Week 4 is a very special time for me. The excitement of reality is setting in and holy crap, I’m going to be onstage in a month! This time is always fun for competitors; you’re really starting to see the work you’ve put in over the last month and you can get ready for the fun stuff: getting on stage!
As I mentioned in my previous post last week, if you are prepping right, you should be seeing real results and week 4-1 is all about perfecting your final package for the stage, and week 4 was exactly that for me.
I began week 4 training at 4 pounds off my stage goal weight and my body fat had dropped steady, due to my increase in cardio in week 6 and 5, so my approach was to lean my existing muscle mass for the rest of my training, while not depleting my carbohydrates too fast before peak week.
Rather than cut carbs, and risk leaning too quickly I switched my carbohydrate timing to when I needed them most for energy and putting them early enough in my day to guarantee they would be used and burned.
I allowed myself my entire starch macro allowance directly following my workout; which was great for the leaning process, but still kept my body content. I will admit the first couple evenings of this switch was an adjustment and like any program change, it takes time to adjust. I developed the program to have a reefed day once for the week versus High/Low day program I have been following previously.
Alysha’s Diet Program Week 4
Meal 1: 4 ounce protein, 4 oz. veggies
Meal 2: 4 ounce protein, 4 oz. veggies, 1 serving MCT Oil
Meal 3: 4 ounce protein, 4 oz. veggies
Post Workout: 4.25 ounce protein, 4 oz. veggies, ½ cup fruit, 4 ounce starch, 1 serving MCT Oil
Meal 5: 4 ounce protein, 4 oz. veggies, 1 serving MCT Oil
Day 7- Re Feed Day
Meal 1: 3.5 oz. protein, 2 oz. carb, 3 oz. veggies, 1 serving MCT Oil, 1 cup fruit
Meal 2: 3.5 oz protein, 2 ounce carb, 3 oz. veggies
Meal 3: 3.5 protein, 2 ounce carb, 3 oz. veggies, 1 cup fruit
Meal 4: 3.5 oz. protein, 2 ounce carb, 3 oz. veggies
Meal 5: 3.5 oz. protein, 2 ounce carb, 3 oz. veggies
Meal 6: 3.5 oz. protein, 3 oz. veggies
My suggestions when looking at adapting this style of carb cycling is to get your workouts in early! The loss of carbohydrates your body will feel; as well as you will be guaranteed to use and burn your starches when timing their intake early in your day.
Day 7 or the re-feed day is crucial when trying to sustain your body’s muscle mass. My rest day is also my reefed day, and although many coaches will argue fruit has no place in a competition diet 4 weeks out from a show, I argue that the antioxidant quality of fruit is crucial, as well as allowing yourself to indulge once a week in a couple of fruit servings, mentally helps competitors fight cravings and get natural energy during their recovery day.
On a side note when considering your reefed day, you should still figure all food into your body’s macro nutrient levels needed for building, maintaining, etc. My philosophy is that the reefed day is good for the body, GREAT for the mind!
In week 4, I also made stricter adjustments to my normal routine. All sweeteners, soy based products, and extra supplements such as creatine were eliminated to help me in later weeks when I need to deplete and avoid bloating. I still allowed myself to have one cheat meal a week, but regulating it to be under 500 cals, and that the fat grams still fit into my daily macro nutrient level.
“4 Weeks out from your competition is a crucial time; not only for your body’s progress, but for your mind as well. Look to your trusted coaches and friends around you for support and most of all trust yourself and your process.”
Week 5 and Week 4 is time to start really focusing hard on your stage presence as well. Now when I first started this competition, I was DREADING the posing and stage time but by the time my suit and 6 inch stilettos arrived I was surprisingly excited!
Now let me admit to you all; the first time I slipped on the tiniest bottom known to woman kind and heels I wasn’t sure if I should be posing onstage or swinging around a pole to a White Snake song, but trust me, the total package on stage is in your hands and you can truly stand out as a unique, classy athlete; no dollar bills included lol. So to avoid looking like a less than classy boss lady let’s cover the most important things about your stage package: Suit, Tan, Posing, make up, and hair.
This is the best part of a show prep, in my opinion! No matter what your budget, you get to really show your style in suit selection. Depending on your federation, there is one thing they all have in common: sparkle baby! Try to pick a suit’s color and cut that is not only flattering to your skin tone and hair, but will also stand out onstage. I’m a red head and even with a stage tan I can’t pull off certain colors, so I stick to pastels in green, purple, blue, and trust me when I say that patterns are hard to pull off! Remember: you want to bring attention to your best features and a floral print along your backside might not be the best idea.
