Archive for October, 2013

Those Stubborn Calves

Posted: October 30, 2013 in Fitness
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Hey Guys!  I figured it would be fun to share another training blog with you.  I’m going to discuss one of my LEAST favorites to train…my stubborn calves!  I know this is a problem spot for many so I’m going to share with you my personal training strategies.  First off, it is important to treat the calves just like any other body part.  Don’t just throw a few sets of calves in at the end of your training session – make them a priority!  I will occasionally devote an entire training session to calves.  Just like I train other body parts, I will mix up the number of sets, reps, weight, and volume.  I will also vary my foot position (toes in, out, and straight ahead) – there has been a lot of controversy on whether or not this actually makes a difference, but I came across some research that revealed that it does.  You can find the video here:  Either way, I DO feel a difference with varying foot positions, so I incorporate it.  I will train my calves 2-3 times per week on non-consecutive days.

Here is a workout that I do when I’m training ONLY my calves.  After taking my Top Secret Nutrition Pump Igniter :-), I usually do a 5-10 minute warm-up and very light stretching to the calves before beginning:

  1. Standing calf machine:  6 x 20 (2 sets each of toes straight, in, and out)
  2. Seated calf machine:  5 x 15 (using only toes straight ahead foot position)
  3. Donkey calf raise:  6 x 20 (2 sets each of toes straight, in, and out) – now, my gym doesn’t have a dedicated Donkey calf raise machine, so I do mine on the Smith Machine:  I set the bar somewhere around hip level (placing the safeties underneath), grab an aerobic step (or use a weight plate if you don’t have one), and place an adjustable bench in front (to lean on).  Make sure to use a bar pad to ease the pressure on your lower back/hips
  4. Unilateral standing calf raise:  3 sets to failure on each leg
  5. Farmer’s walk on toes:  2 laps around my gym

Don’t forget to stretch those calves again at the end!

What a week!  So I  finally had my contest this past weekend and it was a blast!  I ended with a 2nd place finish in the Pro FitBody division.  Of course I would have loved to take 1st, but I am very happy with my placement and I’m now onto the next phases of recovery and building.


It’s pretty amazing the things you go through the final week of preparing for a contest.  There are the last minute workouts, keeping close tabs on water intake, small tweaks in the diet, hair appointments, tanning appointments, meetings, final suit adjustments, posing practice, and the list goes on.

What I was NOT prepared for this time around, was catching a nasty cold!  About a week and a half out, my youngest daughter came home from school sick.  Well, since mommy usually becomes the cuddle blanket and the “human tissue”  (and my immune system was clearly a bit compromised from the heavy training and diet)…voila!  I got really sick just about 1 week out.  I rested for a day or 2 and felt a bit better, but when my training resumed, things went downhill AND fast!  I had no energy, had trouble breathing and started coughing anytime I tried to do cardio, and felt like I had no strength whatsoever.  BUT, I did the best I could, rested when I could, and just powered through the last few days.

Things definitely didn’t go as planned that final week but thankfully, I was stage-ready early and just had to hang on to my conditioning.

Now what?


Well, I am definitely enjoying some (I think well-deserved :-)) treats this week and doing a few low-intensity recovery workouts.  I will also be taking my Top Secret Nutrition Cleanse & Detox supplement this week to help push the “reset” button before starting my building phase next week.  I have the judges’ feedback fresh in hand and my new plan for the remainder of the fall and winter.  So, I will continue to post some of my workouts here on the blog so look for some fun, new, and super-intense training plans coming your way!

5 days out

Posted: October 14, 2013 in Fitness, Nutrition
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Hey all!  Just wanted to write a quick post this week.  I am sitting here 5 days out from my next competition.  I have my plan all worked out for this week and if you read last week’s blog, I’m ready for after the show too!  I just wanted to share with you a few last minute thoughts.  As you know, fitness is a lifestyle…it’s not just preparing for a show and then forgetting everything.  It’s about making healthy choices, controlling what you can, and letting go of what you can’t.

Today, my girls were home from school so I had to figure out what to do to make my “plan” work.  I ended up splitting my workout into 3 separate routines to fit in everything that I wanted to accomplish.  Not ideal, but it worked.  But, you know what?  I took a step back and realized the impact that my everyday choices makes on them.  Each day, they see mom prepare food, make healthy choices (most of the time ;-)), and workout.  But you see, it’s so much more than that.  They see that I am healthy, happy, energetic, and able to play with them.  I explain to them that unfortunately not all mommies and daddies can do that.  Some can’t move as well or are sick, or simply lack the energy to run around the backyard with their kids.  Sometimes it’s as a result of the choices they make and unfortunately, sometimes that is the hand they were dealt.

I love that my girls like to come to the gym with me (thank goodness for childcare!) and can’t wait for the day when they are old enough to be my workout partners.  I also love the fact that my 8 year old discusses nutrition with me; she’ll ask me what the better choice is between two foods.  She eats steak, chicken, and pork tenderloin – and yes, I also let her enjoy some of the kid foods too!  My 5 year old eats tuna and wants me to make her “protein shakes”!

