zelsh

I am currently 13 weeks out from my next show and I feel mentally and physically better than I did for my first show.

At this point, I am coasting right in to what most call the “cutting phase”. I don’t really see it like this because outside of cutting my diet coke addiction everything stays pretty much the same.  I am shooting for 8-9 week prep with little to no cardio being needed…can I get a Hallelujah!

I didn’t have a horrible rebound from my last show, gaining back very little body fat. This has allowed me to focus more gains and not about the intense contest prep I went through last time around. I have a unique problem that actually really benefits me in the bodybuilding world, I have the HARDEST time putting on weight and I lose weight very easily. Due to this I stay pretty full eating around 2,500 calories all the way up to show day, which is perfect because I am one crabby lady if I am hungry.

Since my last update I have increased my weight significantly (hitting a few PR’s), threw in a few cheat meals and have really focused on intentional movement of the weight through negatives and resisted reps rather than just knocking some quick movement reps out. I have seen significant growth in my legs (which used to be chicken legs) and have seen some nice changes in my back, both a plus when competing in figure. I have also added in 2 days of core training, which I didn’t really do the first time around. I noticed that my abs were a little weak on stage and want to make sure I present a fuller figure this next time around.

Some people ask me if I “eat to my macros”; because I struggle with putting on weight, food is both my ally and enemy. So no, I don’t “eat to my macros”; rather I am purely focused on calorie intake by eating a high protein and high carb diet while keeping my sugar and sodium levels moderately low. Over the next 5 weeks I am trying to gain a little more lean muscle mass through heavy lifting and a ton of eating, as I want to hit the stage at about 115 lbs opposed to the 110 lbs I was in May. I am eating 5 solid meals and taking in carbs and protein in my intra-workout. I react very well to clean solid food, so I don’t plan on changing what works for me.

Even though food and training are the center of my life right now, I love seeing the progress I have made over the past year. Pictures have been the best encouragement that has kept me on track throughout my journey, especially when I am discouraged. Pictures aren’t just great for motivation; I use them to check my form as well. Sometimes I can’t tell if my form is off because I am focusing so much on a particular movement, rather than the whole picture. When I see pictures or video of me lifting, I frequently catch myself critiquing my own form. All that is to say….TAKE PICTURES!

Here’s the next 5 weeks! Train hard & LET’S WORK!

 

www.zelsh.com

 

I don’t know where to start

This is what I hear most often as the reason why most people give up pursuing a fit or healthy lifestyle. We have all been here, we all begin at the exact same place; not really having an understanding or knowing exactly what do. This isn’t due to a lack of information or resources; we have access to an array of information just a few strokes away on a keyboard. The issue is that there is an overwhelming amount of conflicting information and fitness articles to filter through with a million different diets and workout programs people have used to achieve their goal. So, where should you start? This article will outline some simple workout tips for beginners who want to know where to start to successfully obtain their fitness goals.

FIRST, SET A GOAL!

You have to know what you’re working toward; otherwise you have no road map and no way to tell whether you are on or off-track for that goal. Create a timeline with milestones to keep you on track, just remember to be realistic. For a lot of people, it’s a 12+ month journey to make a transformation; I know it was that way for me, but that also depends on your goal.

SECOND, EDUCATE YOURSELF!

Get informed about your body and what it needs to obtain your end goal. Diet is 80% of the work, so this is the first place you need to go. You can train all day long, but if the diet is lacking you won’t see the progress that you are working so hard to obtain. A good place to start is to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which is the amount of calories your body needs just to function, and measure your Body Fat %, which is your body’s ratio of fat as compared to overall body composition. Once you have these measurements you can use them as your benchmark to measure progress. You have to be willing to learn by trial and error. This really is the only way to figure out how your body will react when you change up your routines or when you are adding or restricting food. Start with a simple diet and add/remove items from your diet, change macro nutrient ratios and see how your body responds. Remember, this is a lifestyle change, so look for the changes in body composition and general feeling of health over the long-term.

THIRD, JOURNAL!

Measuring progress is probably the most important thing to do when you start your journey. You will have days where you feel like you have only gone backwards, or what I like to call ”fat days”. These days suck. When you have progress pictures or journal entries to look back on; that once crappy “fat day” has transformed into a motivating one. The best thing about progress pictures is that you are sourcing inspiration from yourself and that is something to be proud of.

FOURTH, BE ACCOUNTABLE TO SOMEONE!

However that looks for you, whether it is a spouse, a friend, a trainer, or even your co-workers (this was a unique and encouraging surprise to learn), they all can work. By making your goals public to friends and all around you, you can find encouragement in the most unexpected places. Frequently, we also find we need someone that is not a personal relationship to spur us on in a more direct way, if you are married you know what I mean. I needed someone to push me and I needed to know it was their job and there weren’t any personal feelings associated with it, so I hired a trainer. Some people are entirely self-motivated and that’s great! However, of all the bodybuilders and fitness models I’ve met, nearly all of them have a trainer or at least a training “buddy”.

FIFTH, MODIFY YOUR GOALS AS YOU GO!

Don’t you hate when you reach your goal and then let it all go? Instead of having an end goal and calling it a day once you meet it, continue to modify those goals and increase the intensity. That’s where a trainer comes in really handy. You don’t want to lose all of that hard work. Approach your fitness goals as a lifestyle transformation rather than a phase or a moment in time. This will allow you to reach milestones you never thought possible and eliminate the guilt you will experience later by just letting it all go.

FINALLY, CELEBRATE THE WINS!

When you do accomplish a goal, it’s ok to reward yourself. If that reward is food, remember to enjoy it within moderation; though, I generally try to advise that you should not treat food as a reward. Rewards keep you moving to the next goal. Just find what motivates you and be willing to work for it. My advice – save all those dollars you aren’t spending on eating out and go get yourself that wardrobe you always wanted!

Looking forward to hearing your success stories and sharing in the wins together.

Until next time,

Heather