I’ve said it before and I’m saying it now, to me there is nothing more exciting than goal setting and looking at a timeline. That’s what prep is. What goals do I have and what will it take to get there. In that, I also want to know what can I learn. I want to be challenged. Can I hit a new personal record? What new exercises will I try?  I track my lifts and cardio daily, and compare weekly. This helps me increase weight when necessary. I can also look back to my first lifting sessions from 2014 and see what I was lifting in comparison to now. I’m on my second notebook and I bought a new one to start with this prep, so I guess technically I’m on my third.

Prep means constant change.

Just like physics, change is the only constant in prep. Adjusting macros, lifts and cardio accordingly to make sure that progress is constant and steady. When it’s not constant you reevaluate and adjust and change again. Tracking sodium and balancing water to ensure that you’re not holding water and causing bloating because workouts with a bloated belly bite the big one. So many factors effect progress. In my last prep, I felt like a science experiment as I watched to see how my body would react to different changes. We introduced refeeds, adjusted sodium levels during peak week and even added in some carb cycling. Heading into maintenance I was excited and nervous to see how I would handle increases in food while decreasing activity. What would my body really think of the nutritional goals? 210 grams of carbohydrates later, and still sitting at roughly 127 pounds, I think my body is doing just fine.

Going into a third prep, I had a lot to think about. This time is different than the other times. My goals are slightly different as well. I wanted to get closer to the top 10 in the spring, but I knew that would be difficult. Now, I’m not going to hold myself back in thinking I have a chance. It’s been a crazy few weeks and for the fall I’ve decided to take my journey in a different direction and prep myself.

I know it seems out of the blue, but it’s not. I know a lot more than I give myself credit for and I have a desire to continue to learn. It’s going to be a busy fall because not only am I working and getting ready for competition, but I’m going to be starting classes towards an associates degree in public health with the hope that I can become a licensed health coach when it’s completed. I have a bachelors and master’s already, so about 5 or 6 classes will be transferring into the program. One benefit through my job is tuition remission, which means I can take courses for free. So I’m starting with one this fall and another in the spring before transferring the credits to the community college to start diving into their program.

So, for prep because prep isn’t real life as I say to JP – I’m adding a 6th day of lifting to my schedule and I’ll be working on lifting heavier and redesigning my lifts so that I can really push weight. During maintenance and the summer I lifted for 5 days because I didn’t want to feel like I was missing something. Real life isn’t about being in the gym every day for hours, and not that prep is like that either, but in my head, a 6th day if I’m enjoying it isn’t a problem for prep.

I’m going to have an emphasis on lower body and back. Focusing on keeping my squats heavy, bringing back and working on deadlifts, pushing my leg press and biting the bullet and seeing what I can accomplish with bench press. There will also be plenty of exercises working smaller muscles and groupings too. I’ve been researching pyramid lifting structures, you can check out the link in the “Educate Yourself” tab, and I’ve added a few exercises where it look like it would be appropriate to create these.Similar to what I was doing before – I am mixing up my lifts with machines, cables and free weights. I have also kept cardio into the mix, but only slightly. I do like running and I didn’t want to lose that since I just started again after surgery. I’m going to have an opportunity to work on my sprints, but I am also making sure that I incorporate Tabata or HIIT circuits into the week because of the benefits this training style brings to prep and the body.

I’m sure this sounds crazy to some, but I’ve done this before. I had a different physique, but I’ve done the workouts and the macro nutrient designing before. This is really me coming home and doing it on my own. I learned a lot the first time I did it and I know even more now having worked with a coach for almost a year. I think this direction will be a great way for me to take control again of my journey, for me to fully own it and rediscover fitness again.

I can’t wait to share the next few weeks with you.

❤ Cristina