Failing to plan is planning to fail
- Brief Recap of Cut Phase 2014
- Diet, Supplements (brief),Workouts,Results
- Build Phase 2014
- Overview, Diet, Workouts
- Weekly Updates- Cut Phase 2015
- Competition Guide Articles
In this Post:
- Contest Prep 2015 (Cut Phase / In- Season)
- Week 1/ 15 weeks to Contest
- Lean Body Mass
- Body Fat Percent
- Goal Weight
- How much to lose?
- Calculate daily calories and macro-nutrients
- Meal Plan
- Week 1 / 15 weeks out
- Meal Plan
- Printable – Meal Plan Sheet
- Diet Guidelines
- Week 1 / 15 weeks out
- Food Prep
- Morning Weigh In
- Refeed / Cheat Day
- Week 1/ 15 weeks to Contest
- Weekly Plan
- Week 1 recap
- Weekly Entries and changes to plan
The following information is regarding contest prep for me specifically. There are a lot of individual adjustments and plans that should happen to keep you healthy and at your best. Consulting a qualified person is strongly suggested. This is not a substitute for an in person consultation. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please see a physician before starting any program. Note, dieting to very low body fat levels can be serious business if done incorrectly causing major stress on the bodies processes and functions.
Cut Phase / In-Season 2015
January – May 2015
So, here we go, January 4th, 2015, marking the first day of my prep. 15 weeks from the NPC Gopher State Classic on April 18th 2015 at the Minneapolis convention center. I was not originally going to do this contest but skip it and focus on the Mr and Mrs Natural show in May and then the NPC Minnesota State contest in June, but, what the heck. I am actually really really nervous to go about prep on my own, but, I have all the tools to move forth so let’s see what happens.
At this point, while getting over my shoulder impingement and tapering off physical therapy, I have come to terms with the fact that my shoulders didn’t develop as well as my back and legs to place better in open figure next spring. So, I have decided I am going to cross over and try out bikini as well. This means I will be entering both figure and bikini divisions at the NPC Gopher State. The NANBF Mr. and Mrs. Natural Show in May will not allow this and I must choose one or the other. But, I am undecided at this point. Ideally, do to well in the figure division, I would take another year to build before stepping on stage.
Note: there is a lot of initial information in this first section for week 1 to explain how I came up with my contest prep plan. The following weeks will be shorter with updates to workouts and diet, pics and video diaries. When working with individuals, especially cutting for a show, you have to be pretty intuitive as many factors will play into a persons life that will affect how their body responds to the diet and workout. It’s an art…a subjective inner understanding. It may not be as black and white as you’d expect. If you are going to embark on such a journey as training for competitions, be smart and stay healthy. Use this guide for tips and a better understanding of how things go in the world of bodybuilding. Each program must be very individual and this is not intended to replace an in person consultation.
Also, bear with me on some formatting issues such as the light grey titles.
Your Journey Starts Today ——————–→
This timeline will give you an idea of what you need to do during your contest prep. Click here or on photo.
Diet – Cut Phase 2015
Week 1 / 15 weeks to Contest
So, here I sit, planning my next 15 weeks. I have done calculations for a bikini body and a figure body as I am still deciding, and it will go something like this…
- Height: 5′ 6″ tall
- Current Weight : 144 lb @ 18% (ish) body fat
- Chest- 36″
- Waist – 33.5″
- Hips – 36″
- Bicep – 13.5″
- Thigh – 20″
Current Weight: 144 lb
Current Body Fat: 18% (done with calipers)
Lean Body Mass (LBM): -all but the fat like muscle, bone, organs and such.
Lean Body Mass (LBM) = Your Body Weight – (Your Body Weight x Your Current Body Fat Percentage)
144 lb x .18 = 25.92 lb fat
144 – (144 x .18) = 118.08 Lean Body Mass
LBM/ (1-desired body fat %) = goal weight
Desired body fat ranges:
- Bikini 8-15%
- Figure & Fitness 5-12%
- Physique 5-10%
- Bodybuilding 5-10%
My Bikini Body: 10% Body Fat
118.08/ (1 – .10) = 131.2 pounds
13 lb loss
My Figure Body: 5% Body Fat
118.08/ (1-.06) = 125.6 pounds
18 lb weight loss
My goal weight for the bikini division will be around 131 lb and for figure, 126 lb.
