Issue #5


by HardFitness

California NPC and IFBB Championship Results

California NPC and IFBB Review

Video: Self Tanning an Alternative Part 2
by Shelly Leversage

ATTENTION Professional Make up for USA's Vegas
by Brittany Thorsch

Video Interview: Andrea Giacomi New HardFitness sponsored competitor

My Emerald Cup Experience
by Amanda Ogden

Video Interview: with IFBB Fitness Pro Stephanie Worsfold

Pre-Contest Abs Training by Katie Szep

20 Questions With Our Cover Model

Video Interview: Nancy Hirsch Pro debut at the Cal Pro

Prepare Yourself
by Shelly Pinkerton

Video Interview: Vicky Oates Amateur Figure: A mix of class and sex appeal

Women: Competing and their Menstrual Cycle
by Tanya Pennington

The Transitional Athlete
by Katie Madden

Training Video Jane Awad talks about working out legs

Ephedra and Estrogen
by Darlina Acampora

Stephanie Worsfold, Christine Moore, Karina Nascimento, Jane Awad, Amanda Ogden

Video Interview: Bodybuilder Christine Moore at the Arnold speaks about her upcoming shows

Down the Wire
by Shelly Pinkerton

Video Interview: Amanda Ogden upcoming Fitness Star

A Month After Pittsburgh
by Kristi Wills

Prepare Yourself by Shelly Pinkerton

When, really, does contest preparation start? For some, it’s the first day of the first week of their competitive season, after they've taken that down-time we competitors call the “off season”. For others, contest prep starts closer to their actual show, and for every competitor the timing can be different. In my case, I begin what I consider my “in-season” training and diet program a good 16 weeks out from my first show. This includes clean diet and supplementation, consistent cardio and very focused training sessions.

In the early stages, I typically take in 6 meals per day, high in both protein and carbs, made up of egg whites, oatmeal, lean chicken, turkey, fish and beef, brown basmati rice, yams, and green veggies. My trainer, Tony Dodd of Tailor Made Physiques, is the mastermind behind my diet and training regiment. With 20+ years of training and working with figure, fitness and pageant competitors, he continues to help me learn and understand the nutritional needs of my body as it develops with each season. We try different things at different times; for example, we put into play a “tiered” diet plan early on in preparation for the 2005 Cal State, which cycled a High/Med/Low carb diet plan. As the show drew closer (5 – 2 weeks out), I dropped to 5 meals per day and began lowering my carb intake. During the last week, I stayed at 5 meals; carbs dropped to their lowest levels for the first part of the week and then increased quite significantly towards the end.

It is important to note at this point that I incorporate a cheat day into my diet right up to show day, for two important reasons. Firstly, having very mature muscularity and an extremely high level of natural vascularity, my physique can handle food that normally falls outside the category of what we competitors consider diet food. In fact, in order to keep from going “flat”, my body requires a massive dose of carbs and feel-good food to maintain nice full muscle bellies and help smooth out rippling veins. I know this may be hard to believe, but having one day a week where I eat things like pancakes, bacon, cheese, yogurt, fruits, steak, pork, mashed or baked potatoes with all the fixings, bread, creamy dressings, desserts and even a glass of wine helps me stay in peak condition. Even moments before I step on stage, a blast of rich dairy and sugar gives my physique an edge; I’ll never forget the looks on my fellow competitors’ faces when I made short work of a slice of Claim Jumper Chocolate Cheese Pie 15 minutes before taking my place in line for the mandatories at the Cal – I don't think they could believe what they were seeing!

The second important reason for having a cheat day or meal once a week is to give myself an emotional and psychological reward for all my hard work and focus throughout the week. It’s human nature; if we have something to look forward to, even though it may be in small doses, it makes sticking to the program that much easier, and when you're looking at 8 to 10 continuous months of strict dieting and hard training, we need all the help we can get.

