My biggest challenge in preparing to compete

By: Shellie Schneider
Magazine 11 #4

I had been a soccer player back in high school, all that running had compacted my lower body really well. Fact is, I still have a ‘ghetto booty’. Always have. But it was always nice and tight back then. When school was over I opted to go right to work instead of college, Wow, do I know the meaning of the word ‘secretary spread’! Tons of fast food meals, cases of soda per week, doughnuts for breakfast, IHOP breakfasts on weekends, eventually it really does take its toll. When you finally wake up and realize you really don’t like how you look or feel, it’s time to change things. Problem is, most people don’t understand how much you really have to want to change to become healthy.

I made a 360 degree change. My mom helped with recipes – she’s a great cook – it had always been just too easy to get fast food instead of taking the time to cook. Eating out was a convenient way to hang out with friends.. but we’d always end up eating until we were going to burst! So I started cooking my own meals, stopped drinking soda, found juices with no sugar, real fruit, veggies etc.. and then joined a gym. Results came fast. I think I dropped 15 lbs the first month with all the diet and lifestyle changes I made!

After a few more years and a few gym changes people started coming up to me to ask what I did for this body part and that body part, and then someone suggested I compete in Figure.

My biggest challenge in preparing to compete

I’d have to say there are quite a few. I have maldigestion, malabsorption, beginning stages of leaky gut, I’m lactose intolerant, mildly celiac/sprue and don’t digest red meat or non-vegetable carbs well. Knowing all that, I have to tweak my dieting in such a way that I can get all the required nutrition without causing my digestive system to ‘freak out’. All pasta, rice and breads are off-limits. My sweeteners are Stevia and a small amount of honey. I have decent success with oatmeal and sweet potatoes but the last six weeks I cut most carbs out unless I feel lethargic.

Supplements for me are a way of life now. I understand how my body wants to work and have had to fight for years to figure out what these problems were. My diet is high in essential fats, high protein, and I eat all the salad I want with a home made oil/vinegar dressing and lots of steamed or sautéed veggies.

Four essentials for success

Four essentials for someone who wants to emulate my success
1 – You really have to want to do this. It is a way of life. Even if you never have the end goal of competing, you really have to WANT to be in shape and understand that what you put into your body has a huge impact on how you look and feel.
2 – Research EVERYTHING before you start. My first experience was cold turkey. There were no resources when I first started out like there are now. Take the time to attend a show beforehand, email people connected with this industry, research the money you will need to invest – this is not a cheap ‘hobby’.
3 – Understand that each competition is a learning experience. You MUST ask for judges’ feedback on everything. It is definitely key to advancing in your placement. They will help you to understand why you placed where you did and what they would like to see from you to give you a better score.
4 – USE QUALITY SUPPLEMENTS. Take it from someone who has tried so many different things out there. The money you spend for a product is hard-earned. Make the product you buy a quality product and you will not be disappointed. This is why I choose Beverly. If you are on a budget, I recommend an article on Beverly’s website titled “Ergogenic Economics” that breaks down the Beverly products according to what you can afford. beverlyinternational.com/people/ergogenic.html 
Shellie Schneider one arm row
Back: Superset Bent over rows with Front raises – 3 sets 8-10 reps each

Favorite Training Program

Now here’s an interesting topic, I love to hate legs! They are my worst enemy and I have learned to love killing them! I do legs every other day and I rotate my upper body between. I take one day off per week. Usually it’s Monday since that’s the busiest in the gym. Every other day is legs. For upper body I’ll do back, bi’s, abs and cardio one day, legs the next, then chest, tri’s, shoulders, abs and cardio. Sounds sick, but for me that’s what has kept my legs from becoming gigantic. Lunges are a MUST with every leg workout. Walking, dynamic, on or off platforms, to the side.. you name it, I do it. My female clients love to hate me for those lunges!

I would definitely recommend utilizing the diets that are on Beverly’s website for competition dieting. These diets have been competition proven. Each featured athlete lists her specific diet for competition. Just pick one as a template and go for it. I’ve tweaked my diet a bit different to work with my digestive issues and lack of time during the day to sit and eat, but all the diets adhere to the same basic principles.