Track your intake:
To calculate a starting point for calories / macros, the best thing to do is track your food for a week. Find out where your metabolism is at. Don’t make any changes, just track your food. Once you have a good handle on your daily caloric level, you can then figure out your macros. You don’t want to start your prep on too high of calories and gain weight or too low of calories because you need to be eating as much as possible. Macro calculators can be pretty inaccurate but you can use them as I did below.
Or, use a macro calculator:
Keeping it simple, I went to the IIFYM.com calculator.
- Step 1: I entered my weight, body fat % and activity level of 6x per week and got a BMR of 1529 calories and a TDEE of 2304 calories. The TDEE is the total daily calories required to maintain current weight and activity level. You can also take your bodyweight (BW) and multiply it by 14-15. An active person, in order to maintain weight, will need to consume 14-15x their body weight in calories where a sedentary person would consume 11x with ranges in between.
To get Daily Calories, Multiply BW by:
11 Sedentary job and little to no exercise
12 Low activity, train 2-3x per week or have an active job
13 Active job + train 2-3x per week or sedentary job + exercise 4-6x per week
14 Active job + train 4-6x per week
15-18 athlete, highly intense activity, 5-6 days per week, sometimes 2x per day
Continuing with the IIFYM calculator. On the same page:
- Step 2 Goals- clicked 20% for fat loss
- Step 3 Common plans – clicked IIFYM
- Protein – Custom: 1 gram per pounds of lean mass
- Fat – .40
- Hit Calculate
- Step 4 View your results.
My starting daily macro’s, 15 weeks to my contest will be:
- 220g carbs 50%
- 120g protein 25%
- 50g fat 25%
- Total of 1830 calories
From this data I will adjust my calories and cardio weekly creating a 50-100 calorie per day deficit each week either by cutting calories or adding cardio. I will shoot for a 1 pound per week loss.
I will track my weight daily, my body composition and pictures every 4 weeks or so. When I am 4-6 weeks to the contest, I will take pics every 2 weeks for review.
- 220g carbs 50%
- 120g protein 25%
- 50g fat 25%
To start, I split into 6 meals to keep hormone levels more constant:
There are two tables below, the first one is a simple quick macro breakdown to look at. The second is a more detailed meal plan.
- Fridge worthy-Click here for my Week 1 Printable Week 15 or Condensed Version – Week 1 Printable Week 15
- (Great free PDF converter: Convert Neevia.com)
I split the protein evenly across 6 meals.
As fat grams are cut through prep, they will be cut from meals first around my workouts.
Carbs are currently spaced evenly. Once they are cut, I will cut them from meals away from my workout. Essentially:
- Fat: eat away from workout
- Carbs: eat around workout
The meal consumed within 30 minutes after my workout consists of whey protein and a carb source. This meal is very important as is ceases the catabolic (tissue breakdown) process and feeds your muscles to aid in repair, recovery and growth.
Switch it up
The above meal plan includes suggested foods. You can switch out what ever you want as long as it fits your macros.
Some things I do:
Egg whites can sure get boring over time but I like to spice them up with sautéed peppers, onions, and hot sauce. Another idea is to use laughing cow cheese. A wedge is only 1.5 grams of fat and 1 carb. You can put them on your eggs or smear it on your chicken salad, or just chicken for that matter. I also love to spread laughing cow cheese on my gluten free toast in the morning. It’s a tasty way to flavor up that toast without tons of added fat or sugar like butter or jelly. Another fav of mine is to fry up banana’s or apples in a skillet with a spray of coconut oil. If things get a tad dry, I will sprinkle some water on the skillet.
Below is a list of foods to give you ideas for meals.
Count trace macros….I track my food on My Fitness Pal and sometimes I have to adjust meals #5 or #6 if I have gotten extra carbs or fat grams earlier in the day ( sometimes 5-10 carbs or 5 g fat). Not all macro info is correct in Myfitnesspal.com so make sure to double check.
Other Important Notes and Guidelines:
-Eat every 2-4 hours. This keeps your hormones / metabolism in a more even state throughout the day.
-Drink 3/4 – 1 gallon of water per day. (3.78 liters=1 gallon). Being 2% dehydrated can cause a 20% decrease in performance. You want max efforts when lifting each day. Your body can safely process 1 liter of water per hour. Too much water too fast can cause electrolyte imbalance.
-Eat sea salt. I usually sprinkle about an 1/8 of tsp per meal for most of my meals.
-Some people count net carbs in their high fiber veggies and some don’t. Just be consistent. Veggies should be raw or steamed. See High fiber veggie list.
