How I stay motivated on my plan

MOTIVATION
Motivation! Do you ever start your fitness plan only to find yourself ‘lacking the motivation’ to continue?

Do you ever see the hard core motivation quotes that basically tell you
“Just Freaking DO IT”
“YOU NEED DISCIPLINE”.

What do you do when motivation fades?  Because it does!   Here’s what we do.. we go with what we know.  We do this, even when we know it doesn’t work.   We quit and tell ourselves.. We just can’t do it.

I have lots of tools to help you find your own path.  If you want to check out my other blog with lots of ideas.. you can go here. 

In this blog, I’m going to share how I stay motivated.


HERE’S WHAT  KNOW ABOUT MYSELF
I have an intense need for security and learning. Those are my top two ‘basic needs’. In my projects.. I use this to help me stay on track.

Do you know your basic needs? Game changer.. go here and figure it out!  

WORKOUT MOTIVATION

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!!

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This girl is a huge motivator!

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Always, pay attention to the Rock!

 

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.

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WORKOUT GEAR

I like clothes. I choose my outfits and I go the the gym feeling good. I don’t schlep. It hurts my workout game.

SECURITY/RITUAL
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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!
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IIFYM : Secrets to Staying on Plan While You Travel

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Guest Blogger today is Sleek Body Coach Tracy Collins.

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!

Plan ahead
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!
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Alcohol

Do you know how to accurately track alcohol?  

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)

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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?

The Hotel
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.
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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!

Coach Tracy has openings for coaching!!  Check her out here

Mindset hacks to master your diet without punishment.

stopThe internet is filled with garbage like the above meme. It drives people to shame eat, to self punish and creates disordered eating.  I’m here to set this straight for you so you can rise above this nonsense like smart people should.

Sadly, many of us have been used to self punishing for transgressions related to eating.
Binge/Restrict:  over eating  or eating ‘bad’ food followed by starvation or food restriction. Bad food could be considered “not clean” and this falls into the eating disorder Orthorexia.   See this blog

“Oh no, I ate that bag of Cheetos,  tomorrow .That’s it… No  sugar, no caffeine!! I’ll work out two hours a day all week to burn it off.”

Paws up if you’ve been there.
holla

We are going to put this to rest right here. Today. You are going to read this, digest it and reflect on it with peace in your brain so you can stop with all the mental torture.

First of all.. This behavior gets us no where. You and I both know it. Say it out loud. It gets us no where!  NOTHING positive comes from this.  Repetitive negative self talk begat negative actions which begat more negative self talk and pretty soon.. WTF, you’re falling down a rabbit hole of despair over your inability to lose weight, control your eating . Worse yet.. you feel like a failure because of FOOD. BECAUSE of food!

OMG, I went out with my friends and had one drink. I couldn’t help myself we got  apps. Then I had more drinks and then we went to Denny’s. I said “screw it” and ate  a Grand Slam with hash browns and sausage. OMG I woke up today feeling horrible. Why did I do that?  I worked so hard this week. I was good until we went out.  I shouldn’t go out. I can’t believe I f*cked this up.  I can’t believe I’m like this.  I’m going to eat what I want to day because “f*ck it”  I’ll start my program tomorrow and if I’m GOOD all week then I’ll lose the weight I gained today. “

Monday morning:  “I feel disgusting. My pant’s don’t fit me. I look so puffy and disgusting. I don’t even feel like going to the gym.  Today I’m not eating until after  dinner and no coffee for me. No sugar. Sugar is the devil. I need to get it together. Why did I do this? I can’t believe how I cant’ get my life together.”

Let me help you now.  This is common dialog for many of us. I’m going to tell you once again that this behavior is an endless cycle of garbage talk and will never, ever help us reach any goal.  If your kiddo spoke to herself, this way or Gawd -forbid a teacher told your kiddo this exact thing, we’d put a stop to this immediately. It’s not healthy.

REALITY SPEAK
We do not assign morality to food.  There is no good or bad food. 
Listen up all you “sugar is evil” people. I see you. I’m calling you out. You post out how sugar is the devil and I see you eating cookies and candy on Facebook  and elsewhere.   There is NO morality assigned to food.

What if: instead of saying  “Decisions/food are “GOOD” or “BAD”

Let’s change our thinking to
“for me personally  decisions are  either ‘helpful’ or “not helpful to my life/goals”.

A decision I make could be “not helpful to my goal” even if for another person it would be helpful.

“I’m in my prep and very close to stage time. Eating this additional serving of strawberries  is not helpful to me today”. 

That doesn’t mean eating extra strawberries is wrong for everyone. Just today, my prep goals would not deem the additional food helpful. It’s not a moral issue.

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Decisions CAN create for us chaos or  harmony for each of us.  A decision might create chaos for you but may not  be chaotic for someone else.

