One of the things about Carly’s physique is that she is bottom heavy. She leans out very fast in her upper body but her legs take quite a while. So knowing this we planned on a long prep so that it could be a slower process with the goal to not sacrifice her upper body as we pushed to get her lower body to come in which her legs have finally started to come together the last couples but this prep started at the end of January so you figure it has taken her 5 full months of dieting just to get her legs to the point where they are coming together.
I think as she progresses in the sport and gets older (she is still only 22) and continues to develop and get more muscle maturity her legs will become easier and easier to get leaner. Her goal is to stay leaner this offseason and she will have to maintain cardio in the offseason as well which will help. But part of the reason she did soften up more than we had planned on this past offseason was 1. After the USAs in 2015 she looked great but was just undersized as she was only 20 years old at that show and we just wanted to see her get on stage at that next level and see where she was at. And the fact that she met Nicole Wilkins who gave her some valuable one on one time in the gym before the show and again at the show was worth it just for that. One of the biggest pieces of advice she gave Carly was to not rush her physique. She said so many women push their body’s too hard to fast and they end up burning out before they ever hit their true peak. So after that show she competed again a few weeks later at the Tahoe Show but than took all of 2016 off to just grow and develop and so with the goal to just eat and grow she softened up but also the other reason in which I’m not going to go into detail in this write up because it an entire write up in itself but she went on birth control and that is a huge no no women who are competing in the sport completely. To basically sum it up quickly, hormone releasing birth control (doesn’t matter if it lose dose) will inhibit your body from utilizing it own natural testosterone and since testosterone is a key factor in your muscle mass which also is a factor in your metabolism it effects those therefore your body softens up and it take a several months (3-6 months) for your body to clear this out of it system so it no longer affects your physique. So she went off it late in the fall and so at the time of her starting prep photos she more than likely still had some birth control hormone effects still in her system. The reason I am mentioning this briefly is because for women who want to compete competitively your birth control is a factor. As always you can contact us to discuss this if you fall in this situation.
Her prep started at the end of January at 167 pounds. We started this prep actually with the thought that she may be able to do Junior Nationals in the middle of June. She started off at about 2100 calories with 225g of carbs and doing cardio 3 days a week for 20 minutes. There wasn’t anything to fancy going on at this point and it was just a basic macro split. She choices to always follow a meal plan. We do offer flexible dieting and we will cover that approach when we go over Brittney prep but for Carly she has always been on a meal plan. The first month everything progresses as expected. Our goal is to be in the 1-2 pound a week weight loss drop initially. The first month she dropped 7 pounds so right in that goal. That goal for us means she is maintaining her muscle mass and dropping water/body-fat. Her body-fat at that point was at about 18.5% so going by above where I am saying she was soft it should be noted that her body-fat was just fine for every day fitness shape but for her physique and history she was soft for her at the start. We really didn’t make any changes or add any cardio at all for the first 3 weeks. At week 4 is when we adjusted her carbs and fats and decreased carbs down to 175g and increased her fats up to 60g (from 45g) and left her protein the same. These changes brought her down from 163 to that 7 pound drop that first month. When she was at 160 we dropped her carbs again to 140 and left fats/protein the same and then started doing carb ups once a week. From here she dropped to 158 pounds over the next few weeks but now she is slowed down to 1 pound per week weight loss which is still in that 1-2 pound a week range. Now at this point everything for her slows way down and you have to really go off body-fat and progress photos to see her physique changing. To give you an idea she weighed 158 pounds March 9th and this week she weighed 153 pounds So basically that averages out to a weight loss of 1 pound per month since back in early March to now. So as you can see this can really mess with your mind. And actually if you really want to be technical she was 153 pounds at the Boise show which was 2 months out and so she really hasn’t lost any weight in the last 2 months. But until the Boise we pretty much ran a simple moderate carb plan with about 100-125g of carbs a day with a weekly high carb day of about 200-250g depending on the progress for that week. Cardio didn’t get to crazy at that point either. We kept cardio around 30 minutes a day for most of this time frame through the first 3 months of her prep knowing that after the Boise we were going to really ramp things up with cardio to twice a day. So I didn’t want to burn her out once we decided to not do Jr Nationals. Once a week she did a cardio session on the track. But most of her cardio at the start with a half intervals and half steady state so if she 5 cardio sessions: 2 were steady, 2 were intervals and 1 was track day.
Why did we do the Boise show so early. The easy answer is she needed to get requalified for USAs and the original plan was to do the Washington State which would have been this past weekend to get requalified but than I was thinking 1. I don’t want her stressed out wondering whether or not she would get qualified at 3 weeks out but 2. I also told her that I don’t care where you are at in your prep that if you are truly a national competitor you should be able to walk into the Boise show and qualify no problem just based on her shape. So we knew she wasn’t going to be conditioned like she is going to be here in a week and half and even just right now but we knew she would be good enough and rely just simply on her tiny waist and wide lat spread and sure enough she won the overall for figure. I told Bailey this exact same thing last year before she went to do Nationals where she placed 4th at Nationals but she also won the Boise show Figure overall before that. The 3rd reason was that for Carly at the time of the Boise show she was already at a full prep time frame wise as most competitors so her body is going to start to wear down with the prep process so doing a show and then doing a post show re-feed where she just gets a day to go eat and eat whatever will reset her metabolism and get her moving again and it did just that.
