I’m going to touch on my recent contest preparation (prep) for my upcoming competition. I'll be competing on the Gold Coast on 6 May with the WBFF in the Bikini Diva division. I've been prepping for 11 weeks and everything is going really well. I'm happy with my progress thus far. This year I’ve decided to take complete control of my own prep. I have no trainer, no bodybuilding coach, no posing coach, no nutritional coach, no nothing! So far I’ve dropped 5kg of body fat (hard to believe I had that much) after over a year of gaining strength, muscle and fat. The last year I have focused on heavy training and normal life things like my career and happiness, so you could say I’m in a really good place for this prep.
I'm going to share with you my personal prep protocols that have led me to this point. But first a bit of background; I’ve competed internationally as a Bikini Pro with another federation previously 2014 and 2015, after 2 years competing in Australia during 2013 when I won my pro card. I have competed in 8 competitions. In the past I have had two coaches, both amazing and in which I still have a lot of respect for. However in this time I have learnt a thing to two from them, others supporting me and through my own experience as a competitor, personal trainer and nutritional coach. I’m ready to back my self and use my own knowledge and protocols 100%.
PREP TIME - ALWAYS! If you are a competitor a true competitor you are always preparing, gaining and and learning. In terms of getting lean this time around I have opted for a typical 16 week shred. This is enough time for me personally. This will vary person to person of course!
TRAINING PROTOCOLS - This prep I have broken down my training program into 3 x 5 week blocks with 1 week (peak week) to take it easy and refuel and pump up for the show. Each 5 week program I am accumulating load and volume during weeks 1, 2, and 3; peaking on my major lifts in the week 4 and de-loading in week 5. I always like to feel strong and see strength gains so I never train just for hypertrophy. I train for strength! In the last 5 week before my peak week (week 16) I am backing this load off a little and upping the volume to ensure I can cope with the program whilst being efficient on lower calories. Peak week will consist of light cardio and hypertrophy for lagging body parts.
NUTRITIONAL PROTOCOLS - I prefer a slower gradual reduction of calories over time. I don’t believe in rushing things. Slow and steady wins the race, eliminates stress and negative health consequences. I have calculated my caloric needs according to my previous preparations. I know what calories I need to be hitting in order to initiate body fat loss. I always eat carbs! 50-60% of may caloric needs come from carbohydrate. No matter how far out I am. I have learnt that to maintain the most amount of energy for training and brain function for work during a prep is to consume carbs regularly. I eat them in every meal. I personally prefer to consume 5 meals regularly through out the day. I keep my protein high and fats moderate. I am a ‘flexible dieter’ which means I consume all foods without discrimination whilst still adhering to my macronutrient and caloric needs. This strengthens a positive relationship with food and means the road to lean is a lot more enjoyable. Remember a varied diet is a healthy diet!
CARDIO PROTOCOLS - I have 2 types I enjoy, 10 minutes HIIT (hight intensity interval training) or 20-30m LISS (low intensity interval training). During weeks 1 to 5 I opted for 10m HIIT 3 x per week, using the assault bike or spin bike. During weeks 6 to 10 I’ve opted for a mix of both HIIT and LISS 4 x per week, depending on my recovery from strength training. I will continue this same protocol for weeks 11 to 16, 5 times per week.
CHEAT MEALS - I do them once a week. for me a cheat meal is 1 meal where is can relax and no longer count calories. I take this time to refuel, connect with friends, and have some much needed down time. This keeps me going, alive and stronger for the week ahead. There are two technical reason I have a "cheat meal". 1. To spike Leptin (satiation hormone) and 2. relax! relaxation does wonders for lower cortisol (stress hormone) and as we know too much cortisol means increased storage of body fat!
I encourage you to think outside the square of mainstream body building and contest prep, especially if you are a bikini athlete like me. Our training and nutritional protocols do not have to be similar to that of a body builder. Your prep should not be torture, nor should you live in fear of being reprimanded by your coach. This does nothing for the relationship or your long term success. I believe your journey to stage and/or optimal health in general should always be individual and your coach should be finding ways to personalise this for you. Prep can even an enjoyable challenge. But please this is not the plan for everyday health an wellness, some of these protocols can be engaged for daily life but I urge you to consult with me before using these protocols for yourself!
I hope this give you an insight to an alternative way of reaching your goal. For further info on my or my coaching practices please check out more information on my coaching here.