Welcome to the CROF Weekly Update!

Last week I turned 25!!

Last week I turned 25!!

The bad news is, I skipped a week! (gasp!!); my apologies for leaving you hanging for a week!

I did write about turning 25 though! In case you missed it, check out “This is 25” here. I also wrote an article about whether or not you should follow a strength training program. See it here!

The good news is: there is a LOT to catch up on.


The past two weeks marked the second half of the month after my first bikini competition.

Wow! That was a mouthful.

I traveled. I ate. I took three days off of training two weekends ago. I PRed in the gym.


It’s  important to note that I’ve been very much “on edge” if you will, about how my body has changed (or not changed) since the show date.

I am not exaggerating when I say the thing that scared me the most about competing was the possibility of a post-show rebound.

I am no longer 110-112 pounds, (I’m sitting at 116-118).

Having a photoshoot 10 days after my competition was a bit of motivation to stay on track with my diet.

Having a photoshoot 10 days after my competition was a bit of motivation to stay on track with my diet.

The real reason I waited until December 14th to do a CROF Weekly Update is so that I could take “one-month post-show” progress photos to show the truth about post-show dieting (or lack thereof in my case) no matter what I looked like.

Here is the day before the show November 13th, BW 111:

IMG_5409 (1)

Here was one week after November 20th, BW 114:



Here was today *after eating 1 cup of oatmeal, 1 cup of egg beaters, a quest bar and deadlifting* BW 118:



What you cannot see is that my chest has increased at a rate that I didn’t know was possible. My bras are now tight–that has been the biggest change. That, and just barely a half inch around my mid section where I store fat.

Read on to see how I am prepping for my second powerlifting meet, how I am staying lean midst taking 3 days off (and eating whatever sounded good when the time was right), and what I did in NYC.

Also– make sure you scroll to the bottom for some SERIOUS motivation from some of my strongest clients!



Because it’s been about 14 full days since we last connected, I am not going to overload you with 28 videos. It’s Monday and you have enough going on.

The other reason I won’t bore you with a million videos is because I haven’t been filming many!

For the first time in 16 weeks, training has not been the most important thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been doing a LOT of volume and making some big tweaks to my training as I prep for a powerlifting meet; but it’s been a lot of hard, quick, intense in-and-out sessions because, LIFE.

For those of you interested in my training tactics, I am going to bullet point my strategies for the first two weeks of a new cycle for the big three lifts. Then I will note what accessory movements I’m doing and a little bit about why.


  • week 1: 4×8 belt-less 295/205 pounds; Banded RDLs 155, SL-DLs 3×10 90 pounds
  • week 2: 5×5 belt-less 210-215; speed DLs, heavy RDLs 3×10 165,
  • week 3 (this morning) warmed up two sets of 4 at 205 then did 3×3 at 225 pounds; PAUSED RDLs with a wider stance than normal. Trap bar deadlifts 3×8 with 185, kneeling hip thrust (see video in exercise spotlight).


  • week 1: 12×5 belt-less 135-145, heavy reverse lunges 110 pounds 6/leg, weighted hypers
  • Week 2: 10×5 belt-less 155, heavy reverse lunges 110 8/leg, weighted hypers
  • Week 3: (tentatively) 4×8 165-175 poundswith belt; walking lunges 70 lbs; bulgarian split squats light


  • Week 1: 5×5 with 85; narrow bench 75lbs 4×8; machine rows, 4×4 heavy chins with 25lbs
  • Week 2: 5×5 with 90 pounds; narrow bench 80 4×6; machine row, offset pushups 3×3 heavy chins with 30 pounds.
  • Week 3: (tentatively): 2 sets of 5 with 90, 3×3 with 95-100 pounds; narrow with a pause 80 pounds for 4-6 reps. 3×3 heavy chins with 30 pounds kettlebell.

Accessories I can’t live without:

  • Front squats: I never go a week without these because they give me the ab workout I want while forcing me to sit lower in my squat.
  • bodyweight chins. I do an AMRAP once per month and do sets of 5 to 8 every week. The amount of sets I do depends on how man clean reps I am hitting that day.
  • banded hip extensions: I enjoy doing these standing because I spend enough time doing hip thrusts with a barbell (see next accessory) and I feel the burn more when I do them this way. Do no less than 20 per set.
  • Barbell hip thrusts: these are my worst lift. It has taken me a while to increase these. Every other week I strive for something over 210 pounds. The alternate week I do sets of 185 with speed.
  • Heavy carries, bicep curls, lateral band walks and kettlebell single arm presses: these are just important because they are FUN and they keep me looking great aesthetically. I am not scared to say that part of why I love lifting is for how it makes my physique look because that gives me confidence. The aforementioned exercises are FUN for me to do and they keep my shoulders, arms and booty lookin’ fine!

Here are some videos I did capture the past two weeks:

Banded DLs:

Deadlifts belt-less (for those of you who think I use my belt too much!!):

Back Squat at Amp Fitness:


Here’s the deal: yes, I was scared of gaining weight and yes, I fully anticipated completing the reverse diet with OCD execution.

I wanted to go right back up the ladder increasing calories perfectly.

However, the past month since competing has been more lax than I planned. It has been fun and it has been busy.

I have had about six instances of eating for pleasure, enjoyment and celebration.

Six times in one month. That’s it.

I had three days in a row without exercise when I went to NYC. And I have taken more rest days in general than I did when prepping for th past month because my body is tired.

This was a lighter dish I got in Indiana: cauliflower mash with scallops and sautéed mushrooms and onions.

This was a lighter dish I got in Indiana: cauliflower mash with scallops, sautéed mushrooms and onions.

