Beverly International conducted a series of workshops leading to the NPC Northern Kentucky Figure Championships. Aspiring figure athletes attending the workshops received hands on instruction in the following areas:
Figure Competition Guidelines
Body Composition and Assessment Fat Loss Nutrition
Figure Cardio and Training
In this article we will feature information from two of our workshop competitors, Kristy Rosenacker and Jessica Jimerson. Kristy and Jessica will tell you in their own words some of the best information they got from the workshops and how they applied it to their own preparation for the NPC Northern. These two athletes are giving you a boatload of information in this article, it’s your job to apply it.
Deciding to Compete
Kristy – First off, let’s get one thing clear – competing isn’t about being judged against other girls – admit it, we do that to ourselves every day. We don’t need a competition for that!
It’s about pushing yourself to a new level, it’s about turning your weaknesses into your strengths (c’mon, the exercises you hate the most, you hate because they’re the hardest. Once they get easier, you love them). And, it’s not just physical, it’s also mental and spiritual – mind, body, soul.
You really can’t prepare for a competition until you’ve chosen one. Once you choose one, commit to it. Tell friends and family, mark it on the calendar, register for it. Now, there’s no turning back – too many people know, and are watching you!
Now, set your goals. Not just where you want to be on competition day, but set milestones along the way, so that you know you’re on track. Get someone to help you. A trainer, or sign up for a workshop – you don’t have to do it all on your own.
Here’s how our goals were set at the Beverly Workshop:
Number Weeks Left Weight, Body-Fast Percent, Pounds Fat, Lean Mass
My goals were to lose one pound of bodyfat per week, and if possible, gain a little lean muscle.
Fat loss was right on target with some muscle gain. Goal – continue to lose one pound per week. Need to add Mass and Ultra 40 to retain muscle.
Lost only two pounds of fat, but I did add two pounds of muscle. Now, I need to lose two more pounds over the next two weeks.
Lost two pounds of fat. I was sick one week and lost some lean mass, now I need to keep or increase my lean mass during the next five weeks leading to the contest. Added Muscle Synergy.
It’s very important to not let numbers discourage you (which is really hard). Instead, just aim for your goal by looking at the difference between where you are and where you need to be. Also, make sure the same person is testing you each time, or you’ll never know if you’re actually reaching your goals.
Finally, make sure you go to a competition, or buy a DVD of one before you actually compete in a contest. Cut out pictures; find an inspirational poem or verse. Keep yourself motivated. I have a binder for my contest preparation. And on each section divider, I have a different verse (sometimes more than one).
Jessica – Besides everything the Beverly Sessions have taught me about Nutrition, Supplements, Presentation and Competing, I think the most important piece of knowledge I have walked away with is IT TAKES TIME AND PATIENCE! Yes, I was the typical person who went to the competitions and looked at the competitors and said, "That is what I want to look like!" And like most normal people, I thought I could do it over night. Well, it took me almost two years after overcoming a horrific eating disorder to get my metabolism back in check as well as build the physique that it would take to get on stage.
The part I struggled with the most was constantly thinking negative thoughts. Yes I was a head case, and I was constantly blowing up Rachel’s email questioning everything, stressing out over my body-fat, and just absolutely driving myself crazy. Finally after going to the Beverly Sessions and picking Roger, Sandy, and Steven’s brains I realized that all I was doing to myself was harm. They kept telling me over and over again, "It takes time, STRESS IS BAD, RELAX, and most importantly enjoy yourself!". And you know what, when I finally decided to listen, everything began to fall into place and the experience of getting up on stage and actually competing was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life! Talk about a feeling of accomplishment – This was definitely it!
Jessica goes on to say: When I said that the most important piece of knowledge I walked away with was that ‘it takes time and PATIENCE’ that was true, but the meat and potatoes of competing are Nutrition, Supplements, Presentation and Training. With out these four staples you might as well kiss competing good bye. Did I mention that it was hard, well yeah, it sure was but if I can do it then so can you! So let»s get down to business!
Kristy adds one more topic – Journaling Okay, now you’re ready to get started! Dieting, Supplements, Training, Cardio, Presentation, and one more thing, Journaling, Wow, where do you even start. START SIMPLE. I journaled everything. What I ate, when I ate it, all of my workouts, my cardio (miles, time, and calories burned) and how I felt. It will help you see how far you»ve come. It also gives a reference if you»re not reaching your goals, or for future competitions.
Kristy – I started dieting on Sunday, November 19 – 18 weeks out from competition day (and yes, right at the start of the holidays!). I gave myself a cheat on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Notice, I said a cheat, not a day off. I still ate all my meals, and ate fairly well, but I did have a taste of my grandmother»s homemade candy, and I enjoyed a meal out with my parents on New Year»s Day.
