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  1. #1
    I Train to Bring You Pain kfisherx's Avatar
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    Realistic Goals and Competing

    I always feel blessed by the amazing mentors and friends I have in my life. Just recently one of my mentors appeared on a local news show to discuss ways to keep resolutions.

    http://www.katu.com/amnw/segments/112345639.html

    I really like what he had to say and he mentioned the need to set realistic goals in abstract fashion but could not really cover the topic in any detail in the time allotted him in this interview. Watching this video over the holiday inspired me to finally write that sticky on competing only my thoughts now are to make it about realistic goal setting versus just competing alone and perhaps kill two topics in one (hopefully) concise article.

    Fairly regularly we hear from ladies who have decided to compete or to make extreme body transformations. Most often these ladies are new to fitness or lifting and really just want to have a nice/transformed body. They erroneously think that adding the competition component will also add motivation or incentive enough to make their unrealistic goals reality. After all we so often see amazing body transformation on TV or in the magazines. It is a logical jump that with enough discipline and will-power that anyone could do the same with equal results within 12 weeks or less, right? Unfortunately setting these sorts of expectations surrounding our goals nearly always results in failure and more often than not also psychological and physical damage.

    In the referenced video, Dr Friedrich talks about advice he received from one of his own mentors about tackling a project (or goal) and how one needs limit the tasks first and foremost and then to slice tasks down thinly enough to see through. In that spirit, let us examine the goal of body transformation in slices realistic and thinly enough so that you can actually achieve the long-term goal of transforming your body.


    Losing Fat Realistically:
    Fat loss is on the minds of everyone today. Even people who are ideal scale weight struggle with unsightly body fat and wish to reduce this. So what are realistic fat loss goals? Again, I turn to another person I have the extreme fortune to call a personal mentor, Alan Aragon. In his monthly Publication the AARR(http://www.alanaragon.com/research-review-entrance.html) Alan wrote a series of articles specifically on setting realistic muscle gain as well as fat loss expectations. He also gave detailed information on how to set up caloric and macro goals. I highly recommend a subscription to get all the details. For this article I will give my cliffs on some of the topics covered in those articles.

    Alan cautions for fat loss, that individuals will lose muscle if they attempt to drop scale weight too quickly. I will add that more than losing muscle, the person will potentially also sustain injury and fail to reach their goal if they lose too quickly. Interestingly the closer you are to an ideal scale weight; the harder it is to lose fat without muscle loss, so the slower you have to go.

    In order to preserve muscle as you are losing fat the following guidelines are suggested

    Fat lost per month =
    Obese : 4-6%
    Moderately overweight: 3-4%
    Average: 2-3%
    Lean 1-2%
    Very lean .5-1%


    So if you are an obese person weighing around 250lbs, a realistic loss per month without compromising muscle is roughly 12.5 lb of scale weight. If you are lifting weights, you will probably see even less as muscle growth will occur. Likewise if you are already at ideal scale weight or lean (with barely visible abs) at 120lbs then shoot for a maximum of 1.2lb rate of loss per month. Notice how these numbers differ from the ads you see on these amazing transformation or on Biggest Loser. This is reality versus TV or some pre-arranged contest.

    Competition Reality:
    Now let’s add the component of competing in the broad spectrum of our goals. When most people set out for body transformations, they tend to be content with an athletic sort of body type. This is typically in the 20% bf range for females. But what about shooting for that little extra? Well, if you want to compete in bikini, you will have to be in the mid-teens, for figure in the lower teens and for bodybuilding even lower than that! NOW we are talking a very tricky game as the loss of muscle to bf rate increases significantly in this process without extreme caution.

    The 2 most common mistakes people make when deciding to compete is

    1. Underestimating how much muscle they have under their fat layers. (AKA how much fat they have to lose)
    2. Underestimating how long it takes to build muscle

    In a distant 3rd place for big mistakes is underestimating the seriousness of the competition game. (Or undermining it) Let’s talk to the first two items first.

    If I looked up current stats for the PROs I see the following....

    Brenda Raganot: 5'3" - 136lbs
    Dayana Cadeau: 5'4' -- 128lbs
    Debi Laszewski: 5'4' -- 128lbs
    Dana Waterfield: 5'4' -- 128lbs
    Elena Shportun: 5'5" - 138lbs
    Iris Kyle: 5'5" - 138lbs


    ALL of these women have been training for more than 15 years and are at a VERY, VERY low body fat. And we can all feel pretty confident that at least SOME of these women are using enhancements. So when someone comes to this forum at 5’5” and 160lbs thinking they only have 30 lbs to lose to get on the bodybuilding stage, we can easily say that the person has over estimated their muscle or fat percentages. Novice women (not on steroids) at 5’5” can expect to hit the stage under 120lbs total body weight and need to do so at a slow rate to preserve muscle. Yet over and over and over again, we have to hear how easily women put on or keep muscle.

    Putting on Muscle:
    With respect to the 3rd issue, it is sadly the case that women want to jump on stage before they have put a decent amount of muscle (AKA a “base”) on their bodies. Many times, we see someone with less than one year of training preparing for the stage. This most often results in rail-thin stick look at the lower body fat percentages instead of an athletic look. This happens time and again as women defiantly say that they put on muscle quickly. (Trust me, I “get” that you think you are different and are the exception. We all think that. I surely did until I hit the 13% range in body fat and I saw how tiny I was.) If you learn nothing else from this document know this one thing.

    It takes YEARS to build a good base for competition and it is next to impossible to do at all IF you are showing instead of focusing on building.

