tip: keep that conversation between you and your coach and be gracious in your placing. Your judges see your social.. just count on that. It looks bad.
Hey.. honestly…There is no guarantee. Body building is a subjective sport and as athletes we never know who will show up. We don’t really have a solid handle as an industry on criteria. Each federation seems to want something different or perhaps the judging isn’t consistent. We already all know these things, yet we choose to step on stage.
No one is entitled to a pro card. In your first year, not getting a pro card is a good thing. I said it. I’ve seen many athletes win their pro card on their first show and were not ready to compete at pro level. They did not do their time coming up and it basically put them out of the competition game.
Not getting a trophy when we thought we deserved one is normal because we all go there with the intention of winning. Sometimes things just don’t go our way. Sometimes the numbers are tight and it’s literally a crap shoot on who placed higher.
Yeah, sometimes the judges have their favorites. Sometimes they don’t even see you.
Sometimes they don’t like YOU. Sometimes it sucks. It’s a subjective sport.
My point here is if you think that the grass is greener elsewhere then you didn’t do your show for the right reason. Our goals should be to improve our physique and be competitive. Winning is a cherry on top of the actual cupcake of the competition process. We can get better and work hard for the next time! We can try another federation that might be a better fit. We can figure out where we can work smarter and keep pushing. Or we can stomp our feet and be mad. Trust me.. one is easier than the other.
So sorry… but I’m not writing this to bring you down. I’m asking for you to understand your sport and realize your amazing potential. I’m asking you to focus on what you are accomplishing in a very short time and what knowledge you are gaining in this process.
I’m asking for all of us to stay away from comparisons when you are looking at your pictures. It is not going to further your progress or goal to compare.
You do not know who will show up on stage next to you.
You do not have any control over the judges likes and feelings. You are in a sport that has literally no criteria and is subjective.
FOCUS on YOU and your best package. Retool and learn how to apply what you are learning.
Baby Iggy wants you to know that you are enough.. just work hard!!
Good luck with your show
Progressions through my journey. I’m getting better every year.
It’s been a while since I posted an update on my training/dieting. I finished my show season in June and have reversed dieted back up to over 2000 calories a day. I will not have another bikini competition until I take the stage at UFE Mayhem 2019.
I am training for plenty of pole show cases, and two competitions in 2019.
I spent the bulk of my life in a binge restrict pattern. I was knee deep in the Tosca Reno EAT CLEAN movement but never measured servings. I refused to eat sugar because it was the devil (according to the Skinny Bitches movement). I was deep in orthorexia but still binged until I made myself sick. Cookies, cakes, whole pies, then returned to a restricted plan with full intentions of redeeming myself. I know I choose to compete in a competition partially because I knew I could lock myself down to get rid of these binges. This is the first time I admitted that.
When I began my competition journey in late 2012, I was basically starving myself. Nutrition was tough for me because of my patterns of binging. ;(
This is how I looked on my first day of bikini competition training. Yes.. I was lifting, doing massive cardio but not getting enough nutrition to fuel the work I was doing. My coach told me “you are starving”. I agree.
Bro plan: Restrict. 2013/2014
I started immediately on low carb bro plan but.. I also started eating more protein and I began to look better. My nutrition was improving too because I was consistently eating 12 cups of spinach each day. My vitamins were on point and I was fueling my workouts.
I was focused and did well until I binged out. I had terrible derails that lasted for days.
My coach told me 8 weeks out from my first show, that one more derail would keep me off stage. Well. I handled that just fine. Placed 2nd and ate an entire pound of birthday cake fudge in the car on the way to the restaurant.
I had no reverse diets either. It was a hot mess. I did Bro hard core off and on.
I got very sick from the lack of nutrition my coaches gave me. I resorted back to my binges in the off season and then I would grab my old show diets and use those. It makes me so sad to say that. I never fixed one thing. I only proved to myself that I had an iron will until I fell apart and that was NOT going to be ok for me any longer.
Jan 2013 and June 2014. I began IIFYM post show Nanbf in July 2014.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I asked my coach during 2014 prep for swaps and was told I wouldn’t look right on stage if I swapped out my protein or carbs. I don’t believe that is true. I was going to make this happen and end this nightmare of binge/restrict. I fired her and began this part of my journey.
I want to say to you, if you are still with me.. all of the things I experienced above made me a better athlete and a better coach. I’m not mad about this journey. I’m here to learn and grow. I’m leaving behind those old ideas and people who won’t use science!!