I think the best thing you can incorporate into your diet to begin with is a good quality protein powder. Not garbage with fillers and suddenly you’re hungry an hour later. Next best thing would be a good quality BCAA – something you can take directly after your workout and it is immediately taken into your muscles. These are my staple items all year round, on or off season.

Figure competition secrets/tips

DON’T experiment when you’re dieting for a show! Do all of your experimentation during your ‘off season’. Same with color – make sure you play with it in advance, not the night before your show. Each person’s skin is different. What works for me may be too dark for someone else, and believe me – I have tried TONS of things!

Remember when doing any waxing, have it done far enough out so the residue is gone before you start tanning – the tanner won’t absorb where there’s leftover wax! And YES you need to be dark! Those lights really do wash out a lot of color. I’ve seen physiques that should have placed higher than me place very low due to lack of color.

Here’s a good one I got directly from Jan Tana! Use Jan Tana Deep Moisturizer to smooth out Bikini Bite marks left when you change suits! I use their On Stage Glaze in place of Pam because you can apply more color over it if you think you need more color for an evening show and you’ve already applied the Glaze for the pre judging! The On Stage Glaze does the same as Pam.

Practice your walking and posing in front of mirrors, preferably a large aerobics room somewhere and if you can, video tape it so you can actually see what the judges will see. There are tons of videos out now to help people with posing, walking and other stage issues.

I am a freak when it comes to packing for a show, I have a list made a month out – then I can add or take away as I’m packing. I re-check it the night before we leave. The worst thing is to be in another state and then realize you left your shoes at home!

I AM still learning. I think I will always be learning. Every person has something new and unique to bring to the table when it comes to competing. Every show is a new experience in some way. I’ve met tons of wonderful people doing this and I love to share information and hear new things. So many sources, so much information – it’s endless. And I love it. And I’m addicted.

Typical training routine

Monday is cardio/abs or off if I’m feeling exhausted. The gym’s always the most crowded at this time anyway.
Tuesday – Legs: (this is sick, )
I. Superset Leg Curls and Seated Leg Curls for 3-4 sets on each. Use a weight you can get for 10 reps then drop the weight 10 lbs and continue. Do a total of 3 drop sets on each set of each exercise.
II. Giant set – Good Mornings, Reverse Lunges off a platform and 1-leg Deadlifts. Do 3-4 sets of 20-25 reps on each exercise. Do lunges and deadlifts all on one side first, then repeat Lunge and Deadlift with the opposite leg.
III. Superset – Leg Press and Plie (Ballet) Squats for 3-4 sets of 20-25 reps each.
IV. Superset – Reverse hyper-extensions and Calf raises 3-4 sets, 20 reps.
V. Walking lunges w/ DBs across the gym and back for 4 sets.
Then it’s on to abs, sometimes on leg days I may skip abs – especially since weekends I can do more than on a weekday around legs, this is my longest workout!
Wednesday – Back, Biceps, Abs
I. Superset Pull-ups (assisted) and T-bar row: 4 Drop sets each – start at 10 reps, drop weight 3x, to failure each time
II. Superset Pulldowns and Straight arm pulldowns: 4 drop sets each (drop weight 3 times, try for 10 reps each drop)
III. Superset Bent over rows with Front raises – 3 sets 8-10 reps each>
IV. Superset DB curl and Barbell curls – 3 sets 10 reps
V. Superset Supinating (Arnold) curls – 3 sets 10 reps to start then drop wt and go to failure
Crunches – 3 sets to failure (I vary my ab exercises each time)
Thursday – Legs again, basically same as above
Friday – Chest, Triceps, Shoulders, Abs
I. Cable flyes or Incline DB press (my chest leans out VERY quick so I don’t do much for it) – 3 sets 10-12 reps on cables or drop sets on Inclines
II. Superset Skull crushers with Pressdowns – 4 sets 10 reps to start; then drop weight and go to failure on each
III. Tricep kickbacks and Shrugs – 4 sets 8–15 reps
IV: Combination lateral raise, front raise – these I don’t drop set. I have some tendon issues in my shoulders and I have to be very careful how long or heavy I go. I sometimes alternate these with ‘Arnold’ shoulder presses – 3 sets of 10-12 reps each
Abs again!
Saturday – Legs again!
Sunday – Back, Biceps and Abs again!

