StrengthAddicts.com Glute/Hamstring Training

So much fun! StrengthAddicts.com came to train with me at World Gym in Sheffield! Thank you so much, I had a great time!!

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Thank you so very much Christian Duque of StrengthAddicts.com for giving me the opportunity to share my story and some advice for competitors!! You can check out my interview here–> StrengthAddicts.com Blog

How Do You Choose a Trainer/Coach?

I get asked this question at least once a week. Finding the right trainer for YOU does require some trial and error, but there are some guidelines that will help narrow your search.

Here are some great questions to ask yourself when choosing a Trainer/Coach:

1. Do I want an Online Coach or an In-Person Trainer?
There are several things to consider in this choice. An online coach is oftentimes much more affordable than an in-person trainer. An online coach will design your training program for you and generally ask you to check in with progress photos on a certain schedule. Many are available via email, Skype and texting, BUT they will require YOU to push yourself in the gym. An in-person trainer will design your plan and guide you through your workouts. They will be a physical presence that holds you accountable when you have training sessions with them.

2. Does the Trainer/Coach specialize in the goal I am pursuing?
Many trainers are proficient in general weight-loss, but some coaches specialize in certain niches. There is no sense in training with a Coach that specializes in bodybuilding contest prep if you want to be a power lifter and vice versa etc etc.

3. Does the Trainer’s lifting style mesh well with the way you like to train?
Now read carefully! I am NOT saying find a Coach who doesn’t challenge you and train with them. I AM saying if you hate plyometrics, but love classic bodybuilding style training then it probably isn’t going to be very motivating training with a Coach who loves to put their clients through plyometric circuits daily. We ALL have to train in ways that we sometimes don’t completely enjoy, but do not sign yourself up for failure.

4. Does the Coach’s nutrition philosophy work with your own views?
There is no sense in having a Vegan Coach write your nutrition plans if you love to eat half of a farm daily. Nor does it serve your purpose to work with a Coach who utilizes flexible dieting/IIFYM if you are a junk food binge eater and cannot control your portions.

5. Do they produce quality athletes?
If you are looking for a Coach to help you achieve a specific athletic goal research their athletes and their own personal competitive success. I really appreciate that my own Coach is still a competitor. He has achieved professional status in bodybuilding and it allows me to really appreciate all that he teaches me because it comes from personal experience.

Remember, this is YOUR journey. Include those that will push you to be stronger and happier, make room for sources of positivity and cast out the negative.

Plan for Success: The Post Competition Blues

I sat there completely dumbfounded. This was undoubtedly the hardest task I had ever encountered. The options seemed endless and their outcomes complete horrifying mysteries. Forget my graduate engineering classes; deciding on the appropriate serving size of Cheerios was a true enigma.

I was unknowingly experiencing a common aspect of the “Post Competition Blues” following my very first competition season in 2012. After months of monitoring every single gram and ounce of food that entered my body, I was now faced with the daunting task of feeding myself once again. I was amazed that I had forgotten how to simply eat a healthy well-balanced diet that wasn’t structured. This past 2013 competition season I was prepared to do battle. I wasn’t going to fight through that confusion again and I’m happy to report that the transition from “in” to “off” season was smooth.

Here are my transition guidelines to avoid those Post Competition Blues:

  1. Congratulate yourself for your hard-work regardless of your placings! I’ve been last and I’ve been first, and I truthfully worked equally as hard to arrive at the stage both times. Don’t forget to give yourself the credit you deserve. You worked hard!
  2. Remember that stage leanness is not a realistic look year round. We all love being cut and lean, however, it is not feasible to remain this way indefinitely. You’re hungry, tired and cranky ┬áthe last couple weeks of prep (Don’t deny it, we ALL are.). Your friends and family would like their “heads” back ;) and I’m sure you would like to stop tantruming over wanting that cookie now and again.
  3. Plan a celebration meal with your friends and family a week after your last contest. Thank them for supporting you and celebrate your accomplishment with them when you are actually coherent, hydrated and not exhausted (We all know we only care if the food shows up to our post night show meal…) This also allows the excitement of the competition to last a little longer than a day, and really helps minimize the “let down” of the big moment being over so quickly.
  4. Create a detailed off season meal plan schedule. During my last couple weeks of prep I worked hard on preparing my “reverse diet”. This started to prepare me mentally for the fact that my contest diet isn’t a forever plan. This past season it took me four full weeks to get back into my full off season nutrition plan. Naturally I added my cheat meals back right away!! Slowly increase your carbs and fats through the weeks in steps. This will not only avoid a rebound, but also help you to adjust to bigger portions and the fear sometimes associated with eating more of these foods.
  5. Don’t be afraid to admit how you are feeling and seek out the support of other competitors. Chances are if a person has competed at some point or another they have experienced the Post Competition Blues at least once! We may not all be open about our difficulties, but more often than not if asked we will have a story or two to share!!