Here’s two scenarios to consider:   
Mary works in an office and it’s the holidays. There is a lot of food and treats there every day.   Mary said to herself

“There are so many treats at work and it’s really hard to stay away from them so I’m going to have 1 cupcake on Tuesday and enjoy that.  I will have a little bit of  Joann’s dessert she ‘s bringing on Friday. I’m excited to try it, she talks about it all the time.” 

Same scenario: chaotic

Oh no, I went to the break room for coffee and I couldn’t help myself because someone handed me a cup cake. I’m just going to eat what I want now. I did so good for so many days but it’s just staring at me. I have to eat it now.  I just can’t lose weight. I’m addicted to sugar. I hate myself. I hate my belly. Why am I like this? “

In scenario 1.  Mary was accountable and made a decision based on what was helpful to her. She didn’t vilify the food. She didn’t’ blame anyone else for what she ate. She choose what she wanted and it made her happy to eat it. She had a positive experience with the choice and she didn’t’ feel chaotic or the need to punish herself.” #helpful

In scenario 2:  The decision she made was NOT helpful to her.  She acted impulsively and blamed it on someone handing her the treat.  She created a dialog that made her feel ashamed and degrade her ability to reach her goals . She degraded her  body.   #nothelpful

Punishment: Exercise is not punishment. We do not punish our children with exercise when they don’t pick up their toys.  If your kiddo has an ice cream cone, would you then tell her to do 283 burpees?  If a coach followed your kiddo from the lunch room to gym class and told them to ‘work off that meal with 680 burpees’ would you feel ok about that?   The punishment didn’t fit the crime because eating isn’t a crime.

When we think of this nasty cycle, we are again reminded.. it doesn’t help. It isn’t logical. It doesn’t get us further on our goals.  Thoughtful planning and mindfulness with logic will help us understand our decisions.

My guess that you are a decent person. You don’t lie to yourself and you trust yourself . You don’t deserve punishment.  We don’t need to do this any more and especially regarding food and exercise. We certainly are smart enough to realize that when things don’t work, we should stop doing them.  Can we take some self love and realize that mindset can go farther than 680 burpees?  I know we can!!

Secrets to Successful Travels for Athletes

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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!!

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I get these at Walmart. I can put them in my carry on and I can eat them cold. I’m ok with that. Just add water. 20g P and 34 C.

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!!

Hotels:

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Extended Stay America


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!!

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Workouts:
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.

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Hard Rock Las Vegas. Yep. I got this.

I always travel with bands just in case.

I also do my track on parking lots.
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What are your travel secrets?

The Brutal Truth About Your Competition and your Expectations

THIS BLOG IS ABOUT PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION! ❤


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.

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This was 5 weeks out from my first show.

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.

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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.

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Build build build your physique but know you can get better every show!!

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.

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In 2013 I needed much glute work. I still do! Middle pic is lots of food, lots of lifting  (2016) Final pic is 2017.  I’m a work in progress because I want to get better.

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.

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Ashley in 2015 and 2018. She is lighter on the right BTW.

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.
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coach j
Julia Before and at the UFE World Championships in Toronto

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.
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Baby Iggy wants you to know that you are enough.. just work hard!!
Good luck with your show
Coach T

How to Pick a Competition Bikini

Bikini Competitions are the “new wedding”!!   I spent more time selecting all my suits than I actually did selecting my wedding gown 20 years ago.   If you are new to competing, it might seem overwhelming.  Have no fear!! This is the fun part!

What kind of suit do I need for my bikini competition?
If you are doing bikini, the suit you will buy will be like these!

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You can see that suits come in all colors and styles.
They are two pieces and have connectors . Most girls have their suits custom made but many designers have ready to go designs available. They come in all price ranges.

If you are FIGURE, your suit will look like this.
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Figure suits are connected and cross in the back. . This girl looks awesome.
If you are a figure girls, this is the suit you will buy. It can be blingy, very blingy, plain, OMG or in between.

You need to know!
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this is from Kata Stage Apparel
The bottom cut of your suit will depend on the federation you compete in.
You will check with your coach or federation guidelines on their website  for more details. NPC will be a much smaller cut.
Many natural federation like NANBF require the moderate back.
Origninally,  it was said tht UFE bottoms should cover 30 percent of the glute, although they recently posted you could use pro or standard back.
If you are doing shows in different federations, you can order two bottoms with your top.

Wait: my husband said the bottoms are too small. That happens a lot. The bottoms are very small to show off your glutes. You will use Bikini Bite to secure it down. It will look amazing.  If your bottoms are very large you will not be able to show the judges your best package. No thongs though!!

Can I buy one at Walmart?
Sure. If you want to wear off the rack that’s up to you.  We’ve seen a few ladies do that.
I’d never recommend it, but it’s your show. If you have the package and presentation to pull it off, why not.  If your federation has rules, please abide by them.