So, don’t forget…the choices you make not only affect you, but can affect the most precious things around you -your kids, family, and other loved ones.  Don’t stop now!  You never know who’s watching you!

Cliché?  Sure…True?  Definitely yes!  Anything worth doing well will require proper planning.  A vacation, a project at work or school, and of course proper nutrition and training.

I am currently less than 2 weeks out from my next competition and while I’ve been planning all along, this is the time when I need to step it up a notch and make sure that I have everything set.  Hair, tan, suit, bag packed, and everything else in between.  But, what happens when the show is over?  Well, I plan for that too.


Dieting and training for a show for many weeks or months can be very difficult.  But for most people, having a set meal plan and training schedule keeps them accountable and on track.  But if there’s no upcoming show or photo shoot, I don’t need to worry about a meal plan, right?  Sure!  Go ahead!  Eat whatever you want, rebound, gain 30 pounds in 3 weeks and look like a completely different person than those amazing photos from show day.  Nah, just kidding.  You definitely don’t need the same strict boundaries like when preparing for a show, BUT, you still need to monitor the quality and quantity of food you eat.  Competitions aren’t won and lost during contest prep, they’re won in the “off-season”.  The weeks directly after a show are when the body is primed and ready to make some amazing muscle gains (or fat gains if you don’t plan properly).  The months of training and eating at a “proper surplus” BEFORE you start your next contest prep is when you can gain lean mass, work on any lagging body parts, and even out asymmetries.

So, what’s my plan?  Well, I’m human so of course after the show, I will have my treats (pizza anyone? :-D).  I will also take a few days off from training to give my body and mind a rest.  After that time, I will go right back to a healthy eating plan (notice I said healthy eating plan and not DIET!).  I will “reverse-diet” as it has been called.  This will include SLOWLY increasing my calories over the weeks and SLOWLY decreasing the amount of cardio I will do.  If I eat at a major surplus and halt all cardio, that is a recipe for rapid weight gain.  Don’t get me wrong, I will include some treat meals (usually one and occasionally two per week – after all, the holidays are fast approaching).  I will also make sure that I continue to take my daily supplements.  Thank you Top Secret Nutrition! 🙂  When I’m not leaning out for a contest, my daily staples include ActiveXtreme Multivitamin, Fish Oil/CLA, 100% Whey, and Advanced Joint Support.  For training, Cardio Igniter, Pump Igniter, and BCAA Hyperblend Energy are always in my gym bag!

Just remember, health and fitness should be your lifestyle; not an on/off button that you push when you’re in contest mode or “off-season” (I don’t really like that phrase anyway).  Find the right balance for you!  For me, no foods are off-limits; I will enjoy the holidays, have a piece of cake on my birthday, but make sure that I fit these treats into my daily PLAN.

Hey all!  This week’s blog is going to be simple and straightforward…I often get asked about my shoulder training (y’all know who you are ;-)) so I’m going to talk a little about my training philosophy and share one of my workouts.

Shoulders…one of my absolute favorites to train!  Now, there are a whole host of muscles involved around the shoulder but don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with the details.  When we talk about shoulder training, we really mean deltoid training – after all, we are aiming to build some cannonballs, right?

Ok, most of you probably know that the deltoid is made up of 3 heads:  anterior, lateral (medial), and posterior.  We want to make sure that we work each one of these areas adequately so that there is a nice round shoulder and balance between the front and back of the shoulder.

My personal philosophy regarding shoulder training is heavy and high volume!  This combination has worked very well for me.  I dedicate one day a week to shoulder training and make sure that I work them to the max.  I tend to mix up my workouts often, but for the most part, after an adequate warm-up, I work on heavy pressing activities first:  dumbbell, barbell, machine, etc.  Then I will move on to target each head on it’s own.  Ok, enough talk, here is one of the workouts straight from my training journal:

1.  Seated Military Press:  Pyramid 2 x 10, 2 x 8, 2 x 6, Drop set:  1 x 6, followed by 2 drops

2.  Standing Arnold Press:  4 x 10-12

3.  Smith Machine Upright Row:  4 x 8-12

4.  Unilateral Leaning DB Lateral Raise:  4 x 10 each (superset with Machine Lateral Raise 4 x 10)

5.  Cable Kneeling Face Pulls:  4 x 12-15 (superset with Cable Rear Delt Flyes 4 x 12-15)

6.  Cable Front Raise:  4 x 10  (superset with Plate Front Raise 4 x 10)

7.  Hammer Shoulder Press (finisher):  Performed alternating 4 sets to failure

I’m usually good and fried at this point, but sometimes I will also do heavy shrugs during this workout (if a piece of equipment is taken or if I still have any energy at the end).

So, there you have it!  Well, tomorrow is shoulder day so who’s with me?