Tag Archives: bikini competition

New study reveals the best times to drink that protein shake

25 Jun

Most people know that protein is essential for muscle growth, and is therefore a must for any bikini, bodybuilding or figure competition diet. However, one thing competitors may not be so sure about is when they should time their daily protein shakes to get the most out of a workout. Is it better to load up on this compound in preparation for an intense workout, or should you grab a power bar afterward to help your body recover?

Earlier this month, researchers from Northern Illinois decided to get to the bottom of this issue by reviewing past studies on the subject in search of “conclusive evidence” about the impact of protein timing on weight training.  The final report was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

“In general, protein supplementation pre- and post-workout increases physical performance, training session recovery, lean body mass, muscle hypertrophy and strength. Specific gains differ however, based on protein type and amounts,” the study abstract states.

For example, the researchers found evidence that drinking fat-free milk after an intense round of weight-lifting helped build up strength, as well as lean muscle mass and hypertrophy – i.e. an increase in cell size that can make them look more pronounced. Doing so also leads to a decrease in body fat, the source notes.

The study authors also write that bodybuilding or figure competition supplements containing whey protein are best after resistance training – particularly in combination with glucose or maltodextrin – for the best results in terms of strength and muscle mass.  Meanwhile, supplements with essential amino acids and dextrose are reportedly more beneficial before a workout.

So, if studies have shown that most protein sources are best after a training session, what should you fuel up on beforehand? WebMD recommends meals that are familiar to your system, are moisture-rich and have low amounts of fiber and fat.

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Amanda Latona Wins

24 Jun

Amanda Latona Wins

1st Place at the greater gulf #IFBB Pro Bikini competition.

The benefits of a competition coach

19 Jun

When you step on stage to show your stuff in a bikini, physique or figure competition, the judges will be evaluating every inch of your body to determine your placement. Since IFBB and NPC judges are so thorough in their work, you have to approach your training with the same degree of dedication.

However, unless you are a personal trainer and licensed nutritionist, it’s all too easy to neglect certain parts of your frame, or miss out on essential nutrients that would further fuel your workout routine. That’s why, if you have the means to do so, it’s always a good idea to enlist the help of a professional.

If your coach has experience in bikini or fitness competition training, they’ll know exactly how discerning the judges can be, and will also be familiar with the physical and emotional strain that this arena can take – especially on new competitors.

IFBB Pro Victor Prisk recently extolled the virtues of a good competition coach in a piece for NPCNewsOnline.

“The role of a good coach is to keep you positive and on the right track – to prevent your emotions from messing it all up,” writes Prisk, adding that an experienced trainer can keep you from making impulsive decisions about your diet and training that may sabotage your performance mere weeks before an event.

We all have moments where we doubt our own strength – not to mention exercises that we just don’t like doing – but a professional coach can help overcome these obstacles and keep you focused on the bigger picture.

But, fitness competitor, nutritionist and motivational speaker Olesya Novik warns that it’s important to keep your expectations under control. Many people think that working with a coach for a couple of weeks will make them competition-ready, she writes on her website, Oliciouslife.com. However, depending on your shape when you start, it typically takes at least a month or two of determination to obtain the toned look you need.

Bikini and Figure Competition tanning

19 Jun

In recent posts, we’ve been guiding you through one of the most surprisingly finicky aspect of bikini competition prep: Achieving the perfect tan. Once you’ve properly exfoliated your skin and gotten rid of all that pesky body hair, it is up to you whether to use competition tanning products at home or leave it to the professionals.

There are plenty of these items to choose from, and a few benefits of the DIY approach are that it is generally less costly and you have plenty of time to perfect your technique. Plus, you are in complete control of the end result, so you don’t have to worry about a last minute mistake by a technician.

If you aren’t particularly confident in your application technique, though, you can always consult fellow contestants about local tanning salons that could tackle the job. Of course, should you take this route before your next NPC bikini competition, make sure that the salon you go to specializes in competition tanning. That’s because, according to experienced IFBB competitor Julie Lohre, the ideal tan for an official event is radically different from the coverage an average tanning salon customer requests.

“Understanding the chemistry of how tanning products work and how competition diets affect competitors’ body chemistry is the responsibility of the spray tanning technician,” Lohre writes on her website. “Those that are serious about what they do will have this knowledge and training to work with competitors in this very specialist sport.”