When do I order?
Typically, suits are ordered 8 weeks out from your show. Some designers require more time because of stoning or volume of work load during the show season. You will find that info on their website.  If you need it, many designers have a ‘quick ship’ or quick turnaround for an additional charge.

What color should I pick? I don’t know? I don’t know.. what do the judges like?
Do they like girls in red suits?  

Good gravy!!  Calm down.  Pick the suit YOU like. What color do YOU feel amazing in?
You are judged on total package. If you feel like Queen Bey in in your suit then you will give them all the sass. If you pick a color you aren’t feeling, it will show!!  I want you to love your suit.

Things I’ve learned.. Jewel tones look brighter on smaller frames and athletes with dark hair and skin.  We had a lovely athlete who was had a bit of a darker complextion and brunette hair. She chose cranberry and she just got lost on the stage. We put her in yellow next time and she just shone bright.

I like to google for athletes who resemble my skin and hair.  It’s nice to see some red heads in something other than green.  I have done every color out there.

On another note: Stop with the “do the judges like brown hair, short hair, tattoos, red suits.. mentality.  Stop it. This imaginary group of people who work up in a shitty mood or great mood or just got off a plan are real people who are rushed to look at 100’s of physiques and score them subjectively.  One judge said he hated red suits because his ex wife wore those in shows.  Some judges are obsessed with blondes.  Some hate redheads.
There’s’ no  criteria for our sport. I said it out loud. It’s one of the biggest complaints.
So here’s what you do, bring your best package and look exactly like YOU want to. Show them you are amazing and engaging in your favorite suit and that you are a winner.

I’m so excited, I want to order it now.
Please don’t. We have seen time and time again that jumping the gun will bite you in the booty. If you are 8 weeks out the designer will know how to cut it for show. Most ladies who pulled the trigger early had to have their bottoms remade because they looked like a diaper. You have no idea how tiny you will be at show. They won’t fit until right before your show.

Ack. there is a sale and I want it.
You could pay your designer for your suit and place the order 8 weeks out.

Where will I find designers/suits to look at?I love Instagram! If you look for #competitionbikinis, #competitionsuits, you will find some amazing designers!
Google will give you some great results too, but you’ll miss out on some of the newer designers. I say.. use IG!

Glamfitbikini’s has the coolest IG page on the planet. @Glamfitbikini
They get big ups for color coding their entire feed. They are in Australia but ship to the US.
glamfit

Katkinis has some beautiful suits!

The connectors!!
 Another cool designer is @Bikini_voronina_Official

 

 

How much should I spend?
I bought my first suits from RavishSands.com. They are amazing to work with. There are so many price points when you are selecting your suits. Pricing can depend on amount of stones, upgrades in stone colors and connector choices. You can spend as much as you want!

This one is mineeeeeeeeeee!
This one is mineeeeeeeeeee!

I’ve had suits that were very blingy but this year I went with the stretchy sequins !I bought my suit this year from a picture I saw on IG! @crystallinibikini/   I paid $180 for it and it’s  my favorite suit! I actually felt that the stretchy sequin fabric was a better fit for my implants! I had some trouble with my stoned suits coming up .  I love the connectors. Sequins looked great on stage too!

You can also buy plain suits and stone them yourself if you are up to the challenge!!

MuscleDazzle.com
My new obsession this year is Muscle Dazzle. I saw a girl at my last show with a fantastic suit from them. It came in a pretty sleeper box! Their prices are fantastic!

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Can I borrow or rent or buy a gently used suit?
Sure. Facebook has a great group of ladies on the
Figure/physique, bikini competitors ‘buy and sell’ board.
TameeMarie.com rents her suits out as well. They go fast though. You should watch her FB page too.

Does color/style matter to judges?
Tamee Marie her self told me that blondes in pink suits is cliche.  I don’t know. I’ve been to lots of shows and the ONE thing I do know is.. the total package matters. If you pick a suit that makes you feel awesome, look awesome and you rock it, that counts for a lot.  I love blingy suits on stage, the lights make them look amazing but I’ve also seen girls with plain suits win.  Oddly, a girl won in bikini wearing a figure suit at one show. I don’t even know how that worked out, but my guess is ‘suits’ aren’t the thing that makes the judges pick you over another girl.

Suit designers I like
RavishSands.com
They are very very good! This year, they remade my old suit bottoms to fit the federation I was competing in. I sent them the bottoms and they had them back promptly! Great customer service too. I have had amazing luck with them.

Crystallini Bikini (Ellen is your girl).

I got my suit! It doesn’t fit!
If  you are a girl who has to lean out for stage, your suit may not fit until the last week. If you try it on 3 weeks out and you still have work to do, try not to panic. It will fit! The designers are good at their job!

