Issue #4


by HardFitness

2005 Canadian Fitness/Figure Nationals Contest Coverage

2005 Emerald Cup Contest Coverage

2005 Canadian Fitness/Figure Nationals Review
by HardFitness

2005 Emerald Cup Review
by HardFitness

Canada's New IFBB Figure Pro Tammy Strome Video Interview

Cover Model Search Results by HardFitness

Breast Implants Before and After
by Shelly Pinkerton

Chest Training by Sandra Wickham

Back Training Video
by Jamie Senuk

Gina Aliotti's Prep for the San Diego World Gym Classic
by Gina Aliotti

3 weeks and counting for the Pittsburgh NPC Fitness
by Kristi Wills

Video Interview with our Cover Model Search Winner Antonia Grady

Brittany Thorsch, Mindi O'Brien, Mavis Tozzi, Antonia Grady, Christine Roth and Melissa Dettwiller

Self Tanning an Alternative includes Video Footage
by Troy Landerville on Shelly Leversage

From Powerlifting to Figure
by Traci Saba

What National Level Judges are looking for a Video with CBBF Judge Chris Yakimchuk (Model: Nina Luchka)

Carb Cycling
by Shelly Pinkerton

20 questions with our Cover Model Antonia Grady

Max Muscle at Bellevue posing seminar with Pete Grubbs, Tanji Johnson and Jason Troll


Carbohydrate Cycling by Shelly Pinkerton

As a figure competitor, one of the most frequently asked questions is “What is the hardest thing about preparing for a competition?” Without a doubt, my answer is diet. For many of us in the bodybuilding industry, this is the most difficult part of our lifestyle – which makes sense; after all, it’s our love of weight training that brought us to the sport in the first place, so it’s not as though we don't enjoy the working-out aspect. And the cardio? Well, that, too, is something most of us figure girls enjoy, even though it can get a little tedious. But the diet…therein lies our biggest challenge. Ironically, the nature of our sport does not lend itself to a suppressed appetite, and the nature of human beings is to indulge themselves. The combination of creating a strong physical need for fuel (training) and enjoying good food makes for some pretty serious capacity for eating. However, in order to get to step on that stage in top form, there is more than a modicum of dietary self-control and discipline required to bring in the physique needed to present a competitive package. And, combined with the vast array of packaged and fast-food options that have become to prevalent in our society, the challenge to maintain a clean and balanced diet can be tough for even the most resolved competitor.
Naturally, competitors are always looking for the dietary route that is going to get the needed – and desired – results while trying to balance out their bodies’ dietary cravings. There are many, many, MANY different theories and techniques to dieting for show preparation, some better than others. What may be the most key element is to find the one that works best for you in whatever particular stage you are currently in in your preparation. There are the basic standards to keep in mind; lots of protein, fresh veggies and clean carbs, no matter how you put them together, are a must. But the design of one’s diet can change many times over. It is important to get to know your psyche as well as your body when planning a diet. Take some time to think about your history of eating; is food a big deal in your family? As a child, how did mealtimes fall into the family routine? Was food the pivotal point for good times, or used to fill space, or simply seen as a means to an end? Did your parents enjoy eating and share that joy with you? Maybe too much…or too little? This “eating history” determines how your mind and body will react to the strict disciplines of a competition diet, and it is in your best interest to understand how you will step up to the challenge and plan for it. I think it is safe to say that for most competitors, it is the denial of the “feel-good” foods that is the most difficult to deal with. Although we feel great and look great as a result of eating super-clean, to deprive ourselves of that which makes us feel good can work against us, sometimes to the point of failure. While it is good to practice self-control and a positive training affect to overcome our weaknesses, we must not deny the fact that we are still human – and humans need that gratification found in foods we enjoy to present a positive and healthy image. So, with this in mind, one of the methods of maintaining a consistent competition-prep diet without the stress of denial is to cycle carbohydrates.
Whereas cycling carbs is by no means indulging in the forbidden foods of our fantasies, by design, a carb cycling program is meant to give you something to look forward to. The cycling carbs theory focuses on daily manipulation of carbohydrate consumption. There are typically four types of “carb days” and they vary only by the amount of carbohydrate that is consumed. They are the high carbohydrate day (high carb), the low carbohydrate day (low carb), the medium carbohydrate day (med carb) and the no (approaching zero) carbohydrate day (no carb). Depending on how many meals per day your are taking in and what your carbohydrate requirements are for that point in your preparation will determine how many low, medium and high days you will have and in what combination you need to have them. On your zero, low and medium carb days, you are doing the critical work of taking down those fat levels while maintaining (or building) lean muscle tissue. Most people find themselves anticipating, if not salivating at the thought of the upcoming high carb day. It is a psychological reward, satisfying your emotional need to eat. It makes the more strict days of the diet bearable.
Keep in mind, every competitor is different, so your particular combo may not be the same as the next competitor’s; it is critical to know your body and know your food counts to determine a starting point for carb cycling. You should also give yourself time and a margin for error and adjustment – if you have never done this before, keep in mind that you're trying something new and it make take some tweaking of the program to get it right. And, as always, having the guidance and assistance of a seasoned trainer who is familiar with the process can take a lot of the guesswork out of setting up a diet of this nature.

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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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