Bikini Prep: 35 MORE Days!

Since I last updated you, it was 10 days ago. I have now been advised by my online trainer that I need to make a few changes. The workouts have stayed the same, but my diet has changed. I am now doing 3 higher carbohydrate days and 4 low carbohydrate, higher fat days. When I say high carbohydrate, I actually don’t mean I can go crazy. My portions are highly controlled. In fact, I am only eating about 150g of carbohydrates on those high days. My water intake has stayed the same, 1- 1 1/2 gallons. For now I am still allowed by hot sauce which has taken some of the dullness out of my chicken and egg meals. I think I can hang on to this condiment for one more week and then it gets rough.

Overall my energy is very good. Sometimes when I am hitting my cardio I am a bit tired. I think this is only because I don’t really enjoy it. I try to surprise myself with good music or look at other bikini models I look up to for motivation to keep me going though. I am feeling a lot more confident, especially when I am getting dressed and find out that my clothes are now too big for me!

I have been good about planning my meals around my appointments so that I can eat every three hours. I have failed to do this a couple of times and my hunger got really out of control by my next meal. I also noticed that I was a lot more grumpy. Controlled blood sugar all day is a girls best friend so never mess with your food timing.

I also had my first posing lesson and since then I have been practicing the moves every time I get in front of the mirror. I am patiently awaiting for my bikini and heels to arrive so I can start strutting around my house and getting really confident in walking in my heels.

My next focus for this upcoming week is to deliver the same intensity, if not more to my workouts. I will take each day one at a time and do the best I can do to achieve my goals, Stay tuned!

Advertisements

Bikini Competition Prep: 3 weeks in, 46 Days to go

Sometimes you just have to push yourself outside your comfort zone and go for it. I had been looking around for a competition for awhile and stalking the IFBB pros Facebook pages and reading up on what it took to be a bikini competitor. After enough looking, I started to just go for it. I thought that if I didn’t at least give it a try, then I really would regret it looking back.

It has been almost 3 weeks after deciding to compete. I am a certified personal trainer, but I decided that I was going to need some insider knowledge to help me through this preparation. After all, I really don’t have any time to screw this up. The competition is now 46 days away. Normally, people give themselves at least 12 weeks to prepare. I hired a trainer to coach me online and she sends me my meal plans and training every couple of weeks based on my progress. I like this because it takes the stress away from deciding on how to train and what I need to do. It also gives me some accountability to not slack off or go off my meal plan. Sometimes we can be more lenient on ourselves then a complete stranger is.

Things I have done so far to prepare:

Order my heels and bikini(International order so had to do it sooner then later)

Start practicing my posing and walk

Started going to the tanning bed

Registration paid, hotel booked

Booked my hair makeup and tanning for both days

A look into my diet(Everyone is different so this is tailored for my goals)

Meal 1: 4 Egg whites, 1/3 cup oats

Meal 2: Protein shake with water and 4oz 0%greek yogurt

Meal 3: 4oz chicken, 1/2c rice and 1c veggies

Meal 4: 4 oz Ground turkey/chicken 7 almonds

Meal 5: Protein shake with water and 7 almonds

Meal 6: 1 whole egg, 4 egg whites and 1c veggies

Training: I am doing 4x week interval cardio for 30 minutes and 5 days a week lifting.

Feelings: The first week I had some trouble adapting to all the changes. Although I ate pretty healthy before, this was a new level of clean eating. I had to even take ketchup out, which I used on my eggs before so it wouldn’t be so boring. I also had to give up some social events to keep me on track. I just keep reminding myself that it is only short term and that I can move to a more moderate diet after the competition is over. Having the competition so close has helped me keep a clear vision of my goals and really helped me focus on staying on track. Sometimes I can get a little more emotional then normal because of the added stress of competing. I am most scared of being on stage and not knowing what to do. So to conquer this fear I just want to prepare the best I can so I can give it everything I got. Stay tuned for the next weeks preparation changes and challenges I may have. Gotta go hit the gym, Cheers!

Reinforcing your Workouts

Image

PigeonOperant Conditioning

You may be familiar with a psychologist called B.F. Skinner. He invented the operant conditioning chamber, also known as the Skinner Box. He was a firm believer of the idea that human free will was actually an illusion and any human action was the result of the consequences of that same action. If the consequences were bad, there was a high chance that the action would not be repeated; however if the consequences were good, the actions that led to it would be reinforced. He called this the principle of reinforcement. With this theory in mind, can this possibly explain why so many people have negative association with working out?

Can you think back to the first time you worked out? You probably got an uncomfortable feeling in your chest if you were out of condition or maybe woke up the next day sore and unable to move. According to Skinner, the initial consequences of working out naturally lead us to not wanting to ever work out again. You hear health experts and trainers like me give long lists of reasons that are beneficial for your health and mind but since these benefits can only be achieved if you stick through the pain, they are often never felt. If they are never achieved, it gives most people very little motivation to work out again. Well, what can you do to get over this hump?

Well, you can hire a personal trainer. Even if you have the knowledge about the principles and mechanics of exercise and kinesiology, hiring a personal trainer creates accountability. During the training session, the trainer is positively reinforcing you to push harder and achieve your goals. If this positive reinforcement is strong enough then you will want to keep at your workout program. Later, you get to experience the results from training, weight loss, lean muscle mass and an overall healthy feeling from your workouts. This further reinforces you to keep going. If you are unable to afford a personal trainer, group classes are another option to keep you motivated, although they are not as strong as having a 1:1 coach who gives their full attention to you. So if you are an individual who thinks working out is hard, painful, or boring, then this could be a solution to get you the results you need!

