Category Archives: Competition Prep

Friends in the Competition World


If you have ever competed you know the feeling. The feeling of judgment when you take a peek at who your competition is. You size up the other team, watching how they warm up, checking out their every movement. I must admit I was like that until I got into competitive bodybuilding and my eyes were opened to a whole different world.

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Rachel Zeskind – Fitness Competition Preparation

Rachel Zeskind - Fitness Competition Preparation


Rachel Zeskind, a National level Competitor in Bikini, Bodybuilding, & Figure NPC shares her INSIDE knowledge on Fitness Competition Preparation.


1. What’s your current Nutritional Plan for Competition Preparation? What Supplements do you take?

I take about 1,450 calories per day…160g lean proteins, 122g clean carbs that are low on the glycemic index and 30g of healthy fats. I spread this over 6 meals.

2. What’s your weekly Training Split like (i.e. Doubles, Rest Days, etc.)?

I am currently training upper body in a weight circuit 1 time per week, glutes & hamstrings 2 times per week, 1 intense advanced yoga flow class (90 minutes) and I am easing into cardio in order to spare muscle wasting. Currently I am doing about 30 minutes of cardio, 3 days a week.

3. What’s your Cardio Schedule like (i.e. Morning Sessions, Double Sessions, etc)?

I mainly do cardio post weight training. As I increase my cardio I will break it up into cardio snacks…the first session being in the early morning before my first meal!

4. What techniques do you employ to best prepare you for a Competition (i.e. Posing Routines, Drying Out, Carb Cutting, etc.)?

I have carb depleted and “not” carb depleted during fitness competition preparation.

After comparing the results as well as weighing the health factors, energy levels, etc. I can say that there is no reason to ever carb deplete for longer than a few days! It’s all about creating a deficit in your calories!

The best results I have found are from increasing caloric burn through exercise!

As for drying out – dandilion and milkthistle tea – 5 bags of each making 1/5 gallon of tea and drinking that over the entire day. I began dropping water Wednesday prior to a show on Friday.

As for Posing…I begin aggressively practicing 4-6 weeks out, EVERY EVENING! I pose at night when I’m holding the most water and tired. This trick seems to make holding & hitting poses on the day of much easier!

5. What were your goals leading up to the competition and how did they help prepare you on stage?

Each competition I have different goals and areas I’m focusing on. The biggest tool I use is meditation and prayer to relax and focus the mind and body!

6. Looking back, how did you maintain balance in your life while in competition prep?

My last show was not a very balanced experience and therefore not as enjoyable as my current prep is currently going. What I have changed is trying to incorporate more things that I really enjoy into my prep. Things like yoga, cardio dance classes, belly dancing and hiking!

7. Did you experience any post-comp blues? If so, how did you deal with them?

Absolutely!!!! As soon as the water comes back and ‘normal people food’ hits my stomach I start feeling like a bloated whale…it’s incredibly important to not allow yourself to fall prey to the post competition dysmorphia!

Remember, feelings aren’t facts! Maintaining competition body fat year round would…

A. Not be Healthy, and…
B. Make you look old and haggard!

Try to surround yourself with people who can keep you grounded in reality and support you!


For more Information about Rachel Zeskind, visit her Website at RachelZeskind.com


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Sandy Avelar – Competition Prep

Sandy Avelar - Competition Prep


Sandy Avelar, a new IFBB Pro out of Canada, took the time to share some inside information on Competition Prep!

A very intriguing article! Here’s what Sandy had to share with us…

1. What’s your Nutritional Plan like in preparation for a Competition? What Supplements do you take when in contest prep?

I leave my contest prep in the hands of my trainer, Darren Mehling of Freak Fitness. I have been working with him for almost a year now, but my last prep was only 7 weeks for my Provincial Championships win and 1 week later for the Nationals, where I turned Pro. It was an intense and focused 2 months but it was well worth the effort!

My current plan is well-balanced and has me eating every 2-3 hours. Lean meats, vegetables, fruit, fats, oats, rice, yams, egg whites and protein shakes are my staples. Real food, not shakes, is the basis.

My supplements are simple. Multi-Vitamins, CLA, BCAAs, NO2, Creatine and fat burners when I need an extra morning “pick me up” during those last few weeks leading up to a show.

2. What’s your weekly Training Split like (i.e. Doubles, Rest Days, etc.)?

My training is based on a 7 day week, with weights 5 days a week.

3. What’s your Cardio Schedule like (i.e. Morning Sessions, Double Sessions, etc)?

My cardio is short and I like to try and do it in the morning. I go home, eat and go back to the gym for weights after. If I don’t have time, I’ll do cardio right after lifting.

4. What techniques do you employ to best prepare you for a Competition (i.e. Posing Routines, Drying Out, Carb Cutting, etc.)?

During contest prep, I leave everything in the hands of my trainer. He makes the judgement call on what I need and this can change from show to show. Before I worked with Darren, I had tried excessive water loading and sodium depletion which only made me sick in the past (even including a hospital visit).

My health is my (and my coach’s) priority so we don’t do any of those last minute “guru” tricks. There’s just no need for anything drastic if you’ve prepared properly.

I pose every single day. Stage presence is such a huge factor. Why ruin all the hard work without great stage presence??!

5. What were your goals leading up to the competition and how did they help prepare you on stage?

I decided to return to the stage this past summer, with the encouragement of close friends and my trainer. I took 2 years off and I really wanted to showcase my changes and make a sort-of “comeback”.

In the end, I wanted to show my best me that I could create.

Evidently it worked, since I won Provincial and National titles, and earned IFBB Pro status at the Canadian National Championships in July!