A deep uniform tan is a great way to emphasize the muscles you’ve developed over the last few months and really make that posing suit pop, so don’t leave this all-important step. 

Don’t forget recovery time: The best post-worko​ut foods

16 Jun

Every athlete knows that competition training isn’t just about working out for hours on end. To really push your body to the limit, you also have to let your muscles recover between sessions. And, did you know that there are certain foods than can actually enhance this process?

As well as shedding light on raisins, apples and other tasty treats that can rival your favorite energy drink, the nutrition experts at The Huffington Post have also zeroed in on a few foods that promote cell restoration.

If you’re preparing for a body competition, you undoubtedly know the importance of loading up on protein on a regular basis. Unlike carbs, which actually fuel you on the treadmill, the benefits of protein kick in much later in the game. Athletes of all shapes and sizes should get a good dose of protein post-workout, because it promotes muscle repair, replenishes energy stores and can also prevent the loss of muscle mass after heavy resistance training.

And, though figure competition supplements can help in this area, The Huffington Post points out that greek yogurt is a particularly versatile way to consume this compound. After all, preparation time is approximately 20 seconds from tub to bowl, and you can toss in any of your favorite fruits for a bit of flavor. Add a drop of honey and you have a delicious, protein-rich treat that will help your body bounce back.

One of the downsides of really giving your all in spin class is that your muscles may become inflamed – which may put off your next visit for longer than you’d like! But, the source explains that cherry juice contains specific agents that can reduce swelling. So, while you’re sitting back with an ice pack, why not pour yourself a glass of this somewhat unconventional but delicious and nutritious beverage?

The Military Press: A must for shapely shoulders

16 Jun

Whether you’re competing in a bodybuilding, physique or bikini competition, the impact you make when you step on stage is the key to success in this field. And, though the level of definition is certainly different across these platforms, having a strong, commanding set of shoulders is an important part of the package.

No matter how tight your glutes or rock-hard your abs, if you don’t have a strong set of shoulders, you just won’t have the same stage presence – end of story. Your shoulders dictate everything from how you hold yourself to how you’re proportioned, so shoulder workouts are a crucial part of figure competition training for any entrant. 

One of the most tried and true techniques to tone your deltoids is the classic Military Press. This is known as a compound exercise because, as MuscleMagFitness.com explains, it works mulitple joints and requires all three sides of your shoulder muscles to kick into gear.

This exercise can be performed standing upright or sitting at the edge of an exercise bench, depending on how many other muscles you want to involve in the process. Then, with all your core muscle tightened to keep your upper body stable, grab two dumbbells and hold them up on both sides of your head so that your elbows are at a 90 degree angle. Then, simply lift both weights so your arms are nearly straight up in the air, but be sure to avoid locking your joints.

Depending on preference, this can be performed with a barbell as well. However, the source warns that competitors who go this route avoid lifting the weight behind their necks, since this can cause shoulder strain. 

A great set of shoulders is the perfect accessory for any posing suit, so don’t skimp on this section of your workout regimen!  

Ladies: Don’t skip your chest workouts

16 Jun

For all the time female competitors spend tightening up their glutes, carving out their abs and slimming down their thighs, it’s amazing how often these ladies neglect their chests! It seems that some women – particularly those with a smaller cup size – are a little hesitant to really work this area for fear that building muscle mass may take away from their natural assets.

For girls competing in bikini competitions, it is especially important to keep a bit of extra weight up top. After all, these events favor toned yet feminine figures, so you still want a few curves when you take the stage in that posing suit. That’s why the experts at Bodybuilding.com have taken the time to address some key concerns that aspiring competitors may have about giving this area a rigorous workout.

Anyone who has seen a professional bodybuilding competition may understandably have some concerns about what may happen to her chest if she ramps up her workout regimen. Will all of that tissue be replaced by rippling pectoral muscles? In a word: no.

“This myth gets perpetuated because female bodybuilders sometimes hit the stage with flat-looking chests that are far from what we normally deem feminine. It’s not the muscle that makes their breasts smaller; it’s the extreme diet,” the training resource states.

Basically, because breast tissue is essentially fat, competitors who fall below a healthy level of fat will notice a difference in this area. No matter how much time you spend doing bench presses or chest flies, as long as you keep your body fat at a healthy 10 to 13 percent, you should be able to develop muscle without sacrificing your feminine physique.