Life Hack: How to take Next Level Progress photos

wpid-2015-03-14_01.08.10.jpgNo more selfies in the mirror!!
If you are on Team Sleek Body or Sleek Bikini Team  you will need to follow this protocol.

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So listen, I’m a selfie queen  but I’m also a very busy coach. I do client checks ins all day and when I get crappy check in pictures it slows down everyone’s progress.

Even if you just take progress pictures for yourself or for your FB group, I’m going to teach you how to do the next level version so you can be a BOSS!
I have progress pics weekly from the last 5 years. I can look back and see how my body has changed. Even if I don’t   see results right now, boy, you sure can see them  as time passes.

By doing it with this technique, you will always be able to grab them and do a quick side by  side!!

Reasons your check in  pictures should be good.
1. All mirrors are not created equal. Some mirrors can make you look way leaner and that will throw off your coach’s plan!!
2. If you aren’t doing full body, head to toe with shoes, you are not showing your coach what the judges see!!
3. If you are lifestyle client and your pics are cut off, camera pointing down, foggy bathroom, can’t get the back view with the mirror.. you will slow your coach down.

Show your coach your new photo skills!!    If you are just shooting your own progress pics you will be so glad you learned this hack!

What I require from my lifestyle and bikini/figure athletes
Full body pictures, head to toes. Faces can be cut off for lifestyle.
Competitors are in heels and in their  poses.

I also require a posing video from my prepping girls.  This is much more accurate than mirror selfies!! So this method is simple because you will already have your video!

OK.. here we go..
So think about your pictures. I’m not hating on this lady but I return check in pics like this.
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You can see progress but she could do better for herself and her coach. If she were posting this on, say her “fascia blaster” community she would get good feedback but this has some problems.  I care about stuff like this because we work hard so let’s fix it and really see what’s going on.

1. The right side is HUGE compared to the other side. Things that are close to the camera look bigger.
2. You can’t see her thighs on the right side. You could switch the order of the pictures and tell everyone you did some magic booty grow tea to sell some product!  We can’t see what’s happening so we need the full body and we need them both to be the same size!!

I expect this level of pictures from my clients so this is how it looks. Michelle is perfect on her check ins every time.

Here is exactly how you can do this quickly and easily so your pictures are always next level bomb!

Use a tripod or stack some shoe boxes on the dresser( we call this the South Side Tripod).
2. Set your phone to “CAMERA/VIDEO” and reverse the camera so you can see yourself in the screen.
3. Begin filming and walk way back so your full body is in the screen. If you can’t see your feet, back up. Back that train up. Trust me.
4. Hold your poses for a few seconds each. Do front, back and both sides.
5. Press STOP and go to your gallery so you can view the video.
6. Press PLAY then hit the ‘PAUSE’ . You will see a scroll on the bottom.
7. Begin to slowly scroll until you find the perfect shot.
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8.Touch the screen to make the scroll vanish and Screen Capture that picture!
You can also use the pinch method to expand your physique to fill the whole screen!!
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When you do your side by sides in your collage app you will have the same poses and can make both sides symmetrical.
This is what I see. So I need these to be the same so I can scroll and see where changes need to be made.
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Pro Tips:
1.Make sure your camera is not low and pointing up at you. Have it level for amazing results.
2. Wear the exact same thing in your pictures each time.
3. Shoot at the same time each week. My clients do their pics upon waking and after they use the rest room. They are at their dry weight which can help us  keep the conditions somewhat consistent each time they shoot.
4. Lighting should be the same too if at all possible.

Benefits:This is going to save you the heart ache of having your guy have to get up early and take your pics.  He doesn’t care about the quality but you can make sure it looks exactly right.

Many of our clients are shorter than their guys so we end up with cameras pointing down, feet and legs cut off.  We are wicked smart.. we totally have this!

16521689_1540162439330447_1388117194_nThis is baby Iggy aka Bun Bun. He is very good at his poses.

I know you are working so hard!!  Keep pushing.
t

Prepping not starving: The Monte Cristo Sandwich

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The mister has been binge watching “Top Chef” so my prep has gone to level 3000.
This sandwich is the bomb and the macros are fierce!  Seriously, you can use whatever you want to make your own to fit your macros but this was one I had for Brekkie!! It’s a good pre workout too.

