Now I KNOW there are just TONS of you gals out there that want to get involved in figure competition (sarcasm!). So I thought I'd write a bit about how it started for me.
Like I said in my last post, I really had wanted to participate for many years but my fears about not being able to stick to the diet and not being able to get rid of the fat on my ASS were the biggies holding me back. People that know what I look like are probably rolling their eyes thinking I didn't really have much fat to lose. However, in this world, that is not the case! Spectating a show I knew that. And if there is one thing I am, it is a realist.
My first tip....find a mentor, coach, whatever. Someone who has done this before and knows what's going on. I found my coach Kim in Eau Claire, WI. Our first visit was set up as a consultation. The usual things transpired. We met, went over my goals and got to know each other a bit. We then got into what I really love.....testing and numbers! Some level of objectivity! Always a good thing!
We did a metabolic test to determine my resting metabolic rate. Like a lactate threshold test, this number is neither good nor bad. It is what it is. The purpose of the test is to determine how many calories it takes for your body to basically just live, keep the heart pumping, lungs respiring, etc. This number is then used as the basis to determine daily caloric needs based on the goal; weight maintenance or weight loss. I sat in a chair for 10 minutes quietly and breathed in and out of a device. Body Gem was the name of the test. I have not researched the validity or reliability of this thing. Sometimes, I figure, you just have to go with it! My number came in at 1170 calories. I imagine the device measures oxygen consumption and then based on some mathematical formula using your age, sex, etc, comes up with a number. Like I said, I don't know about the accuracy. Anyway, being a competitor, I admit I was a bit irritated! I WANTED the number to be higher because that would mean I could eat MORE! Like I said, it is what it is and so we carry on.
We then did the MEASUREMENTS! It's a weird thing, you want to know, yet you don't! Weight. Chest. Arms. Waist. Hips. Thighs. Calves. Caliper skinfold measurements were done of the tricep, iliac, and thigh. Kim determines body fat via the caliper method. From what I know hydrostatic weighing is the most accurate way of determining body fat. But I would imagine, having a dunk tank in your studio to measure just body fat is probably not an economically feasible option! Same thing as the metabolic rate testing....the accuracy of caliper testing is not clear to me. The same measurements on a 23 year old come in as showing way lower body fat than the caliper measurements on a 43 year old (which I am). I mean how many studies are done focusing on fit 40 year old women and their body fat? Probably not too many. Once again, I tell myself to shut up about it, look at the number and work on making it go down. Simple as that. I came in at 16% body fat.
Then she tells me what she would set as targets or goals for me by show time.
Goal weight 122-124 lbs.
Goal body fat less than 10%
How will I get there? From November of last year and up to the current time, my target calorie intake per day is 1600-1950 calories. I am trying to lose fat but gain muscle. This can be a very difficult balancing act. I always err on the side of the upper end of the scale. Remember, I LIKE TO EAT! Plus, I don't want to lose muscle mass which I don't feel I have a lot of to start with! This is broken down into what the bodybuilding world calls macros. Short for macronutrients. Goals for me are 45% carbohydrates (180-225g), 30% protein (120-150g), and 25% fat 44-55g). Jen, see why I am such a slug?! I lift weights 6 days per week, do daily calisthenics (pushups, ab work, lunges, etc), and cardio train 6 days per week (my blessed swimming, biking, and running time). I will talk more specifically about my diet and training in future posts. This is just a starting point!
It has been very physically demanding for me but fun at the same time. Weight training is new to me. The decrease in carb intake, I will admit, was Hell at first. But, I have adjusted. Overall, I've seen muscle development and fat loss as hoped. I've actually stayed the same weight which is fine. I've dropped to 13% body fat. More to go (off my saddlebags!). I'm impatient and always want more faster. But, I think that can be detrimental. Apparently, in this world you can peak to early just like in triathlon.
That's it for now. Next time I'll try to talk more about my physical training and what that's been like. Now, I'm off to the gym.