To "be ready". How long does it take to get ready for a fitness competition?
This past weekend, our first show prep client of the 2015 season hit the stage. This busy mom to a toddler, wine expert and fitness competition rookie walked away with two trophies, including a 1st Place Fitness Model trophy, and fulfilled her life long dream of rocking a fitness competition.
Jenny Lyn Goldberg came to Sisters In Shape this past December after we launched our Power Prep program. I actually met Jenny two years ago when I helped her with posing for a fitness competition she was planning back then. However, those plans fell through when personal life needed to take priority over show prep, so when Jenny saw the launch of our Power Prep program she jumped on the opportunity to fulfill a dream she’s had for as long as she can remember.
“I’ve always wanted to do a fitness competition. I’ve worked out for years and always been really into fitness. I’m finally was going to fulfill my goal of doing a show.” Jenny said to me during our orientation call. So together we set out to make this dream a reality.
So how did Sisters in Shape help Jenny accomplish her goals and rock her show?
1. We Chose The Right Show
In our orientation call, Jenny explained to me her goal of doing a fitness show this Spring. She had a couple of shows in mind, and so I listened to Jenny’s show criteria and helped her choose the right show for her.
Jenny’s show criteria:
- Timing & Distance - A Spring 2015 show, within travel distance by car.
- Ability to Progress - A competition federation that has the elite/pro levels to “take it further” if she enjoyed the process and show experience.
- Natural - A federation that tests competitors for drugs. Jenny and Sisters In Shape are advocates of natural fitness and methods of getting to the stage drug-free.
on April 4, 2015 fit all three criteria. This meant we had an 18-week show prep timeline to work with to bring Jenny’s best package to the stage. I assessed this 18-week timeline as attainable given Jenny’s intake photos and nutrition/exercise history (reviewed carefully during our client intake process).
2. We Chose the Right
Jenny indicated during our intake process that her goal category for her show was “Fitness Model”. This category needs a great lean muscle foundation, while still maintaining a feminine and commercially appealing physique. Jenny had a good base to start and with the right training and nutrition, I agreed this was an attainable category in our 18-week prep.
As our prep progressed and Jenny’s physique started to take shape, I noticed she had the tight curves and sex appeal that would score well in the Bikini model category. Then as we started our posing practice (via Skype), Jenny naturally sizzled on stage and so we decided to also enter the Bikini model category as a second category at UFE Spring Bash.
We agreed that the Fitness Model category was our primary target category but that we’d develop a stage routine & choose a suit that would allow Jenny to rock the Bikini category as well. For the Bikini category this meant softer poses where we “p
layed down” Jenny’s muscle definition, and used hand movements and facial expressions that were sexier than the fit/fresh stage routine we developed her Fitness Model category.
Our strategy paid off as Jenny took home two trophies at UFE Spring Bash, placing 1st in Fitness Model and 2nd in Bikini Model.
3. We Customized The Exercise Program
At the initial intake of each Sisters In Shape client, we have our clients submit photos (front/back/side) to assess their physique and develop a custom exercise and nutrition program based on their photos and several other intake questionnaire responses. Clients then submit photos to their coach monthly (or more frequently) to assess progress and change up the exercise routine and nutrition to continue physique progression.
I assessed Jenny’s initial photos as follows:
- Needs to add more lean muscle from head to toe,
- Particular focus to glutes and back of legs needed,
- Play up strong and shapely shoulders, and
- Chisel out abs to really capture attention in the Fitness Model category.
18 weeks may sound like a long-time, but actually it’s a very short period of time for lean muscle development. Women do not put on muscle quickly and it often takes 6-8 months for significant lean muscle development. I set the first phases of Jenny’s training to a hypertrophy style of training with legs being trained 2x a week using this style. I also included once a week a higher volume, lighter weight booty blast series that changed frequently to keep her legs progressing.
My 3 fav booty moves for Jenny:
- One leg press on 45 degree leg press machine
- Weighted dumbbell step ups on a bench
- Single leg stiff leg deadlifts
4. We Developed a Goal Specific Nutrition Program
The initial 12 weeks of Jenny’s nutrition program I would describe as a “lifestyle” style of nutrition with the right amount of food needed to optimize her training protocol. Jenny used the Power Prep nutrition system with accompanying recipe book and after the first two weeks sent me a message gushing about how much she loved the food and was “falling back in love” with cooking. Jenny enjoyed the level of flexibility she had with her food choices during the prep as there were no restrictions on her food until 6 weeks before her show.
At 6 weeks out we eliminated alcohol, and at 4 weeks out started to carb cycle between lower carb and higher carb days. The goal of the carb cycle was to lean her out for a stage-lean physique while keeping her energy high and preserving the lean muscle she worked hard to build.
At this point, I started having Jenny send me photos frequently, sometimes a few times a week as we trialled out how Jenny’s body responded to various levels and types of carbohydrates so we could decode the exact right combination for Jenny’s unique body.
Jenny’s body is quite carbohydrate sensitive, and reported feeling better and more energetic on lower carb days. Here are two photos taken just hours apart, showing how Jenny’s body responds after a high carb meal following a lower carb day.
If the Bikini Model category was our primary target, I would have chosen to the lower photo physique and bring her into the competition “softer yet fit”. However, given Jenny’s primary goal of the Fitness Model category, a more cut look was appropriate so I set out her final week nutrition program to bring her to stage with a tighter, more cut look.
5. We Made Jenny’s Program Fit REAL Life
I don’t want to overlook one of the most important factors that went into Jenny’s program, and should go into every competitor’s program - her real life. A fitness competition is a fun hobby for someone really into fitness. However, it should never take precedence over real life, no hobby should. So I kept the gym workouts to 60 minutes and included home DVD HIIT workouts so this busy mom to a toddler could do her fitness hobby in the pockets of time in her life.
One of our first Skype posing sessions had her little son popping into the screen regularly. I loved it as it kept the whole experience “real” and in context of what it really was – a mommy doing a fun hobby for herself.
THE RESULT...1st Place!
So What’s Next?
We developed a post-show plan so Jenny knew exactly what to do in the days following the show. For Jenny it included a treat meal from her fav restaurant, some chocolate eggs at Easter and moving her body with yoga DVDs (Jenny loves yoga!).
Jenny plans to stay on as a client, I so we planned a full debrief a few days post-show. I don’t want us to discuss “next show” for at least a few days after the show for a few reasons: let the experience sink in and allow Jenny to relish the experience for all it’s worth.
The debrief gives me the opportunity to review stage photos and videos to provide my recommendation for improvements, time frame to achieve them, and summarize my notes from the Jenny’s show prep process. At the debrief we discussed some options for Jenny going forward on “what’s next” for her and strategize where she’ll go next. I love strategizing! Fitness is a big part of Jenny’s life with or without a show – it’s that love we’ll keep front and center in our debrief and journey forward.
Thanks for reading!