It’s been a while since I’ve done a CROF update and I’m excited to be back. If you’re on my newsletter you know I gave myself “The Works” and took much needed break from as much “work” as possible to reset and find new energy for the second half of summer 😉
Hopefully this update will be the perfect way for you get through your long Monday afternoon 🙂
Today’s Update will feature some epic client updates and stories, news about my latest projects and TONS of great fitness reads.
My biggest personal news is that I’m tentatively planning to another NPC bikini competition in 16 weeks in Nashville!
This decision did not happen over night– in fact, I’ve been contemplating it for about a month.
I took the same decision making I use when I go shopping… I browse the clothes (or competition dates in this case) and see things I like. I put them on hold if need be, and then I walk away. If I’m still thinking about the items I go back and get them.
In this case, I researched the November 5th contest a few weeks ago and haven’t stop thinking about it.
After three months of eating whatever I really wanted and lifting heavy I feel like I’m truly back at my healthy “maintenance weight.”
I’m in a good place to prep especially because I’m curious again. I want to see how it will be to go from my true maintenance to stage lean a second time. My competition last spring wasn’t a true prep, it was more of just me maintaining a more lean physique than is natural.
I want to see what it will take my body to bikini prep from square one again.
I’ve read a lot about regaining weight and about how the second and third time you compete the prep is entirely different. I’m excited to see how it goes! This fall I have a lot of projects I’m working on but I truly want to prep for the learning experience. I always learn so much when I approach my own challenge/goals as an experiment!
Not to mention, I’ve put on healthy weight and while I do enjoy a more feminine body, I want to try and get leaner!
More on how I found maintenance in the past few weeks, how my body changed after a full year of powerlifting and my starting stats for this competition in the nutrition section.
In other news, I was recently on vacation in Snowmass, Colorado and enjoyed a TON of sleep.
I feel rejuvenated and ready to attack the rest of summer. I’m ready to keep working on my book, Dare to Move. I feel re-energized.
My powerlifting is feeling the effects of the sleep and I have a great starting point to compare my strength last time I started a bikini prep.
Day 2 of my brand new prep. Tentative competition date is November 5th. Took all my new stats this morning and then squatted 190 for 3×4 (thanks to 8.5 hours of sleep). Side note: in January my 1 RM was 200.8 at my last #powerlifting meet, so I'm pretty happy with 190 for 12 reps total. Also, happy to be back in Boston! Let's do this! #16weeksout #powerlifting #bikini #daretolift #daretomove
In today’s training section I’m going to show you some accessory things I’ve been doing with my powerlifts, including explosive work, flexibility work, and cardio.
I will also be describing how my training has differed when I’m in maintenance mode, versus when I’m preparing for a powerlifting meet or bikini competition and the positives and negatives of both.
Two updates regarding my Nutrition coaching:
- #Daretoeat Group Program begins August 1st and last 8 weeks! Email me if you want to enroll!
- Starting a new variation of my Nutrition coaching that is NOT fat loss focused. #DaretoLive is a new program focused on forming better habits, education and mindfulness. The program is more mind-body-spirit than it is about getting leaner. Email me for more details.
If you’re not on the #DaretoMove Motivator– now’s the time to sign-up! I’m sending monthly training programs again [for FREE] and when you sign up, you’ll get my Fat Loss eBook, as well as my 7 favorite shake recipes!! Sign up on the sidebar of my website now!
Enjoy the update and let me know if you have questions!
If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that I powerlift every week.
I typically deadlift Mondays, I bench Wednesdays and Squat on Fridays. My fourth strength training day is usually on Tuesdays when I front squat, push press and either do more glute work or chin-ups, depending on my goal at the moment.
My front squat day is typically my shortest workout of the week. I’ve been doing this training schedule for over a year now and while some people may find that boring or weird, I find it to be lovely. I spent so many of my highs school and college days over-exercising, pushing myself through workouts I thought I had to do to burn more calories etc, and the fact that I’ve followed the same training program with few modifications for an entire year has helped me not only make measurable progress, but feel at peace.
I’ve found something I can hopefully do as long as I live. It helps me stay lean, it makes me feel good and it is not overwhelming. Sometimes my workouts are only 20 minutes. As long as I get in my big lift for at least 3 heavy sets of 3 reps, I know I will keep my strength.
