FULL STEAM AHEAD: Nutrition, Training, Cardio, and Visualization for Figure Competition
No Nonsense Magazine 2014 Collection
By: Hyla Conrad, 2012 NPC KY, OHIO, and KY MUSCLE overall figure champion
At a Glance: Hyla Conrad
Education: Bachelor’s degree in exercise science and cur-rently writing articles for Julie Lohre’s TeamFitbody.com website
Family: Married for 2 years to my high school sweetheart, Jimmy. We have a very active border collie named Max.
Residence: Corydon, IN
Years training: Competition training for 2 years, always been active and had a very athletic childhood
Weight: 130 (off-season), 122 (contest)
Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: Beef! I love beef, lean steak or hamburger with side salad and sweet potato.
Favorite Supplements: I love FitTabs multivitamin because they make my hair and nails look amazing. I take two in the AM and two PM. Of course, how could I not mention UMP? By far the best protein I have ever used. It keeps me full, while delivering the results I am looking for - lean muscle gain. This protein is so versatile, and tastes amazing just mixed with water. I have at least two shakes a day. My favorite is vanilla mixed with Jell-O sugar free banana pudding powder and 2tbsp of natural peanut butter with a little bit of water and ice topped with fat free Cool Whip. It’s delicious!!
What would you recommend to someone who has never used BI supplements before: Make sure you know your goals and the body type are trying to achieve, and read the Supplement Recommendation Chart on the BI website before you purchase. Educate yourself on the science behind the supplements; connecting the mind to the body is key.
What’s in your CD player: Mix of classical music for my Pilates workout
Hobby or interests: Camping, hiking, and playing in my garden. I love the dirt.
Words to live by: "Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Most inspiring book: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
I have always dreamed of competing but I didn’t know where to start, so in January of 2011, I turned to the Internet and searched for personal trainers in Kentucky. That is how I found IFBB Pro, Julie Lohre. It was the best decision I ever made. I was small and thin, with little to no muscle. Julie suggested I com-pete in bikini, but I always loved the way figure ath-letes looked and dreamed of having a body like that. I was determined to gain muscle in my upper body and with a background in gymnastics, I decided to take a shot at Fitness. I will never forget Julie’s re-sponse to my first 4-week photo update. I had gained muscle in my upper and lower body in just 4 weeks. I was ready for the stage in 9 weeks with lean muscle gains and a lower body fat percentage. I placed 1st in Fitness at the NPC Kentucky Derby Show and 2nd at the Julie Palmer Showdown.
Now, I am a figure competitor. My muscle gains have increased, and my body fat percentage is stable, only dropping during contest prep. The process of contest prep is easier because I am able to stay on track with the help of Julie and Beverly International. I am healthy and have tons of energy. Along with my everyday healthy lifestyle, competitively 2012 was the best year for me! My fall competition season started with Overall Figure wins at the NPC Kentucky State, the NPC Ohio State and the NPC Kentucky Muscle. My fall season ended with a trip to NPC Nationals in Atlanta, GA, which gave me the experience that I’ll need to improve and come back stronger in 2013. This journey and career path is just the beginning for me, and I am excited to see what is next.
Working with Julie has been a positive, life changing experience; committing to her training programs and nutritional guidance delivered results. She introduced me to Beverly International products, which supplemented my success in ways I never could have imagined. The quality of these products has given me the ability to take Julie’s training and nutritional pro-grams to another level.
Now, I’d like to outline exactly what I did this year to achieve these results, and I hope it will help you design your own success program for 2013.
