Alissa's Fitness Contest Preparation Journal!

This year I've decided to cross-over from the figure division to fitness. The fitness routine round has always appealed to me, and now that I have three figure shows under my belt, I feel that I'm ready to make the switch! I will start with 12 weeks out.
This year I've decided to cross-over from the figure division to fitness. The fitness routine round has always appealed to me, and now that I have three figure shows under my belt, I feel that I'm ready to make the switch!

My off-season began October 2003 and I had one goal in mind - put on size! I am tall and a classic ectomorph with long, lean muscle bellies. This hurts me in physique competition. Through diligent training, proper supplementation, and a sound nutrition plan, I was able to gain 5 lbs. of lean muscle during my 4-month off-season.

This is a great accomplishment for me and it's awesome to see these changes so quickly! My main areas of concentration were my upper back/lat area and my outer quads. I managed to add 1" to my lat spread and visually improve the sweep of my quads by implementing core, power-lifting movements such as free weight squats, stiff and traditional dead lifts, flat barbell bench presses, and clean & presses. My supplementation consisted of a good multi-vitamin, creatine, and glutamine.

17 Weeks Out

Height: 5' 7 ?"
Weight: 137
Body fat: 16%


Beginning Of Cutting Phase

12 Weeks Out

This year I'm working with Dr. Joe Klemczewski, a nutritionist who specializes in working with physique competitors. (He is also a writer for Bodybuilding.com!) Dr. Joe helped me lean out a bit in my off-season so that my cutting phase wouldn't have to be as intense, and so I wouldn't pose a higher risk of losing muscle. This off-season leaning phase lasted about 6 weeks so that when I began my contest prep at 12 weeks out I was already at 14.5% body fat.

I've decided to manipulate my fat loss as much as possible through diet alone, since I really hate cardio! I've been paying very close attention to every morsel that goes into my mouth and have not cheated with junk food once!

Training Split

Monday: Back, Biceps
Tuesday: Fitness Routine Practice; Stretching
Wednesday: Legs
Thursday: Fitness Routine Practice; Stretching
Friday: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps

Weight Training

My training has not changed from off-season to on-season. I feel that in order to maintain as much muscle as possible while dieting that it's essential to continue to tax my body with the same amount of intensity and poundage as I did in the off-season. I continue to train as heavy as possible.

The workouts get harder as my calories and carbohydrates are reduced. If I can't complete an entire exercise with the desired number of reps and sets, I either cut a few reps or cut a set out. This is a better alternative to dropping poundage.

    Heavy Days

    1-2 compound exercises
    7-8 total sets (3-4 warm-up, 4 working) per exercise
    5-2 reps per set, to absolute failure
    2-minute rest between sets

    Intense (Light) Days

    2-3 compound and isolation exercises
    4-5 total sets (1-2 warm-up, 4 working) per exercise
    6-10 reps upper body, 10-15 reps lower body
    1-2 minute rest between sets
    Employ shock tactics, such as supersets, drop sets, and negatives

Fitness Routine Training

I practice my fitness routine twice a week for 1 1/2-2 hours per practice. The main focus of my practices is to work on smoothing out the transitions and building my cardiovascular endurance for the 2-minute duration of the routine. I spend the first 30 minutes of practice warming up, stretching, and sitting in my splits for as long as I can hold them.

After I'm limber, I run through my routine in parts - the beginning, middle, or end - until all the skills in that segment are properly executed and my endurance levels are adequate. This lasts for the remainder of the practice, which is 1-1 1/2 hours.

Cardio

Because I am following a closely regimented diet, as well as practicing my routine for up to 4 hours weekly, I have not yet had to add in any cardio sessions. When I notice my fat loss start to dwindle, I will slowly add cardio back in to continue losing .5 - 1 lb. Per week.

