Category Archives: Figure Competition Training

Did you give it your all?

by Contributing Author and Figure/Bikini Coach Tiffany Benson

Tiffany Benson Have you ever done something that had you walk away thinking and saying to yourself, “I really could have done better, or given more of me?” Yeah, me too…and I don’t like that feeling…So my first few figure competitions I gave it my all…I did the prep just right, ate the foods on target, did the cardio, and always placed in the top 5. But I could have practiced my posing more, I soon realized, and my t-walks… I always talked with the judges after all my figure competitions, to ask them what I can do better, and where I can improve on my overall physique and presentation.

I always took the feedback and ran back home with it. Well, in 2009…I did everything just right, no cheating on my diet, no slacking on my posing, and I went into the 2009 NGA Heart of America figure competition as an amateur, and came out as the newest NGA figure pro! What a great feeling! Knowing I gave it my all…my identical twin sister did NOT compete that competition and she was the one who awarded me on stage, so that was extra special too.

But the ultimate feeling of walking away knowing I did give the entire prep my all….is such a fantastic feeling! Now I get to joing the pro ranks and compete as an NGA figure pro and an IFPA pro. I think as a mommy of 3, I love to keep myself competing because it keeps me on my toes, and that goal, the journey and the end result, competing, is just an incredible accomplishment. You realize after the competition, that the stage time may be over with until your next competition, but wow! Look at the incredible transformation you have made! And that does not go away once you walk off the stage….now, many competitors do NOT stay competition lean all year round, that would not be healthy for your system and metabolism.

But once you have done it, and you did it all natural and with hard work, you know you are fully capable of doing it again and  it becomes quite an addiction. And at least it’s a healthy addiction! I will continue to compete figure so long as I can.

Happy training, and happy competing! Remember to give it your all!

About the Author:

I am an all-natural professional NGA figure athlete and professional IFPA figure athlete, a mommy of 3, a wife to my best friend Christopher, all-natural figure/bikini coach, Certified NOMA makeup artist, and a veteran of the U.S. Army.


The sport of Figure!

by Contributing Author and Figure/Bikini Coach Tiffany Benson

Tiffany BensonThe sport of figure for me has been something I started back in 2007 as a means and a goal to lose the baby weight after my 3rd baby was born and I stopped nursing. Most of my friends and co-competitors have similar stories…it all started with a goal. Which brings me to the whole journey to the stage….My opinion and outlook is “if you make it to competition day, you have already won the show!” Getting on stage is about way more that a trophy of a few, or even a pro card…it is within you that you have completed the journey and you have overcome all of your obstacles and fears. Becoming a figure athlete is about instilling within yourself…your mind, body and spirit that you are DISCIPLINED enough to make the decision to do this and disciplined enough to follow through with the lifestyle, sacrifice, routine, mental and physical stresses/pleasures (as there are both) and the pure determination. One must be focused, able to plan, and carry out that plan to succeed.

Off season is always more relaxed and not having to do the amount of cardio you did during your prep…it is a time to build the muscle you will showcase during your next on-season/competition season time. It is a time to eat and refuel your metabolism after all the dieting during your prep…it is a bit of a reward, as I see it…for completing the previous contest prep phase. Off season always helps me to appreciate the on-season/dieting phase more than I realized during the actual phases of it….I am usually pretty excited to get back into contest prep mode after a few months of off-season…

If you are one who has always thought about competing figure or bikini or bodybuilding…instead of just wondering “if you could do it,” I say “believe in yourself and go for it!” There would not be any of us athletes out here if we did not just go for it….everyone has to start somewhere…and quite frankly, the hardest part is starting out! Anyone who has a dream or vision of becoming a competitor has the will to do it…the drive. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. It all starts with a dream. Becoming a figure athlete is all in all transforming into your best athlete, your best you…that you can become!

About the Author:

I am an all-natural professional NGA figure athlete and professional IFPA figure athlete, a mommy of 3, a wife to my best friend Christopher, all-natural figure/bikini coach, Certified NOMA makeup artist, and a veteran of the U.S. Army.


Can you dramatically change your body a few days before Show Day?

Every competitor wants to know if they can cheat and pull off a trick a few days before the show day so that they are figure ready. They ask me about carb loading and overladin with water. For what ever the reason, specially new competitors, think that carb loading is some technique that’s going to make then incredible on the day of the show. Well I want to tell you from years of experience that carb loading has such a minute impact on your physique that it’s not even worth messing with. So many competitors think that if they somehow play around with their carbs or water that somehow they are going to transform from Wednesday to show day on Saturday. It’s not going to happen. I’ve never seen it happen.

The body just does NOT respond that quickly to anything. If you think that some system is going to transform you from NOT being ready to being figure ready in a couple of days, you’re fooling yourself. I always say to my girls “If you’re not ready the last week before the show, there’s nothing you can do to get ready for the show PERIOD.” But you know what? You CAN mess yourself up though with all that water! All that water will make you look soft. And all that hard work you put in will go down the tubes. THAT I can promise you!

The key is to train hard. From the beginning of the contest prep all the way up to the show day. The name of the game is “consistency”. That is the trick. Hard Work. You get ready by following a proper diet FAITHFULLY. There’s nothing you can do to change your body for the better in just 3 – 4 days. Get that through your head right now. The only exception is if a competitor needs to lose 1 – 2 before the show and has a week or so to do it. At that time 1 – 2 lbs is big. But in order to lose those 2 lbs it’ll take you at LEAST a week or HARD HARD training and strict dieting.