IIFYM: The First year with IIFYM was interesting. I set a goal to learn to find out what triggered me and my binges. I found out!!! Then I fixed it. Sometimes it was baby steps but it was information. I still believed in ‘clean’ food but I added in small sugar treats until I started to get mad when my veggies got in the way of my snacks. 😦 Read more about that here
I worked very hard my first year to decrease binges by eating foods that made me happy.
I still believed some food was “bad”. I made huge strides in my physique and my happiness. I would go 6 months without a binge. This was great. Here’s how that looked. I had almost 18 months between shows and I prepped myself for UFE Halloween Mayhem 2015. I did not binge in prep. I did however have 2 months post show that I lost my way. I’m just being honest. I pulled it together and set new goals for 2016.
IIFYM Flexible Prep: 2016
For my second full year of IIFYM I wanted to take my nutrition to the next level. I had done so well curtailing my binges and I was very confident in my ability to master flexible dieting. I paid mind to eating food that made my body run great, I focused on my fruits and veggies and variety. I began to let go of the “bad ” food concept and allowed myself to eat foods that were previously off limits. Amazingly, I didn’t get fat, I didn’t lose my way. I began to understand that I could fuse lots of great food into my plan as long as I was eating my daily nutrition requirements!! YESSS.
That journey was seriously incredible. I focused in on micro nutrition as well as my macros. I began to understand more about my body than I had ever dreamed. I wanted to know!! Yes… old habits die hard. I still found myself wanting to have treats (albeit “clean”) to help me stay out of that binge territory. I know what works for me!! I made it work. I want to show you this picture because this was all about fueling for my build from just doing a basic cookie cutter bro plan. Yes.. time had passed but let’s be honest.. I started this at 47 so three years isn’t’ that long.
Halloween Mayhem October 2016 I became a UFE Elite Athlete. I loved my package and I loved my prep. It was an amazing learning experience. I ate so many amazing foods in my prep and came in with my favorite package!!
I competed right away again in June of 2017 and I loved my package but this prep was harder on my body and I had to dig deeper to get lean enough. I basically did 42 weeks of prep in 1 year. I would never do that again!! That’s not what my body wants at all.
It was still a great prep and I ate beautifully as I got ready for stage.
After Fury in June 2017 my next step was to reverse diet and then begin my training for the Pole Sport Organization Gateway competition in December.
Intuitive dieting: What is it?
The goal of our team with clients is to teach them the progression of flexible dieting so they can learn to be truly flexible. That means they can begin to use their knowledge to eat for their goals without being tied to a scale and tracker. This comes with time and practice.
To be effective a client would understand and manage your macros in their head. I know I have to reach 150-180g P each day. I need 25g min of fiber and 500g veggies min. I know my minimum fat intake should be about 40g so I just eat and add this in my head. I’m using visuals and my scale as well as nutritional information on lables.
When would a person use this? I started using intuitive dieting loosely post show 2017. It was magical. I was spot on because, trust me.. I’ve seen 5 ounces of chicken breast more than I’d like to admit. I often use it when I”m traveling or eating out. Most restaurants have nutrition on their websites. It’s handy!
Who should use this? Only people who have a clear understanding of their body, macros and feel committed to hitting all their micros/macros!!
Do you do it daily? Maybe.. I might do it on a day then use my tracker. I started gingerly and progressed. I’m very tied to MYNETDIARY tracker. It’s a safety blanket for me. However.. being able to start this process is a huge step for me.
In June 2017, I committed to competing in the PSO Gateway Pole competition here in St. Louis Mo. I had just finished competing in my body building show , UFE Fury and decided to work on a project that would allow me to be judged on skills and not simply my physique.
This is not a pole blog but I want to explain to you in this post how my diet has changed based on my sport of choice. I will include my training schedule and how I fuel.
This is how I”m looking now. I’m pretty happy with my off season physique.
Post Show reverse diet was completed and I went back up to about 2000 calories a day. I’m 52 now and frankly.. that’s a lot of food for me. Even in my off season normally, I don’t need much more than that. I hover around 1800-2000 average.
How I train
My training schedule is frankly harder than I can even explain. I am probably a big whiner but my body is on fire constantly and the work I’m doing is extremely challenging. I am competing in Level 2 Exotic which is pretty low on the skill set but it’s still a big jump for me.