Diet

Calories: 1450-1550

Meal 1

1/2c Hi-Lo Cereal w/ Strawberries
2 oz. Sugar-free Soy Milk
1 oz. Low-fat cheese

Meal 2

1/2c Oatmeal
2 oz. Sugar-free Soy Milk

Meal 3

Carb Solutions Toffee Bar
1 medium Apple

Meal 4

4 oz. Turkey Breast
1c Green Beans
6 oz. Dannon Lite-n-Fit Yogurt

Meal 5

3.5 oz. Turkey Breast
1c Green Beans

Meal 6 - Preworkout

EAS AdvantEdge Chocolate Bar

Meal 7 - Postworkout

EAS Fruity Protein Smoothie
1 tbsp. Almond Butter
1 slice Whole Wheat Bread
2 tbsp. Smucker's Sugar-Free Jam

Supplementation

2 tbsp. MHP TRAC (AM and PM doses)
2 tbsp. Sports Nutrition Glutamine (AM and PM doses)
2 Sports Nutrition Athlete's Multi-Vitamin w/ electrolytes (AM and PM doses)

8 Weeks Out

Weight: 133.0
Body fat: 13.7%

At this point I have been in pre-contest training/dieting for 4 weeks. I've lost 4 lbs. and approximately 1% body fat. I've noticed that by losing the fat more slowly my body is tightening up and getting better conditioned even without losing any more fat.

Training is the same, but I am now following a 3-day low-carb, 4th day carb-up diet to increase fat loss while retaining muscle. My fat intake is also slightly lower, dropping my calories to 1270-1470 per day.

Training Split

Monday: Back, Biceps; Routine
Tuesday: Fitness Routine Practice; Stretching
Wednesday: Legs; Routine
Thursday: Fitness Routine Practice; Stretching
Friday: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps

Weight Training

Same as Weeks 12-8 (See above)

Fitness Routine Training

In addition to my 2 weekly practices, I've added 2 additional shorter practices twice a week in the mornings. Once a week I practice with my skills coach, Ibsen, and the other day I practice solo, either stretching and practicing splits and skills or running through my routine to music several times, trying to iron out any kinks.

Cardio

Aside from fitness routine practice, no additional cardio has been added.

Diet

Calories: 1270-1470

Meal 1

1/4c Oatmeal
? scoop MHP Up Your Mass (CinnaBun)
2 oz. Sugar-Free Soy Milk

Meal 2

1 Protein Pancake

Meal 3

Odyssey Thin Advantage Bar

Meal 4

1 1/2c Steamed Broccoli
5 oz. Tuna
1/2 oz. Cashews

Meal 5

1 Protein Pancake

Meal 6

2 Protein Pancakes
1 1/2c Steamed Broccoli

Meal 7 - Preworkout

EAS AdvantEdge RTD (Chocolate)

Meal 8 - Postworkout

1 tsp. Agave Nectar
6 oz. Egg Beaters Garden Vegetable
6 oz. Egg Whites
1 tbsp. Ketchup

Supplementation

2 tbsp. MHP TRAC (AM and PM doses)
2 tbsp. Sports Nutrition 2000 Glutamine (AM and PM doses)
2 Sports Nutrition 2000 Athlete's Multi-Vitamin w/ electrolytes (AM and PM doses)
MHP Secretagogue - One

Reflections

My mood and motivation are overall at a pretty high level, but are still fluctuating from time to time. I am not tempted by junk food anymore, but being on restricted calories for four weeks definitely has me craving MORE food, but clean foods still. Energy levels overall are moderate.

Some days are high and some are very low, but my body seems to be adjusting to the lowered carbohydrate intake rather well. Practicing my fitness routine is very exciting. I received my costume in the mail last week and it motivated me ever since to get busy on my routine!

The performance aspect of fitness competition is so cool - unlike any other sport! It truly does require a ton of dedication and an excellent all-around physical fitness level. While most competitors find it difficult to balance weight training, cardio, and diet, fitness athletes train an additional 4-6 hours per week to an already booked schedule!

Very demanding, yet rewarding as well. I'm proud to be joining this elite division of competition this year, and I hope that I can do my best and hold my own on the fitness stage!

6 Weeks Out

Weight: 132.5
Body fat: 13.5%

Training Split

Monday: PM - Back & Biceps; 1/2 hour routine practice
Tuesday: PM - 1 1/2 hour routine practice
Wednesday: AM - Max-OT Cardio; PM - Legs
Thursday: PM - 1 1/2 hour routine practice
Friday: AM - Max-OT Cardio; PM - Chest, Shoulders, Triceps; 1/2 hour routine practice

Weight Training

I've made only one slight change to my training routine so far. On my Intense Days, I've minimized my rest time to 1 minute, added an additional isolation exercise to each workout, and have employed negatives instead of my usual drop sets. I am hoping this increase in intensity will help bring out my lines more in my abs, shoulders, and quads, and help increase my glute-hamstring separation.

