A good contest prep coach, one worth your hard earned money, is going to tell what you NEED to hear, which isn’t always necessarily what you WANT TO hear.
Many a time for competitors, we all want things NOW. We want to get on the stage NOW. We want to be show ready and show lean NOW! We often forget that this is a sport, and that it’s all a process. We get caught up in the amazing transformation of others on social media, and often wonder why we too aren’t “there”.
This whole thing that we do, this game of competing, is really about the PROCESS. It’s about priming your body and your metabolism to stand the rigors of what it might truly take to get on the stage. And for some of you, many of you, taking a step back to revamp your nutrition and your training, long before dieting for your first show, is what’s needed.
Case in point, one of my online contest prep coaching clients, Brittany Pacheco. Britt, as we call her, came to me looking to step on stage. I’ve always seen her as my little Dana Linn Bailey. She’s a huge fan, and she has a die hard love for the sport as much as her idol does. For me, I see in her a girl who is willing to change, and do whatever it takes to get to the top. And for us at RoxStar Fitness/Team RoxStar, “whatever it takes” equates to positively changing your diet, stop the reliance on cardio as the main driving factor behind fat loss, and training hard and heavy in the gym. All while maintaining a sense of balance, and a growing love and passion for trying to be, and always beat, your best. And most importantly, MAKING THIS YOUR LIFESTYLE. Not just a simple journey or personal challenge for X amount of weeks that will go out the window once it’s all over.
With Britt, we took a step back. We revamped her diet and found the perfect formula that works for her. When we started, we found that she responded very well to lower carbs, higher fats, and moderate protein. So in the beginning, her macro breakdown looked like this:
|Training Day 1702||Non Training Day – 1578|
|Protein – 186gCarbs – 139g
Fat – 45g
|Protein – 175gCarbs – 96g
Fat – 56g
Taken 10/17/2013 at the start of her transformation:
She was 145 pounds when we began.Now, I took calories down a bit on her off days, just to kind of set up a “calorie cycle” of sorts. So on the days where she’s training, she’s eating a little more (but still in a caloric deficit) but we’re fueling her for her intense workouts. On the off days, and since I didn’t want to have to rely on cardio too much in her training overall, I went a little lower with her deficit, and I also changed the ratio of fats/carbs – favoring a lower carb/higher to moderate fat set up since the urgent need for carbs on off days isn’t present.
The beautiful thing about her body is that she responded PRETTY WELL to the diet, so much so that I DIDN’T NEED TO CHANGE A THING! We were able to sail in with simple adjustments to her plan in regards to training and cardio. In fact her diet stayed the same pretty much for four months!
What we saw happen was some awesome recompositioning. So her weight stayed pretty much the same, all while her measurements came down, and her overall conditioning improved. From there I was actually able to up calories a little more each week until she got to a point where she was still seeing positive changes, ALL WHILE EATING MORE. When I saw this happening, I knew that pretty soon we’d be able to focus on a prep.
A few months back, Britt came to me with plans to do a show in March of 2015. Since things had been going well, I definitely agreed. By this point her scale weight had gotten down to 137 pounds, and she was looking really great as far as a viable starting point is concerned. We adjusted her diet so she was now doing more of a carb cycle with a big refeed every other week, and on the week where she doesn’t have a refeed, she has a cheat meal (we call them free meals in my practice) instead. So her set up was now looking like this:
|Moderate Day 1706Training Day||Low Day 1705Non Training Day||Refeed Day2100 Cals|
|Protein – 186gCarbs – 150g
Fat – 40g
|Protein – 186gCarbs – 100g
Fat – 62g
|Protein – 140gCarbs – 273g
Fat – 50g
So with that in mind we kept pushing and simply let her body continue to develop in the way it needed.
Training wise her program has evolved simply based upon how her body was responding. She trains HEAVY 5 days a week. We change things up for her from focusing on metabolic circuits 1-2x a week in addition to a traditional split routine for weaker parts, and a straight traditional split routine for a few weeks in between. She’s doing everything you’d typically expect on a heavy strength training program like pull ups, bench pressing, squats, deadlifts, and even power moves as well. Our focus is always challenging her and raising the bar.
For the most part, her cardio has remained pretty constant as far as duration is concerned. She typically hits between 20-35 mins 4 days a week mixing in everything from HIIT, to longer intervals of 1 min rest/recovery, and moderate/high intensity SS cardio focusing on keeping her HR well above 70-75%. Once a week on one of her off days we would have her do a mixed bag type of cardio only workout. During this workout she would hit about 35 mins of SS cardio and then switch off on a different machine hitting up about 15 mins of intervals. And to tell you the truth – WE NEVER HAD TO REALLY CHANGE THAT IN THE NEARLY TWO YEARS SHE’S BEEN WORKING WITH US!
Even during her current contest prep!
Fast forward to her most recent update with us, here she is standing at 12 weeks out from her next show:
The whole driving factor all of this time behind her fat loss has been HER DIET. She has used NO fat burners whatsoever during this entire process. In fact, we only just now at 12 weeks out started to add a little yohimbine to the mix to push along fat loss for the more stubborn areas for women (hips/thighs/glutes), and we only added this for her since she’s focusing on a competition goal (my regular fat loss clients take NOTHING).
I think I should also take time to note that all of this time she has followed a flexible dieting type of approach where yes she has a meal plan, but she is allowed to sub foods out with WHATEVER SHE WISHES WHENEVER SHE WISHES! In addition, she has free meals as a part of the equation as well because being perfect on a plan is unrealistic, and at the end of the day not very wise when you’re looking to take a sane approach to dieting – and hopefully have some lasting changes thereafter.
So in closing, I hope that you took a little something positive out of Brittany’s journey! We’re on the fast track to seeing her look FANTASTIC come March so be sure to sign up for my newsletter (if you haven’t already), so that you can witness the rest of her journey to the stage – and her FIRST figure competition!
Be sure to ask questions you may have below!