If you think that competing in a figure competition is less strenuous, or requires less dedication than competing in a bodybuilding competition, think again. I am by no means an expert in this new sport. I've done hours of research, and talked to anyone and everyone who has any experience with figure competitions. I have tried to gather information on all aspects from training, cardio, and diet. Even right down to the height of heals on the shoes that we wear.
This is only going to be my second figure competition to date but I have notice there is always one question on every competitors mind whether they are a first timer, or a seasoned veteran. "So I wonder what will the judges be looking for?" Super lean with lots of muscle definition? Or more of toned down famine look?
But then I look at the pro figure girls and think wow, talk about muscle! These girls are appearing bigger and harder with every show. I look at myself and think I better get on it if I even want to look some what close to these gals! So 12 weeks out, I start the process again.
12 Weeks Out
For the first few weeks I try something a little different. For three days in a row I follow a diet that is very low in carbs with calories around 1,350. On the fourth day, I bring my carbs up to around 250 grams with calories around 1,800. It seemed to get me headed in the right direction. Shocked my body a little.
My beginning workouts were as follows:
- Chest and triceps
- Back and biceps
In between sets I'll often run stairs or jump rope to increase the intensity in my workouts. As far as my abdominal training goes, it's every day. I've added a lot of resistance training this time in an effort to add a little density to my abdominal muscles.
I also incorporate many Pilates exercises into my workouts. I was told some really great advice that I feel has really helped me. "Train like a bodybuilder. Especially when you are in a caloric deficit. You won't get big, but your muscles will appear harder and have a better overall look to them."
Now of course we cannot forget the Cardio. It seems that so many people have so many different theories on this topic. It really just depends on whom you ask. I probably do too much cardio during the off season. I did decide however to cut back for the first four weeks of my training, only doing around 30 minutes per day.
Starting around week five, I have defiantly bumped it up a bit. Usually my cardio runs over an hour a day and usually in a twice a day split. I try and keep my heart around 65%, most of the time, depending on my energy levels on that given day.
During these last four weeks I'll maintain my twice a day split on cardio and probably up the minutes as well.
Diet & Supplements
The diet has been okay, lots of protein shakes, chicken breast, lean cuts of beef, and tuna. I wish I could do eggs, but can't. My main carbs have been oats, and brown rice, and tons of green veggies. I also take two tablespoons of flax every day.
I try to drink at least a gallon of water per day, and coffee and green teas have also helped me. I am sure that you have heard this before but I strongly feel that supplementation is huge! I'm using a quality Whey protein, Pyruvate, Glutamine, Branch Chain Amino Acids and a multi-vitamin. Also I use Stacker to give me a little kick when I need it, but only in the a.m.
Of course all these things are made easier with a workout partner that is as committed as you are. It has helped me out tremendously! I know that my workout partner will be there. And she knows that I will as well. A good partner insures that you will be there even when you do not want to be. And vise versa.
Stay focused on your goal and remember that you get out of it exactly what you put into it. Make it everything!