The “butterfly” bottom is common for most classes and make sure you are using a designer that know how to make a suit to your measurements. I use the amazing Lidia Contini (www.lidicontini.com) for my stage suits and she always creates one of a kind suits on a great budget! If having a custom suit is out of your budget, a great way to save money is to order a plain suit and bedazzle your suit yourself. Michael’s, Joann’s fabrics, and Hobby Lobby are great places to find jewels for around $50.
Almost all federations have heel limits on how high you can go and I strongly suggest if you’re a shorty like me, go as high as you can! Now whether you can jog in heels or tromble around like a bull in china closet; straps or no straps really don’t matter; whatever you can strut in!
Jewelry again depends on the federation, but I’ve seen many girls make the mistake of wearing too much onstage! Earrings, bracelet, and ring are my staples and I like them super shiny. You want them to enhance the suit and you, not look like you have chandelier lanterns dangling from your ears. I go to claires or charming charlie’s for my stage jewelry, also any prom or pageant shops work great too!
I’ll give you fit chicks a secret though; I’m a baller on a budget and in total I spent $200 on my suit, $50 to bedazzle it, $50 on shoes, and $20 on jewelry for my last show and the judges loved my total package! So don’t think you have to drop a grand to look awesome on stage! Just remember that you want the attention on you and your hard work! Suits, shoes, and jewelry should just enhance that!
This is make or break girls! One slip of that ‘ol airbrush can cost you serious points with the judges! The second I hear a competitor say “I’m just going to tan myself” I say a silent prayer for her because very few times I’ve seen this end well.
One thing you must understand is that you tan for stage differently than you tan for vacation; yes, you look like an ompa loompa, but that’s so when the stage lights hit you, your definition shows. I suggest going with the show’s sponsored tanner. This way you will be the same shade as everyone else on stage, and they can provide touch ups throughout the day, and trust me, you’ll need them.
Important things to know about tanning:
- A base tan helps, but not needed. If you’d like to tan start about 7-6 weeks out from the show date.
- Wash your hair the day/night of your tan. You won’t be able to wash your hair after.
- Loose clothes and old sheets once you have your tan; trust me. I ruined brand new sheets my first show!
- Ok we’re going to get personal here but as delicately I can put this: watch your potty stance. Whether you cut the bottom of a cup or hover the seat, water is not your friend and you don’t want to ruin your tan and have a touch up every time you have to use the bathroom.
Make-Up and Hair
Once again, we’re back to enhancing your package. This does not mean looking like you showed up to accept the best country music award. I suggest that hair and makeup should look like you; just super sexified! Judges seem to like long, full hair and clean makeup, so practice will make you perfect!
Stage time might not be the best to try out a crazy color and brand new pixie cut; so stick to what makes you feel confident. I schedule an appointment with my stylist and my hair extensions this week to practice what I want my stage look to be. I stick to big, sexy curls, or long, sleek looks. You won’t have a lot of time the morning before your show to switch up your look, so make sure you have a game plan with your stylist before the big day. Once you have that look on stage day, spray the hell outta that mop! You will be moving, waiting, and moving all day and having your hair stiff may feel crazy but you’ll want it to last through the day show to the finals.
Make up is where many girls can take a chance. If you’re very familiar with make-up and can do it well, I say you’re clear to do it yourself. Just remember you’re not putting on make-up for the day-to-day, it HAS to show up on stage! Here’s some pointers:
- Fake eyelashes or eyelash extensions are a must! I use target eyelashes and NUGU glue for mine. Practice these bad boys a couple of times if you’re new to falsies.
- DO NOT match your eye make up to your suit. It looks cheesy; bottom line
- If you do a smoky eye, make it clean and bring the materials to touch up. You don’t want to look like a raccoon onstage.
- Lip color is a must with your tan, but stick to complimentary hues.
- Eye brow pencil girl! Your tan can easily cover your eyebrows if you have light-colored hair, make sure the judges can see them!
- Blush, not bronzer. You already have the darkest tan of your life; adding even more orange wouldn’t be a great idea.
If doing your own hair and make-up scares you; take the pressure off and hire a professional. Whether your use your current stylist or the sponsored stylist at the show, the most important part is to relax and enjoy getting hot!
Week 4 is all about completing the package both in the gym and getting ready for the stage. Stay strong, work hard, and enjoy it! You’re so close to the end and it’s going to be killer!
My next blog will cover the fine line of surviving the last couple weeks of prep and how to approach PEAK WEEK; the right way! Work hard fit chicks and smash even harder!