I meet my coach once a week for an hour but I also train each day on something pole related. I do flexibility and floor work 2-3x a week. I do actual pole time with spins and climbs 3x a week. I also include core, and 2/3 leg days and 2 upper body days. I have cardio as well.
How do I fit it in.. ?
Sunday: Pole, floor work, flexibility, upper body work.
Monday: Cardio + Big Leg day with compound moves like deads and squats
Tuesday: Pole, floor work, flexibility, core some upper body weights and bands
Wednesday: booty work and train clients. Probably cardio and core too.
Thursday 1 hour warming up pole/floor. 1 hour pole with my coach, 1 hour practicing what we learned.
Friday: bands booty.. it’s not a lot..cables booty extensions. maybe some plyo, cardio.
Saturday: rest or cardio with my bikini team.
I take rest days as I need to. On non pole days I train for about an hour.
It looks like a lot, but I’m in competition prep. I’m used to this pace.
I cannot pole everyday and I try to do legs on the days before I pole so my upper has time to recover. Pole is a lot of core and upper body work too. Floor work is total body and legs are on fire. I add in the big leg day to help me maintain the muscle I have. I’m experimenting with my program so it may change!!
Ok.. so I am also doing a photoshoot and presenting on stage at Halloween Mayhem. I have to be in shape and while not stage lean, I need to look good. I also know that when I fluff it out, it’s harder for me to pull myself up on the pole.
This is next level IIFYM for me. My first priority is to keep my calories high enough for my day that I can have energy to train. Normally in my body building workouts I would use 20-30% of my daily carbs pre and also post workout to fuel and for muscle recovery.
In pole though, I find that that simply isn’t enough. For this project what works for me is
about 100 carbs pre workout with 1 scoop Isolate. I also have C4 pre workout and drink a Bang throughout. Holy mama. I have experimented with different ratios of carbs and cannot perform without at least 100g Carbs. I always follow with recovery carbs and Iso.
I take creatine and BA daily too. Hells yes!!
I did a 3 hour pole workout yesterday and used about 135g carbs pre and 60g post.
I felt amazing. The normal food I train with does not work with me any longer. I can’t eat actual food because the spinning makes me nauseous so I use dextrose. I have used Phorm 1 Ignition and it works well.
The rest of my day will be used to increase my veggies and protein. I have fats later in the day as well. I’m not ending my day with couch carbs or lots of snacks and I’m basically doing intuitive dieting for now. I’m looking leaner and while it’s a different look, I like it.
I’m not scared about doing this intuitive version of my plan simply because I’m so focused on fueling right now or I cannot give my best to practice. I know I must keep my protein at 150-180 as normal but I might need more carbs for some days. I can use the flexiblity of those other macros to eat the best way for my sport.
I am always open to the idea of going back to tracking if need be but I’ve had no need to right now. Everything is working!! What a journey to learn even more!!
If you are contemplating a journey to the stage, my goal here today is help you navigate the cost of competing!
First of all, I believe that if you are reading this, you have been in the process of searching. You’ve been looking at Instagram and seeing all the gorgeous competitors. You’ve thought about bikinis and maybe you don’t actually know where to start for this process! So let’s make a plan.
I’m assuming you have one. You need one. Cost will depend on your area. If you need to train at 3:30am because that’s when you can do it.. get a 24 hour one!!
I own a gym. I have two other gym memberships too. One is the biggest gym in STL and the other is a 24 hour one. I need to train when I can!! $35+ per month.
I fully believe that ALL first time athletes need a competition coach.
I don’t believe all competition coaches are good or qualified. I believe that YOU must interview your potential coach and get as much information as YOU can about what your coach will do for you. If your coach only gives workouts, no support, no information, no posing, nothing but a cookie cutter diet and that’s ok with you.. you can find so many who will take your money.
Your coach might be online, or in your area. Decide which you prefer!! If you have actual personal training time with your coach, you are going to pay a lot hourly.
I charge $75 per hour for privates. Some charge more!!
Please do your research and learn as much as you can about how your competition experience will be.
Finances: Many coaches make you sign a full year contract that includes off season and prep. You can pay anywhere from $150 monthly to several hundred dollars a month.
Phone calls from the best coaches can be up to $600! I know because I requested one!!
Some coaches will require you to pay in full ahead of time for your prep. That could run you $600 or more.