I also had a cheat during my kids birthday weekend in February (their birthdays are 3 days apart and my grandmother»s is the day after my daughter’s), and my birthday weekend the last weekend in February (both of which we spent out of town). I didn’t make plans around my preparation, I prepared around my life. I packed supplements and shakes, as well as a cooler of food I could eat cold, like turkey breast that I cooked the night before we left, veggies and fruits, etc. When we ate out, I stuck my supplements in my jacket pocket and asked the server a lot of questions. When all else failed, I ordered a grilled chicken Caesar salad with no cheese, no croutons, no dressing with oil & vinegar on the side.
No, dieting isn’t easy. There will always be excuses; you just have to choose to not let those excuses win.
Kristy’s typical day of eating
6:45am: 8 Muscle Synergy (before meal)
Meal 1: 3 egg whites, ½ cup oatmeal, 3 oz. turkey burger (99% lean, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, garlic, pepper) all scrambled together.
OR Beverly pancakes (3 egg whites, ½ cup oatmeal, 1 scoop UMP, ¾ of an apple – all blended together until smooth and cooked like a pancake – YUM!), then ½ grapefruit.
2 Ultra 4, 3 EFA Gold, 1 Lean Out
Meal 2: 5 oz. turkey or chicken breast, 1 medium apple, or 1 cup low carb vegetable
4 Mass, 3 Ultra 40, 1 Lean Out
Meal 3: 2 scoops UMP in water
4 Mass, 3 Ultra 40, 1 Lean Out
Meal 4: 5 oz. turkey burger, 1 sweet potato or 5 oz. sweet potato chips (thinly sliced sweet potato cooked in extra virgin olive oil until crisp and slightly brown,
then drained on paper towel and sprinkled with cinnamon)
2 FitTabs, 4 Mass, 3 Ultra 40, 1 Lean Out
Meal 5: Beverly Protein Pudding (2 scoops UMP chocolate, 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream, 9 oz. cold water, 1 ½ tbsp sugar–free, fat–free instant pudding mix) blended and chilled, with a little cool–whip free on top.
3 Ultra 40, 1 Lean Out
For a special treat: Beverly Apple Dip: Take 1 scoop UMP Vanilla, 2 Tablespoons sugar free, fat–free instant pudding mix (I like the cheesecake flavor), 4 oz. water, cinnamon. Blend all together, then slice an apple and dip.
Another of my favorite meals is Turkey Meatloaf: 1 pkg. 99% lean ground turkey, 2 egg whites, ½ cup old fashioned oatmeal, fresh parsley, oregano, and basil, garlic, ground black pepper, chopped onion and green pepper, no salt added tomato sauce. Mix together and place in pan coated with Pam coking spray, top with more no salt added tomato sauce and bake at 425 until turkey is fully cooked.
I can honestly say it is about 80% nutrition and 20% everything else. Lean Protein, Complex Carbohydrates, Healthy Fats, LOTS of green–low carb veggies and water are the keys to a competition ready physique.
I think the first two weeks of dieting are the worse. But, after you get past those two weeks, you are usually good to go. It is almost like quitting a bad habit and going through withdrawals. Just stay focused and keep your mind on the stage. I make sure that I eat every three hours. Since most of my dieting has been during the winter months it’s is hard to use an outdoor grill, so I rely on the good ole George Forman! I cook everything including veggies on it. I know it sounds really boring and bland and sometimes it is but I use a lot of dry seasonings to spice it up a little. Fortunately, my friend, Scott is into eating healthy as well.
We both love roasted green peppers, grilled asparagus, and grilled chicken seasoned with Durkee Grill Creations Smokey Mesquite seasoning. The baked peppers are really easy, you just gut and slice the peppers about ½ inch thick, lay them out on a baking sheet and drizzle them with a little olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. I also have another great recipe for sloppy–joes (see sidebar). I grew up with sloppy–joes so I love them, unfortunately while you are dieting you have to leave off the bun but the joes still taste good.
Don’t forget– there are other people out there that are going through the same thing you are so take advantage of the Beverly Board every chance you get.
My advice is to experiment with different things because you never know what is going to taste good to you especially when you are dieting. As far as cravings go, I chew at least a pack of sugar free gum a day. Orbit keeps the flavor the longest! I also eat sugar free Jell–O and sugar free popsicles as a desert at night when the sweet tooth comes a calling. And Oh My Gosh, one big thing that helped me to kick a craving was hot tea as well as always keeping myself busy. I can’t even begin to tell you how much hot tea I drank.
Jessica’s typical day of eating:
Breakfast: 8:00 a.m.
