This is my second check-in on the road to my next bodybuilding show on June 10th, 2023 – The Natural Spartan in Fargo, North Dakota.

the numbers

Since I’ve competed twice before (and did a mostly okay job of tracking important metrics), I have some data to compare my current prep journey to.

For reference, I round up to 5’9. Part of my strength training goals are to maintain my height, ha!

  • 2018 – 16 weeks out: 159.0 pounds, 22.3% body fat
  • 2022 – 16 weeks out: 159.8 pounds, 23.2% body fat
  • 2023 – 16 weeks out: 153.8 pounds, 19.8% body fat

The good news is my body fat is down more than a half of a percent over the last week – score!

The not-so-great news is that my weight is actually up almost two pounds. But that could easily be attributed to water weight (or French Silk pie… mmmm!). I’ve decided not to get hung up on the scale as it’s not an accurate reflection of total body composition, however.

Regardless, I’m still 5-6 pounds down from either previous show at this same point and 2.5-3.5% lower from a body fat percentage. I’d have to dig a bit deeper for measurements (yes, I’m taking them!), but overall I’m happy with where I’m at with four months to go.

YouTube update for 16 weeks out – follow me here.

My coach, Lexie Maitland wants me to be ready a couple of weeks early (that’s what I’d prefer too!). Fun fact, I found her by searching for bikini competition prep channels during my last show and gorging her content while doing cardio.

If I’m ready, I’d like to compete in a local show on my 39th birthday – exactly one year to the day from my goal of getting my pro card! I mean who wouldn’t use their impending 40th birthday as a reason to accomplish something significant?!

the training

Training was status quo last week – I logged my five strength and five cardio sessions.

My current training split:

  1. Glutes + Shoulders
  2. Back, Rear Delts + Hammies
  3. Glutes + Shoulders
  4. Arms, Abs + Hamstrings
  5. Fully Body

I think I’m in the third week of my current training split (i.e. scheduled workouts for the week). These will get changed up depending on my progress and/or around every 5-8 weeks.

Maybe someday I’ll do a workout video – it seems cumbersome trying to film yourself training, but I’m not afraid of doing “hard things” or making a fool of myself!

In the meantime, know that it’s okay/encouraged to Google/YouTube moves to ensure you understand what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to do them. There’s a lot out there already and by much more qualified individuals than I.

And just like you can Google substitutes for ingredients you don’t have in your pantry for a recipe, you can also easily find alternative moves for your programmed exercises that you’re unable to do for some reason. For example, our gym’s lat pulldown machine is broken, so I’ve been substituting with a lat press down on the cables.

And yes, I Googled for the alternative once I saw the machine was out of order…

As far as cardio, this has remained the same as last week. I bookend my strength workouts with 15 minutes on the treadmill on either side, resulting in 30 minutes total per day, five days a week currently.

I usually start with a Peloton warm-up run as it incorporates walking, drills, jogging and a little running. It gets my heart rate up, but not too crazy high and gets me ready to work! Use this link to get 60 days of free trial app access.

I then do whatever’s planned strength-wise and hop back on the treadmill for another 15 minutes of incline walking post strength workout. This is usually around 8% incline and 3.7mph – manipulating it as needed to stay in the fat burning zone.

I get up everyday at 5am and try to start my workout by 5:30am. My workouts are roughly 90 minutes total (between 60 minutes of strength and 30 minutes of cardio) and it’s a 10-15 minute drive each way to the gym, resulting in roughly two hours per day total.

One of the reasons I get up so darn early is so I don’t have to feel guilty about taking this time from my family. It ends up being an early bedtime for me (right after we put “the baby” down – she’s almost two!), but it works for now!

I give myself an A for activity – in addition to getting all of my workouts in, I also went on TWO skiing field trips this past week, spending six hours per day downhill skiing.

Super flattering ski selfies!

The Diet

My coach dropped my macros down this week – down 25 grams of carbs and 10 grams of fat (protein is staying the same).

Here’s my new macro breakdown for the foreseeable future:

  • 225 grams of carbs
  • 55 grams of fat
  • 140 grams of protein

This is approximately 1,955 calories – roughly 150 less than last week. So far, so good (it’s been like a day, lol). These are pretty reasonable macros for prep – I hope my body cooperates and I don’t have to go too low too soon.

My diet is (always) an area of opportunity, however. I found myself playing “Macros Tetris” this past week due to lack of pre-planning on my end.

What’s Macro Tetris you ask? It’s where you log your food, choosing what to eat based on availability or what you feel like eating and then try to use what’s left for dinner and coming up with something to eat that will help you use up what macros you have left.

Fun once, not so much on a regular basis. For me, it usually results in being light on the protein and heavy on the carbs. My coach wants me to be within five grams of each macro category each day.

Time to dial it in Gina! I.e. No more French Silk pie until after the competition!

Failing to plan is planning to fail!

One of the ways I failed to plan is during those ski field trips. I packed stuff, but not an actual lunch (I didn’t think/still don’t know if they have a microwave for the general public) and ended up just snacking rather than eating a solid protein + veggies meal.

I likely was also dehydrated as I wasn’t drinking as much water as I normally would at home working. Just like anyone else, when I’m tired/dehydrated, sometimes my body tells me to eat instead…

the posing

Posing 16 weeks out after a coaching session with great feedback!

While my posing isn’t perfect, I’m definitely seeing improvements!

I’m confident my conditioning will come in on par with my last two shows and think I can even improve on it. But I’m also hopeful my posing will improve (ideally by leaps and bounds!), which will provide the biggest impact!

Just like last week, I spent a few of my rest breaks in between sets practicing my front pose, back pose and the transition. I still need some pointers when it comes to my walk, but one (baby) step at a time, right?!

The goal(s)

Goal number one is still to get my pro card by my 40th birthday on 5/27/24. That hasn’t changed.

Subsequently, however, I’d like to “heal” my relationship with food. I.e. Learn to eat mainly for fuel, rather than pleasure.

Being a good role model in this area for my kiddos is super important to me (and something I need to keep front and center). I don’t want them to struggle with their weight their whole adult lives.

The thing is though, I feel like we’re swimming upstream. Meaning that our society isn’t exactly setting us up for success when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight.

Think processed foods, food being a part of everything (celebrations, sports, etc) and sugar being more accessible, yet more addictive than cocaine (source: Fed Up documentary).

I’ll talk about this more in the future, but if you have any documentary recommendations on the subject of fueling our bodies, leave em in the comments!

Thanks for following along – I’ll see you next week, same place!

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