Between Shows: Judges Feedback, Focus & Peak Week #2
So here it is, hanging on for 3 weeks between shows. In the past, I have had a hard time keeping my head in the game post show. It usually takes me about a week to get back into it and stick to my diet. This year was a little different. The meal I ordered after MN Mayhem was a yummy salad. That is just what I felt like eating. Everyone else ordered pizza and cheese curds but a big tasty salad hit the spot.
The next morning I splurged and had french toast. with real syrup. Not Walden Farms calorie free pancake syrup. It was like a giant plate of french toast. A weeks worth of carbs giant. The rest of the day I had a 1/2 jar of nutella, 1.5 cupcakes and a few kit kats. And the weird thing is is that I didn’t even really want those things. I just ate them because I could. The next day my weight was actually the same but I felt like shit. At any rate, I was laser focused after that and have been so far.
Mulling over placings at Mayhem
Bodybuilding is so subjective. Each federation and even each judging panel have similar overall criteria for each division (bikini, figure, physique, bodybuilding) but what they choose to nit pick to make the final placings is where it can be a bit different. Some I have seen prioritize the posing, some what a softer look, some want a harder look, some prioritize the walk for bikini divisions etc etc. It can be really tough.
About a week after Mayhem I emailed most of the judges and requested feed back for improvement. This is what I’ve got:
“I remember you well”…..(yada yada about me looking like another bikini pro he felt I was a twin to which was very flattering)….. “I also feel that you are within striking distance of your pro card at any time and could possible achieve that at your next show! Just keep grinding and doing shows and it will come for sure!”
“Excellent stage presentation. Color looked good. Complimentary suit. Continue on. You had a tough class. Congratulations!”
(Vague feedback which makes me crazy. I took second in both classes and I would like to know why I didn’t get first so I can improve on that… know what I’m sayin…)
“I thought you looked fantastic, definitely a standout imo. I like the athletic look that you have for bikini, with that said you are almost getting to be ‘figure-sized’. If you plan to stick with bikini avoid gaining too much for size in upper body. Glutes and hams can be brought up more. Conditioning was very nice, could even be a hair leaner. Posing was awesome! You have natural stage presence! Keep killin it!!”
I really enjoyed your bikini t-walk and thought that your presentation was outstanding. I wish I could pick out some things that you need to work on, but I think you have a very good overall package. If I had to say anything is continue doing what you are doing and over time your body will just naturally improve without picking out certain body parts. I know that is not overly helpful but I thought you looked really good!
Judge 5: head judge
“You were absolutely just great. Best stage presence ever. The fine line between figure and bikini is a challenge to decide where it should be. A lot of it depends on the quality of competitors that show up. You nailed your posing and did everything you were supposed to do. In most shows, you would have won but the winner of your class had the ideal physique for bikini that we were looking for. In the end, you had a lot of muscle in the thighs and I felt that if you stood like a figure competitor that you would have done very well in the figure class. Your conditioning was right where it should have been for bikini with your physique. You cannot be quite as conditioned for bikini so you came in just right, I could just tell that you have some figure in you if you wanted to. You were right there, it’s just that this time out the winner of your class showed up and brought what Leif said he wanted us to look for. She didn’t have as much muscle but she had a softer look with the shape to go with it. I wouldn’t recommend changing much. You already have what it takes to be competitive in any show you enter. Every judging panel is going to see it differently so just keep bringing what you brought. You will turn pro soon whether it’s in bikini or figure.”
Head Judge’s Mayhem Review Podcast:
The Head judge in the Mayhem Review talked about me about 50 minutes into the podcast the day after the show. He had stated that “Heather Owen was a stand out” and “Heather Owen had, I felt, had one if the best, if not the best physique in the entire show”… And “Heather Owen is the ultimate ultimate competitor” due to my stage presence, confidence, posing and physique. He had me in first place for a while but decided I had too much muscle and I could have given some of the figure girls a run for their money if entered their class leaner.
You can listen to that here. Bikini classes are 50 minutes in.
Overall, this is the best I have ever looked on stage and it was SO MUCH FUN!!!!!! I truly don’t care how I placed. I DO care that I brought the absolute best me to the stage and I did!!!
Improvements for the future
Being that I have a show on October 22nd, 3 weeks after the Mayhem contest, there isn’t a ton of changes I can make muscularly but I can lean out a bit more. As far as my future goals, I am not sure. If I do well on October 22nd, I will continue in bikini, if not, I will pursue figure and take a long ass off season and beast mode it.
Here are my issues with figure for me personally… I have a lot of shoulder problems due to a car accident 20 years ago. I have severe whiplash trauma which renders my neck and low back straight. That is bad news bears as your neck and lower back should have a nice curve. Having a straight neck sets my head forward which then sets my posture forward and effs up my skeletal structure all the way down. My shoulders tend to roll forward and I have to work really really hard to keep impeccable posture. Really hard. It is exhausted actually.
