Congrats baby, I am very proud of you and you're posing routine was so powerful and well performed. Unfortunate for us, soon following the awesome photo shoots with Alex Ardenti, Robert Reiff and a Muscle and Fitness specific photo shoot, Craig's calf became swollen and so painful it made him unable to put any pressure on it during the trip back home to Las Vegas.
The seriousness of this injury forced Craig onto crutches and the doctors did not give Craig the clearance to fly with me to Ohio because his injury was so acute.
I want to thank my friends Richard Greenbaum, Abby Eyre, and Megan Pierson for stepping up and making sure I was able to be at my best for the Fitness International. Richard Greenbaum, an absolutely amazing trainer and nutritionist, worked with Craig and I for our shows and did a great job.
Thank you to my girl Abby Eyre (who took second place at the Ironman Figure Contest Feb 19th - Yeah!) who was by my side the entire weekend, helping me with every aspect of the contest prep along with Richard. Not having Craig at my show for the first time in six years was a new challenge and you both made sure I had everything I could possibly need to be at my best for the show.
I appreciate everything you both did, and I couldn't have done it without you! Megan Pierson dropped everything to fly out with me to Ohio, when we got the news that Craig was unable to fly. Thank you so much Megan, for your positive energy and for being such a great friend and support system. I am truly blessed to have you guys in my corner and just wish that I could have brought home the Fitness International title to show my appreciation.
I also feel that my family, close friends and fans are such a big part of my success and say sincere thanks to everyone for coming out to the show and stopping by the Pinnacle/Cytodyne booth both Saturday and Sunday. This year's show was such a blast to be a part of and I had one of the best weekends ever in my competitive career.
I am who I am because of the amazing people in my life and it is times like these that enable me to show my sincere appreciation for all the love, support and generosity I have been shown.
Questions & Answers
Here are this month's Questions and Answers!
[ Q ] I am an 18 year old female that stands 5'2" tall and weighs 121 pounds and I think your body is awesome. I'd love to have one just like it some day so I am asking for you to either set me up on the program you follow or just send me something good to follow because I am dying to have those six-pack abs.
My Current Program:
- I train first thing in the morning and warm up with push-ups and chins.
- I then train my abs (where I work upper/lower/oblique separately twice a week).
- After my abdominal exercises, I weight train and I do each body part alone in a single rotation each week at a high intensity rate for 20 minutes.
- This whole program in its entirety: cardio, abs, weights, will be done 6 times a week.
- Meal One - 4 egg whites + oatmeal with honey.
- Meal Two - Protein shake + fruit.
- Meal Three - Any source of protein (chicken breast, fish, shrimp, turkey, cottage cheese, tuna) on wheat bread + salad.
- Meal Four - Protein shake + fruit.
- Meal Five - Chicken breast or lean red meat + salad.
Here Is My Diet:
Kelly, what else do I have to do? My entire body is toned except for my darn abs, they are so flabby and it is making me so mad. Sometimes I get so depressed and think of giving it all up but I've worked so hard to get where I am now.
A: Sally, please do not give up. You have worked very hard to get where you are today and just know that most other 18 year old women are not half as fit as you are. You are doing such a great job with your
nutrition program which makes up 80% of your total program so you pretty much have the hardest part under control.
Now for your abs, everyone has an area on their body that is stubborn when it comes to losing body fat, everyone. By priority training and constantly switching up the exercises you are doing for abs; you will achieve the look you desire.
Also, you must remember that your abs are muscles just like any other body part and can be developed well by performing weighted resistance exercises.
The key to this weighted resistance type of abdominal training is to hit the area intensely three times a week and allow rest days in between so that your body can recover.
The abdominals are considered a small muscle group so I suggest doing three exercises for 3 sets for 15-20 reps each set for maximum results. Also, I do not suggest training your obliques with weighted resistance because it can cause you to over develop your waist line.
Stick to all upper and lower abdominal exercises instead. I know that if you just make this subtle change I feel you will notice a difference in your physique. Keep up the good work and remember to stay positive!
[ Q ] I am a 21 year old female with two kids that really desire to have her pre-kid body back. After the birth of my second child I went to the gym 7 days a week for two years straight and my body was fantastic and I even got a job as a model.
