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What Is A Good Workout Program And Diet For A Fitness Competitor?

A conditioning specialist in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a Bachelor's of Science in Exercise Science. His articles will help you!

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What Is A Good Workout Program And Diet For A Fitness Competitor?

I am 19 years old, female, and I live in Denver, Colorado. I have been training off and on since I was 16. I started working out on a regular basis starting in June, 2002. My goal is to compete within 2 years or sooner. I want to gain quite a bit of muscle but still look feminine, like Jen Hendershott's body. I am a very skinny girl but I have problems with my abdominal area. I store alot of my fat there and in my butt. I want a 6 pack but can't get rid of the thick layer of fat over my abs.

I work out five days a week.

Monday: 5 min warm up (stretch or cardio) + chest, shoulders, and abs + 15 minutes of cardio

Tuesday: 5 min warm up + shoulders,biceps and triceps+15 minute cardio

Wednesday: 5 minute warm up + legs + 15 minutes of cardio

Thursday: off

Friday: 5 min warm up and I start the routine over taking Sunday off and then starting on Monday again.

I try to take in alot of protein since I am so thin. I eat 5-6 meals a day. I weigh 125, body mass = 20, body fat % = 17.5 and I am 5' 7" tall. I usually take in between 100 to 130 grams of protein a day.

I like my carb foods so it's hard to stay away, but I try very hard. I limit fat as much as I can trying to eat just the good fat. I have one cheat day a week but I think it just sticks right to my ab region, ha ha! I also take a multi vitamin, vit c, glucosamine, glutamine, amino acids and whey protein. If you could give some advice on my abs and also what you think about my routine... that would be great.

My first question would be, why do you find it necessary to train the shoulders twice a week and never the upper back? In comparison, the upper back is far more important and greatly impacts shoulder development. What exercises you select are just as important as what muscle groups you are training. From my experience, women are less likely to utilize exercises like squats, deadlifts, chins, etc. Even if they do use some of these movements they hardly ever load them to a significant degree. I believe this to be a major mistake. Doing countless repetitions with very light weight does very little for improving muscle mass, losing bodyfat, or increasing strength. The only time this would work is if you are a beginner.

It would be very interesting to see your training program in full detail. Sometimes bodybuilders and fitness competitors perform certain training programs based off of tradition rather than science or sound training principles. For example, many trainers believe that one must perform a great deal of isolation work to improve hypertrophy of specific muscle groups. This is a great myth of training, if one looks at the physical development of elite gymnasts, sprinters, or weightlifters, you will notice athletes with impressive hypertrophy development with little to no time spent on isolation movements. In essence, your program should be based upon compound movements. This will not only help for your strength in fitness competitions, but in your physical development as well.

As far as abdominal development, this goes back to simple body fat levels. To compete, many women will easily drop to approximately 10-12 percent body fat. Many times even lower, whether or not this is healthy is a completely different issue. Lets be honest, bodybuilding and fitness competitions have very little to do with a desired level of health. If these people were concerned primarly with health we would not see the typical drug abuse that normally occurs in both of these sports.

You admit that your diet is not as clean as it should be. If you are going to compete against other women that not only have a clean diet, but use drugs as well, you must remain consistent with your nutritional program. I would only use carbs from fruits and vegetable sources for a couple of weeks and see if you notice an improvement in your body fat levels. The only time I would use simple carbs is pre and post-workout with a good level of whey protein and glutamine. Make sure to log where you hold your body fat and take circumference measurements. Give yourself two weeks and re-measure to make sure you are making proper progress.

Going back to your training program, I believe you could benefit a great deal from some of the training splits that I have listed in previous Q & A's. In addition, I would begin all your training sessions with 10-15 minutes of jump rope, you will find this to take the place of much of your cardio training and is an effective way of warming-up for the demands of the training program. It also would not hurt, if anything will help you prepare for you competative routines, if you employ some of the methods and exercises from the "Getting In Shape" training series.

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