It should also give me more of a fat-burning effect. Poundage will stay the same, but I will concentrate more on feeling and squeezing the movement rather than amount of weight lifted.

    Heavy Days

    1-2 compound exercises
    7-8 total sets (3-4 warm-up, 4 working) per exercise
    5-2 reps per set, to absolute failure
    2-minute rest between sets

    Intense (Light) Days

    3-4 compound and isolation exercises
    4-5 total sets (1-2 warm-up, 4 working) per exercise
    6-10 reps upper body, 10-15 reps lower body
    1-minute rest between sets
    Employing negatives to replace usual drop sets

Fitness Routine Training

This week I restructured my fitness routine practices to better reach my goals. Each hour and a half practice will roughly go as follows:

    15 mins: Warm-up, stretch
    30-35 mins: Run through segments of routine (build up cardio, smooth transitions)
    15-25 mins: Work on individual skills repeatedly until perfected
    20-25 mins: Stretching and sitting in splits

Additionally, I've added 1/2 hour practices Monday and Friday evening, as a minimum.

Cardio

My fat loss has slowed, so I began the Max-OT Cardio program last week. I am starting off with 2 weekly cardio sessions in the morning, each lasting 16 minutes, as outlined in the Max-OT program.

Max-OT Cardio Program: http://www.ast-ss.com/articles/article.asp?AID=97

Diet

Calories: 1270-1470

Meal 1

? c All-Bran Extra Fiber
3 oz. Dannon Lite n Fit Carb Control Yogurt
1 tbsp. Sugar-Free Jam

Meal 2

6 oz. Egg Beaters
? Whole Wheat Tortilla
1 Slice Fat-Free Singles Cheese
1 Slice Turkey Bacon

Meal 3

? Tri-O-Plex Bar

Meal 4

1 c Steamed Broccoli
1 Medium Apple
3 oz. Turkey Cutlet

Meal 5

1 ? c Steamed Broccoli
? tbsp. Almond Butter
3 oz. Turkey Cutlet

Meal 6

? Tri-O-Plex Bar

Meal 7 - Preworkout

EAS Myoplex Carb Sense Protein Drink

Meal 8 - Postworkout

? c Cottage Cheese, rinsed in water

Supplementation

Since I just recovered from a 14-day cold (my third of the year), I've decided to double my glutamine supplementation to 4 tbsp per day I've also added Syn-Flex (liquid Glucosamine) and Calcium to my supplementation program due to the increased wear and tear my weight training, routine practices, and cardio have on my joints and bones.

2 tbsp. MHP TRAC (AM and Post-Workout doses)
4 tbsp. Sports Nutrition 2000 Glutamine (AM and Post-Workout doses)
? tbsp. Syn-Flex (AM and Post-Workout doses)
2 Sports Nutrition 2000 Athlete's Multi-Vitamin (AM and Post-Workout doses)
500mg Calcium (AM)
MHP Secretagogue-One (At Bedtime)

Reflections

I've been sort of just floating through the past two weeks. They didn't seem like they even took place, and my motivation is down a bit. Energy levels are high. Stress is getting a little higher, but I'm not to the point of worrying yet.

On Sunday I had my last real cheat meal (the first in 6 weeks) of 4 oz. Sirloin steak, some of my husband's birthday cake, and a blueberry muffin. I am determined to stick to my diet and training no matter what for the next 6 weeks! I firmly believe the last 6-8 weeks are what make or break a competitor.

These are the times when the rubber meets the road, and there's no turning back! During these last two months, a competitor goes through the worst that a body and mind can endure. These times determine whether you are an overall champion, or you barely make top five in a field of five! I plan on being the former.

I plan to run right over the competition and show up Saturday morning with no regrets and 100% confidence that my training and diet were exactly the way I'd planned and there wasn't one more thing I could've possibly done to prepare better. If I can come in like that, I am already a winner no matter where the judges decide to place me amongst my competition.

Be sure to check out the:
2004 Arnold Classic Main Page!

Good Luck!