Issue #14


by Juan Carlos Lopez

2006 Ironman NPC Figure Photos and Results

2006 Ironman NPC Figure Review

2006 Fit Expo Photos and Review

20 questions with our Cover Model: Tamee Marie

Video Interview with Cover Model: Tamee Marie

Tamee Marie, Ana Sanchez, Karen Mullarkey, Megan Payan, Christina Mehling

Time Flies by Angi Jackson

Video Interview: NPC Figure Karen Mullarkey

The Importance of Planning and Prepping Your Meals
by Traci Redding

Video Interview: NPC Figure Christine Camacho

Back Training
by Alissa Carpio

Stadium Workout
by Misty Green

Video Interview: NPC Figure Ann Pratt

by Kaisa Piippo

Fitness Routine Practice
by Katie Szep

Fitness Routine Practice:
When, Where, How and How Often?
by Katie Szep

Katie Szep

A fitness competitor has an extraordinary amount of work on her plate. Her daily weight and cardiovascular training is enough to fill most people’s schedules. Combine that with meal preparation, posing practice and tanning and you far exceed the free time of even exercise-minded individuals. Finally, add to the equation grueling gymnastics, dance and plyometric training and you finally have the schedule of a fitness competitor.
It sounds overwhelming, but with proper planning, it can be done!

First, it is important that your music is selected and your routine has been choreographed before you are twelve weeks out of the show date. It will most likely take a full twelve weeks of practice to perfect your routine and become properly conditioned to perform. Once you have learned your routine, following the steps below will insure a great performance on show day:

Step One: Find a location to perform your full routine, two times per week.
Dance studios and aerobic studios often have “down time” during which the studio is not being used and therefore is making no money. Ask if you can negotiate an hourly fee to use their studio during these times.

Step Two: Plan your full routine practices for the days when you are least sore in your legs, abs and chest.
These are the muscles you use most in your routine (legs for jumps/leaps/gymnastics, chest for all push ups, abs for all strength holds). Try to schedule your full routine practices for days when you will be the least sore in these body parts.

Katie Szep

Step Three: Create a structured “full routine” practice.
Practicing your routine in full is so difficult that without a pre-set program, you may leave tough parts out, saying to yourself “I’ll do it next time”. Similar to weight training, structure and organization during practice works best. An example of a structured, full routine practice would be;

1. 5 minutes-cardio warm up
2. 5 minutes-full body stretches including splits
3. 5 minutes-high kick, jump and leap warm ups
4. 5 minutes-gymnastic warm ups
5. Perform each strength hold and push up
6. Walk through routine with music (dance only)
7. Full routine-first attempt
8. 3-5 minutes- active rest (practice dance moves at low intensity)
9. Full routine-second attempt
10. 3-5 minutes- active rest (practice dance moves at low intensity)
11. Full routine-third attempt
12. 3-5 minutes- active rest (practice dance moves at low intensity)
13. 10 Minutes-pick your worst parts of routine and practice them.

This practice will take about 1 ½ hours or less and would be performed in a studio twice a week. Practicing your full routine more than twice a week could lead to overuse injuries due to the high amount of additional cardio and weight training you will be doing.

Step Four: Create a structured “easy routine” practice.
In addition to your two full routine practices, you should practice at an easier level two times a week. An example of such a structure would be;

1. 5 minutes-cardio warm up
2. 5 minutes-full body stretches including splits
3. Perform routine without gymnastics, leaps or jumps (do include strength holds).
4. 3-5 minutes practice dance segments only
5. Perform routine without gymnastics, leaps or jumps (do include strength holds).
4. 3-5 minutes practice dance segments only
5. Perform routine without gymnastics, leaps or jumps (do include strength holds).
6. 5 minutes-full body stretches

This practice will take about 30 minutes and can be performed anywhere that you have clear floor space (without gymnastics, leaps, etc., you do not need a studio).

Step Five: Practice imagery every day.
Don't underestimate the power of the mind. Whenever you have free time (before bed, between sets)mentally run through your routine from beginning to end. Imagine your name being announced and the sound of your music. Imagine nailing every strength hold, and leaping to greater heights. Imagine your grand finale and the applause you will hear. Disregard any negative thoughts. Focus on the way you wish to execute your routine. Perform your perfect routine every day in your mind.

Step Six: Find an audience.

Katie Szep

Make sure you practice your routine for different audiences before show day. This audience should be a person, or group of people that do not get to see you practicing often. If you practice at a dance studio, ask the director if you can perform it for their students. If you practice in an aerobic studio, ask an aerobic instructor if their students could watch before a class. This will give you a dose of the stage fright you may feel on show day. The mistakes you make during these performances are those you will be most likely to make on stage. This will give you the opportunity to work on them before the show.

I believe that great results start with a great plan. Hopefully the steps listed above will help you to formulate a practice plan that works for you. If you would like any advice on pre-competition planning, including routine, diets and exercised programs, please feel free to contact me at klszep@comcast.net

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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.

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