Coaching is generally non refundable and non transferable. If you don’t keep your end of the bargain, you can be dropped for non compliance. This may upset some people but if a client is not ready for stage because they are not following their plan, that falls on the client. As a Client it’s YOUR job to hire the best person then follow through.
Our bikini team offers a monthly package of $175 on an auto bill. We require our clients to stay with the team for at least one month past their show so we can help them reverse diet.
You may also find coaches who will do monthly payments as well.
I found a coach who is super cheap!! You probably found a coach who hands out cookie cutter diets and workout plans. I want to stress to you.. Find the right person and pay them to help YOU.
ADVICE: if you see any ads that say “I can take anyone to stage in 12 weeks” Run away. Trust me, every client is different! I’ve seen this so often and it’s a low calorie, low carb,restricted plan. Find someone who is a good fit for YOU. Did I stress this enough?
Karina posed with our Skype posing coach and it was a game changer.
Please do not over look posing. Please do not useYouTube videos to learn to pose. Please pay the right person to give YOU the best presentation. If your posing coach gives everyone the same routine, that’s a bad thing!! Posing coaches with “signature” styles make it obvious to judges who posed the athlete. The better choice is to find a posing coach who will teach YOU how you look your best. They will teach you how to
create a presentation for the federation you want to compete and they will be vested in your progress!! You can look to some amazing Skype coaches as well as local ones. Please do your homework. Posing will cost $40-60 per hour.
Do not make the mistake of skimping on your presentation. Hire someone who will be truthful and honest and help you win.
If your posing coach has no idea what to give you for your federation, find someone else! Don’t waste your money. Your posing coach should pose your early and then tweak you again when you are stage lean. Things a look different when you are stage lean!!
Do not wait! If you made the decision to compete, hire a coach right away!
Just a smattering of my supplements.
The basic supplements you may be using for bikini are Whey protein (or the equivalent), BCAAs, Pre-workout, multi vitamin, fish oil etc. I know, I know.. you might know someone who did it without any sups. That’s awesome but most of us will be taking at least a protein supplement. My first coach had me on a vitamin regiment that was about $200 a month and I purchased from her friend. ASK questions before you sign up!!
Items like Whey will range from about $30-50 a tub. Shopping places like Amazon, Body building.com and local stores, you can get rewards, points or sales. Basic supplements will cost $100 a month give or take.
If you are eating Bro (turkey chicken or fish and veggies) your grocery bill is going to be spent on all of that!! Walmart, Costco, Sams, these are great places to stock up!
If you are IIFYM you can have more choices but you can still stock up!! Depending on prices in your area, you will spend a good amount on food. Athletes pretty much eat all the time. I spend about $175 a week on my prep food.
Stage Bikini’s come in all price ranges!! If you want to have super blingy suit you can spend as much as you want!! My first two suits from Ravish Sands were $650 each. I have gone to sequin suits now because I can compete in more than one in my show. I love them. They are fantastic on stage! I paid between $150 -$185 for my sequin suits.
Plain suits can be purchased too. Most sites have plain ones for sale so you can really choose one based on your budget. If you are so inclined, you can purchase your own crystals and bling your own.
Rental: Of course you can rent or buy second hard also!! Facebook has several groups for reselling!
Stage shoes : Most of us will wear the basic style 5 inch clear heel from Ellie “Brooke”. This shoe is amazing. It fits great. Easy to walk in too! You can get them on Amazon for about $30. Of course you can choose your own shoe style and bling. Price range is up to you!! Advice: Buy two pairs. I’ve seen girls blow out a pair of heels backstage and hobble out. I’m an over thinker.
Jewelry: We love our bling!! I have a huge collection of stage jewelry that I’ve accumulated. Let me tell you a secret.. don’t spend a fortune! It gets janky from the tan and it can get lost. I’ve been at so many shows where someone broke an earring or needed a bracelet and someone gave them their extras.
I purchase my jewelry locally at the import stores. They have huge selections and I got 10 pieces for about $70!! Amazon has blingy jewelry and you can search IG for the high end suppliers to competitors. I find it’s not worth the expense because backstage is very chaotic. I’ve lost plenty of things!! Save your good jewelry for date night!!
This is where you do NOT want to skimp!! Please hear me on this. You have trained and dieted for months so do whatever it takes to bring your best package to stage. You will tan with your backstage tanner. Don’t go to the local tan company and try them out. Your stage tan is unique!! It does not have DHA so it will wash off and you do NOT want to look green on stage!! Your tan will be $100-$200 and you will receive touch ups all day backstage. You should have your tanner providing you with gloss and glue too! The tanning backstage is generally wonderful!