2 slices 97/3 Ham
1 slices FF turkey
100 calorie english muffin
1 slice FF cheese

1/2 egg whites
Splash of vanilla

Mix egg whites and vanilla together
beat it until it is frothy

Drop the muffins into the mixture and let it soak up the eggs.
Fry the bacon and turkey in a pan with some cooking spray.
Remove from the pan.

Put the muffins in the pan and pour the rest of the mixture on top.
Flip them over then put the turkey and ham and cheese on the muffin.
Close it like a sandwich. cover the pan so the cheese melts.
Serve with syrup and jelly or powdered sugar if you have the carbs.

Your macros will vary but you can make it fit, even with some


I know you are working hard on your prep!! Keep going!
t

20 weeks out

Just an update for my competition/fascia blaster journey!
Since I changed my show date from October to June, I’m having a “HOLY WOW”
moment.

Last week was the worst week I’ve probably had in decades. Our little Kitty went missing on Christmas and we found her last week. She had passed away outside.  She was only 2 and was my heart.  I was a wreck. I got so many grey hairs.

I also dislocated my sacrum on NYE when I slipped on some beer at the Kid Rock concert.
So I was in terrible pain. I’m thankful my chiropractor got me on the right track. My workouts were minimal though because she asked me to not lift very heavy. I couldn’t pole at all.  Tough week.  I don’t like to whine, but it was bad.

My food was good  though. Oddly.
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IGGY!!
PREP
20 weeks out now and I’m feeling much better. We adopted a new baby kitten and he is wonderful.  My back is really feeling better too so I’m mentally and physically ready to start my prep with focus so I bring home a Pro Card for the Team!

Changes: Because I’m working with my Fascia Blaster and I’m working hard to fix my fascia and alignment issues I have made serious changes to my plan!

I have been blasting and got some insane results on my inner thighs. I’m still working hard on the rest but I’m seeing progress.

I have taken my workouts to zero impact. No unilateral movements, running, jumping, plyo, box jumps, back flips, burpees, NONE.  I do my cardio exactly as Ashley Black told me to. I’m training so much less overall than before and getting progress.  So we will see how I start looking now that I’m back on a cut.

The video above is the Pit Shark Squat.  I don’t use a bar on my back anymore so this one really gets it done for me.  I normally do over 200 pounds with this, but I’m still on lighter weights.  I really feel this in my glutes.  There are ways to do a Pit squat with benches and a Kettle bell. You can see that on Youtube. I just love this piece. Lucky for me , my gym has it!

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Show date is UFE Fury, Chicago June 3!!
Good luck with your show too!

2017 Competition Season Begins

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We all made it through the holidays.  Some of us are fluffier and some no worse for the wear.  The beginning of a fresh new year, signals  SHOW SEASON.  Everyone is baking chicken and veggies (not me) and buying up the gallon jugs of water!

I have 16 ladies competing this spring and we are fired up and ready!!

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We are super excited to bring UFE Rampage to St. Louis in just 16 weeks!  This will be a great opportunity for athletes to have a truly amazing competition experience!   This show is going to be something St. Louis has never seen with the categories of Fitness Model and Glamour.  If you are competing in NPC Midwest or NANBF Liberty, you can do UFE!  We are the week in between!!
Right now, you can register for UFE shows for just $75!
Here’s the link to Rampage

I’m starting my show prep a bit early. I’m competing this year in UFE Fury in Chicago, June 3.  This show is  a Pro Qualifier which means if I win, I can earn my pro card. It was a tough decision to turn around and start a prep again, but I’m ready to do it.  I have several pole and fitness photo shoots this spring so it’s a good time.  I will finish my year with UFE Worlds in Toronto, November 2017.

Fasica Blaster Update

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If you are following my Fascia Blaster journey, this is a mini update since I had a bit of a break through today.

I’ve been blasting about 6 full weeks now.  I was beyond bound so I am slowly breaking up big old chunks of fat.  I am finding that my fasica is really still pretty tight. My abs are a wreck.  They are swollen. I see that after I blast, I do have some nice tightening!!

Anyway..I’m doing all of this in my off season so let the chips fall where they may. I will be golden in 1 year.

Ok.. Last week I blasted almost every day. I pay attention to my 
Quads
IT band
Heart butt blasting 
Hammies/glute ham tie in
I lightly blast over the peachy part so I don’t lose volume.
I also do my abs hard core.
My arms and waist and back. 

Blasting is like a whole workout!!  

