Issue #37


by Juan Carlos Lopez

20 Questions with Cover Model and NPC Figure Michele Levesque

Video Interview with Cover Model and NPC Figure Michele Levesque

Jenny Lynn's 12 Week Challenge
by Jenny Lynn

Michele Levesque, Elena Seiple, Sandi Stuart, Kirsten Haratyk and Traci Redding

Sleep Yourself Slim
by Jean Jitomir

Video Interview with NPC Bodybuilder Kirsten Haratyk

Positives and Negatives in the World of Competition
by Danijela Crevar

Video Interview with NPC Bodybuilder Claire O'Connell

Christa Cuts: The Banging Body Beneath
by Jean Jitomir

Video Interview with NPC Figure Tatum Kaiser

Ask Misty
by Misty Green


Christa Cuts: The Bangin’ Body Beneath... by Jean Jitomir

After tracking and showing photos of my own progress last year, I thought it would be great to morph a woman who is currently in the obese category of the BMI scale into a figure queen.

The concept floated in and out of my thoughts until one day I noticed a young woman in the gym. She was motivated and focused; pretty and solid inside. I thought to myself "She's perfect!"

30 seconds later, this woman approached me and asked me if I did competitions. I confirmed that I do and immediately spilled my whole scheme. Thankfully she wasn't weirded out and seemed receptive to idea of collaborating with me.

On a usually cold Texas day, Christa had her first progress photos done! Much thanks to photographer and graphic designer Michelangelo Flores for taking the time to do them. She has a great hour glass figure and good muscle mass and will shape up really nicely throughout this process!

Here's Christa from the side:

The Following are Christa's Initial Body Stats:

        The DXA, which is a fancy x-ray method of assessing body fat, will not be accessible to us in the future, so we will rely on the handheld body fat analyzer and the Lange skin fold caliper for body fat. Using stats, I will make an equation to estimate what the DXA BF% would be. Thankfully, all of the measures are pretty close to one another! We will update her photos and stats on a monthly basis!

        Based on the DXA BF%, Christa has about 111 pounds of fat-free mass right now. This amount is excellent, since a typical figure competitor of her height competes at about 110-115 lbs. This means that if we can retain Christa's muscle mass as she loses weight, she will have lots of beautiful muscle to show when it's time to compete!

But it's hard to keep muscle mass as you lose weight! How will Christa do it?

  1. She will eat a diet that is 35-40% protein; research shows that diets higher in protein help to retain lean muscle mass.
  2. Christa will consistently do a heavy resistance training program
  3. Christa will eat every three hours so that her body does not get overly deprived and start breaking down muscle to keep her blood sugar up
  4. Christa will eat carbs, protein, and select amino acids after her workouts, especially after resistance training. Research shows that proper nutrient timing around a workout will help her to maintain and build muscle mass!
  5. She will get enough sleep (7-9 hours/night) so her body can recover.

        Our hope is that through Christa's success, you will be motivated to change your life. I will post all the tools you need to do so: 1) Christa's meal plans; 2) Christa's training schedule; 3) Christa's inspiring progress.  She is dedicated and smart; she will succeed!
I'm committed to helping Christa unveil the healthiest and sleekest body she's ever had and compete in a Texas NPC figure competition in the late summer of 2008, so I've started a blog that will includes monthly updates with Christa's photos and personal reflections. I'll also chime in on this site with meal and training plans that we will use to help Christa to reach her goals! Her initial meal and training programs are already posted below.


        Many physique competition diets omit dairy, fruit, and would not include something as processed and sugar-containing as a protein bar.

        Keep in mind however that she is at least 6 months away from the stage! At this point, we want to keep Christa satisfied and include foods that she likes, while allowing her to loose body fat. If she expresses to me that she really misses a particular food, we will fit it in somehow.

Also note that there are only two days of plans. This is not because I am exceedingly lazy! It is useful for the purposes of weight loss to let into a standard routine of eating and rely on a few staple highly nutrient-dense foods. Her diet emphasizes lean protein, is limited in fat, and includes a moderate amount of low-glycemic carbohydrates. We will detail the reason for each supplement and the importance of meal timing at a later point.

Above is Christa's initial training program. She will be doing substantially more training volume within several months. This initial plan is to get Christa used to lifting weights a couple more days per week than her previous 3 day a week schedule. If you are just starting out, I would pick just one back, one chest day, and one lower body day per week to start with.

If you would like more instruction on how to execute these exercises, please refer to this website. The site is a good resource for describing proper form and has a little cartoon of a guy doing it!

Note that two upper or lower body days never follow each other. Also, interval days do not follow leg days!

The interval training is very important for fat loss and results in something called an "after-burn," which is a period of time post-training where fat-burning is accelerated as a result of the exercise.

During intervals, Christa should be fully rested/recovered before starting the next period of intensity!

If you have specific question about the plans above, please email me!

For more health and fitness information, see my blog and my website

See Christa's myspace here

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About the Author...

Jean Jitomir is a registered dietitian, Master of Science in Nutrition and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Exercise Nutrition at Baylor University.  She has experience as a private dietitian and cooking instructor. Jean has competed in figure at the national level and is qualified for national level competition as a light weight bodybuilder.

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