The problem is I let myself go and now all the muscle has turned into fat and I weigh 196 lbs. I am 178 cm tall and I look awful. Could you please give me some advice on how to get back into shape? My friend is getting married in October and I really want to look my best as I am going to be her bridesmaid.
A: I will first say congratulations on your two children. I am not in that stage of my life yet and live vicariously through all of my girlfriends that already have kids. I know how time consuming it is to raise children so I will address that when I design your program.
The advantage you have going into this new regiment is that you have done it all before, and your muscles have memory.
All we have to do is retrain them by using resistance training and cardio exercise to burn fat and calories and increase your basal metabolic rate.
Calculate Your Basal Metabolic Rate
People forget that by just changing their eating structure daily, you can increase your metabolism.
The advantage you have going into this new regiment is that you have done it all before, and your muscles have memory. All we have to do is retrain them by using resistance training and cardio exercise to burn fat and calories and increase your basal metabolic rate. People forget that by just changing their eating structure daily, you can increase your metabolism.
My first recommendation is to try to eat 5-6 small meals a day and those meals will be consist of lean sources of protein, low glycemic complex carbohydrates, fibrous carbohydrates, and essential fats.
- Breakfast - 8 A.M. - 4 egg whites + ? cup of oatmeal cooked season the oats with Splenda (sugar substitute) and cinnamon.
- Mid-Morning - 11 A.M. - 1 scoop protein shake + 2 ? cups of Gerber's Rice formula cereal (very easy to make and can take on the go).
- Lunch - 2 P.M. - 4 ounces of chicken breast with a side salad of mixed greens.
- Mid-Afternoon - 5 P.M. - 1 scoop protein shake.
- Dinner - 8 pm - Lean protein source (chicken, fish, turkey) and dinner salad add essential fats to this meal by adding 2 - 3 tbsp of olive oil in a dressing or ? cup of cashews or almonds.
This is a basic meal plan for you to begin with. Try not to vary any of the foods at first, and make sure you drink up to a gallon of water a day.
Calculate Water Intake
I would suggest getting a good protein powder for your shakes because supplements make a huge difference when it comes to getting all of your meals in.
Try Pinnacle's Juiced protein* in chocolate flavor, it tastes great and is a fantastic quality of protein.
* This product was discontinued on 02/02/2005 - find similar products
If that is not available try Cytodyne's Cyto-Pro in Vanilla, both of these powders are great choices. This in itself will be the first task at hand for you to attack.
The next step is increasing your daily activity levels. The weight you have gained needs to be addressed here so I do not recommend you going out and start jogging. Try walking first, and put the treadmill up on an incline to add more intensity. Walk 3 times a week for 30-40 minutes.
Make sure you stretch after each cardio session to maintain or increase your flexibility. These are two major lifestyle changes and so I will keep my answer short so that it doesn't overwhelm you.
Do your best to accomplish these small goals. Once you have gotten both the nutrition and cardio sessions worked into your busy schedule you will be ready to move forward. Take it one day at a time and go for it!
[ Q ] I am a big fan and hope to make it to a pro show next season so I can see you in action. I am in the process of preparing for my first figure competition this summer. I have already started the cutting phase since I am not sure how long it will take for my body to lean out.
My question is, since I am working out at least once per day for an hour and most days twice for an hour each workout. I am spending more and more time away from my husband and family.
When you first began competing, how did you prepare your family for increasing absence? Also did your family complain that you were over doing it, and if they did, how did you deal with that?
Everyone around me thinks I am nuts for working out twice in one day and they always tell me to cut back and to "be sensible". They often complain about my eating as well. Eating a chicken breast and oatmeal causes my mom to say "eat some real food". How much more real can you get?
I am not complaining but I am wondering if I am doing the right thing, or if I should just give into what everyone is saying. If you can, please give some insight as to how you have overcome this to rise to the top.
A: Thank you so much for your question and to answer it honestly I will begin by saying that what you are feeling, and the comments your family members are making are all really common at this stage of your competitive career. I say competitive career because once a person competes in their first show, it is rare that they will not continue to compete in others following.
I love the competitive side of fitness and figure because it takes your training to the next level. Having to be ready for a show makes you commit wholeheartedly to something and conditions you to set small goals along the way to make sure you stay on track for the end result.
