16 WEEKS OUT: LET THE FUN BEGIN
My measurements for these pictures are as follows:
WEIGHT: 140LBS (down 6 lbs)
WAIST: 27.5" (lost 1")
HIPS: 38.5" (lost 2.5")
CHEST: 32.5" (lost 3")<----go figure!:((
I didn't do my body fat at this point because I don't think it had changed too much, but as you can see I had lost inches everywhere but not much fat. This I attribute to muscle building. Muscle weighs more than fat but takes up less space, so by gaining muscle you often gain weight but will see your measurements decrease and this is why the scale is an inaccurate measurement of health. So you really shouldn't be losing too much weight at this stage because you're still trying to build muscle with low reps and heavy weight.
Now is the time you should start thinking about your suit! Yes, they’re abhorrently expensive, however, it is worth your money to invest in your own. Custom made ones can take up to 4 weeks so the sooner you get on it the better. You can get a well-made suit for about $150-$200 depending on the intricacy of it. My advice to you is to get a simple one custom made and bling it out yourself. If you’re not the crafty type perhaps you’d prefer to pay a little more and let someone else do it. There is also the option of renting a suit, but for the cost of $75-$150 just to borrow the thing, I much prefer to actually own it. At that rate, you could rent yours out twice and have it paid for!
And here is where you learn from my mistakes. I bought the cheapest suit I could find (that I actually do really love) off of Etsy. My first mistake was that this was not a custom made suit, it was just a universal size small ready to ship, which had time been of importance would have been great, but given the time I had I really should have gone custom. I won’t go into detail, but I ended up having to make a ton of alterations, along with adding my own bling, and in the end would have rather paid WAY more money for a suit that didn’t cause me such grief. On another note, the competition packet I downloaded said that the suit could not show anymore than 50% glute coverage, which I later found is absolutely not true. The NPC no longer enforces the rule because the higher up in competition you go, the smaller the bikini’s get anyway, so go with whatever size you feel comfortable with. Another helpful hint about the bikini, when you send in your measurements, especially around the hips, take off an inch or two because I promise, you WILL lose it.
Shoes are the other major part of your attire...in fact aside from jewelry, the only other part of it;). They should be clear high heels (aka hooker shoes) that can be decorated with rhinestones or glitter, but they prefer them to be mostly clear to make it appear as if you’re not wearing shoes, but your legs are actually that long. I bought my shoes off of www.discountstripper.com because that was the cheapest place I found them. I couldn’t justify spending $100.00 on literally a pair of stripper shoes, so I only spent $30:) My biggest regret with that one was leaving my receipt in the printer at work! (SO embarrassing) Mine are 6” clear plastic with a strap across the toe and an ankle strap for support. The higher the heel the better! Word of advice: Any shoe with a platform makes it much easier to walk in because even though you’re taller, you aren’t standing so high on the ball of your foot. Once you get your shoes, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Do your chores in them, cook dinner in them, make breakfast in them, whenever you can have them on, do it, because the more comfortable you are walking around in them the easier your posing will be to learn and the better you will look on stage.
This is the time I began cleaning up my diet a little more by cutting down on animal fats like bacon and sausage as well as beginning to track my macros. “Macros” is short for macronutrients which are proteins, fats and carbohydrates. I personally try to follow a paleo-ish diet (no grains, legumes, dairy or sugar) and just eat when I’m hungry so this transition wasn’t huge, but I had never tracked macronutrients before and I wanted to get more familiar with the performance of my body before it was crunch time. This is when I began using MyFitnessPal. I was taking in anywhere from 1900-2100 calories a day with a profile of 50/20/30 (pro/carbs/fat). A common misconception is that a high fat diet is unhealthy, which is completely untrue. As long as the fats you get are from good quality sources (olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts) it is very beneficial for your body and initially can even help reduce your overall body fat.
My training stayed about the same, I just made up a new program with some different exercises and began incorporating high intensity interval training (HIIT)/cardio a day or two a week. My HIIT includes anything from repetitive lifting to bodyweight exercises done in short spurts with little rest in between. I prefer this to steady state cardio because not only do you see results much faster, but it keeps me from being bored and helps build muscle! This transition is important because it will start to prepare your body for the workload to come.