-During the cut phase when prepping for a show, a mix of higher and lower glycemic carbs has shown that people lose weight better. The higher gylcemic carbs are usually centered around the workout pre, intra and post. In the bulk phase or off season, more lower gylcemic carbs should be consumed.
-All food is weighed raw, uncooked. This is much more accurate than after the food has been cooked.
-Avoid the random bites of food throughout the day. Those add up fast as you don’t know exactly how much you had. And, that one bite could turn into a binge session. Better to not do it. Stay focused.
-Use cooking spray instead of oil or butter in your pans. Otherwise, that butter or oil must be counted if you do so.
-Avoid nuts with add sugars like honey roasted peanuts. Salted or roasted nuts are best.
-Anything you drink must be counted toward your macros. You can drink diet drinks or liquids with zero carbs such as sugar free crystal light. Diet sodas are terrible for your health but, if you need a fix, go ahead in moderation! 1-2x per day max!
-Stevia or xylitol are low carb sweeteners. Stevia is a powder where you use just sprinkles of it. Xylitol is a 1:1 substitute for sugar. It does contain carbs but much lower than sugar.
-If you choose to chew gum or eat mints to curb cravings, they usually have 1g of carb per stick or per mint. Doesn’t sound like much but, if you chew 40 pieces of gum that day, you will have consumed 40 extra carbs! Believe me, I have chewed 40 pieces of gum in a day…it totally adds up.
-Spices are great to use to flav. up your foods, especially when fat gets low in your diet, as long as they have no added sugar.
-Condiments count! Things like ketchup, BBQ sauce and mayonnaise must be measured out and counted in your daily macros.
- Condiment substitutions:
- Non-sugar sweeteners
- Spices: Cinnamon, chili powder, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, cumin, ect.
- Butter/Cheese flavored sprinkles
- Fat Free butter spread or spray
- Balsamic vinegar
- Non-fat, low sugar salad dressings
- Hot sauce
- Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup
- Walden Farms brand of calorie free condiments. Sometimes these are in the diabetic section of the grocery store. I am not one to advocate for artificially sweetened things, but this brand is pretty good when in need of some calorie free flavor. I recommend the salad dressings, BBQ sauce and pancake syrup. Other products may not be so tasty. But that is just personal preference.
Prep meals ahead of time at least 1x per week!!! As mentioned above, all foods are weighed before you cook them! (See also: How to weigh your food) Food scales are essential as measuring cups are not accurate across the board. I have the OXO Good Grips Food Scale and I love it!
An example for making a batch of rice: Weigh out 10 servings of raw dry rice, then put in the pot, add water. Once cooked, weigh cooked rice and divide that number by 10. You now have an accurate serving of cooked rice.
I like to make up all the things that freeze well like chicken, fish, rice and sweet potatoes and portion serving sizes into containers. I put these individually portioned packages all in the freezer. Each night, I pull out servings needed for the next day. The rest of my food consists of veggies, nuts and healthy oils. I will steam up veggies per meal.
If you need to pack your lunches, have everything packed and ready the night before. You can also pack the entire meal in a container on food prep day and freeze it all together, then pull it out, throw it in the micro and eat it. I avoid the microwave at all costs (as we don’t own one), so, I will make the veggies fresh and heat the protein and carb source in our Nuwave or the toaster oven.
Weight is taken in the morning, in the buff, after going to the bathroom but before you eat or drink anything. This gives you an accurate reading for comparison. Weight does fluctuate so, I only highlight and compare the weekly lows.
- Monday: 146.7
- Tuesday: 146.0
- Wednesday: 146.4
- Thursday: 145.8
- Friday: 145.6 (weekly low)
- Saturday: 145.8
Here is my stack:
In the morning on an empty stomach, right when I get up, at least 30 min before food:
- Collagen ( Buy This Specific Product ), I take this in capsule form although the most effective way is through drinking bone broth.
- Serrapeptase ( Buy This Specific Product ). I cycle this taking it for about 4-6 weeks, then stop for 2-4 weeks and so on. See more info
- Rainbow Light woman’s multi-vitamin (Buy This Specific Product). Choose a whole food vitamin, preferably in capsules. I take 2 tabs with breakfast and 2 with dinner.
- Norwegian Cod liver oil ( Buy This Specific Product )
- Coffee. I drink this on my way to the gym.
Intra Workout mixed together in water:
Post Workout- within 20 min after lifting session
- I mix all of this into my whey protein drink: ( I don’t mix in the water until I am going to consume it.)