You can read more about that story toward the end of 4 Smart Ways to Balance Your Bikini Bod.
Anyhoo, Lifting heavy volumes kills my shoulders and predisposes me to impingement. And right now, both of my shoulders are bothering me making any chest exercises painful as well as most shoulder exercises. This is why I chose bikini- so I wouldn’t have to continue to lift so beast mode in my upper body.
We shall see. If I continue bikini I will be laying off the upper body stuff and really focusing on the glutes and hams.
How do I get a pro card?
I have been getting this question a lot. There are various federations that are all separate entities: NPC, NANBF, NGA, OPA, DFAC, ANBF etc. Each of these federations has a Pro federation associated with it. NPC=IFBB, NANBF= IFPA.
A lot of acronyms, I know.
anyhoo, when you compete in a show, that show is affiliated with a federation such as the NANBF. You have to pay the membership fees to that federation for that year along with the show expenses. If you win the show and are the top winner in the entire division (bikini, figure, physique) meaning you won your class and then went up against the winners of all the figure classes and won above them, you get a pro card. Now you can compete in Pro shows for money. If you do well in Pro shows, you go to the world contest for that federation.
See more on federations in this article Federations Explained.
Same diet as the last month and a half or so…
Macros are set at about 175 g protein daily, 47 fat and then carbs cycle. High, medium and low days are specified in the “lifting and cardio” section below.
1x a week: Low (off day): 85 carbs (Sat)
4x a week: Medium day: 110 carbs (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun)
2x a week: High day: 140 carbs (Mon, Thur)
Lifting & Cardio
The last few weeks cardio has been painstaking. not necessarily that I am tired but I am counting down the minutes until its over. I am constantly looking at the little time count down every 30 seconds. If I had more than 30 minutes a day, I think I would go absolutely insane!!
Medium-Sun: Legs (rep ranges, 6-8) 30 mins SS cardio 130 Hrate
High-Mon: Push (rep ranges, 20-30 reps) 12 HIIT
Medium-Tue: Pull (rep ranges, 10-15) 30 mins SS cardio 130 Hrate
Medium-Wed: Legs (rep ranges, 10-20) 30 mins SS cardio 130 Hrate
High-Thurs Push ( rep ranges, 10-15) 12 HIIT
Med-Fri: Pull (rep ranges, 20-30) 30 mins SS cardio 130 Hrate
Off-Sat: 12 HIIT
- So this is what I drag around with me in the morning…
- pre-workout drink water + powder (green bottle half full)
- intra workout drink + powder (dark purple bottle full of water)
- water for the morning (black bottle), protein powder in the black shaker (I fill that with water when I am ready to drink it)
- carb and fat source (rice cake and almond butter)
I wait to mix any powders with water until I am ready to drink them so that the compounds don’t break down sitting in water for ever. Creatine is one that def breaks down.
Right when I get up on an empty stomach:
OR (because I can only handle so many stimulants,I have been using samples of fat burners I got at the physique summit. Of those, I can’t tell you which worked better but I can tell you they all made me drink more water so some metabolic reactions were stimulated and hopefully if was fatty acid oxidation!!
SuppRest by Natty Nutrition (LOVE this supp– this balances my hormones like crazy good- well, as much as it can at this point.)
Bitter melon extract
Quest Protein Powder -Cookies n Cream flav. or Trutein Naturals
400 mg Magnesium Glycinate (highly absorbable form)
Apple cider vinegar before dinner
Fish oil- Carlsons Norwegian Cod liver oil. good stuff.
I am holding my physique here in these final weeks 26-28. Hanging around 134lb ish.
I had a Dexascan done at DexaFit Minneaplis the week of peak week for Mayhem as well as one for the show this Saturday. I lost a about 1 pound since my last show and I thought, OH YAY! Another pound of fat gone! But not so fast. My body fat has been holding around 14% body fat. The weight loss came from lost muscle.
The one thing I changed between shows was not drinking dextrose intra workout. I just wanted to chew my carbs and not drink them. Diet, cardio and lifting were all the same the last three weeks. That just goes to show you that having that immediate energy source for your muscle cells while lifting is super beneficial in a cut phase.
It is evident my hormones are effed up… how do I know…
I am crabby and irritable, tired and unmotivated, I missed my period 4 weeks ago and it is still non existent and my face is breaking out. I am prone to acne anyway but I am getting those big deep painful zits. UGH!
I ended up putting a very very thin layer of a bentonite clay/ apple cider vinegar concoction on my break out zones over night and holy shit it is working super fab!! I wish I had taken before and after pics.
Read more in depth on this subject in the article
I also did a full blown face mask with the stuff too one night…
Attractive, I know.