In January I hit the following numbers, before taking little rest to give my body a break:
- squat 200.8
- bench 115
- deadlift 275
As of recent, my numbers were:
- Squat 190 for 3 sets of 4
- Bench 115 for 4 sets of 3 reps (no belt)
- Deadlift: 265 for a set of two (in June) and 3×3 at 235.
Without putting stress on the numbers and listening to my body while actually in the gym, I’ve been able to make great strides. What I mean by listening to my body is that I modify based on how my first few reps feel.
For instance, I alternate between heavy weeks, and lighter, high volume weeks.
So, I may go into the gym on a Monday planning to do 5 sets of 5 deadlifts. If those feel *really hard* I will leave my lift at getting those 5 sets of 5 done and do minimal accessory work, typically focusing more on glutes and not compound exercises like RDLs, speed deadlifts or apused deadlifts.
I’ll do glute bridges, goblets, and bodyweight work. Whereas if if it’s a lighter deadlift day, and I’m planning to do 3 heavy sets of 3, even if I don’t get all three heavy sets, I take the rest of my training and groove the deadlift pattern with paused deadlifts at lighter resistance, speed deadlifts, paused RDLs, chin-ups and rows.
This is what has worked best for me, having a “rough draft” program and then modifying based on how my body performs the big lift.
In tandem from my powerlifts, I’ve been a bit more creative with the other parts of my training. Because I’ve been in maintenance mode and really just eating what I want, when I want and not shying away from treats, I’ve had more energy. This energy has been put to good use as I’ve practiced a lot of explosive work, higher volume accessory work and flexibility stuff–meaning, I’ve been doing the splits a lot!
Here are a few examples of things I’ve added to my training, now that I have more energy. I’ve had to make a conscious effort sometimes to make my workouts a bit more intense and thorough because I got into the habit of SUPER short, brief strength sessions during my bikini prep, due to low energy. With more calories and energy here’s what I’ve been up to:
Extra volume on squat day:
Here’s my training from one of my more recent squat days. I alternate heavy hip thrusts with barbell glute bridges every other week. Last Friday after barbell glute bridges, I did frog pumps and sled pushes instead instead of banded hip thrusts and heavy hip thrusts.
The more energy I have, the more activities I want to do. I’ve been doing backflips once a week at the end of my training for a little bit of cardio. Sometimes I can’t tell whether my heart rate is up from nerves or the flip itself! If you want to keep skill or ameliorate a skill you MUST practice it often.
I practice handstands all of the time. More recently I did TRX handstand push-ups in Colorado, see video below.
I love this drill because I feel my abs, glutes and back.
I’ve been doing these twice a week, as I did last fall. I used to do one heavy day singles and one lighter day of 5-8 reps of light weight-10-20 pounds for 4 to 5 sets. I also have begun to do bodyweight chin-ups twice a week on top of the weighted. My chin-ups progress faster when I am doing them more often. In Indy I did three sets of 10 chin-ups and one set of 9 chin-ups and was very happy with that. I hope by the end of this bikini prep I can do 3 to 4 sets of 12 chin-ups!
Of all the weighted chin-up videos I have, I wanted to share these from two weeks ago in Indiana because it was my first time using chains for the first time (couldn’t find a belt to attach a kettlebell to myself). It felt like 20-25 pounds. Maybe it was less, but it was hard to balance so it felt like more. I know for a fact I can do 5 chin-ups with 20 pounds, however so it may have been 20.
I recommend getting started with weighted chin-ups as soon as you can do two sets of 8 to 10 chin-ups in a row. Adding on more resistance will make you stronger. I recommend doing weighted chin-ups at least once a week to improve the skill.
Heavy kettlebell cleans:
On my bench day I like to include these as a finisher to work grip, biceps and glutes all at once. I also feel my abs BIG time with these.
During the beginning of andy type of competition I’m preparing for (bikini or powerlifting) I try and avoid cardio. When quantifying exactly what I’m eating to stay at a certain body weight, it is easier to get a grasp on how much to eat, when I’m doing less. The beauty of doing less is that you can save cardio as a secret weapon to lose fat at the last minute of a prep, and you don’t have to try and struggle through it ever.
