Since learning how to balance my metabolic hormones through what I eat and how I train for my body type, reaching and maintaining my fitness and fat loss goals has become almost effortless!
After baby #2 (Warren James) was born I completed 12 weeks of my postpartum fat loss program, Beyond Baby, and since then I’ve kind of coasted in maintenance mode.
But I’m ready for a new challenge!
I competed in my first bikini competition when baby #1 (Jackson) was just 8 months old, and it was a blast. I did another bikini competition a few months after that and won 2nd place (so crazy!). And I’m ready to do this again.
My brother, husband and I are competing in a fitness competition together… in 7 weeks!
The world of fitness competitions and its subcategories (bikini, figure, and physique) is unfamiliar to most moms.
Even moms who understand what the sport is about (no, we don’t take steroids or train to become a hulk) tend to shy away from fitness competitions.
Honestly, I don’t blame them!
It’s really too bad because it can be a fun, healthy goal that gives quite a sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction.
I hate the fitness industry for what they have accepted as a “normal” way to train. Even in the ‘off season’ (when you aren’t getting ready for a show) normal training methods can be horrible:
- Suffering through weeks of extreme dieting
- Hours (sometimes twice/day!) of cardio
- Sacrificing endless amounts of time with family & friends
For most women, and especially for busy moms, this is neither practical or attractive. The idea of getting your best body ever through the fitness industry’s “norm” is a physically, mentally and emotionally draining process that does much more harm than good.
I’m passionate about doing this a different way (#dofitnessbetter)
- Quick & efficient workouts done AT HOME!
- No dangerous dieting – even eating all the foods I LOVE!
- Plenty of time for what truly matters most! (and no, it’s not my body)
I am gearing up to take take my fitness & fat loss to the next level. I’m going to be in the best shape of my life… all without choking down chicken breasts or starving on some crazy no-carb crash diet.
I’m excited to share this journey with you and to have you along for the ride.
Whether you’re training for a Bikini Competition or just a big event where you want to look your best (hello, wedding, vacation, etc.!) the first place to start is with your workouts, that’s a given. You must be consistent with your BeyondFit Life Workouts each week. (Click HERE to join if you’re not already a member.)
But for most women, consistency with workouts isn’t the problem.
Consistency with NUTRITION is a much bigger issue, and is often the thing keeping you back from being in bikini competition shape.
To lose weight, you need two things: caloric deficit and hormonal balance.
If you can’t achieve this, you won’t lose weight no matter how “healthy” you are eating. When it comes to nutrition, there are three approaches you can use to get ready:
- Count Calories
- Adjust based on Biofeedback & Hormones
- Track Macros
There’s no right or wrong way to do this, you need to determine what is best for YOU!
Bikini Competition Diet Approach 1: Calories
Personally, I don’t think counting calories works long term.
Imagine this (maybe you’ve been there), you start counting calories and you lose weight. You’re thrilled, but at the same time, you don’t really enjoy it. Simply counting calories leaves out the importance of protein and other macronutrients and can leave you still feeling hungry and a bit off.
Whether your goal is related to fat loss, fitness, or even just general overall wellbeing, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough protein. And don’t worry, it will not bulk you up!
Protein helps speed up your metabolism and balances your blood sugar levels, preventing insulin spikes, which can cause weight gain.
Protein is made up of amino acids that your body needs, and it is the key to burning fat and increasing your metabolism!
After a few weeks or months, if all you’re doing is counting calories, you’ll begin to notice a drop in energy, more hunger, and likely, lots more cravings.
You get sick of reading food labels before you eat anything. You get sick of obsessively trying to find the lowest calorie version of every food.
“Whoa, can’t have strawberries, they’ve got like 30 more calories than an apple.”
I thought like that for a while, and it drove me nuts.
I was obsessed with my nutrition and it was becoming stressful. For some women, calorie counting is doing the same thing to them, that’s why I’m excited that I found a different way.
Bikini Competition Diet Approach 2: Biofeedback & Hormones
Calories count, and calorie counting works, but it’s generally not a sustainable way to stay lean. While some people may want to begin with counting calories, I prefer they progress to developing sustainable habits instead of following a diet or meal plan.
Even for people who take care of themselves (like you) there are easier ways, that are a lot more fun, to get the body you want.
Focusing on being a “detective”, listening to your body’s biofeedback tools, and considering hormones rather than every little calorie is a much more sustainable way to live.
This is where basic bikini diet approach 2 comes in.
Focus on eating sensibly. Focus on balancing hormones that cause fluctuations in hunger, energy and cravings by choosing minimally processed, satisfying, nutrient dense foods that you enjoy (The 2 P’s: protein and produce). Eat until you’re satisfied, and then stop.
If you need to adjust your intake, you do so based on progress and biofeedback from your body.
