I got into physique competing over a year ago. The entire thing started because of my constant quest to learn more about quality foods and fitness. As I researched these subjects, I came to the conclusion that I was already eating and training in a similar way to physique athletes. So I figured why not get some professional feedback on my body and how I could improve it.
My first comp, I didn’t place well in the open categories and all of the judges said I needed more overall mass. Yes, you will be marked down severely for being too skinny! Judges want a proportionate body, with a round, full look. At the same time you should be as lean and tight as possible. A bikini competitor is the softest body type in the sport. You should not have too much muscular development.
After more trial and error with my foods, calories and macronutrient ratios, grams of protein, carbs and fats; and still not being able to achieve more muscle without gaining fat, I hired a nutritionist. I have noticed from the backstage shop talk that practically all competitors have a nutritionist. Mine turned a lot of what I thought I knew upside down. She slowly increased my carbs from120-325 grams per day and she decreased my protein and fat intake. My carb days were highest on non-work out days to aid in recovery from my training days. My workouts decreased to 3-4 days per week and cardio was cut out entirely. I was eating more and training less. I loved it! Of course, I am an ectomorph and this will not be the regimen for many people.
I gained 3-4 pounds of lean muscle and hit the stage again one year later. This year I have done three shows and won loads of trophies and have been improving every show. Some of the things I have done to accomplish this are:
1. Hire a nutritionist. Take weekly photos in your posing suit in the same poses – this is necessary for comparison. Weigh yourself every morning at approximately the same time, on the same scale, wearing nothing. Keep daily logs of your weight and everything you eat, including grams of protein, carbs, fats, sodium and oz. of water. Keep a weekly log which summarizes the totals of your daily logs.
2. Be diligent about your workouts! Always try to beat your last record, go heavier or rest less.
3. Make sure to stretch, foam roller, get a massage and get plenty of sleep. Help your body recover faster so you can work harder sooner.
4. Prep week. The week before competition is the week to get most all of the soreness out of your body. For me this includes drinking a gallon of water a day, getting no assistance on my training day, lighter weights and higher reps, training 6 days for shorter training sessions and doing approx. 10 minutes of cardio per day. Sodium no more than 1500mg per day. No table salt! Real sea salt only!
5. Tanning. Part of prep week. Includes getting your body ready for a deep dark spray tan. You must exfoliate your body every day paying particular attention to elbows, knees and ankles and moisturize with a Shea butter type lotion. Don’t exfoliate the night before or moisturize or the tan won’t take or worse yet, you could end up with scratch marks from exfoliating.
Sometimes tans are done the night before and touched up at the show. Other times they are done the same day at the show where you will stand in tanning pod with a bathing cap, stick on flip flops and nothing else. I’ve been to tanning centers where men and women are buck naked standing in front of fans to dry their tans.
Wear a silk black robe and have a roller bag and a friend to carry your things or you will end up with strap marks on your tan or sweating and melting it right off your body.
These dark tans look scary in person, in my opinion, but under the lights when you are on stage they work. And the definition in your hard earned physique shows itself off better with darker skin.
6. Stage coaching. I highly recommend finding a stage coach that you can practice your turns, model walk, and routines with. Similar to any sport, it’s muscle memory and if you want it to look natural, you must practice.
7. Buy a bikini. I recommend speaking with a bikini designer or stage coach that guide you on the best colors for your skin type. Buy a competition suit. Bikini’s run $500-$2000 depending on how many stones you have.
8. Buy shoes appropriate for the show you are doing. Check their website for guidelines
9. Pre-contest day training. For me this is a full body light pump up day, approximately 30-40mins
10. Contest day. Water is rationed with meals and between meals. Heavy carb load in the morning, eat every 2-3 hours, no veggies or dairy as they can bloat you. 30 minutes prior to stage eat 2 rice cakes with a tsp of almond butter. 30 minutes prior to stage do a light pump up. If there is a big stretch of time between classes keep warm and lie down. Don’t over train or your water will spill over and your muscles will look watery.
This has been my journey so far. Next stop WBFF at resorts Casino in Atlantic City 12/6/14 – http://wbffshows.com/shows/usa/atlantic-city-december/.