Preparing for the New York Pro
Ever wonder what it takes to step on stage? Angela shares the details of her contest prep
My involvement in the fitness industry has had a positive impact on my life. Though I already live a fit lifestyle, participating in figure competitions forces me to kick it up a notch. Basically, to be competitive, I have to crank up my training intensity and eat cleaner for up to 10 weeks.
This year, I decided to compete in the New York Pro. Preparing for the stage has been challenging, mostly because I haven’t competed in about two years. The good thing is, I stay in pretty great shape throughout the year. I don't cheat much on my diet, and when I do, well let's say most wouldn't call it cheating. Unfortunately, being in great shape isn't going to cut it when I step on stage again. I have to be in amazing shape. Those who place well pay with copious amounts of sweat and tears.
That said, I am proud to say that even in my 40s, I am still capable of sculpting a competitive body. I realize, however, I am going to have to make more sacrifices and deal with more pain and discomfort than in years past if I want to bring my best. When you couple my age with the everyday up and downs of home life and work, you have to have pure determination and love for the sport to smash through barriers. I'm three weeks out and more dedicated than ever before to step on stage and be competitive with the top IFBB competitors.
I get a ton of emails, Twitter and Facebook messages from girls aspiring to become IFBB figure/bikini competitors. And many of them have questions related to show prep, so I thought it was only fitting to share what I do to prepare for one of the biggest IFBB shows of the year.
Not only do I recommend this type of diet for those who want to compete, but also for those simply looking to lose weight. Remember, it’s all about “Improving your self image.” So if you’re trying to tighten up your physique, lose fat and build muscle, here is a glimpse of what it takes. This is what I do, and hopefully you will find it useful in reaching your own goals.
Diet & Training
1 tbsp of TRAC
¼ cup of oatmeal
½ scoop of Probolic-SR
50 minutes of Step Mill (or power walking on treadmill)
45 minutes of weight training (one to two body parts each session)
1 scoop of Glutamine SR
6 egg whites
1 whole egg
6 oz of grilled chicken breast
¼ sweet potato
1 scoop of Probolic-SR
6 oz of grilled fish
6 egg whites with spinach, tomatoes and onions
45 minutes of treadmill (only when preparing for show)
30 minutes of posing practice
3 boiled eggs (whites only) or IsoFast (offseason only)
Some specific adjustments for show prep:
- At 8 weeks out from a show, I replace my two protein shakes and the supplement Dark Matter with only one protein shake following my workouts. I eat oatmeal or some other type of carbohydrate on the days I train legs.
- At 6 weeks out from a show, I slowly begin to replace chicken, turkey and red meats with fish, and starting adding in more fibrous foods. I also drink over a gallon of water per day.
- At 2 weeks out from a show, I consume only white fish, green vegetables and carbohydrates, which I cycle.
The amount of cardio I do changes from week to week, and will depend on how much (or how little) progress I see. (Since I’ve been taking care of my own diet and training programs for a while now, it’s fairly easy for me to judge how my body reacts to changes in diet and training.) Generally, I’ll perform 45-50 minutes of fasted cardio in the morning, six days per week. Then, I’ll do another 45-50 minutes of cardio at night up to four times per week. At about 3 weeks out, I add in 30 minutes of posing practice immediately following my night cardio session. If you’ve ever practiced posing, then you know it’s like cardio in itself.
I always do my best to ensure I give my workouts the effort they deserve, and that I am conscious of my form with each and every exercise I perform. To keep my workouts fresh, I also like to change up my routines every 3 weeks. As I get closer to a show, around 8 weeks out, I shift my focus to three key areas: back, shoulders and legs. The reason for the latter being, I’ve experienced difficulties in the past with getting my legs to the condition I like. So I’ll train them twice per week at a much higher intensity. Here’s a sample of what my leg workouts might look like:
- 5 sets of squats, 14 reps per set
- 5 sets of step ups using 35-pound plates, 14 reps per leg each set
- 3 sets of leg press, 14 reps per set
- 4 sets of walking lunges using 20 pound dumbbells
- 4 sets leg extensions
- 4 sets of leg curls
- 3 sets of deadlifts, 20 reps per set
Being a competitor for more than 10 years, I have learned through trail and error what helps me to look my best on stage. The number one thing I always recommend to others is to practice posing. With practice, you’ll gain confidence. This is important not only so you’ll feel good on stage, but also in how the judges perceive you. I’ve seen a lot of hard work go down the drain simply because girls failed to properly display the physique they worked to create.
Always take the time to prepare. Every detail—from your diet to how you wear your hair on stage—counts. You want to be sure you bring the total polished packaged, and that includes a great attitude. Show the judges you are having fun, and don’t be afraid of the stage.
Personally, I can’t wait to be on stage and stand alongside a group of amazing competitors. All of the hard work in the gym, the pain, the exhaustion, and every obstacle along the way, is worth every minute when you reach your goal.