This week the ADOFitness trainers will be addressing their perceptions and relationships with food prior to implementing flexible dieting methods.
In 2010 I began my very first prep for a bikini show. I had no idea what I was doing. I had never dieted in my life. I was the kid that grew up eating everything and anything I wanted and the word “diet” was never mentioned in my household. We ate what we wanted, we were active, we were blessed with some decent genetics and diet was not in my vocabulary. When I decided to compete, my brother Aaron was my first coach. He was smart. And actually he always had a “flexible dieting” method even before the “IIFYM” term was coined and became so popular. He started competing before me and had his own “system” to dieting but was never overly restrictive- just simply made better choices to put himself at a deficit. No extremes were needed and he did well his first few years of competing. When I decided to compete, he knew the same methods would be best for me and work. So he didnt give me a meal plan. He didnt tell me certain foods were off limits. He just told me what I should aim to eat more of and what I should avoid or eat less of. I have said this before, but his approach was so smart. He knew simply cutting out my venti peppermint white chocolate mocha and adding more fiber through more vegatables in my diet would create a 300+ calorie deficit and allow my body to thrive more than it had in the past 23 years prior as I had never been on any sort of “diet” in my life. As prep went on, yes it became “stricter” but again no foods were off limits and I remember eating things that two years later I couldn’t believe I could eat and get lean enough. Cliff bars at 2am when I got off work from bartending and was starving. Yes full of sugar but I didnt know better and hey.. I was getting leaner. Halloween candy a week out from my show (in moderation as it was the mini candies but I still ate them and continued to get leaner). At the time I didnt understand this and just went with the flow. I honestly never really even thought twice about it or made a big deal over the little cheats in my diet. My body responded incredibly well and I ended up taking the overall at my first show. Fast forward to my second through 5th show. Thats where things took a turn for the worst. I made the mistake of training with another coach – the guy I started dating – bad decision all around. I was put on a very restrictive meal plan that only changed weekly if that. Honestly I was always someone who loved variety in my diet, so I cheated on the plan a lot because I felt it didnt need to be that hard. I wanted more variety, more choice, more options. He would say things like, “Do you want to win. You need to stick to the plan for the best results.” And then compare my results to someone else on one of his plans who was killing her prep and make me think its what I HAD to do to be the best. Thats when everything went downhill. The bingeing started. The weird food tendencies. The hiding in the bathroom and eating in the closet so he wouldnt know. The obsessive behaviors. The labeling of foods as “good” and “bad” it all happened in those years from 2011-2013 and it changed me forever. I honestly believe I will never be the same… or at least it has taken 3 years and I am just now recovering and finding my balance again fully. But I still dont view things the same. Thankfully in 2013 I took things into my own hands and I fully dove into flexible dieting through tracking macros and implementing IIFYM. I do want to state that IIFYM will not fix binge eating. It will not be a magic cure for disordered eating habits. But it does help. There is no denying that. I have used flexible dieting through all of my preps the last 3 years and every season I make leaps and strides in my ability to find balance again. I am trying to undo 3 years of obsessive behaviors and programming though. Its unfortunate that I fell into the wrong hands when I did. But the good news is flexible dieting DOES work. It DOES help with balance. It DOES need to be looked at with an open mind by coaches before they ruin and brainwash others to have disordered eating patterns too. And this is why ADOFitness prides itself on doing whats best for the individual through sustainability and an open minded diet philosophy.
This week the ADOFitness trainers will be addressing their perceptions and relationships with food prior to implementing flexible dieting methods. Coach Joey shares her story.
(Image by Eric Wainwright)
Before implementing flexible dieting into my daily routine I was doing what a lot of people do, I was scared to eat foods that were deemed “bad”. I would have them on a special occasion and even then almost felt guilty about it. I will admit I do love eating healthy and I feel my best when I do. But come on, who doesn’t love a good piece of carrot cake or an oatmeal raisin cookie once in awhile?! Now that I utilize IIFYM I can say I don’t feel guilty or ashamed for having something I am craving and/or want. If I am going to dinner or if their is something I truly want to eat, I will make it fit in my macros for the day and be happy about it!