The funny thing is, when I’m not prepping for anything and have extra energy I naturally desire to do it more often. In the past month I;ve taken four barry’s classes, done two extra spin classes and hiked over 10 hours!! Obviously this extra activity has been supposed by extra calories and the cycle continues. I had a really fun high-intensity hill sprinting workout in colorado and another AWESOME “plate” workout in indiana two weeks ago. Read below to find the Indy cardio workout:
All you need is one 45-pound plate, or a 25 pound plate. Try and use a hex plate with a handle cut out of it or a kettlebell.
4 rounds of:
- 12 goblet squats with the plate
- 24 hand to hand swings
- offset farmer carry in the right hand (see it 6 inches away from your body) take 100 steps
- reverse lunge, pushing the plate out in front of you in-between every lunge- 12 lunges
- offset farmer carry left hand, 100 steps
- push-press plate overhead and walk 200 steps with the plate overhead
- 12 overhead squats
Example of plate swings, (for when you don’t have a heavy kettlebell):
This update will be the last non-specific nutrition update for a while!
This week kicks off 16-weeks out from my competition. Important note: I have a TON of traveling to do this fall, and there’s a chance that I might not be able to do the competition, however, I am gong to prepare with the zestful energy of excitement for this this competition because I genuinely believe I’ll learn more from doing it again.
Also, I really love being on a more calculated regime. When I bikini prep I pay much closer attention to my training (duration, intensity, frequency, specific exercises etc), in tandem with counting macros and weighing myself etc.
I weighed in at 124.2 last week, when I started (a a few days early since I was excited!!) 124.2 is actually 8 pounds higher than I started my last prep. And no, I don’t “feel fatter” this time around. I actually feel leaner but slightly bigger. I have much more muscle after putting another year of heavy lifting under my belt. I will be updating my progress weekly as I continue with the Weekly Update into the fall. I anticipate my stage weight this time will be 115, just a few pounds higher than my 112-113 stage weight last fall with bigger glutes and more muscle mass in general.
My before pic!
My measurements are as follow:
- glutes: 34.75 (3.75 inches bigger than they were last summer)
- waist: 26.75 (.75 more than last summer)
- thighs 20.5 (1.5 inches bigger than last summer, but only 1 inch bigger than they were on stage last November)
- neck is 11 (1 inch bigger than it was last November)
- Bust: 36 (across my chest) Chest: 32 (neither measurement was taken last time)
- hips: 34.15
I’m REALLY stoked to see what happens this time around, and to see what I can learn to help clients who go through various phases of fat loss with me.
I will take the flexible dieting approach and plan to begin eating more fat in the first month of prep, because I kept fat too low for too long last fall.
Side note: I ate this last night at Deuxave, while “prepping:”
I plan to eat one “unexpected bikini prep” meal each week to demonstrate fun ways to use flexible dieting. Stay tuned!
This week I’m finishing up the 10 pounds of tilapia my clients’ gave me and next week I plan to try and find some new go-to meals to keep the creativity flowing!
My go-to tilapia recipe right now is 6 ounces of tilapia on top of 1 cup of cauliflower, with medium salsa, shredded lettuce, fat free parmesan and Ranch popcorn seasoning 😉
My prep started last Thursday and my calories are 1400 (2x/wk), 1800 (1x/wk) 1600 (3x/wk) and 1200 (1x/wk). I will weigh in Wednesday morning and if I am below 123.7 I will keep my numbers the same.
Note that applies to anyone working on fat loss– you *must* give it TIME and you shouldn’t feel very hungry in the beginning stages.
Here’s to competition season!!!
Today I want to give you a deadlifting tip. Many of you know that most often I deadlift from the top, rather than starting from the bottom of the lift and pulling the slack out of the bar.
The reason it works for me is because I “get tight” at the top of the lift. Watch the way I shrug before the lift…. it’s the exact same way I shrug before I do a backtuck. I find my locked in position just before I get explosive, by doing my little shoulder shrug.
By locking my arms down tight, I make sure they will grab the bar smoothly without jerking it off the floor. If you cannot find the locked position, you willl see your arms gap out from your body, putting stress on your low back. See the similarities below with the shrug. Note: you don’t have to actually shrug to find the locked position, however, it helps me find it. At my last powerlifting meet I actually relaxed COMPLETELY before I locked in. See videos below.