Hair/Makeup: Someone posted “Do judges like you better if you have long hair, dark hair, extensions. Are you dinged for bangs? ”
Ok listen to me now.. you are in a subjective sport. You may find a judge that likes blondes better than redheads. You have one who loves girls in blue suits but hates red because his ex wife wore red. So the only thing you can do is bring your best package. The overall package will win. If you want extensions and you love your look, do it. If you rock a look that isn’t at all you, it will show! Be the best version of YOU and rock it like you are Beyonce.
Get your nails done with Gel so the tan will not stain it. That’s an additional 30-40 dollars and remember you need to do your toes in Gel too. The top coat is fine.
Hair:/makeup: Can you do your own stage hair? If you are good at it.. awesome. I can’t. I’m far to hungry and emotional to do anything day of show. I use my own hair and makeup artists.
Backstage will have some options for hair and makeup. Do your research!! If you are comfortable without a trial run, they will be a great resource for you and they will most likely touch you up during the day. That will be about $100 each for Hair/Makeup
Private Artists: Search Facebook Makeup artists group and find the best one for you. You will have to pay travel for some artists but if you work with them ahead of time, you can show them the look you want. I’ve paid $180 for makeup with travel.
Do I recommend it. Yes I do. I need 3 hours to get my look together. That’s just me.
Doing your own makeup: I set out to do my own makeup. I took lessons from an artist. That cost me about $100 per lesson. I purchased a rolling makeup kit and about $650 worth of the right color cosmetics for stage. I ended up paying an artists simply because I ‘m too low carb to do much day of show. Some ladies are skilled. Here’s more on makeup if you want to try to do your own.
Federation Card : $60-$100
Price per category you compete in
Example: Bikini open $60+ and Bikini Novice $60+
Fee to register for the show $75 +
Hotel and other travel expenses TBD
Photography varies by photographer!!! Backstage photography is worth it!!
At UFE I paid $75 for 10 pics. Stage pictures were about $200.
Photoshoots: As you are stage lean, you will book your own photoshoot!! This is well worth it!! We shoot in every competition season!! You can do your research on quality photographers who shoot fitness. Prices will vary in your area.
I know you are working hard. I hope this helps! I wish you so much luck on your plan!
Baby Iggy has no knowledge of competition costs but he supports our desire to shine.
I’m going right in and tell you a few hacks that can save your life. Ok.. probably not really but you may like them.
STARBUCKS double shot:
Ask for either a dopio or Quad (4 shots omg) over coffee ice.
Add either Sugar free vanilla syrup or a splenda packet.
Add either coconut milk or almond milk or skim.
BOOM.. The drink that keeps giving. The coffee ice is like “second drink”
Muscle Eggs is super popular among the fit girl set. I liked it when I purchased it. But.. I had a couple issues. First of all.. the containers are huge and barely fit in my fridge. I had to keep the other ones frozen and that was tough because of all the halo top in my freezer. No room. So there is that.
They are pricey which is fine because they taste great.. but I got bored!
Hack. I made my own.
Start at Costco or Sams and buy pourable egg whites by the case. They are between 6-8 bucks for a whole case of 6 boxes. That’s a lot of egg whites.
You can use any sugar free coffee syrup for and mix with your whites. You will have lots of flavor choices and won’t be stuck with one gallon of the same.
You can drink Muscle Eggs and you can also drink pourable whites with coffee syrup. You can mix them into your protein shake to make it creamy. You can make pancakes or mug cakes too. You can go to MuscleEggs.com and use their recipes with your own concoctions!!
You can search for “Sugar Free Coffee syrup” and get lots of options.
You can also find them at stores like
Bed Bath And Beyond
World Market always has a good selection.
Amazon is for sure going to have what you want!
Order this and never look back.
Jordan’s Skinny Mixes are Zero macros. That’s P:-0 C0 F0
They are great! They are fun and exciting! So if you have to be Faux Drinking, you can make this happen with club soda and some garnishes! Take the macros for your hooch but at least you will be feeling sassy!
You can search Jordan’s Skinny Mixers online to find them.
Bed Bath And Beyond has lots of amazing Jordan’s Skinny products
Baby Iggy is not on macros but he’s super happy!!