Balancing your hunger, energy, and cravings is key to making fat loss a lifestyle, especially for busy women. You need the energy to get through the day, want to keep cravings minimal at all cost, yet still want to be eating in a way that promotes fat loss and the balance of your metabolic hormones.
One key to keeping hunger, energy and cravings balanced is to adjust the intake of your starch, protein, and fibrous veggie servings based on your individual response.
Here is the PROVEN Formula to use to adjust your nutrition based on hormonal biofeedback for maximum results.
Use the responses below to adjust your nutrition plan accordingly:
- If you are seeing fat loss results but are experiencing hunger, low energy, or cravings – increase your protein and fiber intake.
- If you are not seeing fat loss results and are experiencing hunger, low energy, or cravings – increase your protein and fiber intake.
- If you are gaining fat and are experiencing hunger, low energy, or cravings – lower your starch and fat intake.
- If you are not seeing fat loss results but have balanced hunger, energy, and cravings – increase protein intake and lower starch intake.
- If you are gaining fat but have balanced hunger, energy, and cravings – lower starch intake.
AND THE BEST PLACE TO BE:
If you are seeing fat loss results and have balanced hunger, energy, and cravings – CONGRATULATIONS! Stay here until you begin to see a shift in results or in your metabolic hormone balance.
(Download the FREE Printable Guide here: BeyondFit’s Nutrition Adjustment Guide)
Bikini Competition Diet Approach 3: Macros
For some women, simply adjusting based on biofeedback just isn’t enough. Maybe you like the concept of adjusting based on progress and changes in metabolic hormone balance, but you want something more concrete. You need a clearer picture of where to start, and that’s ok. This is the approach I’ll be using to prepare for my upcoming bikini competition.
If you want to work from a starting point for your basic bikini diet, here’s what to do.
First: Calculate your NEED!
Did you know that even the most inactive individual will burn additional calories over their basal metabolic rate (BMR) just by just doing normal bodily functions like laughing and smiling? For a much better understanding of how many calories your body uses each day, you need to add your activity level into the overall equation.
To find out your total daily calorie needs, just multiply your BMR by the activity factor that is appropriate for your lifestyle as indicated:
- Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
- Lightly active (easy exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): BMR x 1.375
- Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): BMR x 1.55
- Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week): BMR x 1.725
- Extremely active (very hard exercise/sports and physical job): BMR x 1.9
With the example above, let’s presume you are only lightly active. All you need to do is multiply your BMR by 1.375 to get the total number of calories you would need to consume in order to maintain your current weight. If you are consuming more calories, you will gain weight, and if you’re consuming fewer calories, you will lose weight. The key in all this is knowing your BMR.
Then, you’ll take this calorie counting to the second step.
Second: Track your MACROS!
Should you count calories and track macros? The answer is YES and NO. No, you don’t have to. I have seen hundreds of women get results using option #2 and adjusting based on their hormonal biofeedback. This is an easy, stress free way to adjust your nutrition WITHOUT obsessing over numbers.
But if you LIKE the numbers, I suggest starting with a calorie goal in mind and taking that one step further by breaking your calories into macros. A good starting point for most women is using a basic guideline to consume meals that are 40% complex carbohydrates, 30% lean protein and 30% healthy fats.
Each macronutrient yields a certain number of calories.
- One gram of protein yields 4 calories.
- One gram of carbohydrate yields 4 calories.
- One gram of fat yields 9 calories.
- One gram of alcohol yields 7 calories.
EXAMPLE: Check out the nutrition label below and you’ll see the relationship between macronutrients and calories.
Protein: 13 * 4 = 52
Carbohydrates: 36 * 4 = 144
Fat: 1 * 9 = 9
144+52+9 = 205 calories
So tracking your macros is a more detailed way to count calories (keeping track not just of calories but of protein, carbohydrates and fats as well). From your starting point, use the adjustment guide above to tweak your nutrition based on your progress and biofeedback.
So it really comes full circle, we’re back to the PROVEN Formula to use to Adjust your Nutrition for Maximum Results.
It ALWAYS comes back to the HORMONES.
And the way your body is responding with progress (your body makeover) and biofeedback like hunger, energy and cravings. If you want to add a step in there, tracking macros, go for it, establish a baseline and then work towards creating a sustainable nutrition plan for your own unique body.
I shared everything I could with you in this blog post, but there’s still so much more to learn on this topic.
I would love to show you a way you can get more support, join us in the BEYONDFIT LIFE CLUB to join the best network of fit women on the planet!
Download my own personal workouts each month + get exclusive access to our members only coaching group. You’ll get the support and accountability you need to reach your goals!
Or if you’d like more one-on-one help, I’d love to work with you to develop your own customized fat loss nutrition plan!
Other helpful posts include: