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Preparing For A Contest!

I began my diet and training for the show 7 weeks ago (12 weeks away from show date).

I began my fitness quest four years ago when I competed at my first ever fitness competition back in March 1999. Four years later my love for the sport is still growing and I am once again preparing for another show. I began my diet and training for the show 7 weeks ago (12 weeks away from show date).

Luckily I didn't have to prepare a fitness routine, as I will be using the one I have created for my first show of this year, which took place in July. I am continuing to practice my routine 4 days a week to prefect and fine-tune all of the little details. I started my diet on August 12th at 175 pounds - my highest weight ever.

First Off...

I immediately lost 10 pounds in the first day as I was holding a lot of water from an all-inclusive week in Dominican Republic. My starting waist measurement was 32", 7 weeks later I am down to 150 pounds and have a waist measurement of 28". I am looking very hard and the ab definition is coming in nicely. I feel I am right on track with my show preparation. For the first 6 weeks I ate a diet consisting of low carbs, high protein, and low fat. I cycled my calories on regular basis to keep my body guessing - see my article "My Basic Nutritional Strategy" for details!

After 6 weeks things started to slow down and I was getting tired with the diet so I switched things up and began a diet that consisted of 6 days on very minimum carbs (under 20 grams) and high protein and medium fat, basically it's a variation of CKD (Ketogenic Diet) type of diet. On the 7th day I eat meals high in carbs to re-charge my body.

This type of diet has helped keep me motivated as things are different and it allows me to look forward to Saturday as almost like a "cheat day". You can get away with more carbs and better tasting food choices because after 6 days of very low carbohydrate intake your body is primed to absorb the carbs as glucose into the muscle tissue and to use these additional calories to recharge you and your metabolism.

Before my day of eating carbs begins on Saturday I wake up and do 30 minutes of cardio then follow with a 30-minute full body workout to deplete my muscles of any possible glycogen and prime them to absorb all of the calories I will be feeding it throughout the day. I have followed the same training program through my diet it consists of four days of training.

Monday - Quads and Calves
Tuesday - Chest and Biceps
Wednesday - Cardio only
Thursday - Hamstrings and Shoulders
Friday - Back and Triceps.

The only thing that was added was the Saturday full body workout when the diet changed after 6 weeks. I do two 30-minute sessions, first thing in the morning and after my workout, of cardio 6 days a week.

When I first began dieting I started with just 30 minutes in the morning, then I added 15 minutes at night and then I increased to what I am at now). On training days I ride my exercise bike for 30 minutes first thing in the morning to further increase the effectiveness of cardio as my glycogen levels are very low at that time and after my workouts I do the elliptical trainer for 30 minutes except on Monday when I attend my Hip-Hop/Jazz dance class as my cardio.

On non-training days I prefer to go for a hike for my second cardio session. Luckily I live near some nice trails! I train abs at home 3 days a week, mixing up the exercises each time. I usually do two - three exercises two sets each. I do one for upper, one for lower, and one for the obliques. I like to superset two exercises sometimes and usually incorporate in an exercise ball. An example of my ab training for one day would be 3 sets of crunches on ball super setting (upper) with 3 sets of leg lifts(lower) and two sets of "bicycles" for the side obliques.

Ball Crunches- Lie back on Swiss ball, low and mid back supported, knees bent and feet flat on floor in front of you. Using your hands behind your head for support, crunch up, raising your shoulder blades as high as you can, squeeze the abs and slowly return to start position.

Leg Lifts - Lie on the floor with your hands under your bottom and your legs straight up in the air. Using your lower abdominal muscles to lift your bottom of the floor by squeezing them tight perform 10-20 reps.

Bicycles - Lie on floor, hand behind ears, and legs out in front, knees are bent. Crunch up and cross your right shoulder toward your left knee while simultaneously pulling the knee inward. Alternate from side to side.

Preparing for a contest takes a lot of dedication, hard work, and mental stamina. Here is an example of my typical day while in competition mode:

5 A.M. Wake up, take thermogenic fat burners for energy and hop on the bike for 30 minutes of cardio. Prep my meals!
5:35 A.M. 25-minute routine practice.
6:10 A.M. Start cooking breakfast, get meals in cooler for work, shower up.
6:25 A.M. Eat breakfast and get ready for work - no time for fancy hair do's or too much make-up!
6:45 A.M. Leave for car pool.
7-8 A.M. Travel time to work.
8-4 P.M. I pack three meals to eat (9:00 A.M.,12:00 P.M.,3:00 P.M.).
5:30 P.M Eat supper and get ready for gym.
6:20-7:45 P.M Train (approx 45-60 min) and do cardio at gym (30 min).
7:45 P.M Eat, stretch and go over few strength holds for my routine and/or do abs.
8:30 P.M Shower.
9:30 P.M Quick meal before bed (egg whites, yummy).
9:30-10:00 P.M Bed time.

Being 5 weeks out I can slowly see the changes occur in my body on daily basis, which keeps me motivated, and helps to stay focused. Routine practices are getting harder as my body is getting sore and tired. I have come across shin splints, knee and shoulder joint pain and it sometimes hard to motivate myself to go through the routine after a long hard and tiring day.

I continue to stretch and practice four days a week as I need to keep my stamina up to perform on stage for a very taxing two minutes, as well I am trying to fine tune all of the small things that will make routine go from being good to being excellent. Cravings come and go but I keep myself from giving into the temptation. I keep thinking just three weeks until I compete at my first show, and I want to be in my best shape ever.

This is a very lengthy journal entry as it is my first one and 6 weeks have pasted. I will make weekly updates on my progress, feelings, and add pictures. Stay tuned as I will be submitting an article fully explaining my diet and exercise program!