Evening out my tan
At Mayhem, my summer tan lines came through… my quads were super dark and my torso was really light no matter how much Pro Tan I put on. So, I went tanning a few times to even it out before the Northern States Natural Classic.
Never assume, presume, judge or take things personally.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”― Wendy Mass
I never take anything personally. If someone is rude to me or directs unwarranted anger in my direction, I know their anger stems from something unresolved within themselves or whatever bad day or situation they may be facing.
Being that I am extra irritable, I have to work extra hard not to get mad when some A** hole road ranges that I am not going more than 5 miles over the speed limit. Or I merge in front of someone because the road ends and they are pissed about it… SRSLY.
Anyhoo, I am also finding it hard to be my super out going self right now (aside from my low calorie diet induced
short fuse), my Mother had gall bladder surgery at the beginning of my peak week into this next show on the 22nd. She is not recovering well and is in A LOT of pain. She was finally discharged from the hospital and is staying with us while she recovers. It is really hard to see a loved one writhing in pain and you are helpless to stop it! UGH! Stressful. All I wanted to do was yell at the nurses to get her more pain meds but that would have only angered the nurses and more meds would have most likely put my Mom in cardiac arrest. So, I passed on the yelling decision.
Healthy fluffy low carb pancakes
These are so good. Recipe by A Big Man’s World. They are pretty darn easy, fluffy and tasty. I whip the egg whites into stiff peaks before adding all the other ingredients. Then I cook these on a griddle at 200-250… low and slow. I then use a good sharp spatula to gently scrape them off the griddle to flip. DAYUM! These sure do the trick in contest prep!!!!
These are pretty darn good. They certainly did the trick. I skipped the frosting part and topped with mini chocolate chips and Walden farms syrup. For the red velvet part, I actually added a red velvet bakery emulsion by Lorann. It adds a really nice red velvet flavor! Waffle recipe here:
For these I used Quest Nutrition Chocolate protein powder for lack of cookie dough protein powder and they turned out superb!!!
Lunches, dinners and the in between
I workout in the mornings after breakfast. My early meals have carbs but the majority of my afternoon meals are all veggies, meat and a condiment like sweet mustard or Redhead chipotle sauce.
not to forget the in betweens…
okay, so I didn’t actually eat these cute little truffle pumpkins. I bought them to have on display and snacking when we had some friends over for dinner. Luckily, they were gone by the end of the night. 🙂
Peak week is the week right before your show where you carb up and take it somewhat easy. This isn’t the time to lose weight and do extra cardio to get some pounds off. As I stated above, I have been holding my physique on point for the last 3 weeks.
My peak week is the same as that for Mayhem 3 weeks ago:
Normal water intake (1 gallon) Sun-Wed. Then increase water.
Medium-Fri, Sat, Sun: Legs (rep ranges, 6-8) 30 mins SS cardio 130 HR
Refeed day-Mon: Push (rep ranges, 20-30 reps) 12 HIIT
- Refeed macros 120 protein : 200 carbs : 40 fats
Medium-Tue: Pull (rep ranges, 10-15) 30 mins SS cardio 130 HR
Medium-Wed: Legs (rep ranges, 10-20) 30 mins SS cardio 130 HR
Medium-Thurs Push ( rep ranges, 10-15), No Cardio. Drink 2 extra liters of water (1.5 gallons total)
Med-Fri: Off day. Off Day Diet. Drink 2 extra liters of water (1.5 gallons total)
Off-Sat: Show time! Off Day Diet
Refeed day was DA BOMB! I was so nice and full all day. This time around, I just doubled the carb sources I normally eat instead of doing stuff like rice crispie treats and brownies. Once I start in on that stuff, it is way too fuckin hard to stop and I go insane.
On Monday I ate:
doubled a Big Man’s World Low Carb Pancake recipe! YUM!
It was insane how good of a mood I was in the next morning. I was relaxed and not stressed. My bickering kids didn’t make me want to pushing them down myself. ugh. This whole week my mood has been so much better.
I am a big proponent of refeed days just for this reason. If you do keep them in, you have to look at total calories over a weeks time. If you have a bunch of cals one day, it takes calories away from another day if that makes sense. When people do GIANT refeed days, then their other days are very low calorie. Unless you are purposely trying to deplete glycogen for several days to refill stores so that your muscle cells have a greater capacity to store carbs and look bigger- something I may do for more muscular divisions, the torture is not necessary for bikini girls and most figure girls. It only causes very drastic hormonal (ie metabolic) dips and it’s just not fun.
I am more of a middle of the road kind of gal. Keep cals moderate with a refeed day of 100 more carbs than normal but decrease protein and possibly fat. Cal intake is just a bit higher but not a ton. The extra carbs sure makes a difference!