Tag Archives: Fitness Training

How to achieve your goals!

Today’s article is going to explore goals, goal setting and look at the reasons why people often fail.


I think it’s fair to say that at one time or another we have all set ourselves a goal and failed at it. Sometimes this is because the goal was unrealistic but more often than not it is because although the goal was achievable, the steps and processes needed to get there were not well planned, followed or executed properly.

Let’s think of this another way for a moment: you want to make a chocolate cake with butter crème icing. You have all the ingredients and the recipe book and the oven, but instead of opening the packets, weighing the ingredients, shelling the eggs and mixing everything thoroughly before placing it in the oven, you just dump everything in a bowl (packaging, shell, you-name it, it’s going in!) you don’t stir it, and then you put it in the oven and burn it to a crisp, that’s going to be one disgusting cake! This doesn’t mean that you will always be a failure at baking cakes, it just means that you need to change your approach and follow a number of smaller steps to get to the end result that you want.

It’s about taking things one step at a time and doing everything properly.

The 2 main goals that I find within the fitness community or those first stating out are the following:

1)       Weight loss

2)       Muscle gain

These are both similar in the fact that they require long-term work to achieve but it is easy to become despondent.

To achieve your goals look at the bigger picture first: what is your ultimate dream / goal? “I want to be a Pro Bikini Model”.

Once you have set that initial goal ask yourself how you need to get there? What qualifications / wins / shows do you need to achieve / complete or compete in to be eligible to become a pro?

Look at people who have already achieved your goals. Compare yourself. You need to become your own biggest critic. Look at the stats of people competing at the level that you want to be. How do you measure up? If the leading atheletes have 32” busts, 28” hamstring / quad diameters, defined 6 pacs, then you need to compare that to yourself.
Set yourself a bi-weekly goal of 1/2 an inch loss or gain in your chosen area.
Keep a diary, record your achievements, comment on areas where you’re struggling.

The key thing is to be aware when something isn’t working. If something isn’t working you are wasting your time. That’s not to say you won’t achieve your goals, not at all, what I am saying is that you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect to see a different result.

If something isn’t working, tweak it, change it, try again. Keep a record of your changes and new things you are trying – but don’t change too many things at once!

Overall my advice would be your bigger picture is your motivation, the smaller steps are your goals that will get you to your bigger picture. What you do to achieve your goals are your tools. Make sure you have the right tools.

Train Hard

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CRAMP – What it is and How to Avoid It!

Leg Cramps

We all know the feeling of being doubled -over in the gym holding our calf / thigh / hand as crippling cramp strikes us, but what IS it and why does it happen?

What is cramp?

Cramp is the involuntary spasming of a muscle or muscle group where the muscle refuses to relax.
It is normally accompanied by a painful sensation that can range from a slight spasm to agonising pain. It can last a few seconds to 15 minutes and often recurs in the same muscle repeatedly.

Types of Cramps:

There are 4 distinct cramping types:  “true” cramps, tetany, contractures, and dystonic cramps but it is most likely that fitness models and athletes will be affected by “true” cramps, as these are commonly associated with the vigorous use of muscles and muscle fatigue brought on by excessive use in sports, or through repetitive use i.e. in weight lifting.


Such cramps may happen during activity or later, sometimes many hours later and are usually caused by:

  • Dehydration: Sports and other vigorous activities can cause excessive fluid loss from perspiration.
    Any athletes who commonly use diuretics such as “stackers” are likely to suffer from cramping more frequently than those who do not due to the chronic volume depletion of body fluids brought on by these substances.
    Sodium depletion has also been associated with cramps – Sodium is the most abundant chemical constituent of body fluids outside the cell and is usually a function of dehydration.
  • Conditioning / Injury: Persistent cramping may occur as a protective mechanism following an injury or in weaker less conditioned muscles. In this instance, the spasm tends to minimize movement and stabilize the area of injury.
  • Fatigue: Cramp sets in when our muscles are tired
  • Vitamin Depletion – Low blood calcium and / or magnesium: Lower than recommended levels of either calcium or magnesium directly increase the sensitivity and excitability of nerve endings and muscles. This additional stimulation can be a predisposing factor for the cramps, and can often be brough on through excessive sweating as key electrolites are lost from the body.
    It can also be caused by: inadequate calcium absorption due to a definciency of vitamin D, hyperventilation (overbreathing), vomiting, inadequate calcium and/or magnesium in the diet, and other conditions.
    These can be combatted by ensuring that electrolytes are consumed during any periods of nausea or diarrhea, that a sufficient level of sun-light exposure is maintained, and that a good quality vitamin supplement is taken as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
    Low potassium blood levels can also occasionally cause muscle cramps, although it is more common for low potassium although potassium deficiency usually results in weak muscles rather than cramp. Banana’s are an excellent source of potassium and are also an excellent source of energy before a workout.



