Contest prep is often shrouded in secrecy or fueled with false notions of living at the gym, starving oneself, or being unattainable for the “mere” mortal. I kick off this new blog series to demystify, clarify, and share some of my aha moments as I get back into contest mode.
1. The more you eat, the better you look.
Obviously, there are some caveats to the “what” you’re eating, but, contrary to conventional thinking, simply (or drastically) reducing calories will not deliver a bikini body (over age 30!)
Current stats: 2,100 calories/day, 45% protein, 29% fat, 26% carb.
2. When your relationship with food starts to shift, dieting becomes a lot easier.
As I get into contest mode, I start to eat to train hard, to lift heavier, and to see results…vs. not eat, workout to eat, eat as a reward (stress-release or craving), or workout because I ate. It may sound subtle, but the feeling is entirely different. And, when the feeling shifts, eating becomes purposeful and guilt-free.
3. It’s easier to eat (enough) when a trainer gives you the green light and specific instructions to do so.
Eliminating the guesswork as to what to eat and how much is too much…or not enough…decreases anxiety levels from constantly second-guessing oneself. I can’t overstate the psychological benefits of this. Thus, why most trainers have trainers, most shrinks have shrinks, etc.
4. “Core” and “abs” are not synonymous.
Overdeveloping the core should (and can) be avoided by wearing a lifting belt (while lifting) and by avoiding unnecessary core work. The core is primarily, and unavoidably involved when we lift — particularly, squats, lunges, and deadlifts…so other core-centric exercises are unnecessary and may lead to an overdeveloped (thick) mid-section. A lifting belt helps support the lift to prevent a “super-sized” core and is distinct from corsets or so-called “waist-trainers”.
5. Breakfasts (plural) is a smart strategy when doing morning cardio.
By splitting your breakfast into two…pre-cardio and post-cardio portions, you stop muscle catabolism (breakdown) while optimizing fat loss (from performing cardio at optimal insulin sensitivity levels). And, yes, doing morning cardio…vs. eating a smaller breakfast without cardio… will deliver a better look and result.
6. Balance is key.
I do 45-min cardio sessions 5 mornings a week, not 7. I lift 5 days a week, not 7. And, I enjoy wine on the weekends…2 nights, not 7!
7. Fruit in moderation and timed strategically.
Currently, I have a 1/4c of blueberries in my morning shake and I eat an apple right after I lift. Bananas are the only “forbidden” fruit due to their high sugar profile.
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