**I take a mixture of 2/3 dextrose to 1/3 maltodextrin. For biochemical reasons, the combination makes dextrose more digestible leading to faster and greater absorption and circulation of carbohydrates during your anabolic window (intra or post workout).
Dextrose also makes a great post workout carb as it contains no fructose which hinders the release of human growth hormone, a hormone which aids in muscle repair and growth among other important things. But, I would rather eat my carbs than drink them. So, dextrose intra workout and fruit, cereal or fruit snacks post work out. (I buy fruit snacks that do not contain added fructose. They do contain sugar which is made of up of a glucose + fructose as fruit contains small amounts of fructose but we won’t get into all that right now)
If you choose not to drink dextrose intra workout, or at all, have a pre-workout carb 20 min prior to working out.
Edit 9-2-15: Research shows that L-Carinitine or Acetyl L-Carnitine do not help you burn fat. "L-Carnitine is involved in energy metabolism and mitochondrial protection.Supplementation of L-carnitine does not burn fat unless the individual is deficient in L-carnitine." (examine.com) There are benefits such as improving insulin sensitivity and blood vessel health as well as alleviating the side effects of aging, like neurological decline and chronic fatigue. Download your free copy of The Top 6 Supplements for the Bikini and Figure Body.
Read a more in depth regarding supplements in this PDF – Supplements Explained
Refeed/ Cheat Days:
Refeed and Cheat meals are not the same thing.
Cheat meals are meals you get 1x per week (a meal, not a day), where you can eat whatever you want until you are full. Usually within 2 hours after your workout. No restrictions except that you shouldn’t over do it and you must workout before hand and the next day. An off day cannot fall on or after the cheat meal. These meals are usually utilized during bulk/build phases.
Refeed meals are structured high carb, low fat meals or a set of meals within 2 hours after your workout. Refeeds are usually utilized during a cut phase. The daily carbs for a refeed day are about 1.5x your total daily carbs. You must workout before hand and the next day. An off day cannot fall on or after the refeed meal.
Note: the more muscle a person has, the more calories burned, the more they need to eat. You will find that if you continue to compete year after year, your cut phases will look different. One of the ways it looks different… you can eat more calories, usually in the form of carbs due to increased muscle mass. Some muscular figure and physique woman will eat 400+ carbs for their refeed.
My current refeed day meals:
Daily total: 275 carbs, 35g Fat, 130 protein
- Meal 1: protein + fat, no carbs
- Workout– no dextrose, only BCAA’s
- Meal 2: protein, fat, 100g carbs (low fat foods)
- Meal 3: protein, fat, 100 carbs (low fat foods)
- Meal 4: protein, fat, 75g carbs (low fat foods)
- Meal 5: protein + fat if any macro’s left
- Meal 6: protein + fat if any macro’s left
I plan my reefed foods a day ahead and make things up like gluten free pancakes or low fat brownies, I then portion them out per meal. This makes it quick and easy so that I can come home from my workout and start chowing down!
My reefed days are on Saturday, the day I work a muscle groups in need of building for me which are my shoulders.
Continuing to Work each muscle group 1x per week works very well for me and keeps from aggravating my shoulder. I do love the 2x per week plan as stated in the Recap 2014 section. But for now, its 1x per week for me. I do however, try and hit my shoulders 2x that week with a heavy and a high rep day as well as the glutes.
Current plan for week 1:
3-5 exercises for 3-4 sets in the 8-12 rep range Resting for about 60-90 seconds.
Highlighted acronyms are cardio. Click here for Cardio explained
- Saturday: Shoulders + 5 HIIT – REFEED
- Sunday: 10 min LISS, Legs and abs (quads/ hams/ calves)
- Monday: 10 min LISS, Chest + triceps
- Tuesday: 5 HIIT + High rep shoulder day
- Wednesday: Back + biceps
- Thursday: 10 min LISS, abs, glutes and plyo excercises- high rep 12-20
- Friday: Off
Download (PDF) my detailed set of exercises – Workout plan and exercises week 1
I will incorporate drop sets, super sets and and isolation exercises into my workouts. If I had battle ropes or a sled available to me, I would SO incorporate those things.
See My Weekly Updates Here!
Links and printables from my contest prep:
- Workout Plan, Build Phase, Sept-Dec 2014 Heather Get Fit. Go Figure
- Exercises – Workout plan and exercises week 1
- Blank Fridge worthy template: You will have to move your workouts to the appropriate time of day.
See my Contest Prep Weekly Updates 2015 for the weekly changes in diet, workouts, progress pics and video diaries. 😀