Issue #11


by Juan Carlos Lopez

2005 NPC Fitness and Bodybuilding Nationals

2005 NPC Fitness and Bodybuilding Nationals Review

20 Questions with our cover model: Kristi Wills

Cover Model Video Interview: Kristi Wills

Journey to my Pro Card by Kim Seeley

Kristi Wills, Tami Ough, Yamille Marrero, Heidi Fletcher, Rhonda Riley and Kat Taylor

Plyometrics: A Great Way to Mix Up your Workout
by Misty Green

Video Interview: Alicia St. Germaine

Helpful Hints for choosing a Contest Suit
by Merry Christine

Video Interview: Heidi Gay

Fitness in Finland
by Kaisa Piippo

Egg Whites, Sweet Potatoes, Blah, Blah, Blah
by Katie Szep

Video Interview: Angi Jackson

Interview with Swedish Pro FBB Klaudia Larson

Watching my Figure
by Waleska Granger

Fitness Team BC Helps you (for these winter months)
by Linda Cusmano

Egg Whites, Sweet Potatoes, Blah Blah Blah… by Katie Szep

Who decided that egg whites, sweet potatoes, oatmeal and grilled chicken are the cornerstone of a competitor’s diet? I asked myself this question before I designed my first pre-competition meal plan. After interviewing competitors, and reading numerous articles on the subject, I found that these foods (give or take an occasional whey shake or vegetable) were consumed by every athlete in vast quantities. Not only were these foods included on the diets every day, but other seemingly healthful foods were considered absolutely “off limits”. The lack of variety and limitations in these diets were enough to make me give up on the idea of competing entirely. I couldn't survive on this limited diet for a week, never mind three months! My question then became “could I design an effective competition diet full of variety and choices? The answer is an absolute “YES!”.

While it is true that Fitness and Figure athletes need to follow a controlled diet, with just a little extra effort, they can still enjoy many of their favorite foods-even during the last few weeks of dieting.

Katie Szep

Most competitors follow diets based on those originally designed years ago by bodybuilders. Not only were these diets designed without the benefit of recent scientific research, they were also primarily developed for male bodybuilders seeking to lower their body fat to 3-4%. These diets are quite restrictive, “banning” many healthful foods such as fruit or organic breads. Before my first competition, I decided that instead of designing a diet influenced by bodybuilders of the past, I would create a diet based on science and all-natural, diverse foods.

When I design all diets, including my own, I first base them on the following principles:

1. Burn more calories than you consume, and you will lose weight.
2. Insufficient calories will cause you to lose muscle instead of fat.
3. Eating a mixture of carbohydrates protein and fat about every three hours is better than eating large, infrequent meals.
4. All natural, whole foods are better than processed and refined foods.
5. At least 64 ounces of water should be consumed daily

However, for pre-competition purposes I also had to consider the body fat level that I was striving to attain, while still maintaining my lean muscle mass. To accommodate these needs I added the following principles to those mentioned above:

1. Carbohydrates should be tapered down throughout the day-the highest amount consumed at meal one, the smallest at meal six.
2. The total percentage of calories from carbohydrates should decrease over the course of twelve weeks, while the percentage of calories from protein and fat should increase.
3. A post recovery meal consisting of high glycemic carbohydrates and quality protein should be consumed after weight training workouts.
4. About one gallon of water should be consumed per day.

Kristi Wills

The only step left, was to figure out the amount of calories I needed per day to achieve my goals. I then used the principles mentioned above to calculate what percentage of these calories would come from carbohydrates, protein and fat.
Beyond this, I followed no rules!
While dieting, if I am allowed 30 grams of carbohydrates, 25grams of protein and 5 grams of fat in a particular meal, I can eat whatever I choose that fits these numbers. Of course I feel and perform better if the 30 grams of carbohydrates come from two slice of organic wheat bread than a cup of Fruit Loops, but if the craving hits me, so be it! Remember, the calories are still controlled regardless of the source (although I recommend healthful choices!).

I realize that it is tempting to follow a diet that requires little thought. It may seem easier to bake seven sweet potatoes per week, than to think of seven different choices for low glycemic carbohydrates. However, your mind and body will eventually tire of this monotony. If you plan to compete often, you will want a diet that is effective, but one that will keep you sane and healthy!

I have had great success with my diet strategy as have my clients. If I can help you develop a pre-competition diet suitable for your tastes and goals please contact me at

Back to Issues

About the Author...

My name is Katie Szep and I am an IFBB Fitness Professional, Certified Personal Trainer, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. My husband and I own Core Fitness Inc., a personal and sports specific training studio in Middletown, New Jersey. In addition to training my own clients, I am also the fitness director at Gold's Gym, Middletown, New Jersey where I teach a variety of classes including spinning, step and sports training.
My passion is to improve the fitness levels of my clients, my students and myself through all-natural training and nutrition programs. I enjoy designing my own competition diets, training programs and fitness routines, as well as preparing other athletes for competition. Fortunately, I am able to do so because of my education, athletic background and support from my husband, family and friends.
My future goal is to enjoy a successful career as a professional fitness competitor while continuing to help others achieve optimum health and fitness.

© 2004 HardFitness Design All right reserved.