Category Archives: figure training

Working around injury, in the sport of figure and bikini

by Contributing Author, NGA/IFPA figure pro and Figure/Bikini Coach Tiffany Benson

Tiffany BensonAS a veteran of the U.S. Army and having been involved in a near death vehicle accident 10 years ago, leaving me with a broken neck and back in multiple areas…I KNOW injury! So I have learned many things through my years of competing and training. Always always always listen to your body! Even if you have a log, or a plan that you are following on your way into the gym, listen to your body. Connect with your body. If your body says “ouch” then STOP immediately! If you need to skip certain moves or machines it is perfectly ok. I had to take many years off of certain things like the traditional squat and the traditional deadlift.

It’s ok…I worked my way slowly with baby stepping….back into these movements. The reason I am able to do them today, is because of my much needed time off, to recover from injury… Even when you are able to incorporate the exercises back into your routine, do not fear having a bad day and needing to skip when your body is telling you to please not do it. Injuries can be fixed through good stretching, rest, recovery, sound nutrition, physical therapy (which I am a huge believer in!) and just simply being smart enough to listen to yourself. Your body will speak to you. Listen to it!

Happy and healthy training ya’ll!

Much love, Tiffany

If You Have Only Just Begun…

by Jennifer Fleck

JenSo, you happen to be sitting around one day after your workout and you notice you feel like you haven’t done enough. You feel like you have more to give to your self-image (and your abs). You just don’t quite feel like you have reached your destination yet. Sound familiar? You are not alone! I cannot stress that enough! You begin to poke around magazines, the web, whatever the sources may be and find something that intrigues you…doing a figure show. Hmmm…you wonder and shrug it off…”Nah, I could never do that!”. Oh, my lovely athletes, you are so wrong!
Before you dive in headfirst and put yourself into an absolute panic, this is a process. It takes time and the most amount of dedication you have ever put into yourself. Another big one to remember, this is one of the most selfish things you will ever do. I say this in a kind and positive context. Words to live by: “In order to be truly selfless, you must be selfish first”. You can’t take care of everyone else unless that same effort is put into yourself.
Typically, if you are already a fit woman, you need roughly 10-12 weeks to prep. For some of you out there, you may require more or less. Age, activity level, work schedules, and current diet all come into play here. If you, for example, only have 5-10lbs of fat to get rid of and just need some overall definition, 8 weeks can do it if you are devoted to your cause. On the other hand, if you lead a very busy life and don’t want to send yourself into an exhausted, over-trained state, give yourself room!! There is no shame in taking a bit longer to get where YOU need to be. This is about you and no one else. On that note, I will also mention, do not do a competition for someone else. It’s all about you!!!

Before the barrage of information out there gets the better of your wits, try to remember it is fairly simple. You change your diet to whole foods, no processed allowed, eliminate dairy and sugar (yes, even from fruits), and stick to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. As for training, that part can be fun, you have to constantly keep your body guessing. Let me tell you, this ensures you will never be bored, sore, yes, but it is so worth it the moment you get up on stage.

First thing’s first, plan your food! Cook only once or twice a week to ensure your course is not derailed by the lack of prepared food! Next, plan your workout schedule, engraved into your mirror every morning if you must. Bad days that do not go as planned will happen once in awhile, do not let that change your goals! Plan as much as humanly possible. The body you have always desired is 80% made in the kitchen!!!!

Stayed tuned for next week when I will bring you a few fast and hard workouts from my own regimen guaranteed to save some of your valued precious time. For now, I will leave you all with this, change to eating at least 5 times daily. Small meals and small snacks every few hours. Do not wait until you are roaring hungry, it is self-sabotage! Almonds, chicken, quinoa, spinach, eggs, and sweet potatoes must become your new best friends. Don’t despair, in the future I will have great ways to spice up all these foods! Until next time,…NEVER GIVE UP!!
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