MY MUSCLE GAIN / STAY LEAN DIET
- 2 whole eggs + 3 egg whites
- 3 slices of turkey bacon
- 3-4 slices of low-carb/high fiber bread with spray butter and sugar-free jelly
- ½ cup of berries
- ½ cup of low-fat cottage cheese, 1 small apple
- 8oz ground turkey patty with 2 slices of low-carb/high fiber bread to make a burger with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles and mustard
- Small salad w/ 1 tbsp olive oil & vinegar dressing
- 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein
- 1 banana or apple
- 2tbsp natural peanut butter
- 2 rice cakes
- 4-5oz lean beef
- 2 cups of green vegetables-usually a salad or green beans
- ½ cup of sweet potato or brown rice
- 2 scoops of Provosyn mixed with ¾ cup of skim milk (awe-some for lean muscle gain)
BI FitTabs Multi-Vitamin: 2 in AM and 2 in PM
BI Glutamine Select: 1 scoop during training and another at night if I’m feeling depleted
BI Lean Out: 2 capsules with 5 meals
BI Ultra 40: 2 tablets with 5 meals
BI EFA Gold: 3 in AM and PM
BI 7-Keto: 3 in AM and 3 with Lunch (4-6 weeks out from competition)
3-4 days a week 30 minutes HIIT in the early evening. I can work harder when I do cardio in the afternoon and I have more energy. As a former sprinter, I usually head to the local track and do sprints mixed with some plyos or I run stairs at the local fairgrounds. This type of car-dio really helps keep my legs tight, while developing the glute/ham tie in that many of us struggle with. I also wear a heart rate monitor to help me understand when my heart rate is at its peak and help me to monitor shorter recovery times. My recovery times are based on HR and not muscle exhaustion or accelerated breathing rates.
My training routine is more athletic based and incorporates bodyweight exercises mixed with higher intensity weight training. I started doing Tabata workouts and saw a huge change in my cardiovascular system. My recovery times in between sets were becoming easier and I was becoming more efficient each week. Plus it keeps my mind active by switching up the typical training regimen. I also added in Pilates twice a week to keep my legs and core tight, while helping to elongate the muscle bellies in my lower body.
One Pilates and cardio session on either day
Sample Tabata Workout
8 sets x 20 seconds work/10 second rest each exercise
1. One Arm Overhead Press Standing on one foot (alternate foot)
2. Across Body Delt Pulls (left)
3. Inverted Pushups
4. DB Lateral Raises
5. Across Body Delt Pulls (right)
After working hard for weeks, sweating, training and sticking to clean meal plans, competition day is the day I get to be tan, wear pretty jewelry, and have my hair and makeup done. For me, competition day is my “girly” day! The competition experience is always special to me and each one is unique. I always meet wonderful inspiring women who are living the same lifestyle I am. It’s like, “you step backstage and things you love automatically surround your world”. Just being in the com-petition is a great feat in itself, and everyone should be proud of being a part of something so wonderful.
I practice my presentation at least 3 times a week year round, even if it’s just a quick 5min practice in my gym clothes. This helps me remember some of the reasons why I am training and helps me keep track of symmetry and areas that I need to improve. First thing that goes through my mind is, smile. Second, is eye contact to all the judges. Lastly, I remember this is a show, and people want to see a show. My walk, my stage presence, my confidence, everything is centered on one thing- knowing that I am in a show. I scan the judges and the audience constantly with a huge smile on my face. I prac-tice this at home in a mirror, the walk, eye contact to all the judges, turns, just like it’s a real show.
Vision and Motivation
What helps keep me motivated? I am a strong believer in connecting the mind with the body. I truly believe if you can vision yourself in a positive light, you are able to achieve anything. Connections between the body and mind are very important for diet and training too. Knowing how foods work in my body help to keep me on track and healthy. Understanding the muscle structure and how it works is key to making those connections with the body during training sessions.
I have a vision of what my life will be like in a couple years. It’s a vision that includes everything I have ever wanted to achieve in my life. I revisit this vision often, and have a key word that takes me there. That key word is “steam”. My vision looks like this - “I am cooking a healthy meal for dinner in my kitchen, and the “steam” is rising out of the pot on the stove. My husband is sitting on the couch reading. My dog Max is napping on the floor a couple feet away from me. The windows are open, the air is clean and crisp, and the leaves on the trees are changing. I feel fit, healthy, and happy. I am in my mid 30’s and I am an IFBB Pro and I have won many competitions and have friends that support me and love the bodybuilding industry as much as I do.” This vision is important to me, and holds a special place in my heart. When I lose my focus, I turn to this vision and it keeps me training and pushing towards it. I really suggest that you develop your own personal vision for the life you want to achieve, inside and outside of fitness.
The love for this sport will never die for me. I know when I am 80 years old, I won’t be competing but I will still be training and enjoying this healthy lifestyle, and I will still be using Beverly International products!