6. Looking back, how did you maintain balance in your life while in competition prep? Did you experience any post-comp blues? If so, how did you deal with them?

The life-balance is a hard one for me. I’m still learning.

My job as a police officer is both physically and mentally demanding. We have to give more and more of ourselves to people everyday.

This is the complete opposite of what I’ve found contest prep to be for me. I find I have to be very selfish during prep. I’m referring to the training schedule, meal prep, and sleep pattern.

I don’t have much of a social life because of the juggling of my career, training and home life. I’m always finding new ways to better balance it and to ask for help (very difficult for me) when I need it.

I’m very conscious of my attitude during prep and try not to let my emotions run me!

As far as post-contest “blues”, I have had them in the past. It can be hard to focus weeks on one day and then have it all stop. It can also be hard to be the center of attention for a week and then have it all stop. And in the past, the post-comp bloat and rebound was hard to experience.

This time around I didn’t suffer any rebound, and now that I’m an IFBB Pro I have a lot more doors that have opened, and many more opportunities coming my way. This is great for me because I like to have something to focus on.

Aside from future competition goals, I am looking forward to a great vacation, a work related course, and simply being with friends and family now that I spend less time in the gym.

Its very important to remind yourself of all the other important things in life and how lucky we are to be able to have the choice to compete.


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Claudia Lailhacar – Competition Prep

Claudia Lailhacar - Competition Prep


Claudia Lailahacar, a Vegan Figure Competitor previously featured on the site, took the time to share some of her Contest Prep Experience!

If your looking for some solid advice, read-on as Claudia shares here experience in her own words!

1. What’s you Nutritional Plan like in preparation for a Competition? What Supplements do you take when in contest prep?

I eat a clean plant based diet all year round, allow myself more carbs off season. Can’t live without my Multi Vitamins, Vitamin C, Spirulina, BCAA’s, Glutamine , 1MR and my protein powders..I think that is it. I think : )

2. What’s your weekly Training Split like (i.e. Doubles, Rest Days, etc.)?

I work a 4 day split. 2 body parts per session.

3. What’s your Cardio Schedule like (i.e. Morning Sessions, Double Sessions, etc)?

Off season – maybe 2 short cardio – Pre comp – depends on week 🙂 Last couple of weeks will be pulling double cardio 4 times a day.

4. What techniques do you employ to best prepare you for a Competition (i.e. Posing Routines, Drying Out, Carb Cutting, etc.)?

LOTS of info here – for me, lots of visualization, meditation, carbing up, water loading, then drying out lol.

5. What were your goals leading up to the competition and how did they help prepare you on stage?

Prepare myself mentally, visualize trophy..BREATH..ommmmm

6. Looking back, how did you maintain balance in your life while in competition prep? Did you experience any post-comp blues? If so, how did you deal with them?

After competition its usually hard for me. You live such a strict 4 months that it I feel lost afterwards. How I deal with it..set NEW goals and start thinking of my new comp.

I keep a balanced life by keeping social, spending time with my family and helping others reach their goals : )


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A Guide For Your First Competition


This picture was my very first Figure competition! I had a lot of fun and it was a great and unforgettable experience! I remember how I felt leading up to this competition, STRESSED! I decided to do my own prep, which I do not recommend because it was very stressful to learn everything on my own. I did all my research online about diets, training and posing, and frankly there is too much information online that can leave you more stressed then its worth.

I recommend spending some time to figure out the most appropriate way to prep for your first show. This includes trainers, coaches and last minute prep. Your first competition should be a great experience, not a stressful one that makes you never want to work out again!

Here are a few tips that may be helpful for your first competition:

1. Hire a qualified trainer. Do your research on local trainers in your area and make sure that they have a competition background. Trainers who do not have this background may be a little confused as to how to get you ready for your competition.Choose your organization wisely. There are many organizations to choose to compete with.

2. Do your research. Read up about different organizations online and see what they have to offer. You can also email a few seasoned competitors with some questions you may have with the organizations they have competed with.

3. Pick the appropriate category. Avoid choosing the bodybuilding category if you look like a bikini competitor. I actually have seen this on stage before and it is quite strange.

4. Find a reputable company to make your suit. Do your research online and even look through Facebook groups and pages. There are
a lot of reputable people who have lots of experience with suits and what looks good on stage. If a suit is out of your budget, try to find a used one on www.divaexchange.com or ask around about possibly borrowing a suit.

5. Pick out your suit and shoes in advance. Do not leave this until the last minute. Not only is this stressful, you need your shoes well in advance to practice walking in and also you may need to make alterations to your suit before going on stage.

6. Make arrangements for hair and makeup. If you do not think you can do this on your own, find a hairstylist and makeup artist who
can do this for you.

7. Figure out your tan. You need a tan on stage and some shows offer a professional spray tan artist. If this is out of your budget, you can buy tanning products online. I recommend Protan and Dream Tan.

8. Purchase a photo package for your big day. Every organization has a photographer who will do stage shots for around $100. It is worth it to always remember what you looked like on your big day!

9. Always be ready. Always have your food prepped and handy when the unexpected happens to keep you at work late, or if you have
errands to run. Your diet is the key to get you ready for the competition and the last thing you want to do is make a poor decision with food.

10. Practice makes perfect. Find a coach that will help you with your posing and practice every day. It is so important to do this and a lot of times this is where competitors lack. With the right posing, you can look leaner or bigger depending what your category is.

These are the things I have learned over the last 4 years of competing and I hope this has helped you in some way. You have taken the time and effort to lean down and train hard, so make sure you take all the extra steps to look professional up on stage to “wow” the judges. Keep your mind open and let go of the stress and negativity. This is your time and you deserve it!


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