Post blasting
I feel so drained and tired.  That’s the detoxing and it’s real. I feel like have felt a cold coming on,soooo tired.   On Thursday I went to the gym, then blasted. I was going to do a pole workout but couldn’t even get up off the couch!

I decided to wait a few days and see if I felt stronger again.  I blasted a little bit on Monday but it kicked my butt. I couldn’t even finish my blast!  That was the last time I blasted, or attempted to…

I took yesterday off.

Today was dead lift day and I felt great!  I PRd my lift at 145 and did about 20 reps so that’s  good.  But… here’s the kicker..

I felt my glutes like I seriously have never felt before ever every.  I felt my hammies, too. I cannot even believe how different it feels. I can feel more circulation and the muscles are firing so much better! I wanted to keep going because it felt so strange and good!!

I’m also noticing that while I’m swollen and puffy, my quads, hams and glutes are like rocks. I’m feeling them building!  So… that’s the news.

Progress!!

The girls on the Fascia blasters for women body builders echo this same thing. One thing I might have to do is blast and then lift lighter as the fasica that was so bound is loosening.
Feels crazy to be worn out so quickly.  I’m going to hope that the detoxing eases up.

I need to do better on my water!! Ok.. I’ll keep you updated!!

The off-season lie no one wants to talk about.

offseason
Andreia Brazier in her show season and off season.

Let me start this post by saying this
Stage Lean is addicting. To me.. it’s like in the movies when you see a vampire taste blood for the first time.  You are on a never ending path to chase it down, own it and keep it.

Every single time I prep, I swear I’m going to stay stage lean but I don’t. It’s not real and it’s really just a moment in time for most of us.

What is stage lean, really?
If you don’t know what stage lean is, it’s extreme.Personally,  I love my physique at 5 weeks out. As I get closer to stage, I look drawn , tired, frail, tiny, quite bobble headish. On stage, under the lights, in my bikini I look huge. But in reality, it’s the smallest I’ve been since I was 11 years old.  As a women, it’s the ultimate high even though I know how I look in real life.

Stage lean is the extreme phase of body building where you are at your very best, displaying all your hard work and feeling like you own the world.  It’s important to be extremely lean so that your muscle show and you can be judged on them!! I’m not thin. I’m not naturally athletic. I’m not an outlier. I’m not someone any of this comes easy to.

Those few moments in time are everything.  I will take on everything about prep, dieting, training to own those moments.   Seeing your hard work makes it all worth it!

What is off season?

Off season or improvement season is for building muscle and getting gains! It’s important as competitive athletes to work to improve our package each year.  To do so, we must eat and lift.  In a caloric deficit, we are fighting to keep the muscle we have. That means for most of us, in our prep, we are working hard to save the muscle we have! No muscle is growing!

To achieve gains, we must be in a surplus of calories and that’s how we grow!

A solid off season weight would be 8-10 pounds over stage weight.

We are hopeful that post show, we can do our reverse diet properly and move into a lean bulk. For many, it’s simple. For some..not so much.

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The lie: 
The internet provides us some pretty intense  fitness inspiration.   My Instagram feed is all about body building competitions so I have a steady diet of lean, ripped , physiques to keep me motivated.   When you finish your show season and begin your lean bulk, it’s very easy  to get discouraged and feel like you are failing because you don’t look shredded  like the  InstaStars .

So many of our fellow competitors find that post show, they experience the blues and they feel fluffy because now they now comparing their physique to their stage weight.

This certainly has the potential create body  body dysmorphia!

“Look at her.. If she can stay ripped all year, why can’t I? Why am I failing?”

Thoughts
Someone I admire very much made a post that really brought it home for me..
What if, post competition you were normal? What if you gained a little weight back, you don’t look stage lean and you just  ate at your maintenance macros. Because we are looking at the InstaStars who appear to stay stage lean all year round, we have a skewed view of what is actually normal. His point was, the majority do gain in off season and don’t stay stage lean. So while feeling like we are the ones who aren’t normal.. we actually are. Most of us do, eat, lift and build!!

Chasing the dragon:  As body builders  we laugh and say
Welcome to the world where you are
1. never lean enough
2. never big enough
3. your abs are never good enough

There are athletes out there who never take the time for their bodies to recover. They don’t take grow seasons and they don’t improve. But, recovery is important. As athletes we should take at least the same amount of weeks we dieted to recover. I have a full year between my shows. My body could not take less. One year I did an 18 month off season.
Recovery and improvement are good things. They just don’t look very glamorous!