The immediate treatment for muscle cramp is to stretch and gently massage the muscle. Use ice packs for severe cases and drink water or a sports drink, or better yet dextrose or maltodextrin – as a lot of the glucose in “sports” drinks will go to the liver as opposed to the muscle.

How can you avoid cramp?

Plenty of fluid and a nutritious diet along with a proper warm-up such as walking on an incline or x-training on a medium resistance for around 10 minutes will ensure that muscles are warm. NEVER STRETCH COLD MUSCLES AS THIS CAN RESULT IN TEARS IN THE MUSCLE.

Article Written by Georgia B. Simmons

Georgia B. Simmons is a Bikini Athlete and Competitor out of the UK. Read here featured interview here.

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Sally Rotlisberger – NPAA Figure Athlete

After just 3 competitions, Sally received her Pro Card in Figure through the IDFA. She will be continuing her figure career with the new NPAA Organization (Natural Physique and Athletic Organization)

Please read more about Sally.

Can you share with our readers your background and interests?

I am an executive assistant at an oil and gas company in Calgary, AB. When I’m not at work, you can find me at the gym, snowboarding, downhill mountain biking or keeping up with at very rambunctious pug. I enjoy being active and living a healthy lifestyle.

Who has inspired you the most to succeed as a Figure Competitor?

I was looking for a new challenge but didn’t know what I wanted to do. While at a mountain bike camp I discovered that my coach had entered a fitness competition a few months before the camp. She told me all about the experience and encouraged me to give it a try. After some research, I found a trainer, Dr. Wendy Ashby. Wendy guided me through the process, making it a really fun experience. After my first competition I was hooked. Wendy has been a great inspiration and has always believed in me, even when at times, I doubted myself.

What competitions have you made appearances in and what were your placements?

2010 – May, IDFA, Calgary – Novice Figure 2nd place

2011 – May, IDFA, Calgary – Open Figure 3rd place

2011 – October, IDFA, Calgary – Open Figure 1st place Overall (received Pro Card)

When is your next upcoming show and what will be your competing class?

I will compete in two competitions this year:

May 12, INBF. Category – Ms Fit

Sept 30, NPAA. Category – Figure

What is your current nutritional plan in preparation for a competition, and what supplements do you take when in contest prep?

I’m sure my nutrition plan is similar to other competitors. I eat several small meals spread throughout the day. I supplement with BCAA and multi vitamins. I try to keep it simple.

What’s your weekly Training Split like?

I lift weights approx 5 days per week.

What’s your Cardio Schedule like during competition prep?

I generally do cardio (30-45 min) in the morning. This is when I practice my posing as well.

What techniques do you employ to best prepare you for a competition?

Stage presence is really important. I have two left feet so I really need to practice until I’m comfortable with everything. Its one less thing to worry about when you’re on stage and you can just have fun and enjoy the moment. As for carb cutting and drying out … I leave that up to my trainer to tell me what’s best. I think that the last week should be really personalized to each individual.

Where can fans find out more about you?


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Kristi Winger Szudlo – WBFF Pro Fitness Model


Beautiful mother of 2, Kristi Winger Szudlo just received her WBFF Pro Card last year and is very excited to hit the pro stage soon!

Please read more about Kristi.

Can you please share with us your background?

I am married to a wonderful man named Brian for almost 9 years, and we have 2 children, a son age 6 and a daughter age 2.5. We also have 2 Austrian Shepard Dogs. I have a full time job in the medical field working in biotech sales in immunology/neurology in the area of Multiple Sclerosis. I am also working toward becoming a personal trainer.   Our family time is always go, go, go! We love to be active together! We work out, swim, surf, golf, play soccer, dance, go to the park, hike, explore, do art, go to museums and we love to vacation!

