My first year in Figure

By: Michelle Brown
Magazine 21 #3

8 April 2017

Comprehensive look at my best nutrition, supplement, and training programs

Growing up, I was an active athlete participating in cheerleading, gymnastics, and softball. Upon entering college at Northern Kentucky University, I made the cheerleading team and cheered for the Lady Norse in 1998! Throughout this time, I was always able to eat whatever and whenever I wanted without fear of gaining weight. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Subway were my main fast food choices while enjoying college life.

In 1999, I became a teen mother of a beautiful baby girl. As a single mother,
I worked night shift as a Registered Nurse. My poor eating habits and fast food became an even bigger staple in my life. Exercise and fitness were the furthest thing from my mind.

After meeting my husband, having two more amazing daughters via cesarean section, and reaching the “Over 30” mark, my fast food habits and lack of exercise were starting to show in my abdomen and legs. I was gaining too much weight, too fast!

In October 2013, at the age of 33, I stepped on the scale and discovered that I had reached my top pregnancy weight (and this time I wasn’t pregnant.) I was devastated. I made a commitment right then and there to begin a healthy journey to lose the weight.

Three months later, I started attending spinning classes at my local gym, Body Works Gym in Dry Ridge, Kentucky. I also began a crash diet where I consumed only 700-800 calories per day. After a few weeks, the owner of the gym, Justin Baker, encouraged me to attend his nutritional class and start weight lifting/training. Justin customized a meal and supplement plan along with a weight lifting program to fit my goals. By May, I had lost 30 pounds and reduced my body fat significantly!

I enjoyed watching my body change. I was losing fat and adding muscle. I also found that lifting provided stress relief which made my whole life better. I had also begun helping others as they embarked on their weight loss journeys.

After a year of progress and addition of new muscle, Justin encouraged me to train for a competition. I began to train for my first figure competition in May, 2015. Since then I’ve competed in seven contests in 2015 and 2016. Before I get into my results I’d like to give you a comprehensive look at what I’ve found to be my best nutrition, supplement, training and cardio programs.

Michelle Brown wining trophy
 Photo credit: Sara Dills

My daily nutrition plan

Daily Meals

The way my diet changes depends on my physique and how close I am to being stage-ready. Here’s a plan that has worked great for me and I’ll bet that it will work for you too.

Meal 1 (5:30 am): 3 egg whites; – cup plain oatmeal mixed with – scoop of UMP (Cookies & Créme – yum!).

Meal 2 (9:00 am): 2 scoops of Chocolate or Cookies & Créme UMP as a shake or mixed as a pudding. To make UMP into a pudding add 2 scoops of UMP and a little water in a small bowl. Mix. Add a little more water and mix again. Do this until the pudding is the desired consistency. I will usually mix as a pudding if I am in a meeting at work and do not want to distract from the meeting by shaking my shaker bottle!

Meal 3 (12:00 pm): 6 oz. chicken breast, turkey breast, tilapia, or tuna; 2 cups spinach or salad; 2 tbsp. Newman’s Own Lite Balsamic Dressing; 4 oz. sweet potato.

Meal 4 (3:00 pm): 2 scoops of UMP Cookies & Créme made as a shake or pudding.

Meal 5 (6:00 pm): 6 oz. chicken breast, turkey breast, tilapia, or tuna; 2 cups low-carb vegetables (broccoli, asparagus or green peppers).

Meal 6 (9:00 pm): 3 egg whites with 1 whole egg. I have chickens that we raise on our farm and enjoy eating farm fresh eggs!

Water intake: 1 gallon of water throughout the day. Water intake is important to stay hydrated. Water intake changes/ increases the closer you get to peak-week and throughout peak-week itself.

Supplement Schedule
Ultimate Muscle Protein – Meal replacement for meals 2 and 4 and added to my oatmeal at meal 1
Super Pak – One packet daily with meal 2
7-Keto MuscLean – 3 capsules with meals 1 and 3. (Daily total: 6 capsules to reduce body fat and optimize lean muscle mass.)
Lean Out – 3 capsules with meals 1, 3, and 5. (Daily total: 9 capsules to reduce body fat.)
Muscularity – 4 capsules with meals 1, 3, and 6. (Daily total: 12 capsules, BCAAs assist in building lean muscle mass with co-factors for blood sugar regulation and diet support.)
Density – 4 tablets with meals 1, 3, and 6. (Daily total: 12 tablets used to achieve a firm, lean look to the muscle.)

