Contest prep for female bodybuilders a simple guide for newbies
This article is intended to be a guide for women who want to lean out or are considering entering a female bodybuilding competition. This article offers suggestions for newbies who are looking for basic guidelines to follow during a cutting cycle.
Whether you are looking to get ready to show off your body at the beach, or you are thinking about entering a bikini or fitness competition, a cutting cycle is something you will need to implement.
The goal of a cutting cycle is to maintain as much muscle as you can while eliminating body fat. Everyone has muscle, however, the only way to show it off is by getting rid of the fat that is covering up the muscle.
A cutting cycle is something that should be gradual, there are women who can drop fat in less than a month, but when you diet down all at once not only do you lose fat, you will also lose a lot of muscle; that's why a gradual 60-day cutting cycle is best.
Before cutting most women are consuming more carbs and lifting heavier in the gym. During a cutting cycle, your protein and fat consumption should be higher because, in theory, you will be doing more cardio.
The amount of protein recommended for women is between 1.1 – 1.5 grams per pound of body fat during the cutting cycle. It is important to try and watch your protein intake carefully to prevent as much muscle loss as possible.
The reason why you want to maintain as much muscle as possible is that it will give your muscle bellies a rounder and fuller look. If you burn too much muscle, you will end up having a flat looking physique.
Training and cardio
(Long and steady cardio sessions will not only burn fat, it will also eat up muscle, so make sure you don't spend hours on a treadmill)
During a cutting cycle cardio is important, but be careful not to over do it. There are better things you can do besides spending hours on a treadmill. You can get cardio from HIT high-intensity training.
Picking up the pace with weights can offer a better alternative to cardio. What this means is lifting weight and doing high reps and short rest intervals, this will help keep your heart rate up while stimulating muscle pumps.
The first month during your cutting cycle can be critical, you should be aiming for about 18% body fat. The second month is even more crucial for getting rid of the extra fat. Once you begin seeing muscle definition you will have to play with your diet, on average, women who compete will want a body fat of around 8-12%.
Taking a good fat burner
The second half of your cutting cycle (4 weeks) will be more difficult, many women will struggle with those last couple of pounds of stubborn fat. During my cutting cycle, I normally take a B complex vitamin, so when choosing a fat burner I want something that will speed up my metabolism and give me energy. Anything containing Yohimbe, caffeine, Garcinia or Guarana extracts will do the trick; the cleaner the supplement the better.
I have used CrazyBulk's Clenbutrol, it contains no caffeine but has a good mix of Guarana, Citrus Aurantium, and Garcinia. Phen375 does contain caffeine and 30 tablets will last 2 weeks which is just perfect for finishing up the cutting cycle.
A good fat burner is essential during the last few weeks of cutting. It will help you maintain energy levels. After you have been dieting down for a month you will understand why.
Your diet during the second month of cutting
My first cutting month of dieting down was tough! My breakfast consisted of a few egg whites, oatmeal, and honey. The rest of my meals consisted of brown rice, broccoli sweet potatoes, and chicken. What I found is that I felt very weak.
From my own personal experience, I found I needed more protein and fat with very low carbs.
My menu would look something like the following:
- Meal 1 Breakfast, a whey protein shake with spinach
- Meal 2 Pre-workout, a cup of oatmeal with honey
- Meal 3 Post workout a 150-200 grams of sweet potatoes, some broccoli and 6 oz of beef, chicken or turkey
- Meal 4 Greek yogurt mixed with some whey protein or some all natural peanut butter
- Meal 5 2 whole egg with 2 egg whites
- Snacks If I am hungry between meals I will eat 2-4 ounces of raw almonds, cashews or pistachios.
You want to tray and keep your calories to around 1200 per day.
A re-feed day
During a cutting cycle a refeed day is necessary, this tricks your body and breaks your metabolic cycle, plus it will give you some sanity. On a refeed day you increase your carb intake by 100% or more.
The purpose of a re-feed day is to boost your metabolism, make your body burn fat, and restore Leptin hormone levels. During a cutting cycle, your metabolism will slow down to a crawl so you burn fewer calories and fat. This is just your body using its safety mechanism of burning less fat for (survival)
How often you re-feed will vary from one person to another but during the last 4 weeks, you are probably between 8-15% body fat in this case you would re-feed once every week.
Food suggestions for a re-feed day can include:
- Glucose rich sources
- Small amounts of sugars
This article is just a guideline for cutting and losing fat, everyone's metabolism is different so follow it and modify to your own needs. This will help you burn fat and reshape your body, it can be used by women who want to look great in a bikini or for the more serious pro fitness model or bodybuilder.
Angela is the owner and primary contributor to Crazybulkwomen.com I love writing about all things fitness and nutrition related. I studied nutrition at the University of Phoenix and currently am a full-time mom and blogger.