Now just because I do utilize IIFYM doesn’t mean I am going to be eating junk food all day and thats it. I know that eating whole foods is in my benefit for my overall health. Another thing I learned with IIFYM is that it will sometimes keep me from having a cookie when I realize that I can have a GIANT salad with tons of yummy veggies and lean protein that will fill me up much more and make me feel better. Then I still have macros left over and I can make something that will help crave my sweet tooth versus having a cookie and then being starved with no food left for the day/night.
IIFYM isn’t for everyone but I can say that it has made a very positive impact on my relationship with food. It has taught me more about reading the labels and understanding the nutrients that I am putting into my body. I think one of the most important things about IIFYM is that it has helped me satisfy cravings and keep me from wanting to binge. I know that if I want to eat something I can have it and that to me is worth the “macro counting.”
This week the ADOFitness trainers will be addressing their perceptions and relationships with food prior to implementing flexible dieting methods. Coach Trista shares her story.
Before ever competing I never had an unhealthy relationship with food, that all changed after following such strict dieting methods for over 15 weeks.
In 2011 I prepped for my first competition on what is now called a “bro diet”. I ate the same thing day in and day out with changes few and far between. During this time, there was probably a total of 3 times where I was so mentally exhausted and fed up with dieting that I would eat one thing off plan and end up bingeing. They were huge binges too where I would make myself sick! I would then completely fast the next day with tons of cardio to compensate “my failure”. This was completely unhealthy but it was what I knew to be the only way to achieve results. I was very trusting in my trainer’s protocols. This type of dieting for shows went on for another 2.5 years, such a vicious cycle!
Fast forward to 2014 when I first started toying with the idea of counting macros. I was skeptical at first, but thought – why not try it. I quickly realized that keeping track of everything I have consumed in a day took away anxiety that often comes with individuals who have had a past with bingeing. I loved it! I found it fun to “fit” your meals into your daily allowances. I was in control and got to make my own choices with tons of variety. I noticed I began the eating habits that I had prior to ever competing. It was such a relief to feel normal again. Now more recently I have used flexible dieting for the first time in prep for a competition and there is no comparison. I don’t want to say it’s a breeze because there are still hard times when you go poverty macros lol! BUT it is much more life friendly and good for your mental health as well. I can have a bite of something and stop. I never feel guilty for deviating. Restriction is poison to a healthy mind. For those of you who have only known flexible dieting to be the only way to prep, be grateful! A lot of people have had to pull themselves out of complete mental and metabolic disasters from extreme and restrictive dieting.
Flexible dieting has changed lives and it will always be a value tool in the long run whatever your dieting goals may be! #IIFYMfortheWIN
This week the ADOFitness trainers will be addressing how they have handled off season/gaining weight/ body composition changes and their best tips on accepting yourself at every stage.
Many who haven’t competed or don’t understand the sport, would assume that when one works and diets that hard for that many weeks to achieve that level of a physique and look THAT good, that it would be easy to stay in shape even if one was to “binge” or eat a bunch of crap after a contest. The idea behind this is completely false however. You would think that eating whatever you wanted for two, three, four days- even a week wouldn’t do that much damage to someone who is in that good of shape. The misconception here is that people assume competitors wont gain that much weight and even if they do- they wont get “fat” because they are so lean. However, many don’t realize that it is actually easier for a competitor to get out of shape at an exponential rate and quicker than it would be for someone who had never been on a diet to gain additional weight. The reason being is that with additional exercise, especially cardio, and strict dieting, often times people actually see a decrease in their resting metabolic rate-aka- how many calories they burn on average daily. Our bodies have learned to adapt to additional output, or expenditure and therefor will become more dependent on that expenditure to maintain weight. Along with this, our bodies are so used to eating clean food and often a restricted/lowered amount of carbohydrates and/or fats that excess carbs, sugars, and fats will only put weight on FASTER than we may have put it on in the past. Of course, these effects can be minimized with proper post show reverse dieting and finding a more sustainable/non-extreme way of prepping – but its still very easy for many to gain weight post show as stage weight and leanness are not realistic in the long term.
Water retention post show is normal as well. Most competitors restrict and cut water pre-competition and some go to the extremes of diuretics to flush most all water out of the system. When you cut water that hard and then drink water while eating carbs and crap post show, your body then acts like a sponge and retains and holds on to all the liquid put in the system. It is not uncommon for even a small framed female to be up in weight 5-12lbs in just a few days from the combination of this process.
