Novice Figure Competitor Starter Program
No Nonsense Magazine Vol 21, #4
By: Julie Lohre, IFBB Fitness Professional
Photos by: Rick Lohre
Getting started toward your first figure competition can be an exciting, but sometimes overwhelming experience. Your goals sound simple – get into the best shape of your life using a figure competition as your objective and to do it in a healthy, natural way that increases your metabolism and makes you both feel and look strong and fit. The process itself is not so simple. There is so much information out there… much of it contradictory and some of it down right wrong or dangerous. The Novice Figure Competitor Starter Program will get you heading in the right direction!
Let’s get started!
Where to Begin?
The first step is to evaluate your current conditioning and determine how much time you will need to get ready for a show. Take a critical look and decide what changes you need to make to achieve that ideal competition body. For figure, you want to have a wider back and shoulders that come down to a narrow waist with lean, but shapely legs creating a strong V taper. You should be lean and have an appreciable amount of muscle but not be ripped to the bone or thickly muscled.
Finding a Contest
The next step is to set a target date and identify a specific time frame by choosing a competition. For first time, novice competitors, I highly recommend starting with a smaller, local show in your area. If you can avoid traveling more than 2 hours for your first show, that is ideal.
Start with a quick web search to identify any shows close to you. There are many organizations to choose from like the NPC, NGA, UFE, INBF, WNBF, NANBF, and Fitness America. I prefer starting with natural, drug tested organizations like NGA or UFE where you will have to undergo a polygraph or urinalysis to confirm that you are a natural athlete before the show. Not only do these shows tend to be smaller, it levels the playing field.
Another great way to find out about local shows is to ask around at your gym. If you know anyone that has competed before locally, find out if they know of a show coming up. Many shows occur each year in the same location and build a local following.
Choosing Your Nutrition
Once you have identified your target show, you will want to get a firm grasp on nutrition. Start by recording your current diet. Take 3-4 days to record specifically what you are eating along with the calories and macronutrient breakdown. A logging app like My Fitness Pal or Lose It! can help. Once you know your current habits, decide if you need to lose bodyfat, if you need more muscle, or if like most women, you need a combination of both losing bodyfat as you gain muscle to really come in at your best.
GENERAL NUTRITION GUIDELINES FOR THE NOVICE COMPETITOR:
Eating clean, healthy foods will make a huge difference as you work to transform your body. Here are my top nutrition guidelines for novice competitors:
1. Eat more protein. For the woman that wants to gain muscle as she loses bodyfat, including 1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight should be your minimum targeted protein intake.
2. Eat as many veggies as possible. Vegetables are so low in calories and high in fiber that adding extra will help you stay full longer and will add vitamins and nutrients that you need.
3. Cut out simple sugars. Sodas, desserts, sweets, candy…anything that has added sugar should be eliminated.
4. Focus on quality with your foods. Avoid processed, boxed foods whenever possible and instead choose lean proteins, vegetables and fruits, complex carbs and healthy fats.
5. Never drop your calories below 1200 per day. This might sound like a quick way to lose bodyfat, but you will inevitably slow your metabolism and could cause long term negative effects for your body.
DANA TAGGART AND JULIE LOHRE
GETTING STARTED WITH SUPPLEMENTS
Once your nutrition is in a good place, the right supplements will make a huge difference in how quickly you achieve your goals. Don’t be fooled into thinking that all supplements are created equal. There is a vast difference in the quality of Beverly International supplements as compared to what you might find advertised in the pages of the latest fitness magazine. You want to avoid supplements that are the ‘latest hype’ and that have little to no research about their efficacy. The tried and true supplements from Beverly International will help you with that goal of losing bodyfat as you gain muscle.
HERE IS WHAT I RECOMMEND FOR NOVICE FIGURE COMPETITORS:
• Fit Tabs – 2 tablets in the morning
• Lean Out – 2 capsules with 4-5 meals per day
• 7-Keto MuscLean – 2-3 capsules with breakfast and lunch
• Density – 3 tablets, 3 times per day
• Glutamine Select – 1 scoop with training
• Ultimate Muscle Protein (UMP is my absolute favorite protein powder in the world) – 3-4 scoops per day as part of your overall nutrition plan.
This stack will optimize fat loss and allow you to add quality muscle throughout your contest prep.
You can download my FITBODY “I Can Eat That!?!” recipe books for FREE at http://julielohre.com/freebies/ to get lots of delicious recipes using my favorite protein powder – Ultimate Muscle Protein.
TRAINING FOR YOUR COMPETITION
Training for your competition will be one of the most challenging but rewarding parts of this whole process. Training should be divided into two parts – weight workouts and cardio. Both will be important!
For cardio, start with 3 sessions per week of 30 mins of cardiovascular exercise that really gets your heart pumping. Choose something you enjoy, but where you can burn about 10 calories per minute. If you have more bodyfat to lose, then you may need to increase your cardio.
JULIE LOHRE’S NOVICE FIGURE COMPETITOR WORKOUT PLAN
Work out 4 days per week. Each day, begin with a 5-10 min cardio warmup followed by a series of stretches that focus on the parts of the body you will be working that day.
Day One – Full Body/Heavy Weights
Complete 4 sets of each of the following exercises work for 8-10 reps per set and resting 1-2 minutes between each exercise.
Incline Bench Press
Wide Grip Pull-ups (Assisted if needed)
Sumo Deadlift High Pull
End today’s workout with sprint intervals where you run ¼ mile, then walk ¼ mile. Complete a total distance of 3 miles.
Day Two – Upper Body & Abs
Complete 3 sets of each upper body exercise for 10-12 reps, for abs complete 15 reps per exercise resting 30 seconds between each set.
Medicine Ball Pushups
Barbell Bicep Curls
Upright Barbell Rows
Tricep Bench Dips
Medicine Ball Scissors
Upward Hip Thrusts
Lying Leg Raises
Day Three – Lower Body Circuit with Glute Emphasis
Complete 20 reps of each exercise as a circuit moving immediately to the next exercise. Once you have completed the full circuit, rest for 2 minutes. Repeat 2-3 times.
Weighted Walking Lunges (alternating right and left)
Medicine Ball Squats
Banded Donkey Kickbacks (10 on each leg)
Weighted Calf Raises
Banded X Walks
Glute Pulses with Bands
1 min Plank Hold
Rest 2 minutes then repeat circuit
Day Four – Back, Delts & Abs
Complete 4 sets of each upper body exercise for 10-12 reps, for abs complete 15 reps per exercise resting 30 seconds between each set.
Back & Delts
Bent Over Barbell Row
DB Front Raises
Seated Cable Row
DB Arnold Press
Straight Arm DB Pullovers
Medicine Ball Sit Ups
Hand to Elbow Planks
Hanging Leg Lifts