And cardio?

Ugh, not my favorite! I am more likely to fit it in on the upper body days and weekends – twice on weekends for cardio closer to the shows. On lower body days it’ll depend on my energy levels, if I do, it’s sprints on the ‘gauntlet’ or stepper. For variety I’ll hop on a spin bike and do varied resistance. It varies from 30 minutes of regular intervals or 20-25 minutes of intense sprint intervals.

Diet and supplement

I’m not one to actually measure my food – I eat my protein first and finish with my greens – lately I’m on a salad kick (green leaf or romaine) with balsamic oil and vinegar dressing.

Schedule last 6 weeks
Breakfast: 6 egg whites, one yolk and ¼ to ½ cup oatmeal; Or ¼ cup oatmeal with 1 scoop UMP 3 CLA caps, 3 Joint Care
Mid Am Snack: 1 ½ scoops UMP in water; 4-6 Mass Aminos and 4 Ultra 40
Lunch: 1 ½ chicken breasts with olive oil and spices, bowl of something green – asparagus, green beans or broccoli Or 2 scoops UMP 3 CLA caps, 3 Joint Care
1 hour before workout: 1 scoop Ultimate Muscle Protein in water
During Workout: Amino Acid/B vitamin drink; 6 Muscle Mass, 2 Energy Reserve
Post-Workout: 4 Muscle Mass, 2 Energy Reserve, Ultimate Muscle Protein shake while cooking dinner
Dinner: 1 ½ chicken breasts usually seasoned with herbs, olive oil of some sort and a salad with oil and vinegar dressing, green peppers, cucumbers 3 CLA, 3 Joint Care
Before Bed: Either UMP Shake or 6-7 Mass Aminos, 4 Ultra 40 and 2-4 Energy Reserve
Sometimes if I miss having a dessert, I’ll make an Ultimate Muscle Protein brownie. Shhhhh, ..sometimes I eat the brownie for breakfast!

If my food is not digesting well, I may replace a few real food meals with another shake and some extra fiber capsules. I have to try to rotate my proteins, but even with digestive enzymes I do still digest real food slower. My chicken may be replaced with several different kinds of fish, sometimes turkey and I try to have a high quality sirloin burger or buffalo burger once a month, but sometimes this backfires and messes my digestion up again. I will also throw in a sweet potato with dinner maybe every 3rd day. I will add pecans in my oatmeal and to the protein powder/oatmeal mixture or even do a ‘mash’ with the oatmeal, eggs and pecans. I eat plain avocados also about twice a week – either with lunch or dinner. I will also add a banana on top of the protein brownie here and there. My last week and a half I omit the oatmeal and sweet potato completely.

Personal Profile Shellie Schneider
Occupation: Personal Training – Assistant Manager LA Fitness
Residence: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Years Training: I think I really got serious about 11 or 12 yrs ago.
Height: 5′0″
Off Season Weight: around 120lbs (55 kilograms)
Competition Weight: around 112lbs
Fave Cheat Food:
Ooooh, it’s a toss up between something decadently chocolate or my sweet potato pancakes with real maple syrup!
Favorite Contest Diet Meal:
Our local Whole Foods store has this parmesan crusted tilapia, yum!
Favorite Recipe:
Since I miss eating chocolate, anything I can make with Chocolate Ultimate Muscle Protein, waffles, pancakes, brownies, I’ll add almond butter to it, almonds, pecans, etc and up to about six weeks out I will add unsweetened real whipped cream on top.
In my Dell DJ:
A mix – lots of high energy techno – Trance Nation and Digital Empire, Garbage, Disturbed, Kid Rock, Staind, anything that keeps me occupied and cranking! That’s how I see things. Other Interests: Outdoor biking, rock climbing, love to travel, certified scuba diver
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