4 egg whites, 3 oz. chicken,
½ cup oatmeal
Snack: 11:00 a.m.
2 scoops Muscle Provider Chocolate,
1 tablespoon almond butter, 8 oz. water
Lunch: 2:00 p.m.
5 oz. lean meat;
2 cups salad or 1 cup cooked veggies, 1 tablespoon oil & vinegar dressing;
½ cup brown rice or 4 oz. sweet potato
Snack: 5:00 p.m.
2 scoops Muscle Provider Chocolate, 8 oz. water
Dinner: 8:00 p.m.
5 oz. lean meat;
2 cups salad or 1 cup cooked veggies, 1 tablespoon oil & vinegar dressing
5-oz. lean meat;
2 cups salad or 1 cup cooked veggies, 1 tablespoon oil & vinegar dressing
*I always drink at least 1 gallon of Water a day (at least)
Sloppy Joe Recipe:
2 lbs 90% or leaner ground beef
2 tbsp Vinegar
1c low carb ketchup
1 onion chopped
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Splenda
salt & pepper
*Begin browning the burger, once it is halfway there, add the onion and finish browning. After the meat is browned add all of the other ingredients at high heat for about 2 minutes and then let them all simmer for an hour.
Kristy – Up until 5 weeks out from the show, I worked out Monday – Friday. At 5 weeks out I went to a 3 on, 1 off program.
My workouts were as follows:
Leg Press 3 sets of 10–15 reps
Squats 3 sets of 8–12 reps
Hack Squats 3 sets of 10–15 reps (We were taught this technique at the Beverly workshop.
It’s called 1′. You go all the way down below parallel, then come half way up, then all the way back down, then all the way up. This counts as 1 rep).
Stiff–Legged Deadlift 2 sets of 12 reps Leg Extensions 3 sets of 12 reps (for the leg extensions, I used a high seat or bench with a DB between my feet to also hit the inner and outer thighs)
Abs 8 sets of 50
Tuesday: Back, Delts, Biceps
One arm DB rows 3 sets of 8–10 reps
Pulldowns (to the back) 3 sets of 8–12 reps
Seated Cable Row 3 sets of 8–12 reps
DB Lateral Raises 3 sets of 10 reps (3 ways each set, bent–over, side, front – These BURN!)
Cable Curl 3 sets of 8–12 reps
Incline DB Curl 3 sets of 8–10 reps
Calf Raises 6–8 sets of 15 reps (I would often do these as donkey calf raises, with my kids on my back as weight.)
Wednesday: Chest, Triceps
Incline DB Press 4 sets of 6–10 reps
Flat DB Press 4 sets of 8–12 reps
Pec Deck 3 sets of 8–12 reps
Tricep Rope Pulldowns 4 sets of 8–12 reps
Lying Tricep Extensions 4 sets of 10–12 reps
Abs 6 sets of 15 reps
(On this day, I liked doing "Rocky abs" hanging upside down from a bar, crunching all the way up)
Thursday: Legs – Glute/Ham Emphasis
Romanian Deadlift 3 sets of 10–15 superset
Wide Stance Leg Press 3 sets of 10–15 (really focus on the inner thigh during the leg press)
Bench Step–ups 3 sets of 12–15 (each leg) superset with »
Walking Lunges 3 sets of 12–15 (each leg) (This superset will really get your heart pumping and legs burning.)
Leg Extension 3 sets of 12 superset with »
Smith Machine Squats 3 sets of 12
Calf Raises 6–8 sets of 15 reps
Friday: Delts, Back, Biceps, Triceps – (This was a long, hard day, but felt great to go into the weekend knowing you ended the week hard!)
Shoulder Press 3 sets of 6–10 reps superset
Lat Pulldowns (to the back) 3 sets of 8–12 reps
Upright Row 3 sets of 8–10 reps superset
Straight arm pulldowns 3 sets of 10–12 reps
Bent over laterals 3 sets of 10–12 reps superset
Seated Cable Row 3 sets of 8–12 reps
Barbell Curl 3 sets of 6–10 reps superset
Close–grip bench pres 3 sets of 6–10 reps
Concentration Curls 2 sets of 10–12 (burn out)
Dips 2 sets of 10–15 (burn out)
Abs 8 sets of 25–50
Jessica – Training was really confusing for me. I have always been an athlete and I have always worked out so strength training was nothing new to me, it was all of the different types of training that had me confused. I was never really sure what I was supposed to be doing until I started going to the Beverly Sessions, and even then I still confused myself. My degree is in exercise science and in a way I think this is what made it so confusing for me. I had to learn that sometimes the scientific way is not always the practical or the real world way. I had to learn to stop questioning myself about everything that I was told to do and just do it.