Training & cardio

Weight Training Schedule

Monday: Arms

  • Barbell Curls 3x12
  • Superset: Tricep Pushdown & Lying Cable Curls 3x12
  • Superset: Skull Crushers & Preacher Curls 3x12

Tuesday: Back

  • Chin-ups 3x12 Deadlifts 3x12
  • Dumbbell Row 3x12
  • Straight Arm Pulldown 3x12

Wednesday: Legs

  • Squats 8x12-15
  • Leg Press 2x50
  • Leg Extension 3x12
  • Calf Raise 3x20

Thursday: Shoulders & Traps

  • Shoulder Press 3x12
  • Tri-Set: Side Raises 3x12
  • Front Raises & Bent-Over Raises 3x12
  • Superset: High-Pulls & Reverse Pec Deck 3x12
Friday: Chest
  • Superset: Bench Press & Dumbbell Flye 3x12
  • Superset: Incline Press & Decline Press 3x12
  • Superset: Raised Feet Push-ups & Pec Deck 3x12

Saturday: Glutes & Hamstrings

  • Lying Leg Curl 3x12
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlift 3x12
  • Weighted Walking Lunges 3 laps around gym

Sunday: Rest

Abs: Done during or after weight training every day

  • 60 second Planks
  • 100 Sit-ups
  • 48 Decline Sit-ups with Russian Twists added (until I feel the burn)
  • 12 Hanging Leg Raises

Cardio Schedule

HIIT Training before Weight Training

During contest prep, each of my weight training sessions begin with HIIT training. This is primarily to preserve muscle and burn fat. I typically stick to two forms of HIIT which include the treadmill and the elliptical.

Treadmill: Set the treadmill to intervals. Warm-up by walking at a moderate pace for 2 minutes. Increase your pace to sprint (for me, that is about 10 mph) for 45 seconds. Slow your pace to moderate and walk/rest for 15 seconds. Repeat for 10 minutes making your total including warm-up 12-15 minutes.

Elliptical: Warm up by pedaling moderately for 2 minutes; gradually increase the resistance to a relatively difficult setting. Once warmed up, sprint for 20 seconds and rest (pedal slowly) for 10 seconds. Repeat for a total of 10 minutes for a warm-up and sprint total of 12-15 minutes.

Michelle Brown db curl wokout

Additional Cardio after Weight Training

Each weight training session is followed by 10-20 minutes of cardio on the elliptical or treadmill. On the elliptical I increase my resistance every 2 minutes so that I am at the highest resistance possible during the last 3 minutes of my session. On the treadmill, I set the incline to the highest possible setting and walk at a moderate pace (4 mph) for the entire duration.

Off-Season Walking: It is important to build muscle in the off-season while keeping fat off. To achieve this I walk at a moderate pace on the treadmill for 20 minutes, 3 days per week following my weight training.

Presentation tips

Posing and presentation are crucial in competition. Presentation can make or break you on stage. The judges do not see you in the gym, they only can judge what you present to them on stage. They do not take into account the time, sweat, diet and work that a competitor puts in every day to build their physique. During prep, I pose for a minimum of 20 minutes every day. During off-season, I continue to practice and tweak my presentation/posing 1-2 days per week. I recommend that bikini or figure competitors practice in their competition heels so that they become comfortable wearing them. Looking natural and comfortable on stage is essential. Smiling is also a big part of your presentation. A smile can be a sign of confidence, beauty, and poise. The judges want to see that you are having fun! “A smile is the best makeup a girl can wear.” ˜Marilyn Monroe

My results

In August 2015, I competed in my first show, the Kentucky Open presented by Gene and Tina Goode. This was a great show for both experienced and novice competitors! Gene and Tina are amazing promoters that put on an amazing, coordinated, seamless show consistently every year. Surprisingly, I took home FIRST PLACE in the Master’s 35 and over Figure division!

In October 2015, I also competed in the Tricky Jackson Classic (2nd place Master’s). In November 2015, I competed in the Kentucky Muscle (5th place Novice).

During my off-season, I focused on building my quads which were identified as one of my weak areas. To accomplish this, I stopped all of the excess running I had been doing and limited my cardio to just 3 days per week.

The building season and minimizing cardio paid off as I began to achieve higher placements in my next few competitions. In March 2016, I competed in the Northern KY Grand Prix (3rd Open, 1st Master’s) and in April 2016, I competed in the KY Derby (5th Open, 3rd Novice, 3rd Master’s).

In October 2016, I competed in the KY Muscle (5th place Open, 4th place Novice, and 2nd place Master’s.

For the final show of the season and 2 weeks after the KY Muscle, I went to West Virginia to compete in the Grand Prix where I brought home 3rd place in Open and 1st place in Master’s and the OVERALL Master’s title!

In conclusion

The best advice that I could give to anyone working towards fitness goals is to trust the process. Diet and exercise are only half of the battle when trying to reach your goals. Dedication, determination, and the will to succeed are all mental challenges people face in their journey. Results are not accomplished overnight. You must dedicate your time and focus on the end and consistently stick to your plan in order to achieve your goals.


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