All these physical reactions post contest combined with the mental thought of being in “the best shape of your life” and then ruining months of work in a matter of days can be devastating. I know because I have been through this MANY times. My first three years of competing I experienced some of the worst rebound episodes of my life. I was embarrassed, ashamed, confused, depressed, and I would isolate myself which would only make things worse. I didnt understand why I couldn’t “control” myself after months of being so in control of everything I did. Thankfully after years of finding a more sustainable dieting approach through flexible dieting and less extremes the rebound periods and fluctuations were minimized. However, this does not mean it became super easy to maintain a show lean physique year around – as I dont and wont pretend to. I put on weight in my off season. Every year. Its important to put on some essential body fat for hormonal balance and overall general health. What helped me accept this the most is knowing what my long term goals were outside of fitness. I knew I wanted a family, I knew I wanted to be healthy not only looking but on the inside. I knew that if I jeopardized my health for the sake of vanity and aesthetics too many times I would possible never get it back. Those are the thoughts that kept me sane even at a heavier weight then I was sometimes comfortable with. For me, keeping things in perspective of what REALLY mattered at the end of the day helped me accept my body at all stages. Also, the support of my loving husband who never made me feel less than beautiful at any weight helped tremendously. Have people around you who accept you for WHO you are, not just what you look like. Work on yourself from the inside out rather than the outside in and you will have a much easier time accepting your body through all its fluctuations and changes. And remember, health should be your number one priority over aesthetics. Aesthetics fade, looks fade, and you wont be shredded forever. If others and especially YOU cannot love yourself at every stage and every weight then you need to reassess the people around you and your priorities. Remember, the fitness industry is not the health industry and although its fun to be in competition shape -without health life is not life. ?”An open minded diet philosophy that creates sustainability for the individual” -ADOFitness?
This week the ADOFitness trainers will be addressing our perception and relationship with food prior to implementing flexible dieting methods. Coach Jennifer shares her story…
Before flexible dieting I was on a very strict prep diet. It was very low-carb, lots of protein, and hardly any fats. At first the diet was easy because I was very dedicated to my plan. However, after a few months I soon realized that the diet was completely unsustainable. I Felt weak and I began to secretly binge almost once a week. I remember eating entire boxes of pop tarts or Oreos within minutes and completely regret my decision and then would do lots of cardio to try and “fix” what was done. It was a vicious cycle and I continued on that path because there’s only so much tuna, tilapia , asparagus and celery that a person can eat. ???
I recognized that I had a problem and I knew I couldn’t continue on this path. I reached out to Amber and told her what my current meal plan was and she was horrified. Amber started me on a new plan and introduced me to macros a.k.a. flexible dieting. Flexible dieting is a game changer and has changed the way I look at food entirely. I no longer had to eat foods that I didn’t like in order to achieve my fitness goals, I could add veggies and different types of lean meats that I loved. My binging quit and I was no longer feeling weak or unhappy with the diet I was on. Not only did I feel better, but I looked better in my next few shows then I had ever looked in my life. Some people say that you can’t get show lean with counting macros and eating what you want. I disagree because counting macros doesn’t just mean you can eat cake all day. But it does mean that you can fit treats in your plan if you want them by making sacrifices elsewhere allowing you to still stay on track! This has helped me so much with my sanity and relationship with food!
This week ADOFitness trainers will be addressing their perceptions and relationships with food prior to implementing flexible dieting methods. Coach Tara shares her story.
Throughout my life I have never really “dieted”. I pole vaulted in college and tried to eat what I thought was relatively healthy with the knowledge I had. I could literally eat anything and everything I wanted and my body would never really change. I would say my diet was about 80% whole foods and 20% anything and everything you can imagine. I mean if I gave you a dollar for every bagel and cream cheese I had then I would be rich! (insert laughing crying face emoji) Anyways little did I know, there was a lot more going on in my body that I was not aware of. Later that year after the season was over I got diagnosed with Lupus and my perspective of food began to change.
I started to realize the importance of eating good wholesome foods and the negative affects of all the processed garbage I was eating. With lupus you feel very very tired all the time as your immune system is working overtime causing a lot of inflammation. Now I am not going to lie to you, that year really sucked. I laid in bed for a lot of it and had very little energy for work let alone hanging out with friends which started to become very lonely. This made me want to eat better and provide my body with food that would help restore my energy and reduce the inflammation, anything to get my butt out of bed and moving again.
