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.
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
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.
If you are just begining your IIFYM/Flexible Dieting Journey you may be surprised to see how much protein you are going to need to eat each day. In fact, most of my new clients come to me eating very little protein so it looks daunting to try to hit those protein goals!
The question I get the most is “How can I hit my protein goals with out going over fats and carbs?”
Protein is very important to our physique goals!! We need protein to build muscle and we all know that muscle is the fountain of youth! In a fat loss plan, we eat protein to help us maintain the muscle we have!! Protein also helps you feel full!!
Protein 101: Basic Sources Meat Lean cuts to keep fat down. Skinless white meat is lower in fat. Chicken
Other Seafood (shrimp, scallops) Dairy Milk, Chocolate milk (great post workout)
Laughing cow cheese is fun!
Cottage cheese (add to your pancakes to add a fluffy texture)
Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese
Halo top Ice cream (I had to add that)
Egg whites (buy the pour-able kind)
Beans and legumes have some protein but the carb profile is higher, but if you can make it fit.. could be an option.
Whey Whey protein or Isolate : you can cook with this!!
Lenny and Larry’s cookies (low protein profile but worthy)
Kodiak protein pancake mix (Target)
Protein Bars like Quest or B-Up bars (check your local Supplement store for variety)
Peach Protein Cupcakes with Raspberry Lemon icing.. I tossed this in for you just for fun. Here’s that recipe. P:11 C:11 F2 for each cuppie.
Protip: Aim for protein first, Carbs second and fats last. If you aim for hitting your protein goals first, you won’t be left at the end of the day with 120g to eat!!
Protein hack: You could split your protein goals up by meal.
Mary Jo has 160g protein per day. She likes to eat 5 meals a day. Each meal could contain 32g protein per meal.
100g of shrimp is 28g of protein!!
Many foods you enjoy each day will have protein in them!! These amounts will help get you to your goals. Track that food!! Let’s see whatcha got!!
“I don’t like eggs or egg whites.” Ok.. I hear you. I don’t care for egg whites on their own either, but I do love Crepes, Pancakes and French toast which are all made with egg whites /egg.
Here’s a Banana Protein Pancake!!!
Protein pudding is boss.. This is at Walmart, Sup stores, Amazon.
Oh Hey.. let’s make Fish Tacos! The shells are La Tiara (4 carbs per taco shell)
Hack: Start tracking your normal eating. Look at it like a puzzle. Are you lacking in protein but way over in fatty/carby foods? Let’s start working on ways to tweak your normal eating!
How can you add more protein in and hit your other macros on point?
Congratulations to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for being chosen as People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive.
Note: This is also win for the ladies who like a little beefcake, that’s for sure. 🙂
The Rock is a fitness icon! He is an athlete and clearly he lifts!
Not only is he a super positive force in his career, he knows how to eat for his physique goals.
One thing we can all be sure of he has his food correct !!
Plus, he likes pancakes.
Pancakes! After he finished filming “Hercules” The Rock held an epic cheat day! On this day he whipped up his famous pancakes and ate 12 of them!
I love this picture because in our world of IIFYM, we call this a ‘carb up’ or refeed.
When a person has dieted for a while, a few things happen.
1. The person gets weary of the diet. Even on IIFYM the fact that we are on a hard cut means we are eating less.
2. Our bodies can become adapted to the lower calories/macros.
A simple carb up or re-feed or in this case.. cheat day will help in both those scenarios.
So while “The Rock” called this an epic cheat day, he still utilized the concepts of body building and IIFYM. He is eating with purpose!
In our program, carb ups or re-feeds are given to clients with specific instructions. It’s not a random cheat day or binge day, just so you know.
The Rock is a huge dude so 12 pancakes fits his macros. Most of us, ladies.. not so much. That’s why we tailor our carb ups for our clients so they have the best results.
If It Fits Your Macros is amazing because it’s all about the YOU. You can carb up on things YOU like. I like Fro-yo and Cinnamon Toast Crunch! Our clients have a lot of fun when it comes to their re-feed!
If you would like to know more about IIFYM and learn the secrets of success, please check us out on LEARNIIFYM.COM We will teach you online!! We will work with you to help you reach your physique goals!
I am so happy to introduce to you our new coach, Michelle Palumbo. I am thrilled to have her on our team. She will bring so much to our bikini team, lifestyle clients!
Michelle is by far the best macro counting wizard I know. She just competed and brought her best package to date using IIFYM. No starving!
Here is her transformation story!
Alright Team Sleek Body! As a new coach and after coming off my first show in 10 years, I wanted you all to see where my journey began. I was never an athlete growing up and after my freshman year of college, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. That’s me in 1999 the summer after freshman year. I wasn’t happy or confident. With a family history of heart disease and obesity, I made the choice to change my genetic path and am so thankful I did. My first leg workout, I literally crawled up the stairs to my dorm room for the next 2 days. I post this to say it wasn’t easy, there were ups and downs along the way but it has certainly been worth it. Yes, it takes a lot of time and effort to do food prep but it’s totally worth it!
When I started prep for bikini, I was eating what I thought was the right foods but not tracking or measuring anything. It makes a huge difference!!! And when you get to eat foods you like, it makes it easier. So when you don’t want to measure your food and count your macros, just remember your goals and envision yourself on that stage. We are strong women. #proveyourselftoyourself#striveforprogressnotperfection