By, Charlotte Snow Okay, for those of us who are fitness competitors, we all know ridiculously intense our diets are during competition season! I mean, we are talking no joking around, crazy, hard - core diets. When clients or friends express interest dieting down to achieve this “stage look”, but have no intention of ever competing, I try to explain to them that eating healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a much healthier, better route to go. When we, competitors, are on prep, we are weighing all of our food, literally every ounce of food we consume we strategically weigh and pack in Tupperware to take with us for the day. We have to make sure there is no added salt, unknown spice or any kind of oil or such on our food. So, we are limited in the sense that we can’t easily just grab something on the road. Seems kind of strict, huh? Well, it is. This is my life on season. No questions asked. However, off season is a little less strict. I still weigh and pack my food for the day, because I do stick to an off season diet, but, if I am out and want to grab lunch with a friend, I can easily order something healthy at a restaurant. I allow myself the freedom to change up my meals. As long as I am eating healthy, making clean choices and sticking within my range of macros for the day, I am okay. I maintain my healthy lifestyle, a physique I am happy with and optimal energy! This is what I recommend to anyone looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I would never put my clients who are uninterested in competing on a strict competition diet. It’s hard, very trying and truly unnecessary if you’re not planning to step on stage.
By, Justin Purcell So is it true that when you’re at your leanest you’re also at your weakest? Competitors in bodybuilding, figure, physique, and bikini can attest to feeling your worst prior to walking on stage. Being carb depleted, calorie deficient, and dehydrated can definitely effect how you feel. People who are under 6% body fat have problems performing the most basic tasks, even remembering small details is a hard task to complete. I’ve been a Guinea pig for the past few months testing this process and trying to find a happy medium, because as a majority most of us want to look our best, feel our best, and perform at the highest level simultaneously. So let me give you a breakdown of my personal body experiment, and what I found to work best for myself. As a competitive strongman I walk around at 305lbs and relatively lean compared to most of my colleagues at 17% body fat (pictured below). Now at 305lbs my overall strength is at its peak. My best overhead press, deadlift, squat, and bench are best at 305lbs, or at least that was what I thought. However, being that heavy I also experienced mild sleep apnea, shortness of breath, and swollen ankles because of the weight, so there are definite tradeoffs to being big. Shortly before Thanksgiving I decided to give my body a break and diet for a bodybuilding competition to lose some body fat and basically just let me body feel normal. For 10 weeks I dieted like a bodybuilder, I dropped 60lbs of body weight and 9% body fat overall. I also flushed all the excess water out of my system to get a real weight idea at the end of the diet. At 8% body fat I definitely didn’t have the endurance I had when I was heavier. Generally I train one body part per day for 2.5 hours or close to 50 sets. Very high volume, but that’s how my body responds best. At 8% I only had about an hour of resistance training before I hit the wall. I kept all of my power on the lower end of all movements but my overhead press, and bench went down considerably in volume, and slightly in power. For example, I would rep 405 on bench for 8-10 at 305, but at 8% I could only hit 3 reps in strongman events I picked up speed on certain events, but the loss of mass definitely made truck pulls, and overhead presses harder. So being lean definitely does cost you numbers, but at what percentage can you keep power and still look and feel good? For my best individual results in a physical appearance, and power came at 12-14% body fat. I went down to 245lbs in body weight in 10 weeks, and I’ve subsequently increased to 265 in the past 3 weeks (pictured to the right). Today during event training I was able to match all of my best prior numbers, and my endurance was on point. So athletically I want to keep my percentage between 12-14% from here on out while trying to increase lean muscle mass. Now at 12% I don’t have a ripped mid-section, but I do have great overall definition, and vascularity. So why not have the best of both worlds? The body is amazing. Test it!
By, Charlotte Snow I am forever listening to people complain that they’re working out every day and they just can’t understand why their midsection just doesn’t look lean and mean. When I ask them, what their workouts consist of, I often get, “I do TONS of cardio”. It’s a pretty common misconception that tons of cardio will give you abs. If only… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Abs are made in the kitchen! Diet plays a HUGE part in bringing out those sexy lines in your midsection. If the majority of the calories you consume come from junk food, well guess what? You’re going to have junky abs! Sure, you might be clocking an hour a day on the treadmill and you might be skinny, but skinny and lean are two very different things. Many people are skinny, yet still have a high body fat percentage. Ever heard the term skinny fat? Not so endearing, huh? If you want to have a chiseled tummy, lean is where it’s at! Eating foods like lean proteins and good, healthy fats such as peanut and almond butters as opposed to ice cream and Doritos will certainly make a difference! Another thing you can use to help fight that layer of fat skimming the surface of your belly is AB Fx. It’s a topical fat burner (no pills!) that heats up the skin and enters the blood stream. It targets those stubborn fat cells, breaks them up and helps tighten the skin around those sexy abs you’re dying to show off! You can order it at www.body-fx.com and enter CharlotteFX at checkout to save 20% off your order!