That year I lost a lot of muscle and any curves I had sort of just disappeared along with some of my confidence. So I decided enough is enough! If I want to live a certain way and look a certain way, then I am going to have to change a lot of different things in my life starting with my diet. Now this is the part where I found flexible dieting! My boyfriend was good friends with Amber and I had seen her post about flexible dieting. Now I know myself and there was no way I was going to be able to eat the same boring “bro diet” day in and day out so flexible dieting was the way to go. I started researching everything I could and had recently got my Personal Training Cert so I felt I had a decent amount of knowledge to give this a try. Now starting out I was definitely not perfect by any means but I could tell immediately that my body had seriously been lacking a good amount of calories. I started adding more and more food and I started feeling stronger, had more energy, and the more food I ate the leaner I was getting. I started to see little muscles that I never thought I would. This really started motivating me and I started really getting into it. I just couldn’t believe that I was actually eating more food and starting to look better and feel better when my perception had always correlated dieting with starving haha. Since learning about flexible dieting and the importance of providing my body with enough food, I have felt tremendously better. My energy level is manageable, my confidence is better, and I am able to live a sustainable life by incorporating more food into my daily routine. Being able to find balance with food and exercise to counteract the negative aspects in your life is really an amazing thing!
ADO Fitness Trainer Joey shares with us some prep struggles and how to beat the “Prep Blues”.
During prep I wish I could say everything is perfect but in reality nothing is perfect. I struggle with prep just like every other girl does. I wanted to share a few struggles I have and how I deal with them.
1) Socializing with family/friends: Now this might seem silly but most people do not understand this lifestyle of competing and what it entails. The struggle with this that most people socialize by eating out and drinking alcohol. Now eating out is fine but I’m not going to be ordering anything without asking for it specially cooked/prepared. I don’t drink during prep at all and some find it extremely hard to not have a drink when going out or you get frowned upon for not having one. My way of dealing with this is to simply remember MY goals and what I’m doing this for. To me I’m not missing out by not having a glass of wine, a cocktail or meal that is going to deter my goals. I enjoy the time being spent with loved ones regardless of the food/drinks consumed.
2) Prep Blues: Ok so this one hits everyone I’m sure. You’re working your butt off and for some reason you feel blah! You think wow I don’t look that great and I could use SO MUCH more time to prep. I get this way in the beginning of every prep. I question my body a million times. I hate that I do this but I do. My one and only recommendation for this is to have a coach that you can trust 100%! I am fortunate and lucky enough to have a coach who won’t give me any bs and is completely honest with me. She is not just honest but looks out for my health as well. I love competing so much and what it entails. But having someone on your side who gets it and wants you to do well just makes it that much more rewarding when you’re in prep.
3) The Scale: Now I HATE the scale. My issue with the scale during prep is that I will sometimes look great to myself then I jump on the “scale” and I don’t like the number and now all of a sudden I don’t look good anymore. I struggle with this issue just like most women do who are competing or not. It’s definitely a mind f*** and I personally know better then to let it get to me but it does. I will say currently in this prep I’m having a HUGE struggle with the scale because it’s not budging and it can be scary. I have started to second guess myself even though I’m being 150% with EVERYTHING! My way of dealing with this is having an amazing coach and support system behind me. They all remind me that I’m working my butt off and if I’m following the plan it will work. It might take longer but it will happen.
I hope sharing this helps everyone during their times of struggling while in prep.
As we all know, sometimes it can be tough to stay on track during prep! Here are some simple tips from ADO Fitness trainer and IFBB Pro bikini competitor Lauren!
Tips for staying on track during prep-
1. VOLUME! I am all about volume to help myself feel extra full! Zucchini in my oatmeal, extra veggies in more scramble, extra spinach in my salads…I’m all about using low macro foods to fill me up.
2. Drink water/tea/coffee!! Warm fluids can really help you feel full when you’re hungry! Drinking your water helps you hit your water goal which is important for overall weight loss and health, but can also help you determine if you’re really hungry or just thirsty.
3. I bring my meals with/have them prepped ahead! If I know I’ll be out of the house for a while I bring my food with or like coming home to a meal that I can eat right away or just hear up. You’re more likely to stay on track rather than eat the whole kitchen if you are prepared.