What are your Top 10 Tips for Competition Prep Happiness?

There is a unique challenge in competition prep. It tests you both mentally and physically and there is a fine line between giving it the appropriate attention/time it requires and letting it consume your every waking moment. My first prep absolutely became all consuming, every breath I took had something to do with competing. This past prep I was committed to finding a reasonable balance between prep, my family and work. Here are some survival tips that really helped me:

  • Decide how much time your reasonably need to train.
    Stick to this time limit and plan accordingly. Do not spend your training time socializing and dragging your gym sessions out unnecessarily.
  • Batch prepare you meals at the beginning of the week for the whole week.
    This avoids skipping meals because of time constraints or lack of desire to cook.
  • Invest in copious amounts of food storage containers, ice packs and a good lunch box.
    If you have appropriately prepared your meals at the beginning of the week, packing for a day out should not take longer than 15 minutes.
  • A 7 day, multiple daily dosing pill minder will be your best friend.
    While you are batch preparing your meals fill your supplement minder for the week as well.
  • Create a schedule.
    This should include meal, training, and supplement times. The structure will remove guesswork and the constant obsessing over “what is next”.
  • Remain social.
    Yes, it stinkaroonies to be around fun party food when you are prepping. However, what is worse is feeling completely isolated. Do I recommend going on all night benders, no, you need your sleep! There is no reason though that you cannot invite friends and family over to play board games, go to a park or go bowling.
  • Remember this was YOUR CHOICE.
    No one is forcing you to compete. There will be times when you are “hangry”, but learning to recognize your emotions will help you to accept them as part of the process and not take them out on everyone around you.
  • Enjoy the journey.
    This is supposed to be exciting and challenging, NOT a punishment. Contrary to what is often promoted, you do not need to be in constant misery hating life. Naturally there will be days that aren’t your favorite, but the majority of days should be a day of personal development.
  • Breathe.
    Yes, the contest is important and you’ve invested a significant amount of time, money and effort into your prep. However, remember that the contest is only a moment in time- IT DOES NOT DEFINE YOUR SELF WORTH, YOUR EFFORT OR YOUR PERSONAL PROGRESS.
  • Do not compare yourself to others.
    Social media is a great way to network. It is also a great way to send yourself into a tailspin of panic and despair while searching other competitors contest and progress pics. Do not compare yourself to another’s highlight reel. Your true competition is yourself, work to be an improved version of yourself each day and you will always step on stage a winner.

My Escape

escapeYes, Yes, GOOD, Excellent….Wait…Must breathe, need oxygen. I gasped for air and the image was gone. This time I angled the mirror a bit more, stood up straighter, and really sucked it in. My eyes glazed over and I stared in happy bliss. I had been perfecting this technique since I was a young teenager, now in my mid-twenties I had mastered it. Daily I would stand sideways in the mirror using angles and super human feats of “sucking in” to create the body image I desired. There I was day in and day out, wishing in front of the mirror.

Eventually I reached a point where my technique no longer rendered the pleasing image it once had. There had been too many weekends of pizza with a side of vodka cranberry, too many days of sitting on the couch staring blankly at a t.v. , too many hours spent driving in my car for work, and now two precious bouncing babies. What was I going to do? Wishing and daydreaming weren’t working, tears got me sympathy, comforting myself with food was making it worse and driving by the gym wasn’t working either. The time had come for me to make a choice. I could sit and wallow, accept my fate of frumpdom and carry on OR I could say NO. That day, I chose NO. It has been one of my life’s greatest decisions.

The fact of the matter was that I had all the tools necessary to change at any given moment- I had the power of choice. Nowhere was it written that because I had lived my life a certain way to that point that it had to continue on in that manner. No, they don’t actually hand out free passes when you give birth that say “Well, you had a baby here is your lifetime pass to be out of shape. Welcome to the land of eternal frumpdom.” It’s a choice. No one has control over your body but YOU. Choose differently for yourself today, stop wishing and start doing.