“Before getting into my actual diet and workout schedules there are a couple of lifestyle challenges I faced that I’d like to share with you.”
I have always had a passion for athletics – from little league soccer, basketball, track and field, to cheer-leading, dance, and gymnastics. In high school, I narrowed my competitive focus to the dance team, but, I still signed up for every Physical Education class that Corbin High School offered. One of my classes was weightlifting with the football team. I loved it! Even though I thought it was far-fetched at the time, that’s when I first entertained the thought of someday entering a physique contest. Upon graduating, I attended the University of Kentucky where working out took a back seat to my course load. Although I managed to get in the gym when I could and played intramural sports in my sorority, I would have to wait until after graduation to take things to the next level and pursue my goal to compete.
Even after I earned my undergrad degree there was still one obstacle I had to overcome before I could step on stage – my fear of the unknown. I knew the only way to overcome my anxiety was to take action, and there was no time like the present. I started researching competition prep coaches in the Northern Kentucky area (where I moved following graduation). After a lot of research and several personal recommendations, I joined Julie Lohre’s FitBody Competition Team. With her guidance and knowledge, and the encouragement of the team, I not only stepped on stage, but took home several awards in the Bikini division. In my second show, ever, I won 1st place NANBF Ms. Natural Kentucky Bikini.
Before getting into my actual diet and workout schedules there are a couple of lifestyle challenges I faced that I’d like to share with you.
My job is not the typical 9-5, which makes staying on top of my nutrition, supplement, and exercise schedule a task in itself. I work for Central Clinic, an extension to University of Cincinnati’s psych department. The division I work in is focused on trauma treatment therapy for children, visitation for foster kids with their biological parents, and alcohol and drug dependency group therapy. I work 10 hour days, with a 45 minute commute each way. I wake up around 5:30 am to knock out some cardio before starting my work day. After work I drive directly to the gym for weight training and any remaining cardio. By the time that I get home in the evening, it’s around 9:30 pm. That’s when I prepare my food for the next day and complete any homework I need to do for either of my school programs. I carry my Isolator Fitness cooler everywhere I go, which is how I’m able to stay on track throughout the day. Being gone so long, I eat all of my meals while I’m at work, so preparation in advance is the only option for me. I fix and weigh out all of my food the night before, that way in the morning I can just throw everything in my cooler and go. It’s always comical the looks I get from my coworkers and sometimes clients when I drop everything I’m doing to take my supplements or run and get my Tupperware every 2-3 hours.
Another area I’ve had a hard time adjusting to throughout prep is the fear of “missing out” on social events with my friends and family. My goals and fitness ambitions are different than a lot of other 24 year olds, so making plans becomes a little more complicated for me. I love to travel, so I was weary of how that would work with my prep. If I go out of town, I have to be sure that I plan everything out, which is sometimes kind of stressful. But it’s doable. I spent 10 days at the beach with my family in the middle of my prep, and it actually was easier than I thought it would be. My suitcase contents were 50% clothes and toiletries, and 50% UMP tubs, food scale, and my other Beverly supplements. My carry-on was my Isolator Fitness bag (which is TSA approved, ice packs and all), filled with everything I needed in order to stick to my plans during a full day of airports and flights. Again, it’s all a matter planning.
My Contest Prep Plans
Contest prep definitely took some getting used to; however, I’m thankful that my coach, Julie Lohre, made it as straight forward as possible. My plans were altered based on check-in’s and body comps throughout my prep, so as I was changing, so were my plans. But, here are the basic diet, supplement, and workout schedules that I used for my contest prep.
Meal #1: Protein Pancakes (1 scoop UMP, ½ cup of oats, and 3 egg whites)
Meal #2: PB& J (2 pieces of low cal/high
fiber bread,1tbsp peanut butter, 1tbsp sugar-free jelly), 1 apple
Meal #3: Taco Salad ( 4oz. Ground turkey, ½ cup of black beans, ½ cup of avocado)
Meal #4: 2 scoops UMP, 1 banana
Meal #5: 4 oz. grilled chicken, ½ cup zucchini, baked sweet potato fries
The number one tip I have is to make everything in bulk and prepare it for a few days in advance that way everything is already ready. It eliminates guess work on what to fix if in a time crunch, and ensures you stay on track.
