I am 10 weeks out from my first ever WBFF show (doing the bikini division). It has been two years since I stepped on stage and my sole goal and purpose is to beat the girl that stepped on stage in 2017, not necessarily by placings but by overall physique improvements.
Since my last update at 12 weeks out, I have slightly lowered my macros and have been shifting a lot more focus towards this prep. I have been meeting weekly with Jereme (co-)owner of EPIC Performance and Physical Therapy to help create a rehab program to lessen my knee pain so that I can attain a physique that not only looks good, but also performs well and FEELS good to be in.
My current goal with this prep is not necessarily to lose a lot more weight, but to create a leaner appearance on stage without looking flat. My trouble area is my midsection and bringing in a small waist since my large ribcage can create a 'boxy' looking physique without proper attention to nutrition and training (not only with a good program but with good effort and progressive overload). While I am aware that this (which is essentially recomping) is difficult to do, especially for an intermediate to experienced trainee, I also know that I have done it before and I feel that I am capable of doing it again with the right focus. It will require a focus on gaining strength in the gym and being the strongest/best I ever have at this body weight, while committing to consistency and accuracy with my diet. I have to make sure that I am not just 'getting my workouts in' but that I am actually making every workout count as a point of progression toward my overall goal. I have no desire to be skinny and am actually enjoying seeing certain parts of my body grow to create more overall shape. I want to be lean (which is not synonymous with skinny), but full, strong but pain free and balanced but meticulous and consistent.
Initially, I didn't see much change (physically or on the scale) during the first week of this macro drop. This was discouraging, but at this far out, I don't want to make any changes prematurely and changing on a weekly basis is probably not needed so I stuck with it. During the second week, my scale weight plummetted about 3lbs in 3 days. (which is actually a bit too much, so I implemented a refeed of 100 grams of carbs and 5 grams of fat on one of my harder training days. More info on this below).
Since my last prep, there are some exercises I have gotten stronger in and some I have gotten weaker in. Part of this is just due to the fact that I have been training certain exercises more frequently and other exercises less frequently (specificity) but nonetheless, I want to keep my strength where I have gained it and gain back my strength to at least where I was, if not above that for this prep (though I am currently about 3lbs lighter than this point last prep).
Here is what my daily routine has looked like for the past two weeks, as well as some visuals of my physique at the 10 week out mark:
*Excuse the blurry photos, half dead facial expressions and imperfect lighting/poses. I don't apply any editing, lighting adjustments or filters to my progress photos and they are always taken first thing in the morning with nothing but water and coffee (which clearly hadn't kicked in yet for these photos).*
Current Stats: 115.9 lbs weekly average 11 weeks out
115.2 weekly average 10 weeks out
Waist: 23.25 in
Hips: 35.25 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.
Mon: Full Lower Body
Tues: Full Upper Body (vertical push/horizontal pull + accessories as needed)
Weds: Full Upper Body (horizontal push/vertical pull + accessories as needed)
Thurs: Full Lower Body
Sun: Full Upper Body
Cardio: I don't perform any formal cardio. I recently tried to lower by daily step count from 12-15k to 10-12k in hopes to improve recovery which should carry over to improved performance in the gym. Although it was a challenge with my lifestyle, I did manage to lower my average step count to around 13k (some days a bit higher, some days a bit lower).
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 don't plan to add any formal cardio, but will ensure I am getting at least 10k steps a day for consistency sake, even if that means taking an extra walk here or there.
I track macros and my diet differs slightly as far as food choices on a daily basis, but I have lowered my macros by 25 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fat and 10 grams of protein since two weeks ago. I am now eating an average of 4 grams of fat, 300 grams of carbs and 150 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 two weeks:
Lower Body Training Day: 40F/325C/150P
Upper Body Training Day: 40F/275C/150P
Rest Day: 40F/225C/150P
I did one refeed (the day prior to the photos taken) where my macros were: 43F/380C/155P.
I don't eliminate any foods or food groups by principle during prep and have regularly incorporated things such as ice cream, bread, brownies, cookies, peanut butter, sushi and candy here and there, although the majority of my meals are based around whole foods for overall health and satiety purposes.
Again, 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:
Being faithful to measuring, tracking and being as accurate and consistent as possible with my intake and training as well as practicing posing consistently has been difficult with having nobody to hold me accountable. I really struggled to stay on track during the first 'official' weeks of my prep, but each week from that point on I have gotten a little bit better. At this point, I am pretty close to hitting the nail on the head on a daily basis and will fight to continue to do so everyday until I step on stage. Even if my physique is not what the judges are looking for, or I am not the best girl on that stage, I cringe at the idea of not working as hard as I possibly can (in and out of the gym) to bring MY best.
I have been doing some more research and am still having a bit of a hard time pinpointing what a 'winning' physique in the bikini division of WBFF might look like on my body (i.e. softer, leaner, fuller, less muscular, etc.) but I am inching toward what I think the right idea is and working on a physique that I am comfortable in and proud of. I don't think I will ever be truly satisfied with my endpoint (which is both a blessing and a curse), but I am reminding myself that I still have time and can achieve a lot in the remainder of this prep.
I need a lot of work with my posing as well and I plan to make that a more consistent and scheduled part of my weekly routine in the upcoming weeks.
The hunger has started to kick in, though it's manageable and helps that I am so busy that I often don't have the time to think about it. I know that the longer I remain in a deficit, the more hungry I will get so I am not mad about the mild nature of the feeling at this point.
Based on the last two weeks, I will be placing more emphasis on recovery in all aspects to increase the likelihood of strength and performance gains which should translate to positive changes in my physique if all goes well. Overall, I am not upset about where I am at for this prep, but I know improvements can be made and I plan to work hard to bring about those improvements.