The last time I stepped on stage for any sort of physique competition was September of 2017. This was my 6th show after which I made a decision to not compete anymore (at least for the time).
With two 1st place wins, a few 2nd and a few 3rd place wins, I placed well (top 5 or higher) in all of my shows, even at the Olympia Model Search with over 70 women in one class and I was (and still am) proud of my accomplishments as a competitor to date.
This decision was mostly due to the fact that I didn't like the body type that was required for stage in the divisions in which I was competing. Don't get me wrong, I know that NPC and IFBB bikini athletes are of some of the most elite and they work damn hard to get up on that stage. Most of them deserve the placings they get and I know it requires a lot of hard work and dedication to the craft to get up there and showcase what the judges are looking for. The women look incredible.
However, as a natural athlete and someone who was not blessed with a curvy body or shapely bone structure, I have always struggled to add shape to my frame and I felt like prep was often times going against my goal of creating more overall shape and volume to my physique due to how lean you really have to get to place well.
It has taken me a while to adjust to the idea of entering another prep primarily for this reason (and, let's be real, it's fun to eat whatever you want and not worry about your physique sometimes). However, this prep is going to be slightly different for a few reasons:
1) I am competing in the WBFF for the first time. This is a different federation which awards women with slightly higher body-fat levels and more of a feminine/curvy overall look while still being fit. I am excited to be able to work hard toward a physique that aligns more closely with my personal physique goals.
2) I am placing a focus on looking and feeling MY best. Of course I want to place well. But I also want to feel strong and appreciate my physique in the weeks leading up to show day. I am placing an emphasis on mental and physical recovery, stress relief methods and rehab for nagging aches and pains so that I can work toward feeling the best that I have on prep. In addition, if I don't like how I am looking, I will adjust things in an attempt to achieve my personal goals while working toward a stage-worthy physique.
3) I will be prepping myself. I will be taking care of my own training and nutrition entirely for the first time during a prep. Although I haven't had any coaches design my full programs in the past, I have had help from coaches checking my body composition, telling me when to adjust macros, and training me one or two days a week during my other preps (thanks Aaron Orton @genuinefitnesstraining and Andre Scott @posingperfection503. I highly recommend contacting both of them if you are an Oregon local and looking for a coach for show prep).
I am actually a huge fan of coaches getting coached and in no way do I think that I am above being coached by someone smarter and more experienced than myself. If you are a fitness professional and you have the means to hire someone to help you, do it. However, I am excited to utilize what I have learned from wiser, more experienced professionals as well as implement my own experience, research and expertise to fine tune my physique. Nobody knows my body and goals better than I do and I am excited to test my mental strength and objectivity in prepping myself.
Between Instagram and my blog (here) I will be documenting my progress and changes I am making on a weekly basis. Although I have been working toward creating the physique I am after for months and years prior to this, I will start the documentation here at 12 weeks out.
Current Stats: 115.8 lbs (weekly average +.2lb from last week)
Waist: 23.5 in
Hips: 35.5 in
I only take waist and hip measurements and assess progress via the scale and photos/my reflection in the mirror. Most mechanisms to measure body-fat are vastly inaccurate, and nobody really needs to know your body-fat percentage when you step on stage as long as you look the part so I will be focusing more on that this time around and making changes accordingly.
I lowered my training volume and frequency over the last week to serve as a de-load week. I did this to ease up on my body and mind and give my joints a break from 5-6 days a week of intense training before I get ready to amp things up a bit for the next 12 weeks. Over the last week, my training split was as follows:
Mon: Bodyweight lower body + walking
Thurs: Lower body
Sat: Legs/glutes + 1.5 hours of dancing
Sun: Upper body
I trained with less overall volume due to taking a few days off and not hitting the weight room Mon-Wed.
Cardio: I don't perform any formal cardio but I am currently walking 12-15k steps everyday (somewhat unintentionally).
I attended the San Diego Pride festival on Saturday which resulted in a good amount of extra cardio in the form of dancing. I increased my intake for this day as my activity was well above my baseline when factoring in the dancing in addition to my lower body strength training session (see adjustments below).
Going forth, my training schedule will resume with 2 full lower body days per week, 2-3 full upper body days per week and 1 glute focused lower body day per week.
I track macros and my diet differs slightly as far as food choices on a daily basis, but I am currently eating an average of 45 grams of fat, 325 grams of carbs and 160 grams of protein daily, with slightly higher intake on more intense training days and slightly lower intake on rest days and less intense training days. Here are my macros by day for the past week:
Sat: 50F/400C/160P (refeed)
I don't think that carb cycling or changing calorie intakes on different days will necessarily yield any more fat loss or muscle gain than a consistent intake would. I cycle my intake simply because I enjoy having some higher days and find that my scale weight drops pretty significantly the day following an intense (lower body) training day if I don't increase my intake, whereas I am not as hungry and am okay with lowering my intake on less intense training days and rest days so that my average stays the same. I make adjustments to my calories and macros based on my average intake (stated in the first paragraph of my diet explanation).
3 grams of creatine/day
2 grams of beta alanine on training days (pre-workout)
100 mg DIM.
DIM (Diindolylmethane) is a phytochemical produced during the digestion of cruciferous vegetables. Some research has shown DIM to have very beneficial effects on estrogen metabolism. There is not enough research on DIM for me to feel confident recommending it to anyone, but I do cycle on and off of it throughout the year (in about 8 week cycles) as I find it decreases my symptoms of PMS and I notice a correlation between DIM supplementation and more regular cycles, especially during prep or fat loss phases (with myself and, again, I don't necessarily recommend or not recommend this supplement. What works for me may or may not work for you.).
Notes for the past week:
Scale weight has fluctuated a bit more than usual, likely due to the decrease in training volume and frequency (I usually hold pretty strong within a 1-1.5lb range). I also did notice my physique get a bit softer (despite the scale not changing drastically) which is likely due, again, to training less and keeping calories the same (I usually lower my intake a bit more on rest days but for the sake of recovery, I decided not to this week). I am okay with that. I know that I have 12 weeks to bring my best yet and I am looking forward to feeling refreshed and strong when I resume with my typical training schedule.
I am very happy with how my quads are filling out as I struggle to put on and maintain shape and muscle in my lower half especially. My goal isn't to lose too much weight for this prep as I am not comfortable with being drastically lighter or smaller than I currently am. My hope is to maintain this volume (and maybe even create more in my lower half if I can manage it) whilst bringing in some more definition to my mid-section. I have
In the upcoming week I will be making the first dietary and training changes of this prep (though as I mentioned before, I have been working for years to create my current base structure and can't rightly say that this will truly be a '12 week' prep, but rather an ongoing prep for years prior). Stay tuned for the next update in two weeks to see what modifications I will be making and how they effect my physique.