I believe that if you sit your family down, and explain to them why it is you are doing all of these unusual things to yourself, then maybe they would gain some insight as to the meaning behind all of it.
Sometimes what we think is easy to understand, might really be confusing and therefore a big turn off. Carolynn, get out your collection of fitness magazines and get your family used to seeing what it takes to be a competitor.
Let them see the lean hard bodies of the other figure competitors as well as training regiments of the pros like Monica Brant, Devana Medina (Devana will start writing articles and ansering questions starting at the end of the month, sign up for updates here), and Jenny Lynn.
Oxygen Magazine is a great magazine for just that. Show your family these training, cardio and nutrition regiments and by doing so I feel your family will begin to understand what it takes to be a figure competitor and why you have to be away from them so much. The more you talk to your husband and family, the more they will feel a part of what you do instead of outsiders looking in.
Teach your family and husband the importance of nutrition and how following a program like yours can improve their quality of living. I know it will work out for you, try to help those around you understand what you are trying to accomplish, make them a part of it by educating them on the different aspects of a pre-contest program and begin working as a team for your very first show.
Good luck and take it one day at a time.
[ Q ] First and foremost congratulations on all of your success in fitness! Your hard work and dedication sure shows!
I am a 26 year old female that has an athletic background, I was a gymnast until the age of 15, and then a college cheerleader. I began working out this past October and my boyfriend got me hooked on Oxygen magazine about nine months ago, and now I look forward to reading each issue.
I love your contest prep 101 column because it has answered a lot of my questions concerning fitness competitions. My question to you is for someone who is now interested in competing, what is the best way to get started? I live in Louisville, Kentucky and don't know of any local competitions. I've seen competitions on television but I know it is even better in person!
What is a reasonable amount of time for someone who is just starting out to get ready to compete? I know a lot goes into fitness so it will not just happen overnight. Right now I am working out 4-6 times a week. I want to set goals for myself but I need them to be realistic.
A: Amy, I am happy that you have found my column so helpful because those are the exact steps you need to follow to get ready for a show. My best suggestion is to research your topic. This is the best way to know if you are ready to compete.
- Pick A Show - Find contests in your area by using our searchable contest database. Attend a local show to see what it takes to compete on the local level.
- Hire A Trainer - Hiring someone that has contest experience can really help you prepare for your first show. They will understand the physical demands that a routine places on your body and not diet you down like a bodybuilder. A trainer will also have the objective eye to make sure you look perfect for the physique rounds.
- Creating A Fitness Routine - Hire a coach, pick out the theme and music, and decide what tricks you desire to have in your routine, that are attainable for your own skill level.
- Tanning - Knowing how often to tan (6 weeks before a show), how to take care of your skin (moisturizer everyday), and shaving the last day before your staining process. Putting the contest color on your skin takes 2-days of 3 coats a day before your show.
- Picking The Right Suits For You - Knowing what colors and designs suit you and your physique the best. CJ's Elite Comp Wear - (954) 786-9977 or CEEJAY6630 @aol.com, and Jagwear Posing Suits - (510)234-0114 Jagwear@lanset.com. Tell both of these companies Kelly Ryan told you to call.
- Having The Right Shoes For Stage - 4-5 inch clear heels, and without platforms. For the routine, a rubber soled lightweight solid white or black aerobic shoe for the hard stages.
- Hair & Make-Up For Stage - Hire a make-up artist to do your hair and make-up for stage and prepare them for the fitness look- by brining them a picture out of the magazines of the Pro fitness competitions. Matching your face to your tan body takes practice with make-up so be prepared.
- Make A Checklist - Write down a list of the things you need to pack so you do not forget anything for your show. Categorize your things by each round of competition and this will keep you extremely organized and calm.
- Watch Videos - Make a copy of your routine practices to watch, visualize and to help you stay focused in your room the night before. Hopefully by following these steps, you will learn what it takes to compete in a fitness competition and make your first experience a positive one!
Go to local shows, asses the competition, and compare yourself to the level of the women in the show you plan to compete against.
You will know if your body meets the requirements for stage, as well as your skill level in your routine. Everyone is different when it comes to prep time so make sure you give yourself at least twelve weeks to get ready, this is the typical amount of time people use to get ready for a show.
For those of you not familiar with my Contest Prep 101, here is a brief summary of the steps to take in order to compete in your first fitness competition.