I wish you much luck!!

xoxo

Moving from IIFYM into Intuitive Dieting part 1:

me
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.

So let me back track a bit.  I want to show you a progression of my flexible dieting journey. Part two will explain my current use of IIFYM for my competition.

Binge/Restrict 2012
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.

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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.
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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.

booty
Eat lift slay for a booty. I ate more carbs than ever!

tri
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!!

2017
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.
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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.

Here I go!!  Part two is here.

Moving from IIFYM into Intuitive Dieting part 2: Pole Competition prep food

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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.

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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!!

splits
so much leg work and upper body/core in the floor work portion.

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.

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pole arms are coming in!

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.
post_workout_stack

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!!

Follow my pole journey to competition here!!

kittyskittles

IIFYM 101: HOW TO GET 35 DIFFERENT FOODS A WEEK.

Are you a creature of habit? Do you eat the exact same thing every day?  Did your coach give you a plan with a total of 6 items on it?  Are you struggling to incorporate variety into your meals because you “just don’t know what to eat?”

This blog will help you.

Sports nutrition 101 tells us that we need to eat 35 different foods a week.  Our team of athletes and lifestyle clients follows this goal.
This is important simply because, variety allows us to get micro nutrients from lots of different sources.

I have spoken openly about my Bro diet plan  and how it made me very sick. You can read more about that here.  I was eating a ‘totally clean’ competition diet of
turkey
chicken
fish.
egg whites
oats
ezekial bread
brown rice
sweet pot
spinach

I had 12 cups of spinach on my plan each day.
I hated my meal plan.  As I got closer to my show, my calories were very low and I had 6-7 meals a day of tilapia and spinach.

That is about 9 different foods and entire food groups are missing from this plan.
There is zero nutrition coming from beautiful fruits and other veggies.  I could have had other options and still reached my goal. I would have felt better and had more energy.  I certainly didn’t look better on this plan than I do on a variety of food.  That’s a fact.

If you are on a “bro plan” but want to learn how to get variety.. click here

bread
Nutrition should be a priority no matter what plan you are on.
It astounds me that intelligent people accept this style of eating when “dieting”. If you were told to give your kiddo this food 6x a day, you wouldn’t.  Kids need better nutrition. They need their calcium and fruits and veggies. How dare someone recommend this.
When did we lose our sensibilities!! Let’s eat some beautiful food! Stop removing total food groups! You don’t need to!!

How can I increase my variety to get to 35 different foods a week?

DON’T OVERTHINK IT.
Eat simply. If you are in the mood for black berries, eat them.  Have an apple on another day.  Eating the rainbow is a perfect way to increase your variety easily.


DON’T SHOP FOR 35 DIFFERENT FOODS
You don’t need to do that!!  Just start with what you like, and add to it.
We use challenges like “Taco Tuesday” and “Waffle Wednesday” to help our clients get creative and increase their variety.  Both of those meals can be created with lots of variety!  It’s easy to find yourself with 15-20 different foods a day on those days!!
Think of the toppings, the ingredients.  If you want fish tacos, great?  Do you want a taco salad?  Or waffles with Halo top and chocolate sauce.. Or perhaps you just want  Waffles with blueberries!


Hack: My Net Diary tracks your food amounts!!
35foods
You can see the number of foods you have eaten each day!  Cool.  MyNetDiary Pro is bomb!

If you need a macro plan or want to learn more about IIFYM you can work with us at LEARNIIFYM.COM

Prepping Not Starving: Taco Tuesday

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Our Team LOVES Taco Tuesday! Who doesn’t!!  IIFYM is bomb because you can make them fit your macros!!  Here are a few of our creations!  The tacos above are grilled chicken !taco1
Alicia scored this find at Trader Joes! 24g Protein!  Holla!
taco2
Coach Michelle is on vacation and on prep. Her tacos are on point. That avocado!!  Avocados and that wrap have fiber. That’s about 20g fiber right there!  taco3
Ashley is about 4 weeks out from her show. This is her masterpiece!

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Coach Julia is 7 weeks from her show and this is her taco crunch wrap!
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Melissa is 7 weeks from her show. These are her shrimp tacos! I love the lime. taco5
These are mine. I am 13 weeks from stage. Each one of those shells is only 4 carbs. taco7
Jen nailed her macros while eating tacos out!  um.. yes please!!
taco
Holy Mama, sometimes you need a taco when you are out. The macros on the Taco Bell Chicken Soft Taco are sweet.

Hack: If you are craving Tacos, front load your tracker with your tacos early in the day and eat around them.

Here’s my 4g Carb Taco shells.

shell

taco
These are in the grocery store or order online. We buy 72 shells at a time!

Eat food that makes you happy!  #makeItFit