Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Three Reasons Why I Love Figure Prep

As I am going through Figure prep, I'm realizing that this is better than I expected. After going through three Bikini preps, granted I wasn't always on point during prep, Figure prep is much more in line with my interests and habits. Here are the three significant differences between my Bikini and Figure preps:

1. Cardio is incorporated incrementally into Figure training. Yeah for me because I hate cardio! For Bikini, one hour of AM cardio was mandatory and if I didn't come down enough, I had to incorporate another 30-45 minutes in the PM. A Bikini physique is very skinny and toned (aka no muscle definition, except for abs).

A figure physique is lean with full and defined muscles. To achieve this look, you have to decrease body fat, while building muscle mass. Because it's one cardio session and is in the AM (post-fasting or hours of sleep and not eating), it will use fat stores as fuel, instead of muscle.

2. Increased carbs in my Figure nutrition plan. To fuel my lifting sessions, I get to eat carbs :) This has helped greatly with muscle fatigue and recovery during workouts. My pre-workout meal is 1 slice of ezekiel bread and 3 0z of lean ground turkey. For Bikini, I didn't get the luxury of brown rice, bread or yogurt. My carbs came purely from vegetables.

3. Lifting heavy! This makes training fun. Bikini became less fun as I increased cardio, felt starved, and my leg workout was the Stepmill. Now, I get to lift heavy for 4-5 sets at 8, 10 or 12 reps! I love working on PR's and CrossFit. I'm hoping to incorporate CF onto my weekly training.

The science and art of training whether its for Figure or Bikini is to fuel your body and to train your muscles just right so you can achieve the appropriate physique. This requires patience while you work on getting results. It also requires understanding how your body processes nutrition and how it reacts to training.
Monday, March 7, 2011

My Second (and Last) NPC Bikini Show

The Excalibur is the last show of the NPC season. Athletes who want to give it one last try or have been training all season to debut are here. For this reason, the show is highly competitive. Bikini had over 100 competitors.

My purpose of competing in this show wasn't to win. National Bikini is not my goal. Rather, I set out to
  1. Do prep right - no crash dieting, sticking to my nutrition, training, & cardio plan til the end,
  2. Look better than my last show by sculpting the best bikini physique I could, and
  3. Practice stage presentation.
I met those goals :) I made third call out for my class and felt great (and didn't get the shakes) on stage.

backstage right before pre-judging

After eating my first post-contest meal - love the fullness in my arms

Looking Forward to 2011

New year, new NPC division for me... Nope, not the physique division, but (finally!) figure! After training and prepping for three shows and competing in two NPC bikini shows, I am ready to move into NPC figure this year. This year it will be interesting to see how the Figure girls look with the new Physique division opening up this year.

I met with my trainer this last Saturday and the assessment wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. She's sending me my meal plan tonight. My usual challenges will be eating clean consistently in the face off company parties and lunch meetings and consistent AM cardio (I am NOT a morning person).

Wish me luck and good effort as I get started on Figure prep!