How I DID NOT Gain Weight on my Holiday

I went on a little vacation last week expecting to find a nice health club that was advertised on the website. First morning there, I wake up nice and early and have a great breakfast to get me ready for my planned workout. I walked to the health club and was horrified by what I saw. The leg extension machine shook when you sat down on it, there were only a few dumbbells to be found, there were barbells but no weights to properly attach them. I could have just walked out at that point disappointed and gone on with the rest of my day and this would be a very short story. I did something else.

I went back to the basics. I set my interval timer and got in a great circuit training workout just using my body weight. It wasn’t what I had planned but sometimes we just have to improvise and move on and are able to work with what you have. This extends to everything in your life, it isn’t only limited to your workouts. There are going to be many times when the conditions we face are not perfect to us but our ability to recover and keep going gives us the true strength we need to push on. Carry this attitude and excuses will be past behavior to never be repeated again.

This also transferred to the food arrangements at the resort where I stayed. Being all inclusive, there were piles and an array of unhealthy dishes to choose from. Sure, I could have talked myself into the guilty pleasures they had to offer but I stayed to my normal eating habits and chose the dishes that were closest to them, only indulging a couple times. The old me would have made excuses like, “there wasn’t anything healthy to eat” or “it is my holiday, I am allowed to indulge”. But in the end, I had to ask myself the ultimate question, “Will I be happy and feel good if I stuff my face to the max?” After all, what pleasure is that giving you after all? We must define our expectations we have of our behaviors and stick to it and settle for nothing less.

Mindful Muscles

                                                               photo

I used to get to the gym, plug in my headphones and then start my workout. While I was at the gym, I would be focusing on all the stuff I needed to do for the day or if it was at the end of the day, then all the stuff that happened at work and what I needed to do when I got home. I was able to blow a little of the stress and steam off at the gym but I never felt as though working out gave me this huge relief of stress that everyone seemed to be talking about. I felt tired after the gym.  I know that I needed to find a solution to this dilemma and make the experience of working out better for me to enjoy.

At the time, I had also started doing some mindful and breathing meditation classes. In fact, I first started using this technique while out on an outdoor run. I absolutely did not enjoy running before this but with the mindful meditation techniques, it gave me a deeper and more intrinsically rewarding experience that I have ever had. I then brought this into the gym. What I did to get started was simple:

  1. I began to focus solely on my breathing. I began to visualize air filling my lungs to the fullest capacity and then going out of my body through my nose. I focused on this aspect alone for a couple weeks until it came naturally to me.
  2. The second thing I did during my warm up on the cardio machine was get ready for my workout. I planned each workout ahead of time to mentally prepare me for what I was about to do. I would then visually go over my workout in my head to rehearse how I was going to complete each workout. I imagined giving all my energy to every set and every rep I did. I would feel the strength that entered my body as I did this and it brought a huge sense of motivation to start my workout.
  3. To take it to the next level, I began to focus on the muscle that I was working out. For example, if it was a bicep curl I was doing, my complete focus would be towards my bicep muscle. I would visualize the muscle getting bigger and pumping up. I would see the blood and oxygen being delivered in order to supply me with more energy to challenge myself. I continued to do this with every exercise I was doing.

I would complete the workout as I visualized it, leaving only room in my mind to focus on exactly what I was doing AND nothing more. What I gained from this, besides bigger muscles, was the ability to develop a deeper level of concentration and peace. When people speak of the mind and body connection, this is what is meant. It not only delivers you more peaceful mind with less stress and anxiety, but you can expect your results to drastically improve. After all, whatever you focus on grows and becomes stronger.

3 Reasons you aren’t Gaining Muscle (Beginner’s Guide)

 

Let’s face it…there is a lot of information available on the internet that keeps you second guessing your fitness program. You read one article and then seconds later find another one that is contradicting the first. Who do you believe? I don’t want to throw out too much information…just the basics to get you starting to think about what may be lacking from your current routine that is preventing you from your maximal muscle gains.

Do you recognize the following things?

1.You are not eating enough protein: There is much controversy on how much protein you should be acquiring and chances are you have read articles dictating how much to eat but maybe you haven’t really even given much thought to this. If this is you, then you need to start thinking about it. You can’t expect results if you are just making attempted guesses as to the correct amount. So, here is a basic calculation of protein requirements. A general criteria for both male and female is to take 1 gram of protein per pound that you weigh or 2 grams per kilogram. If you are doing slightly more intense training then you need to increase the amount accordingly.

We are all guilty of this one…

2. You are not drinking enough water: You have been running around all day and all of a sudden you are parched. If you are thirsty, this is a sign of dehydration. You should slowly be sipping water throughout the day. The daily requirements are 8-12 glasses or 1-2 liters but I suggest you drink more if you want maximum muscle gain. If anyone has ever walked in the gym dehydrated, you will find that you get a really crappy workout . Water has electrolytes and this provides your body with recovery and energy to really make those workout count. So drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.

Another guilty pleasure is…

3. You are doing too much cardio: Sometimes it is nice to take a break from the weights while you do some mindless cardio but this can actually be adversely affecting how your body maintains muscle. If you are trying to gain more muscle, limit cardio to 2-3 30 minute sessions per week, preferably at the end of your workout if you separate your cardio from weightlifting.

So after reading this article you can see if you have fallen guilty to these things. This is intended to condense the endless, detailed articles into something you can simply understand. Of course there are more elements to gaining muscle but you need to start somewhere. One foot in front of the other and eventually you will make it to the top!