Post Boise Show. After the Boise show her prep changed. Her metabolism revved up and for the next couple weeks we actually started at 160g of carbs and get her fats really low at 15g which means no direct sources of fat and her body just responded. Again we can’t go off weight loss but the shape, the body-fat was dropping and everything was moving super smooth so from 8 weeks out from the USAs after Boise to 5 week out from the USAs we didn’t change a thing and just ran with it since she was responding. That is important as a prep coach is being able to reach someone physique and just go with the flow and not get stuck in the we must do it this way. At about 5 week out her body slowed down so at this point we went back to a lower carb but still at 100g a day and did a weekly carb up. After the Boise show we also increased cardio to twice a day doing 40 min fasted and 40 min post lifting 5 days a week and with the carb increase this worked nicely and helped with that lean out over those 3 weeks. Than we switched to 50 min fasted and cut a little back post workout to 35 min. These last 8 weeks there were no track workouts, just gym cardio.
Mock peak. Now one of the hang ups with the Boise show was that we were not able to do anything as far as seeing how her body would peak because 1. She was too far out so her physique wouldn’t be the same as it would be at 3 weeks out from USAs and 2. She started her period Thursday before the Boise show so she was PMSing all week which also changes things going into a peak and again there that is when as a coach you have to adapt to the current situation and just go with it. So we didn’t really gain anything knowledge wise out of the Boise show other than she got re-qualified which she needed to do and that eliminated some stress which was good. So at 3 weeks out I wanted to run her through an actual peak and see how her body responded so I could gain info on what we might do when it counts So for this week I was mainly wanting to track 2 things. 1. How did she respond to not pulling sodium and 2. How she respond to pushing water. In the past because we are always looking to get her legs leaner we have always pulled sodium but the problem with pulling sodium is it makes it hard to fill out and get hard the day of the show even when you add it back in and this is why often times competitors will say they feel they looked better the day after the show once they have gone and ate which is mainly taking in a lot of sodium. So for this 3 week out mock peak week we kept her diet the same through the week until Friday and then Friday since we were going to keep salt in and push water than you have to pull carbs back because you have to remember that you have 3 options and you can’t do all 3 and that is the muscle is made up of water, sodium and carbs (glycogen) and so a rule of thumb when you think about depleting I look at those 3 factors so I eliminate 1 in order to peak someone therefore since we are going with sodium and water we pulled carbs out Friday until about 8pm when we shut water off and she had to drink 2.5 gallons of water by 8pm. She also cut her sodium out at 8pm as well. Once we cut water and sodium out than she added in some carbs the next few hours. This approach cut her from 153 down to 149 and had a really nice look that Sat mid day for her photo shoot. So this will probably be the approach we take next weekend. Her body-fat at this point was at about 10.1% depleted.
From this mock peak we changed things up again. That night after her photo shoot she was able to go do a steak and fries and so coming off that now I am looking at getting her truly to peak now for USAs. So we cut carbs all the way out for a couple days and went back to the 40AM/40PM cardio routine. This lasted from Sunday through Thursday and then from here we went back up in carbs to about 100g and than dropped her fats way down to no direct sources of fats for a few days. At this point her cardio switched to where it is now and that is we have been doing an approach where if she has carbs in than we go 40 min fasted and 40 min post but the first 15 min she does ten 30 second sprints with 60-90 second recovery walk in between each sprint. Than she does 25 min of steady cardio after that to finish it out. Than some days she does straight 50 min fasted and that the only cardio for the day. So we have been rotating through the 2 a days with the 40/40 and the 50min as well as after her leg day she just does the ten 30 second sprints only on that day. So her cardio isn’t the same every day and going a lot by how her body feels and seems to be progressing. But everything is on track. She was at 10% body-fat in the comparison photo here on Monday which is great because she was 10% depleted and now she is 10% not depleted so our goal to peak is to bring her down probably another percent. This week (2 week out) is her hardest week of the prep. Once she gets to Saturday it will be a cake walk for her as we cut cardio all the way out and just focus on short workouts with weights and rest so that her body can peak. Remember a peak comes from your muscle being rested not being over trained so it is important to scale back at the end and if you are trying to make up ground the last week than your just not ready at that point.
And so we will see what happens here next weekend. This is still a very abbreviated version of her prep as it is impossible to write about 6 months of prep in just 3 pages but if you are reading this we hope it gives you some insight into her contest prep and what goes on. Next time we will discuss another competitors approach as just remember when you are looking for a coach that a coach shouldn’t have just one approach, a coach should be able to use a variety of approaches based on what they feel will work best for that individual as every one is a little different.