Who has inspired you the most to succeed as a Fitness Competitor?

I have had two personal mentors that have inspired me, and many whom I have met along the way who I look up to as athletes. My first mentor who got me started into Fitness competitions is the beautiful Melissa Hall Little. She is a former Miss Bikini Universe and she is amazing!  Melissa offered to train me and prepare me for my first fitness competition in June of 2010.  She is a still a wonderful mentor and friend.

My next awesome mentor who I just started with after earning my WBFF Pro Card is the current 2 time WBFF Bikini Diva World Champion and former overall Bikini champion of the Arnold Classic, the stunning Chady Dunmore. She is as amazing as her many accomplishments, and I am so blessed to be working together on some projects with her, learning from her, and have her mentoring my modeling and fitness competition career as well.

I have deep admiration for the incredible Kim Dolan Leto and her work and inspiration for highlighting Fit Moms and for being such a remarkable fit mom herself and so kind to everyone she speaks to. I also admire Jamie Eason and what I see as her ability to stay so marketable and beautiful while never losing her sweet and down to earth self. I aspire to be like these amazing women and many more who are unnamed here but in my mind who I admire and I have had the pleasure of meeting since my first competition in June of 2010.

What competitions have you made appearances in and from these, what were your placements?


2010 Fitness and Bikini Competitions

~6/2010 Fitness Universe (Nat’l) – Miami, FL Bikini-13th (FIRST SHOW EVER!)

~8/2010 Carolina Nationals, Fitness Universe- Charlotte, NC-Bikini Classic- WINNER

~10/2010– Midwest Classic, Fitness Universe- Chicago, IL- Bikini Classic- 3rd

~11/2010– Fitness America (Nat’l) – Las Vegas- Bikini Classic- 12th

2011 Fitness and Bikini Competitions

~6/2011 Fitness Universe (Nat’l) – Miami, FL- Bikini Classic- TOP 10, 6th Prelim

~6/2011 WBFF Boston Championship

1) Bikini Diva-Model Tall-3rd Place

2) Fitness Model Tall-7th place

3) Fitness Model 35 – 7th place

~10/2011 WBFF Edmonton Canada Championship-Bikini Diva Model Tall-6th Place

~11/2011 WBFF New England Championship

1) Fitness Model Tall-4th Place,

2) Fitness Model 35 – 1st Place-PRO CARD!!

When is your next upcoming show? What will be your competing class?

I will next compete in the WBFF World competition in the Fitness Model Pro open division. As of now, there is not a Fitness Model 35 division, so unless a new age division is created before World’s, I will compete in the open division.

The amazing WBFF World competition has both an amateur and pro competition at World’s.  It is held in Toronto Canada on August 24 and 25, 2012. I am super pumped to go to compete against the other amazing Pro’s in my division! This year they are offering a pay per view option for those who want to watch their favorite competitor while on stage but cannot come to the show. I am glad that my family and friends can at
tune in live time to see me on stage! That feels great to know loved ones support will be there in many different ways.

Nutrition and Supplementation:

I use a variety, but I do really like Muscle Pharm products best

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

I eat 60% protein, 20% veggies, and 20% clean carbs off season. I eat 70-75% protein 15-20% green veggies and the balance as clean carbs (or no
carbs) when in season. If I am eating no carbs, then I eat more protein.

I had never taken supplements before for competition prep or any reason until July of 2011 after my first competition with the WBFF. It was
suggested by a trainer who had advised many of the use of supplements and he had years of experience and knowledge. I was curious to see if it would provide all the benefits I had heard supplements can provide.  I have a known low Thyroid condition, known as hypothyroidism. My thyroid disease can make training a struggle at times, but it can also make finding the best balance of supplements while training that can
be beneficial a challenge. After I started my suggested supplement plan, I was totally exhausted for weeks rather than benefiting at all.  I should have carefully checked with my doctor about the supplements and other vitamins I was taking so not to interfere with my medication that I needed to help my thyroid function. After I did consult with my physician I became better educated on what was really best for me and found the right balance.