Lean Out: 1 with 5 meals per day (Fat loss) 7-Keto: 3 in AM, and 3 in afternoon (Thermogenic/Appetite suppressant)
Density: 3 with 3 meals per day (Muscle gain with fat loss)
Fit Tabs: 2 in AM, and 2 in afternoon (Multivitamin)
Glutamine Select: 1 scoop before training (Reduce muscle soreness, enhance recovery)
Muscle Synergy: 1 scoop before training (Strength & muscle gains)
I work out with weights five days a week taking Sundays and Wednesdays off. My favorite muscle group is a toss-up between legs and shoulders. I think that it is very important to push myself every week to go up in weights and increase strength, even if it»s just 2.5lbs. Here’s my workout.
MONDAY: Back, Hamstrings, Glutes
Lat Pull-down 4 x 10-12
Bent-over BB Row 4 x 10-12
Straight-arm Pull-downs 4 x 10-12
Wide Stance Squats 4 x 15-18
DB Dead-lift 4 x 15-18
Low Cable Kickback 4 x 15-18
Hamstring Ball Curl-ins 4 x 15-18
TUESDAY: Chest, Biceps, Abs
Flat Bench Press 4 x 10-12
DB Fly 4 x 10-12
Push-ups with feet elevated 4 x 10-12
Standing BB Curl 4 x 10-12
Hammer Curl 4 x 10-12
Ball Crunch 4 x 15
Hanging Leg Raises 4 x 10
Obliques 4 x 10 (each side)
THURSDAY: Delts , Triceps, Abs
DB Lateral Raises 4 x 15-18
Bent-over DB Raises 4 x 15-18
Sumo Dead-lift High Pull 4 x 15-18
Press Downs 4 x 15-18
Bench Dips 4 x 15-18
Reverse Decline Crunch 4 x 15-18
Floor Crunch with weight 4 x 15-18
FRIDAY: Quads, Glutes, Calves, Plyometrics
Leg Press 4 x 15-18
Walking Lunges with weight 4 x 15-18
Leg Extension with pause 4 x 15-18
Standing Calf Raise 4 x 15-18
Push-ups 4 x 15 super setted with..
Switch Lunges 4 x 15
Crunches 4 x 25 super setted with..
Squat Jumps with Medicine Ball 4 x 15
Lying Leg Raise 4 x 15 super setted with..
Bench Rebounds 4 x 15
SATURDAY: Delts, Back
Seated Overhead Press 4 x 10-12
Front Raises 4 x 10-12
Inverted Push-ups 4 x 10-12
Plank Position DB Row 4 x 10-12
Assisted Pull-ups 4 x 10-12
I do high intensity cardio on the Stair-Master for 45 minutes, 4 times per week. I split it up in 2 sessions, if my schedule allows. I tend to lose some steam after about 25-30 minutes, so in order to make sure that I am giving it 100% the entire time, splitting the 45 minutes into 2 sessions works best for me.
Practice makes perfect!! I can’t stress that enough. Your posing routine is what ties in all the hard work and preparation you have done leading up to the show. Looking comfortable and graceful in 5in heels is not as easy as it looks. Also, trial runs on your hair and makeup BEFORE the show are super important. That way you already know what works and what doesn’t so that you don’t have to stress out on show day. There is so much happening on the day of your competition, usually starting at 8am, so there is very little room for trial and error.
Some Final Advice
It’s okay to say no. It took me a while to understand that when I changed my priorities, I would have to say no to some things I’d normally do if I were not prepping for a contest – usually food related. Sometimes the people around you, no matter how supportive, won’t understand your journey unless they are going through it themselves. And that’s okay. It also doesn’t mean you have to be antisocial. The best thing you can do if you are struggling with this, like me, is to surround yourself with supportive and understanding people. Joining the FitBody Team was the best thing I could have done. You will undoubtedly find yourself messaging your team members and coach about the most off the wall things. I constantly reflect on some of my conversations with one of my teammates, who has become like a second sister to me, and laugh because who else would understand how to measure the perfect tablespoon of peanut butter??? Looking at the big picture and setting/tackling personal goals is what helps me every day. When I step on stage, I take great pride in knowing that I didn’t cut any corners and deserve to be standing next to some amazing athletes.