4. I implement “kitchen is closed hours” I like to tell myself “the kitchen is closed” at about 7pm or 730. It’s mental, but helps me stay on track. This is usually when I brush my teeth to give myself this kind of bedtime routine and continue to signal to my body “eating time is over”. This is a great time to enjoy a cup of relaxing tea or throw on some white strips (sounds silly, but once you have those white strips on your teeth you shouldn’t have anything to drink for a couple hours after!)
5. Chew gum (be careful!! Can have artificials that upset your stomach, shouldn’t be too close to show and if you’re eating a lot can have extra calories!) go on a walk, listen to a podcast, clean… Just keep yourself busy! Remember, nothing grows in the comfort zone!! ??
For some more great tips follow Lauren on YouTube!!!
This week the ADO Fitness trainers are addressing how their lives have been negatively impacted by fitness to spread some light on issues not everyone speaks about. Coach Trista shares her story.
Although fitness has served more good than bad in my life, there are downfalls to competing and taking your physique to that level. Before I ever started competing I was always fairly confident and comfortable with how I looked. I never really knit picked at my body, I was fit but had my fluctuations of course. My physique wasn’t a focal point of my attention like it is today. After competing that all changed- I self admittedly have a mild case of body dysmorphia which is common in the industry. It’s almost impossible to ever be accepting of your body again unless you are stage lean or somewhat close. You start looking at every area of fat on your body in disgust, with a lot of negative self talk. I think for most who have or do experience this, it is because you know what your best looks like. You know your potential and anything less is not acceptable and goes unappreciated, even though you might still have abs! I remember one time in Vegas with Amber we refused to go to the pool because we thought we were “fat” and didn’t want to be seen in a bathing suit. Looking back, we laugh and want to slap ourselves, it was two weeks post show probably up 5-6 lbs from stage and we were still looking bangin!! We had our blinders on, we couldn’t see that we looked amazing and could have totally rocked a suit and had a great time. But we missed out because of the mind f*ck. This also happens during a prep you lose sight that you are more fit than half the population, you criticize yourself and people look at you like you’re nuts. But we are always striving to be shredded as possible without ever appreciating where we are in our journey. I have told myself multiple times when entering a prep, “ok, appreciate yourself the whole time, not just the end” I am still working on it, but getting better. So if you are prepping or dieting in general try not to lose sight of progress you’ve made just because you aren’t at your best yet. We should give ourselves credit for hard work and discipline. Nobody is perfect and it all comes down to loving and accepting ourselves where our bodies are healthy, what we can sustain to have a balanced life. ??
This week we are talking about our lives before we got into health/fitness and how it affected us for the best. ADO Fitness Trainer Joey shares her story.
I will say I have been pretty consistent since I was 19 years old. However, I can’t even explain how much I have learned in that time. I also have had my times where I have “fell off” and had my partying days as well.
Health and Fitness has kept me so grounded and organized with everything in my life. I am far from perfect and wasn’t the girl who just worked out and ate healthy my whole life. I grew up a little rough which is why I chose to start working out. Many people do not know but I am my mothers legal guardian and have been since I was 21. My mother has a lot of mental health problems that I started dealing with when I was around 18 years old. I basically needed to start babysitting her and making sure she was safe. I did this while going to dental hygiene school and working full time. I REALLY needed some kind of stress relief. I will say this lifestyle has made my life become so much more positive and grounded. Working out has become my routine first thing when I wake up in the morning. It is my coffee and stress relief.
Now I didn’t start off with lifting weights. I remember thinking cardio was the only way to see results and honestly going on long runs helped me clear my mind a lot. I then was introduced to weight lifting and realized how much more results I was seeing and it still was a great stress relief. In fact even better than a long run. Then after years of lifting weights, prepping food and literally living and breathing this lifestyle I needed a challenge. That was when I decided to do my first show and I was hooked! I am so in love with this lifestyle, competing is like second nature for me.
For me health and fitness is not just about the outside attributes, but mainly the health aspects of it. It is a plus that it helps you look better, but the mindset and positive energy it gives is what counts the most.
I am a believer that god puts things in front of you to see how well you can handle them in life and I know that everything I have gone through has just made me stronger. I am extremely lucky to be a part of ADO Fitness and fortunate enough to be able to help people with the same things I practice on a daily basis.