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.
One Mother’s Day, I was deep into my show prep. I was on a totally bro diet of
TCF (turkey, chicken, fish) and spinach. It was very rigid as most of these cookie cutter plans are. My hubs made a lovely dinner of roasted turkey and veggies but alas my coach did not allow any variance of my food for the holiday. No veggies swaps and no fruit because “I wouldn’t look right”.
At that time, I would have really loved to enjoy the food my husband made but I stayed the course so I could “look right”.
As a the holidays come and go throughout our preps, I always think of that day and know that I ‘could’ have had something there that made sense.
It’s so funny how when you are dieting to the extreme even a variance of veggies and some berries sounds decadent.
So listen, the point of my blog today is not to argue the menu your coach put you on, it’s to celebrate the ability to include variety into your holiday while you are straight arrow on your macros.
Disclaimer: I could do another bro diet standing on my head and probably so could you if it meant something. It doesn’t. So I won’t and I won’t pretend it does. What I will say is that show prep is sacred and should be respected. So is family and connection. There is a way to live well while you are forwarding your goals.
When our team preps, most of us prep at 95/5. Which means that 95% of our food is nutritionally dense and 5% is discretionary. I’m not going to get into the definitions of that here but you can learn more on this post. Basically, I don’t have room for beer and brats. I’m choosing high quality food in the rainbow of colors to fulfill my nutritional needs as well as my physique goals.
One of the things that works beautifully for me is to find something that fits my macros but also satisfies the holiday theme. I like holiday food. I’m going to give you an example for 4th of July.
What I would like to eat:
Something patriotic always shows up at family functions in the summer months and I’m
drawn in. A small amount of this cake ‘could’ fit my macros in my off season but not in prep. I’m going to create something else that will make me super happy instead of feeling sad about what I can’t eat.
One option on RippedRecipes.com was this Patriotic Whoopie pie
Everything in this recipe is “clean”. It has Egg whites, cottage cheese, Whey, and a few
other items. The macros per serving are 138 Calories P: 13g C:21g F: 1g
Sugar Free Cool whip is a lovely and 2 table spoons (9g) is
I keep both Sugar Free and Fat free on hand because sometimes I have more fat left than carbs.
Fat free Cool Whip 2 table spoons (9g)
Calories : 15
Here’s something else: Berries have fiber and lots of great micro nutrition!
Oh no! But Cool whip is not clean and it’s of the devil. I cannot and will not eat that on prep! How dare you suggest that!
I totally hear what you are saying and no one said you have to eat that but let me give you the facts.
Nine grams of FF Cool whip is 15 calories. Five percent of my entire day’s calories could be discretionary. At 5 weeks out, I’m usually at 1500 calories and 5% of that is 75 discretionary calories. I can make that work.
The whoopie pie recipe has nothing in it that would not fit my macros any time.
Another option instead of processed cool whip is greek yogurt!
Food for thought: We often hear competitors say things like “I’d kill for a cookie.” “I can’t wait to eat all the sweets”.
A true salvation for me and many of our athletes is that we include “fun” food in our day so we don’t feel deprived. Our team has a very high ratio of clients who reverse out properly and don’t gain 30-40 pounds post show. Trust me, I’ve done that on all my bro preps. The strategy of not feeling deprived and finding things that fit into your plan feeds that need for variety and offers the security of knowing “you will indeed, look right on stage”. You may also be surprised to know that studies show that 80% of those on restricted diets rebound and gain their weight back (and more). I can tell you that mentally, many of us have been able to maintain our prep to the end without binge eating because we do not feel deprived. On my bro preps, I binged several times and almost didn’t get to compete.
Just a reminder: RippedRecipes.com is an amazing place to start for holiday treats. You should use your PC not your mobile device though as the filters are much better. You can find things that will fit your style of eating from Paleo to Low carb and then some. You can modify recipes to fit your needs. Most everything on the site is considered ‘clean’ which is helpful to those who fear not being “100 percent Bro”. Science is on our side on that.
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
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!!
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!
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.
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!
Hey!! I finished my first year of Fascia Blasting! I promised that when I stared this process I would give my all . I had my photoshoot last Sunday and I can tell you right now.. I have never said this.. I LOVE MY LEGS.
I sent this picture to Ashley Black
I was beyond bound and I just couldn’t get definition in my lower body. She gave me a protocol and I went to it.
This was day 1 and 6 months.
I am a pole dancer. I blast 4x a week for 15 min total. I also body build.
I do heart butt and bands. I have one big leg day that has focus on fixing the atrophy I found when I losened my fascia.
I do not put a barbell on my back anymore. I use leg extension, Leg press, squats on the cables, lots of band work.
I do band work 2 other days a week and pole 3 days a week.
I also lift my arms a 2x after pole. I do cardio 2x a week for 30 m in.
I am IIFYM and I eat what I want. I eat about 1800-2000 calories a day.
the most important thing for me to say is I’m competely chill about how long it has taken. I like blasting for just 15 min a day. I love my results. I’m ok with this. I blast for pain. I blast before I train and for sore muscles after I pole dance.
So here’s that photoshoot picture again.
I am so happy and proud of my efforts. I chose these behind the scene pics because I didn’t realize my legs were coming along so well. My legs are almost all smooth now.
I’m going to keep going.I’m grateful to Ashley Black for her science and girlfriend speak. I’m grateful to my friend Kelley Zuniga who is also on our bikini team. She has encouraged mto to work through the atrophy and not give up. She is a true motivator. I’m grateful for pain relief and for new information that proves we can take care of our bodies from the inside out.
I will keep going!!
You can find the Fascia Blaster on Amazon.com now. I am not a spokes person for the Fascia blaster but I want the best for my clients so I recommend it!!
Do not buy ‘fake ones’. Get the ones that say Ashley Black . Or better yet.. visit her site and order from her directly.
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 haven’t posted a good booty workout for a minute!!
I did this one today. It’s my second leg day and I focused on glute activation.
I did about 45 min of this plus the finishers. Good luck
Goal is 3-4 rounds with purpose. Glute activation and zero slacking!
Warm Up: be sweaty and ready .
Band side steps using hip circle 30 seconds
Barbell Glute bridges HEAVY slow with hip circle above knees. Keep glutes activated 10 reps
Banded Cable squats 2 counts down 1 count up 10 reps
Banded stiff leg cable deads 10
Bulgarian split squat with barbell 10 /10
Stationary lunges 10/10 with barbell
Barbell Squat pulses 10
Cable hip extension 100/100
45 degree hypers with weight 3×12
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!!