By Jillian Teta
Howdy everyone! So, the NPC Elite competition is just under three weeks away – almost showtime! This show was a bit unplanned for me, as I thought I was done for the year, but that turned out not to be the case. This round of contest prep for me is different than my approach in the past, in a lot of ways.
The first way is my nutrition. Typically on a contest plan there are particular foods that I will start with, and then eliminate on particular weeks or based on how I look. Examples of these foods would be things like nuts, sweeteners, eggs and protein bars. This time around, I started with a much stricter plan right out of the gate. While this may sound horrible/torturous, it’s actually helped me manage cravings much better and has helped me identify trigger foods that spark craving and spark um, bloating/the look you do not want on stage, lol. Here is a typical day for me:
Wake up: Coffee, 5 grams BCAAs – go do cardio
Meal 1: 1 scoop vega sport protein powder – go lift
Meal 2: 2 scoops chocolate Vega optimizer plus 1 scoop Vega sport, 2 huge TB cocoa powder, water, ice, blended into a huge thick shake
Meal 3: 6 oz turkey breast, 10-15 asparagus spears, 4 oz pumpkin
Meal 4: 6 oz turkey breast, 15 asparagus spears
Meal 5: 6 oz turkey breast, 15 asparagus spears
Meal 6: 1 can low-mercury tuna, several cups lettuce, 1 TB vinegar, 2 tsps olive oil, occasionally ½ avocado
Depending on what time I get up, I eat 5-6 times per day. In fact, I feel like all I do is eat. The final piece of my nutrition puzzle is that 2x per week, after a heavy weight workout, I carb up with about 100 grams of carbs from gluten-free pancakes. This helps keep my glycogen stores – and thus my muscles – full and resets cortisol.
The second difference has been in my consistency with training. As we all here use this blog as part sharing, part instructional/educational, I think all of us JillFit ladies use this platform as a confessional as well. :) So, as you guys may know, one of the major issues I have to deal with and have been working on is consistency with my training. After much internal screaming and kicking, I’ve settled into a routine I love and is manageable and that I can – most importantly – sustain. I’ve been in this routine since January. Over the last couple of weeks, my weight and sprint training has remained the same, and my cardiovascular training has increased. The treadmill and stepmill start snickering when they see me coming: “here she is again, think she’ll sweat all over us as bad as she did last time?” Cardio has increased temporarily to get me the additional leanness required for the stage look. When the show is over, I will whittle cardio back to outdoor walks and my sprints, as I am not a big cardio person at all. Here is my current training split:
Monday: 60 minute incline walk, legs, shoulders, core
Tuesday: Outdoor track sprints, chest, back, core
Wednesday: 60 minute incline walk, legs, core
Thursday: 45 minute outdoor jog, emphasizing hills OR 40 minute stepmill intervals
Friday: 60 minute incline walk, shoulders, core
Sunday: Outdoor sprints, core
The third, and IMO the most important difference has been in my mental/emotional outlook. I used to consider contest prep torturous and like a punishment. I’d speak to myself in a negative way, and feel despair if I could still pinch fat around my midsection. I was the best little dieting martyr I’d ever seen! My bad moods and bad behavior were not my fault, because I was dieting for crying out loud! Puh-leez! I am finally arriving at the space where I do this because I choose it, because I can and it gives me enjoyment and it is amazing to see how far the body can go, and what will the changes look like this time? Rather than: who can I beat, I need to win, I want a trophy…..um, hello, this is a subjective sport! What is the best I can do, for me…not just in terms of placement (and FYI, I have placed everywhere from dead last to being the overall winner) but in terms of my mental game and improving the areas of my physique – without making it a punishment or negative. That is the real reward. And it doesn’t mean I’m not going to eat my ass off after the show :)
Something else I’ve been doing of late, to help indulge my other senses (we all know I am a hedonist) is to enjoy hot baths with epsom salts and essential oils. It’s that part of prep where I’ve been exfoliating and moisturizing my skin, and I’ve been using a concoction of body oils and essential oils to “pamper” my skin and engage my nose. And I swear cinnamon oil helps cravings!
At this point, this close to the show, it’s almost like going into auto-pilot mode and grinding it out until stage time. I’m finding ways to do it to myself in a kinder manner. Heeeeeere we go! :)
Related: Jill Coleman: A Day in the Life