As I preach to my clients, doing more, more, MORE in the gym will NOT expedite results.

And, despite eating slightly more calories than I planned for my reverse diet I did not go to the gym more to work it off.

I simply ate more because I wanted to and trusted that the calories would go to good use when I lifted. No huge transformation happen over night.


For the next six weeks I *will* be dieting because I have to be under 114 for my powerlifting meet. I will most likely have abs again when I compete.

The cool thing is, (and I *cannot* stress this enough), six days off of a diet/calorie counting, a few days without the gym, and a few pieces of cake will NOT make you fat and it will not halt your progress.

My BFF Michelle sent me two jars from Wicked Good Cakes and I may not even have a boyfriend, but I think I found my wedding cake!!!! OMG so good.

My BFF Michelle sent me two jars from Wicked Good Cakes and I may not even have a boyfriend, but I think I found my wedding cake!!!! OMG so good.

Here are the six days (I can remember) when I enjoyed my food and didn’t track anything:

  1. The day before Thanksgiving: out to dinner with my family and I had a lot of pizza, some sweet potato fries and a martini.
  2. Thanksgiving day: I had a pumpkin muffin, cornbread stuffing, a cupcake, sweet potato mash and obviously some turkey.
  3. NYC part 1: 4 drinks and enchiladas.
  4. NYC part 2: two heavy sausages at a lunch spot with 2 fried eggs, a sprinkles cupcake, flatbread pizza, late night pizza
  5. Birthday dinner with my parents: gluten free flat bread pizza, sweet potato fries
  6. Birthday dinner with my cousins in Boston: bites of EVERYTHING at Tiger Mamma.

Trust your body’s ability to do whatever you want it to do, if you treat it well. Indulge when there’s a celebration; raise a glass with friends; smile and snack with good company; don’t eat just to eat to eat on your regular work days.

On my busy week days I have been essentially eating the same way I did during my bikini prep with maybe a few more bites of oatmeal or quest bars when I lift.

I want to be 109 pounds for my bikini contest in April and the one I am tentatively doing in May 🙂

What I am reading:

  1. Fail Proof Your Squat with These Three Variations via Jen Sinkler of Unapologetically Powerful
  2. Five Reasons Not to Train Like an Athlete via Bonvec Strength
  3. Weekly Meal Prep Infographic via Precision Nutrition
  4. Deadlifting: should we pack out shoulder blades? via Todd Bumgardner
  5. How to keep your butt down when you bench press via Adam Pine
  6. Serratus anterior activation: reach round and rotate via Eric Cressey
  7. Common Injury Sites and Common Workaround Part I: upper body via Eric Bach
  8. Is Clean Eating Bad for You? via Precision Nutrition
  9. Technique Fix Friday, Week 9: Reverse Lunge via Mobility 101
  10. Do you have to change exercises every 4 weeks? via Nick Smoot

Exercise Spotlight: barbell kneeling hip thrust

This is an exercise I use en lieu of good mornings at the end of my training for a few reasons:

  1. I feel safer doing at the end of my training instead of good mornings after deadlifts when my back is tired because the range of motion is shorter and the pins make me feel safe.
  2. With the short range of motion I can focus more on my glutes than anything else.
  3. I can do more volume and focus on my glutes and instead of doing good mornings when tired. I would rather do good morning on a day I am not deadlifting.

Make sure you set up the safety bars so that they are low enough but not too low that you tap them too soon and cut the range of motion even shorter.

Make sure you put a mat under your knees if the floor bothers you.

When you first begin, use lighter weight and do higher rep ranges at the end of your training.

Client Spotlight(s):

Sara’s 12 week results:


Sara is a senior in college at Miami University (my alma mater). She is an alpha phi sister and a determined chick! She  began the #Daretomove programming on day 1 of her #Daretoeat program, including powerlifts and sprints.

Sara asked really great questions, never missed a phone call and made it through her birthday, Dad’s Weekend, semi-formal and Halloween– losing a grand total of  9.5 pounds!!!!!

What’s even cooler is that Sara went from doing goblet squats to back squatting 185 for three reps. We unlocked some serious strength during these 12 weeks!!!

I am so proud of you Sara!!!!

Morgan’s 12 week Progress:

Beginning photo, six-week mark, and final photo.

Beginning photo, six-week mark, and final photo.

Morgan is a teacher who lives in Ohio. She also attend Miami University.

Like Sara, Morgan began lifting on Day 1 of her #Daretoeat program. She sent me about 101 questions about how to do the lifts. She documents the weights she lifts, the reps she does and sent me countless videos.

Morgan was 100% committed to the program and her results show that commitment.

Morgan lost 14.5 pounds in 12 weeks!

See below for more updates. I could NOT be more proud of her. Morgan is continuing to do the #Daretomove programming and hopes to knock out a lot of chin-ups in 2016.

Morgan 1 to 12 front Morgan1 to 12


Jordan’s chin-up PR:

Speaking of chin-ups, my client Jordan hit a *HUGE* PR this week– she made it to 10 consecutive chin-ups!!!

She practices them often throughout her three-day #Daretomove program.

She has been working her booty off for five program cycles  (#Ninjawarriortraining) and it’s so neat to have watched her go from being able to do 1 and a half chin-ups to TEN IN A ROW!!!!

Go, Jordan!!!!

Erin’s new Deadlift PR!!!

Erin’s DL increases each month and her bodyweight decreases. Last year Erin completed a 12 week #Daretoeat Program and went from 136 to 124 pounds losing 14 pounds!!!

She now weighs 114. This girl is unstoppable!!!

So freaking strong!

I could not be more proud of her!!!




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