Fact: bedhead makes you stronger. – 225 3×3, holding onto it for potentially the last week as today marks #3weeks out from my #NPC bikini contest. – Last time I was #3weeksout I could only get 215 3×3, I'd say this is progress! Woo! – #happysunday #deadlifts #nodeadliftsnodate #daretomove #daretolift #daretoeat
Here’s what I mean by not being tight, and letting the bar hold you down. You’ll see in the video below that the first three deadlifts are variations of me not being totally locked in. Then, in the second set of four deadlifts you will see me completed locked in. I tried to do it without shrugging, and it felt weird!
By being locked in, you can reach down grab it and know that your lats are packed and get the benefit of speed and power going into the lift, instead of trying to pull the slack out at the bottom, and going from a dead stop.
Jessica’s 8 week group #Daretoeat Transformation:
As you can see, she’s clearly lost weight. In fact, she’s lost about 7 pounds in less than 8 weeks! She has been very consistent with her Group Check-ins and active in discussion not he group page.
Her biggest tip to share is:
“My best tip would be to think about your workouts and your eating habits in a week rather than in a day. This way, if you have a bad day, or an unavoidable event, you stay on track and make up for at some other point in the week. Before your program a social event or a “cheat” day would throw me completely off. Now I just focus on what I can reasonably do over the next few days to plan for or make up for it. ”
Way to go, Jess! I’m so happy for you!!!
Sarah’s Powerlifting for fat loss!
Sarah did a 12-Week #Daretoeat Program and consistently lost 1/2 pound to 1 pound a week (on average). I warned her as she entered a second, 8-week cycle that her rate of progress could slow down at some point, however, that point has yet to come. Sarah has been so consistent with her powerlifts and sprints that she’s been losing 1 pound a week! This is exciting for her because her wedding is rapidly approaching!
The even better news is that she doesn’t always feel like she’s dieting, because she’s MORE focused on perfecting her form in her lifts than her calories. For instance, she sent me this slow motion video yesterday, accompanied with a faster version of her deadlifting from the top. She is much faster when she starts at the top of the lift but practices both ways when she lifts because it takes a lot of time to perfect “starting from the top.”
Carlos and his epic mobility:
Carlos is Sarah’s crazy-awesome fiancé!
You may remember his delicious dinners and recipes from former Weekly Updates. Anyway, Carlos has some pretty epic ankle mobility and he sent me this funny and awesome video of him squatting on a med ball (I’m not advising anyone try this!) to demonstrate his epic mobility! Then, scroll down to watch his deadlifts from a few weeks ago. A key strategy for Carlos to break his fat loss plateau has been minimizing cardio (besides the few spin classes he teaches) and focus more on his lifts!
Way to go, Carlos!
Jenn’s first unassisted chin-ups!
You may remember Jenn from past #Daretoeat Updates. She killed the #Daretomove and #Daretoeat Programs at the same time. She works really hard at her strength and just two weeks after her #Daretoeat Program ended she did three sets of single chin-ups unassisted! It was so badass! She is getting stronger by the day– I could no be more proud!
Kelsey’s Review of the Dare to Eat Program:
**You may remember Kelsey’s progress update last Weekly Update. Here is her recap and review of the program:
1. What has helped you find success the most throughout the entire 12 weeks?
Planning, Planning, Planning. Making sure I knew what I was going to take for lunch and snacks to work really helped me not make rash decisions or over do it on the office snacks (which are plentiful). I also realized that I am most hungry in the morning from when I get up to around 11 am, so I made sure to get a lot of my protein in during that time and carbs if I had lifted.
I also realized that while the scale is not for some people, I actually do well if I am weighing myself consistently – once or twice per week. I do well with exact numbers because they help me stay on track and know where to adjust. I’ve also learned that when weighing in consistently I was able to tell the difference between just carrying a little water weight and actually gaining weight.
2. What was the hardest part for you in the beginning, middle and end of the program?
In the beginning, it was the rate at which I was losing weight. While I could feel it, it wasn’t showing on the scale. Garrett kept reminding me to trust the numbers though!
