Bikini Prep Brownie Diaries
I have had the goal for a long time to help change how the fitness industry is. It makes me sad that there are still people demonizing food and saying there are certain foods you need to stay far away from and certain foods that are magically going to get you shredded.
Seriously... Fish is really going to make my skin thinner? I didn't touch fish ONCE.
I was originally inspired by my coach, Sohee Lee, to consume the foods I LOVED everyday during this prep. Sohee successfully received her IFPA pro card last November, while consuming 1 full snickers bar a day.
Check out her article here.
I wanted to do something similar, because you can honestly never have too many wins for flexible dieting. So I decided to consume two bite brownies and/or corn pops everyday of my prep.
Photo credit: BB Photography
I started my prep at the beginning of January 2016 and the show was not until the first weekend in May. I decided to do an 18 week prep versus the traditional 12 weeks to ensure there was enough time to reach my physique goals and to avoid any drastic measures towards the end to play catch up.
At the beginning of my prep I was 26 years old, 5'4", 119 lbs. with 25.5-inch waist and 37.0-inch hips. By the time I hit stage I was 105 lbs. with 24.0-inch waist and 33.0-inch hips.
Let's discuss my protocol over the last 18 weeks.
I followed a flexible dieting approach, where I was prescribed certain macronutrients and was to hit those numbers consistently on a daily basis.
My calorie range from start to finish was 2800 - 1500. So my lowest caloric intake up until the day of the show was never below 1500 calories. We simply reduced calories over the 18 weeks.
I will not be providing my macronutrient breakdown, because a lot of people believe that they can use those numbers for themselves. But in actuality, even if we are the same age, height, weight and gender... Your macros would likely be quite different than mine.
I was prescribed a refeed day once a week starting at 8 weeks out, which was to be utilized on a training day.
A refeed day, in short, is a planned increase in carbohydrates. Refeeds usually take place over the period of a day, and are only strictly necessary when on a cutting or weight loss diet. Fats should be kept to a minimum so it doesn't interfere with boosting leptin levels. So when people are eating pizza, a burger or ice cream and say "it's my refeed day," that's actually a cheat meal. Big difference!
And of course almost everyday, I had either one or two brownies. On the days that I had no fats remaining I would settle for Corn Pops to ensure my macros were on point.
I made an effort to honour my food cravings this entire prep. If I wanted pizza, I would find a way to incorporate pizza into my macros. Take a look at this pizza recipe I made at 11 weeks out.
On the days that my cravings didn't stand a chance at fitting into my macros, I would have a diet pop to help suppress my appetite and to help satisfy those cravings. My diet pop of choice varied between Dr. Pepper, Coke Zero and Root Beer.
At any point in time where there were social gatherings, I shifted my nutrient timing to FIT my lifestyle needs. You guys remember UFC 196 on March 5th? I was 9 weeks out and still managed to go out with friends to watch. Check it out here.
Closer to the end of my prep, I started implementing an intermittent fasting style of eating, where I wouldn't eat my first meal until 11am-12pm. I didn't stay within an 8hr window, as my last meal was typically around 10pm. But I found myself a lot hungrier in the evenings, so I simply saved up my macros in the morning so I could consume more in the evenings.
And finally I only ate 3-4 meals a day. I found that eating bigger meals versus 7 small meals helped significantly with satiety.
The entire 18 week prep consisted of a 4 to 5 day strength training split. There was significant emphasis placed on compound movements with the intention to increase strength. The regular compound movements that I performed where squats, bench, deadlifts, hip thrusts, overhead press and pull-ups.
In addition to my compound movements, accessory work was completed for all the muscle groups. My training days were all full body splits up until the last month, where I trained lower body two days a week.
I didn't have cardio incorporated until I was 11 weeks out. I was only prescribed HIIT cardio twice a week, which never took me more than 20 mins. I had a third HIIT cardio session added when I was 4 weeks out.
I never performed steady state cardio or fasted cardio.
My workouts never took me longer than 1hr & 30mins and I never performed any two a day training sessions where cardio and strength training were to be separated.
Throughout my 18 week prep, I lost a total of 14 lbs. 1.5-inches around my waist and 4-inches around my hips.
I stepped on stage in bikini at the 2016 Kelowna Classic on May 7th, 2016. I competed in Bikini C, which was the most popular class of 24 other competitors.
I won my height class that day. It was an amazing experience and I will never forget that day.
Check out the footage here.
I never expected to win my class, which was a huge win - not just for me, but for flexible dieting too. I went into this competition with the intention to educate others that there are no such thing as "bad" foods or "super" foods.
I really wanted to emphasis that:
- Total caloric intake is more important than specific foods
- Certain foods won't make you fat/shredded
- You can still have a life and have the ability to eliminate unnecessary suffering
- Incorporating treats into your diet aid in dietary adherence
I wanted to showcase that there are no magical foods needed to achieve your goals. You CAN still have a life when you are dieting. It doesn't matter if you are a fellow competitor or a soccer mom - you don't have to exercise all of your willpower to see results. You CAN still enjoy the foods you love and LOSE weight.
My goal was to inspire others to stop giving up their life to drop a couple of pounds on the scale, to stop consuming dry chicken with mustard in hopes its going to get you shredded, to stop making your life revolve around fitness and to START making fitness revolve around your life.
If there is ONE person out there that I have inspired... Then I have truly won