Team Beverly suggested that we should be lifting 5–6 days a week to achieve the hard and toned physique required to be a competitive figure competitor. Below is the Three On – One Off routine that I followed. This allowed me to hit each muscle group twice a week.
It looked something like this:
I would do 3 sets of 10–15 reps and once I got all three sets of 15 I would go up in weight. As I got closer to the competition time I began to increase the intensity by decreasing my rest periods. I began with 90 seconds of rest between each set and decrease each week until I got down to 30 seconds of rest between each set. This was tough!
Cardio The Evil Twin
Jessica Along with strength training comes its evil twin, CARDIO! Listen and learn, DO NOT START DOING TOO MUCH TOO SOON! Your body will adapt! I got all freaked out from the first show that I had done, and decided that I needed to start doing cardio for an hour a day at 16 weeks out and by the time it came down to crunch time my body had adapted to the cardio so much that I had to literally kill my self just to get my heart rate into the 150’s. When you are three weeks out from a show and you are busting your butt to try to get your heart rate up it really physically hurts because your body is already in a tender state from the lack of calories. Eventually I turned all of my evening cardio sessions into 20–40 minute interval sessions and left my morning sessions at steady state. It also makes it really easy to become burnt out if you start your cardio too soon. The biggest thing I have learned here is to let the diet do most of the work by staying leaner in between competitions and the closer you get to the competition start adding in more cardio as needed.
Kristy – My cardio was either on an elliptical trainer, or my favorite cardio workout is as follows:
60 seconds jump rope
30 second rest
I usually did this for 20 minutes. Then, each week, I increased the jump rope by 30 more seconds.
Kristy – Start posing early! It’s never too soon to start. Learn the proper ways to pose. Ask someone who’s placed well in a show, mimic the pros in magazines, or hire a posing coach. The more you do it, the better it looks and the more confidence you will have. My best tip for posing, if it feels natural or easy at first, you’re probably doing it wrong!
I sat in on a bodybuilding workshop at Beverly International, one of the guys there said, Willpower is doing what you’re supposed to do when no one else is around. That is a great quote to get you through contest prep, or for reaching any goal.
Don’t expect everyone else to eat differently, or to not eat something because you’re there. You have to learn to exercise your willpower. For me, it’s been a matter of simply asking, is it worth it. Sure, I could have that candy bar that a student gave me, but is it worth taking a step backward, away from my goal. I could make it up, but I want to take steps forward, even if they’re baby steps, instead of backward.
It means a lot to have support. I have purposely surrounded myself with people who understand the kind of life I live, and support me. I’ve been blessed to have great support from my husband and kids. My 8 year old calls out "quarter turn to the right" when I practice posing. Even my 15 year old has made positive comments toward the changes in my physique – and that means a lot coming from a 15 year old!
Jessica – Your presentation can honestly make or break you while on stage! The best piece of advice that I can give here is no matter what you do (or don’t do) SMILE REALLY BIG and act like you know exactly what you are doing–(even if you don’t have a clue)! The way you present yourself is very important and if you are lacking confidence it will show. This is the biggest mistake that I made the first time I competed. I was scared to death about getting on stage in a bikini in front of a couple thousand people and believe me, it showed. I let my head hang down, I scrunched my shoulders up which made me look like I was doing a shrug, and my hands were going a mile a minute because I was so nervous. All I had to do was RELAX, and just be happy that I made it this far. It wasn’t until I got the pictures back from the show that I realized how silly I looked. Off stage, I had a better physique than some of the girls who beat me. But on stage they were relaxed, confident, and holding their heads high and deserved to place better.
POSING is crucial! PRACTICE! And once you think you finally have it down, then practice some more. You have got to be able to hit your poses. That was one of the biggest advantages of going to the Beverly Sessions. We spent a lot of time working on posing, turning, and figuring out how to be able to flex every muscle in your body and breathe at the same time without passing out or even looking like we were flexing at all. During the last few Beverly Sessions we actually practiced lining up, coming out on stage, and hitting our poses! This really helped me out a lot, especially with transitioning from one pose to another. If you are a newbie back stage, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. Everyone backstage is really nice and more than willing to lend a hand, they all know what it is like the first time. That was another advantage of attending the Beverly Sessions, I had met quite a few girls through the sessions and we all helped each other out back stage. I never thought I would have to ask another woman to put glue on my butt!
As I leave you I am in the process of packing my bags to compete in the 2007 Northern Kentucky! After reading this I hope that you feel like you have a little more insight to becoming a figure competitor and know that you can do if you have the desire. I could have never accomplished what I have as a competitor without the help of Team Beverly and the support from my friend Scott. Well I’m off, wish me luck! Just remember to Smile, Be Confident, Relax, and just plain HAVE FUN!