The social eating and drinking aspect was difficult for me throughout. I’m a pretty adventurous eater and love trying out all of the new restaurants here in Chicago, so to have to actually think about what I would be ordering beforehand was a little tough. I managed to work wine into my week though, which was helpful since I like to have a glass at dinner. I honestly would choose wine over French fries so it wasn’t THAT difficult for me, I just had to make sure I was hitting my protein before I added it in.
I’m still learning to prioritize when I want a cocktail or glass of wine and when it’s not adding anything to the situation and therefore a less enjoyable experience. For instance, I had a friend in town who I don’t get to see that often and I chose that as a day to have a couple of extra cocktails on a rooftop on a sunny day as opposed to a random Saturday night.
3. What would you change about the program if anything?
Wow, I don’t think I have anything to complain about!
4. Why do you like flexible dieting?
I like the negotiating part of it. There is no steadfast rule that says you can’t have something, but you know that if you have it you may not feel well or you won’t be getting in your protein, which in turn, also won’t make you feel well. If I really wanted that slice of pizza I went for it, however I can honestly say that happened once in the entire 12 week period (pizza was probably a once a week thing before this!).
5. What would you say your “secret weapon” for fat loss has been?
Having someone hold me accountable was exactly what I needed at the beginning, so Garrett was my not-so-secret weapon!
But again, planning ahead was the key to everything.
6. What surprised you the most about losing 5-7 pounds?
That if feels like a lot more than that. I also lost it from the one place that has always been the most difficult-my abs!
7. What is your next goal?
I’d like to get to 148 by the end of August and then 145 by October. Ultimately, I think 135-140 is a good weight for me.
Next up, Ashley’s Review of the Program:
1. What has helped you find success the most throughout the entire 12 weeks?
Having the structure that you provide and having you keep my expectations realistic
2. What was the hardest part for you in the beginning, middle and end of the program?
I thought the beginning was pretty easy. It was exciting and I saw pretty significant results. The middle and end of been challenging bc I m trying to keep my fat down but when my plan needs to be altered (like we go out to eat and we planned a meal or what I was going to eat is not avail at the restaurant) then my fat just adds up. I feel I plan most of my cals but still have a hard time keeping it down. I also have felt the most bloated I have ever felt. My hands are awful and feel like sausages!
3. What would you change about the program if anything? I truthfully think it was great. It made me be accountable for my own actions which empowers me after the 12 weeks.
4. Why do you like flexible dieting? Bc i can indugle and it doesn’t screw up the whole plan. This model allows for some treats while not feeling guilty.
5. What would you say your “secret weapon” for fat loss has been? Being diligent about tracking
6. What surprised you the most about losing 11 pounds? That this is the least I have worked out in a long time. My life is crazy right now and hasnt really allowed a ton of time for the gym. I have been doing things here and there but nothing too intense
7. What is your next goal?
I want to get on a lifting program.
**Ashley recently moved and has not been able to do her photos or find a gym but as soon as she finds a gym she will begin the Dare to Move programming!
Danielle’s Epic Photo Opp!
My client Danielle has been killing it! She is very diligent with her daily check-ins and has found more motivation to try new types of workouts throughout her first and second cycle of #Daretoeat. The cool part is, she no longer has guilt when she can’t workout. When she does train, she enjoys the Kayla Instines BBG workouts, and she sent me this photo of when she met Kayla herself in NYC! How cool! Everyone has their own fits, and I’m happy Danielle got to meet hers during her program! Keep up the great work Danielle!
What I’m Reading:
- Injury: The Catalyst to starting a blog via B Dimez Training
- Exercise Specificity for Unproved Deadlift Strength via The Strength House
- Non-Therapy Approach to Freedom from Binge Eating via Sarah Vance
- Competing Well via Reactive Training Systems
- Power Output (and basically achieving ALL your goals) depends on Stability via Meghan Callaway Fitness
- The Dangers of Today’s Female Fitness Industry via Dr. John Rusin
- Maybe you Shouldn’t Deadlift from the floor via Dean Somerset
- Exercises you should be doing: Barbell Rolling Squat via Tony Gentilcore
- Discipline Equals Freedom via Bonvecstrength
- The Fat Loss Pyramid for Women via Ryan Wood Training
- Advanced Deadlift Tip for Increasing Speed/Strength Off the Floor via Adam Pine