My advice to others is that if you have any underlying medical condition or even if supplements are new to you, please take time to educate
yourself with a professionally educated and experienced resource so that the supplements you pick work in the best way to benefit and not hinder your training progress or your health.

Weight and Cardio Training Split:

Off season: I do one hour of weights and 30 minutes of cardio rotating cardio routines.  5 days a week

In season: I do 2 hours of weights and 45 minutes in the AM/PM, rotating cardio routines 7 days a week

Off Season

1) Arms/Shoulders/Abs/Upper Back

30 minutes-treadmill or stairs, mixed speeds/inclines/ HIT

2) Legs/Calves/Gluts/Abs/Conditioning points (includes lower back)

Cardio- 30 minutes or cardio class that would be acceptable like spinning or Kickboxing

3) Rest day

On Season

1) Arms/Shoulders/Abs/Upper Back, 45 AM Cardio/45 PM Cardio (switch up on treadmill, stair drills, Stairmaster, etc.)

2) Legs/Calves/Gluts/Abs/Conditioning points (includes lower back) 30 AM Cardio/ 30 PM Cardio (treadmill only-mix up speeds and incline, HIT)

3) Repeat

Where can fans find out more about you?

I have some irons in the fire, so publications are coming but I cannot comment!  Keep your eyes open for me; you never know where I will turn up! Smile!

My Athlete page is:


My Facebook page is:


Be Blessed!

~Kristi Winger Szudlo, WBFF Fitness Model Pro

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Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. HIIT is an amazing workout for any fitness level, and a great tool to use in everyone’s fitness routine for many reasons.

A good example workout is running as fast as you can for 1 minute and then walking for 2 minutes. Repeat this 3-minute interval 5 times for a 15-minute, fat-blasting workout which will leave you sweating, feeling amazing and wondering why you didn’t start doing this ages ago. It almost sounds too good be true, but there are many proven facts about HIIT that will make you want to hit the treadmill as soon as you are done reading this article.

HIIT is the ideal workout for a busy schedule—whether you want  a fast workout before work, during your lunch break,or to get in quick shape for an event. The best thing about HIIT is how fast you can do a workout! You can fit this kind of training literally anywhere at anytime with no equipment necessary.

Research shows you can achieve more progress in 15 minutes of interval training 3 times per week than the person jogging on the treadmill beside you for an hour. According to a recent study at the American College of Sports Medicine, just 2 weeks of high-intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training.

Not only do you burn more calories during HIIT workouts, but the effect of all that intense exertion kicks your body’s metabolism into superman speed. That means you will burn more fat and calories hours after your HIIT workout than you do after steady state cardio.

Most people aren’t used to or do not like pushing into the anaerobic zone (when you feel like you can’t breathe, your heart is bursting out of your chest and you want to collapse on the floor). Extreme training produces extreme results, like better aerobic capacity and endurance and faster fat loss.

Any bodybuilder, figure and bikini competitor know the risks of losing muscle mass along with fat during the cutting stage for a competition. While steady state cardio may encourage muscle loss, studies show that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters and competitors to preserve their hard-earned muscle while ensuring most of the weight loss comes from fat. What a great combination!

In addition to increased fat burning and saving your muscle mass, HIIT studies have shown that it stimulates production of your natural human growth hormone (HGH) during the 24 hours after you finish your workout. HGH is responsible for increased caloric burn but also slows down the aging process, which makes us younger inside and out. Maybe that is why I still get asked for ID when I buy lottery tickets.

This is not a workout you can do while reading a magazine or gossiping with your friend. Because the session is so short, you should be working hard the whole time. If you feel like it was just an “ok” workout, then you did not perform the intervals properly. The trade-off  for this type of training offers seasoned exercisers and athletes a new challenge to bust out of plateaus and new exercisers a quick way to shed fat. Keep in mind that this is very challenging, and if you have been sedentary for a long time, you should start with continuous cardio to get your fitness level up.

This type of training definitely won’t bore you like continuous cardio bores most of us. You may be in pain, cursing the treadmill and want to give up, but stick with it, the results are amazing and worth it!

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