Training for a show in the early stages means 5 days per week of serious focus on the areas of my physique that need development and refinement. Tony has designed my program based on how my physique changes with each season. We do a 3-day split of chest/shoulders/triceps, back/biceps, and legs, repeating that cycle over 7 days with rest days on Thursdays and Sundays. Cardio is usually one session per day of 45 minutes on the step mill, elliptical or treadmill, for 6 days, with rest on Sunday. We add in plyometric training for legs as needed for leanness and conditioning, and since I love to be outdoors, I run at least once a week until about 6 weeks out from a show.
Since my physique dials in to competition shape fairly quickly, the last 3 to 4 weeks before a show are usually maintenance weeks, in which I must do training sessions of a more conditioning/maintaining nature. As show time draws closer, my cardio increases, depending on how my body responds. My biggest challenge is not to peak in time for the show, but rather to hold my development until show day.

Other Stuff
Although diet and training are the most important factors in preparing for a competition, don't ignore the small but critical details. Skin, hair, and nails are all a part of the presentation package, so give them some attention.
Skin, of course, is the biggie. Personally, being in the tanning beds frequently is extremely hard on my skin, so I am trying some different methods to get a good, deep base tan before the ProTan applications. (Stay tuned for future articles; I hope to have some alternatives to share with you on this topic!) Perhaps the most important thing for your skin, off-season and on, is to keep up your hydration by drinking tons of water, at least a gallon a day. Also, moisturizing as often as you can, and certainly with every shower, is a must. Another skin boost is to get regular facials, say once a month. With all the sweating, makeup and showering I do, my face seems to take the brunt of it. A good peel or cleansing facial helps my face stay fresh and healthy, on stage and off. Also, I never tan my face in the tanning bed and I always wear a moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or higher. The damage the UV does to delicate facial skin is irreversible, and there are plenty of different shades of great makeup out there that I can apply to match my face to my Pro Tanned body.

Hair is probably the next most important feature to focus on for the show. Since hair, like skin, can take a beating during the weeks of constant sweating, showering and dieting, be sure you take care of it throughout the whole season. I keep mine hydrated with plenty of deep conditioning and minimal electric appliance usage. Also, unless you have very fine hair that gets oily quickly, try to keep from shampooing your hair every day and do it every other day instead; I rinse my hair with tepid water after a sweaty workout and then apply a conditioning styling balm and let it air dry. This not only preserves moisture in your hair, but allows it to style easier, too. For competition, make sure your color is fresh and bright (if you color), the ends are trimmed for optimal health, and you choose a style that compliments the shape of your face and natural beauty.
Be sure you pay attention to your toes and fingernails, too; a nice French pedicure and manicure are the icing on the cake for a feminine presentation. Remember, natural-looking is best, so don't get carried away with a lot of color and flash – you want to showcase your physique, not overwhelm it.

It seems like a lot goes into preparing for a show, and there's no doubt that attention to details can make the difference in a winning package on stage. Don't let yourself get carried away, however – keep things simple and basic to let your own personality and unique look shine through. If you look at this preparation as lifestyle maintenance, and incorporate good habits into your daily routine, it will become second nature in no time. Besides, there is no excuse for not taking care of yourself – so indulge!

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About the Author...

Shelly Pinkerton CPFT & National-level Figure Competitor

I grew up in rural northern California where extracurricular activities were few and far between - I can remember my mom driving two to three hours a day to get me to gymnastics and ballet lessons. Naturally athletic and blessed with good genetics, I involved myself in all school sports and cheerleading, and when I started college at CSU, Chico, I found myself joining my first gym and learning about weight training – I was hooked!

After my son was born in 1992 I became certified to teach group fitness and shortly after attained my personal training certification. I have been working with people to improve their lifestyles ever since. In 2004, after a difficult move to Southern California, I accepted a new challenge – figure competing – and found renewed personal satisfaction and success. I plan to continue to share my passion for fitness with others by helping them develop their own happy, healthy lifestyle through my personal training business, BodyWise Total Fitness, and through my experiences in figure competing.

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