Judgement: I see posts from athletes who are feeling so strong as they compete then their feed in off season becomes apologetic.  #offseason  #fluffy  #bulking
Off season doesn’t and shouldn’t look like stage lean!   Why are we judging our fellow athletes when they are doing what they are supposed to do ? EAT and lift heavy weights!
Growing a booty means feeding that booty.  Gains come from surplus!
What we can do:
Be kind to ourselves.  Stop listening to the noise of what the InstaStars present. They are not directing it at us. They are selling sups, menus, workout pants. Of course they are going to present their ultimate package all year. They have sponsors!
Also..We do not know these people and their feed could be posts from their prep,  or their photo shoot time frame.  We do not know if they are lean naturally. We do not know if they are enhanced.  We do not know if their pics are enhanced.  Comparison is the thief of joy!

Change the channel: One of my bikini athletes had a great idea. She scaled back her Insta feed to reflect only natural athletes she knew.  This is a protection of her spirit!  She is committed to bring the best HER possible and the unknown variables of InstaStars are distracting!!

Plans: We can focus on the goals of our next competition.  Eating with purpose to support the gains we need to help us come in stronger.   This is when I feel like I’m most challenged as an athlete. Keeping my focus when my body image is low.

Support: I love having a team. We support each other because we know how this feels.  We can keep each other grounded as we navigate this  part of the journey!  There are facebook groups that are very good support systems for competitors. Not all of them are, but if you find like minded friends it can help you feel less like an island!

I wish you luck in your competition journey. I know you are working so hard!

t

Top Reasons Your New Year’s Resolution will fail : Part 1

new-year-resolutions
Hello December! Friends… you are about to bombarded with food, food and more food.
Also in December, we are bombarded with a million weight loss  quick fixes guaranteed to give you a super model body with no effort.

If you are on social media, you’ve seen diet teas, magic workouts, booty bands, menu plans.. omg.

Before you click ” Purchase” on that quick fix  plan, let me tell you the truth!!

Here are a few reasons your plan is setting you up to fail.
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1. Your mindset
“I am going to eat everything in sight now and then lose weight starting in January”

How has that worked for you in the past?  It doesn’t.  One reason we see clients struggling is because they live in the ‘all or nothing’ world.

 “If I can’t eat everything, I will eat nothing. ” 

That only lasts so long.  With little balance, nothing in life really can be successful.

Success tip: Set your December up for eating well but taking positive steps to not over indulge.  Eating smaller portions is one way you can enjoy the Holiday’s without eating in a surplus.
Drink less alcohol!  We practice Faux Drinking during the Holidays.
You can see more here at my Holiday Survival Guide.

2. Your program: 
When a person finally decides to “lose weight” we often learn that there was and
“x factor” that created the desire to act.   Something drastic happens.

“I saw a picture of my self at the dinner table at Aunt Minnie’s house and I was chewing!”

Sometimes a partner or stranger says something critical. Perhaps moving up a clothing size is the X factor.   It’s very normal to feel desperate and be reactionary.
Things that promise “instant weight loss” are very attractive to a person who has had this
moment of truth.

Success tip: The program you should be doing is the one you see yourself on 1 year from now.  Studies show that over 80 percent of people who do restrictive dieting rebound and gain their weight back!   This is also very hard on your metabolism!!

So let’s take a moment and think about where you see yourself in a year. Do you see yourself in the exact same place as now, but more frustrated?  Let’s make a plan right now to stop repeating behaviors that are not working!!
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SECRET:The most successful programs are those that are sustainable and can be done with consistency.

When you see a plan you want to try, do your homework. Research.  If your new plan has 6 small meals a day and barely get a lunch break at work.. that’s not a good sign!

If your new plan requires you to remove fruit, carbs,  or other food groups, ask yourself if that is sustainable.  It’s not. You already know it’s not.

Really think about WHO you are. Search for the plan that works with YOU.

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3. No clear cut goals:
 I want to lose weight is the worst goal I’ve ever heard. It’s the same as I want a million dollars. Well… ok.
Get specific!!  Really sit down and think about it. What do you want?  Do you want to fit into your clothes again?  Do you want to go all the way and rock a bikini body?
Think harder.. hmmm
What do you want your physique to look like?  Do you want leaner legs?
Would you like a  peach booty?  This is about YOU. Be specific.

Success tip: WRITE THIS DOWN!  Studies show that we are more successful in reaching our goals if we write them down.

