I know you’ve heard it 100 times, and I’ve probably said it an equal amount, but abs really are made in the kitchen. Trying to out-train a bad diet will get you nowhere… because it isn’t possible. In order to properly prepare for competition in September (currently 5 months out), the focus right now is on setting a good baseline for the amount of food my body can process. I need to eat enough that I can still put on lean muscle mass, yet not enough that I am gaining unnecessary weight. The goal over the next few months is to up my food intake (yea, I said “up”, as in, increase) as much as possible to give me the energy to grow these muscles.
Contrary to popular belief, training for a fitness competition (in this case, a bikini competition), does not mean starving yourself for 12-16 weeks. It does, however, mean eating the right types of foods, in the right proportions. An extremely limited diet for a prolonged period of time will do more harm than good, and will result in your body not being able to efficiently process foods (like carbohydrates) so that you end up gaining back more weight than you started with. Yikes! A good trainer will feed you. Read that again because it’s really important… A GOOD TRAINER WILL FEED YOU!
What type of diet am I following? For those familiar with macronutrient tracking, I am currently on a 45/35/25 carb/protein/fat ratio, which puts me right in the 1750 calories per day range – I know those percentages don’t add up to 100%, but that’s all part of the fine-tuning process. Do I hit these numbers exactly? Ha, I wish. I have a lot of tightening up to do these next few weeks. Because I am a horrendous cook and hate being in the kitchen equally as much, I am getting my meal prep from a delivery service: Fit Choice Foods. The bison sweet-potato tacos are amazing! And the chocolate, peanut butter protein balls... don't even get me started.
After diet, the second most asked question I get is: Do you really drink a gallon of water every day? Yes I do. There are a thousand benefits to drinking water, one of which is decreased muscle fatigue, and thus, increased performance. And living in the desert makes proper hydration an absolute must. The thirst is real. (If it's hard for you to drink that much water right off the jump, aim for a half gallon and work your way up over time.)
What types of workouts am I doing? Same ol’, same ‘ol… but with added FOCUS. I am working on slowing down the movements and really connecting with each rep. I am also trying to add some weight to various sets to keep my body guessing. My glutes are one of my weakest areas… errr not counting my abs, so I try to train them in some capacity at least 4X a week (this means 2 dedicated leg days, and adding in a few glute specific sets to the ends of my workouts 2X a week).
A tip for my fellow booty-building ladies: properly training your butt is not easy because it is really hard to isolate your gluteal muscles without allowing your quads and hamstrings to take over. TIP: Drop the weight down… way down… and focus on feeling each movement IN YOUR BUTT. Adding more weight will not train them faster if your legs are doing a majority of the work anyways.
What type of competition prep am I starting? Nothing specific to competition prep has started yet, other than getting my stage heels to begin practicing walking in. Never thought I’d see the day where I was buying gaudy, 5 inch, clear stilettos, but hey, life never ceases to amaze me. For those who know me, I am basically a pro at walking in heels, yet, I wanted plenty of time to practice regardless. That and my trainer scoffed at the last progress pics where I wore my flip-flops. Major first-timer alert. So embarassing.
The plan: The goal for the next 4 weeks is to really hone in on my diet (a necessary evil if I ever want to have a chiseled midsection), work on building up my shoulders and glutes, and to get comfortable walking around in my stripper shoes.
Favorite exercises currently: Band and resistance work for my glutes; use a heavy-duty resistance band and place it above the knees, do side steps - 15 down, 15 back. Or try reverse hack squats using a resistance band above the knees - 3 sets of 12. For shoulders, underhand lat pull-downs, 4 sets of 15.