Under no circumstances should you think that you can dramatically change your physique a few days before the competition and go from a 3rd place finish to a first. It’s not going to happen. I’ve seen competitors totally mess themselves up with too much water, carbs and totally blowing any chances of being placed AT ALL. Don’t be that person. Don’t play games with your body chemistry.

My rules for a wining body on Show Day are:

1) Trian Hard! ( Click Here to let me train you )
2) Strict Diet! (Click here to download my 31 figure prep diets )
3) Consistency!

Now go do it!

Off Season Training

by Jennifer Fleck


Let’s be honest with ourselves, there really shouldn’t be an off season. It should truly be called and on season improvement time! I personally will be going for some pretty big shows this fall season. Why would I want to start all over again?? Instead, let us use this time the right way! Take a week tops off from your last show and hit it hard again! If you are only beginning on your figure fitness journey, there is time to build what you really want out of your show prep. Sign up for at least one show if not 2 or 3 within a certain time frame. This will insure two things. One, if you are not really where you want to be for the first scheduled show, back out and work even harder for the next one. You won’t be doing yourself any favors if you hit that stage without your utmost amount of confidence. Second, don’t let yourself fall off that wagon as soon as that first show is done. Read your judges commentary and learn from it! I strive for 2 weeks in between shows. It is enough time for the body to recover from the trauma of a stage day, but just enough time to make some small changes.

Off season should be a bit easier on the mind, but no easier on the body. It is not time to let you or fall off the wagon. It is your time to prove you can meet your goal. Or rather, for those veterans out there, it gives you time to beat your personal best. No matter what anyone ever tells you, your body will always be changing. Age is really on your side as a woman in the figure competition world. The older you become, the leaner you can be over time. Ironically, younger women don’t always do so well in this division because they biologically will keep more bodyfat on them. Fact! Hence, the popularity of bikini and the reason it has a younger average age. So, before you go thinking it is too late or you are too old, think again. Remember, it is the off season, not the quitting season!

To get the most out of this time period, however long that may be, make yourself a plan! Preferably at least 4 weeks of consistent training and eating. Heavier weight sessions that are further spaced apart to ensure proper healing and gains! Fewer cardio session for the same purpose, unless you have quite a bit of bodyfat to lose, otherwise cardio can self-destruct your progress. Most women don’t realize that until they are severely over training. If your diet is keeping you lean, rely on your weights, your iron, to keep you tighter and give you further strength! Remember, it’s the off season, not the lazy season!

Keep training, and NEVER GIVE UP!!

Attitude and Energy

by Jennifer Fleck


We all know how it goes, you step up your game, change your diet, hit the workouts hard, and “Poof!”. Where motivation once was is fatigue, where dedication still lies is also insecurity, and where your energy sources spurn from, lies stress. In order for this lifestyle to work for a modern women, it must become like anything else in our day to day existence: HABIT. Form a habit, one at a time, gain a lifetime’s worth of health and perspective. However, there will be times during the initial process where you want to fail, give up, give in. Please don’t.

From a scientific perspective, you wonderful women out there need to be aware that it takes more than just a week to form a habit. I am not just talking about your workouts either. How you sleep, when you eat, what you eat, how you judge yourself in the mirror. It all takes time!! We are not clocks that can simply be reset, we are more like a home that needs remodeling, it is a process. Remember, there may be several goals you need to meet before stepping on stage, but do your very best to look at your progression from a positive standpoint. Make it through the day without indulging in a craving, find a way to make that day’s workout more enjoyable, (don’t think about your stress and work), and lastly, try your best not to look at what still needs improvement. Look at what has already improved!! One thing at a time. Rome was not built in a day, and neither are your muscles.
Another subject several athletes do not speak of much is clothing. I tell you, that can be so stressful during this process! Your waist begins to shrink, but you build muscle in other areas,. Therefor, you get dressed for work or what have you in the morning and nothing fits the way you would like it too! Don’t we all wish we could live a breathe our spandex workout gear?? Please do not despair,. Again,. this is part of something so much bigger than how your jeans fit on a particular day! Trust me, I have been there several times myself. We are so programmed to think big=fat! NOT TRUE!! Every morning, feel how things fit! Don’t purely base you day on how you look in your head! The mind can be such a terrible thing at times! In other words, my waist will tidy itself up, but then my quads won’t fit into my pants. Frustrating, yes, failure, absolutely not! It’s progress ladies, it is all about the right energy and attitude!

When you start to feel yourself dreading the workout mainly out of boredom or fatigue, it is time for a change! Your diet and sleep are your top concerns, workouts are actually last. You will never have wonderful abs without a great diet nor will you have great arms if they never get the chance to recover. Funny how things are always connected. The exercise is really only a third of your goal here! So, when your work stresses you out or you have no desire to pump those weights, change your routine. The more you surprise the muscle tissue,. the faster it responds!! The next time you take a full recovery day, try for a different or more difficult workout the very day after your rest. You will find you have so much more to give to your sets! Treat your recovery with the same energy you are using to get up and do your workouts! In all actuality, this time is much more important! No rest, no results!

Lastly, I am very guilty of this one myself, keep you stress levels to a minimum. At the very least, your rest and gym time should be yours and yours alone. Don’t let your boss, children, significant other into your head! Remember how I told you this was the most selfish thing you would ever do? It really is, but you will be more selfless towards those you care about if you get to be selfish first! This is your precious time, zone out, breathe, and realize you have the strength, the drive, and the attitude to get up on that stage! You really do.