SECRET:  It’s awesome to have your long term goal but let’s write down a few short term goals and how you will accomplish them.
In January when everyone starts hard then drops out so quickly, set yourself up for a set of small goals that will help you feel successful.   I promise you, hitting goals is very motivating!

Example: I will make it to the gym 4 x this week. 
I will do that by putting that into my calendar as a very important meeting.

If you have to break it down to just one day at time.. that’s OK!!
“I will track my food today”
I will do that by using my phone tracker or I will set an alarm to remind me to add my food.

If you have to break it down to 1 meal at a time.. do it.

 SUCCESS TIP:String together  successes even small ones add up and keep you motivated. We keep going when we are doing well!!  

Do you need help with your food?  We can teach you how to eat what you love and get lean!
You can be successful.  Our class is done online!! whoo hooo.. Check us out here

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Fascia blasting : My First 30 days.

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There they are!  My Fascia Blasters!  This journey.. OY!!

A few months ago, I happened upon a Facebook video from Ashley Black Guru and she was talking about the “cellulite myth”.  I  was mid prep so I just set that aside for later.

After my show though, I spent some time researching the science of Fascia and it started to hit home with me that this was something I needed to get to work on.
chicken
Fascia on the chicken breast, you’ve seen this before.. bet you didn’t know what it was!!

Here’s the original video

 This one.. omg.. yes

How I started: 
One of the first things I did was join the Fascia Blasters Facebook group and watched daily as hundreds of people were posting their progress!  I spent a lot of time on Ashley’s Youtube channel and finally sent her my show pics for her coaching advice.

She said
“Tracy to me your fascia looks “beyond bound” – so you don’t have much dimpling but your skin is in solid chunks and you probably have poor circulation, leg cramps, and feel tight and tired all the time. If you go to grab your skin and it feels like 1 solid piece and you can not separate it at all – that is beyond bound! Don’t worry – the FasciaBlaster WILL FIX IT – it’s just gonna get “uglier” before it gets better.”

Here is a visual of the variations of ‘cellulite’.
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She was right!  If I pinched my skin it was big chunks.  Everything she said was true. Tight and tired all the time.

What I purchased: 
The Full sized Fascia Blaster
The mini Fascia Blaster
Ashley’s blasting oil
After Blasting cream.

I received my blaster in 2 days!! The oil did not arrive until a week later so I started with the Moroccan oil my mama gave me. It worked great.
Ashley’s Fascia Blasting Oil is awesome too, but I use a lot so I also just got some Target body oil. Other  people use coconut oil or Massage oils.  Baby oil was awful so don’t use that.  So far, Ashley’s oil and my Moroccan oil were the best as they spread easily and the blaster glided well.

HEAT
It’s best to blast in heat.so we put a heater in the bathroom or I use the sauna.
It actually  does hurt and I bruised my first week, although I’m not bruised anymore.  I blast 4-5x a week. Sometimes I just do my legs and sometimes I do several parts. It takes me a good 20 min but I also can just blast my arms quickly in the shower.

It’s been about 3.5 weeks now 

Today, I sent her a follow up video and I was utterly mortified. Beyond Bound is about breaking up the fat so it does look chunky now!!
A large chunk of fat broke off on the back of my leg and is floating. It’s gross. It will eventually break up.

So after sending this video.. I’m curious to see what changes she has for me.

Good news: even though I’m looking rough, with Beyond Bound it will get worse before it gets better!!
 I’m 100 percent committed to working on this issue. I’m learning so much about how the fascia effects my body building and muscle gains! .  I want education and I want healthy fascia.  Fascia issues can cause  some crazy issues. LOOK  Look at this chart: 

Beginnings:
When I started I went through a full week of feeling pretty crummy and tired. That’s really normal.  I’ve noticed though my circulation is getting better.  Even though my abs, legs, glutes resemble mashed potatos… I am seeing quad definition coming through. I actually see positive changes.  I’m really in this for the long haul.

It’s probably odd that I didn’t post my personal pictures here. I’d like to do that after I have achieved progress.

As I work this next year to balance my body, with my training, chiropractic adjustments and stretching, Fascia Blasting makes sense to me. There is actually a body builder, competitors facebook group that I’m in for support too.  It’s interesting.

Do you blast too?

IIFYM, Dwayne The Rock Johnson and Pancakes

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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!

YOU CAN LEARN EVEN MORE ABOUT RE-FEEDS HERE

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!
capm