    Again from Alan’s article (Sept 2008) AARR…

    Novice (less than 2 years consistent training) 1.0-1.5lb per month
    Intermediate (2-4 years of consistent training) .5-1.0lb per month
    Advanced (more than 4 years of consistent training) .25-.5lb per month


    This Game Has High Stakes:
    Showing takes an extreme toll on the body as dipping into the lower percentages of body fat causes the bodies systems to perform poorly. You will get weaker, your cognitive functioning will decrease, and your endurance will decrease. Professional bodybuilders will do nothing for weeks on end around shows except for workout for 1-3 hours in the gym, sleep and eat. They have nothing left beyond that.

    Of course there is always bikini and figure. Bikini and figure can have higher body fat percentages so many women jump onto the stage under the false premise that it is okay to get up there with 20% or more bf. Here is an example (one of MANY) from a bodyspace.(check out the pics) She admits that she did horribly and was unprepared but still encouraged others to go on stage and do the same.

    http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/oushra/

    This story is again repeated over and over. Yes, you can go on stage unprepared and you can then post pictures of yourself on the stage in your bodyspace BUT how is that a good thing when you know you did horribly or were unprepared?

    Here are some of my favorite threads from the past few years on competition for you to enjoy and they touch all these subjects in a deeper way than this one post.

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...ht=competition
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...ht=competition
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...ht=competition
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...ht=competition
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...ht=competition
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...ht=competition
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...ht=competition


    For a more realistic view of what is possible - try here:
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=130828943


    For EVERYONE who is looking to make a resolution or to do a transformation, here are the recommended steps.
    1. Make realistic Goals (see above)
    2.Set your macros and calories to hit those goals and understand WHAT you can eat.
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=121703921
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=125916003
    3.Chose a training program to match your goals
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=127023861
    4. Join in one of the fitness challenges going on! Check out the board for one of many ongoing challenges. They are fun. They are safe, cheap and they are REALISTIC for anyone wishing to make a transformation.
    Last edited by alan aragon; 06-13-2013 at 01:11 PM. Reason: updated to reflect my current views
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  2. #2
    Not Swimming. Emma-Leigh's Avatar
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    Stuck.
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  3. #3
    I Train to Bring You Pain kfisherx's Avatar
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    Whoa! That was fast and thanks. This one took me FOREVER to write for some reason. I just could not get the flow. Hope it helps.
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  4. #4
    we flawless illiniStrive's Avatar
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    I clicked on this before it was a sticky, went back to the board and couldn't find it! Read the whole thing.

    The "Losing Fat Realistically" section I think is incredibly informative and could almost be its own sticky, lol. Everyone usually plans to lose 2lbs per week, but don't realize that the leaner they are the more unrealistic thsi goal becomes.
    280/150/355 @meet
    275/160/350 @gym

    BTK OG

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  5. #5
    "You're at the controls" KC5280's Avatar
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    This is awesome - thanks kfisherx!
    I want mature muscle.

    Yes I finally started a journal.
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=130589673
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  6. #6
    Buff bride to be imperfectly_lou's Avatar
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    Fantastic idea for a sticky Thanks!
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  7. #7
    Da fuk is this. Echo814's Avatar
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    This is awesome and so needed on the board.
    If this were easy, everyone would walk around ripped.

    I like eating, it helps with the not dying.

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    Registered User ramerrill's Avatar
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    Smile

    Its so true! I was one of those fluffy girls in 09 at 32% BF and walked up to trainers asking to train me to compete, and what is sad is that ALL of them told me, it will only take a few good tough months. Im sorry,but I find that unhealthy and I have done my weight loss slowly and realized that I still have muscle to build! So now I am training on my own, since I know my body better than anyone and I will be lifting heavy for a long time and then by this time next year start to cut.

    The tricky thing is to bulk right though and to keep your fat% controlled....hard work, dedication, and patience does pay off. I am so happy that you posted this thread! Good work, women need to hear this stuff
    Bring on the pain

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  9. #9
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    OMG! Finally!!!

    Karla, you are awesome!
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  10. #10
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    Fantastic stickie! Thank you
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  11. #11
    Eat. Sleep. Train. ExclusiveStarr's Avatar
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    Excellent post! Definitely sticky worthy.
    "Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. That surrender, even the smallest act of giving up, stays with me. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself, which would I rather live with?" - Lance Armstrong
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    Thumbs up

    This is an awesome post and I think it will be referenced many, many times.

    Everybody wants to rush the process and I think this part is critical:

    In order to preserve muscle as you are losing fat the following guidelines are suggested

    Fat lost per month =
    Obese : 6-8%
    Moderately overweight: 4-6%
    Average: 2-4%
    Lean 1-2%
    Very lean .5-1%
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  13. #13
    Get back to this ↓ hieronymous's Avatar
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    Great post kfisherx.
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    Thumbs up

    Most informative post and very helpful for goal setting. Thanks!
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  15. #15
    doing what i can. jagadzie's Avatar
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    EXCELLENT AND FANTASTIC! so needed, so true, and a good read for all!
    thanks karla!
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  16. #16
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    Thank you for the time you put into this.
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=159276021
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  17. #17
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    Fo sho.

    I started dieting 16 weeks out. This was actually plenty of time to lose my 18-19% bodyfat to get down to 12-14%. I did lots of research and took tons of time dieting, working my ass off, doing cardio, and living and breathing the gym. I worked harder than I ever had and followed my diet to a T. I did everything 100% on point and "right". I was plenty lean.

    That problem was, I dieted SO long I probably sacrificed some muscle and all my lifts went down significantly, and are only just starting to come back up to where they were. Girls who placed (I did not place) had higher bodyfat by me by several percentage points. I was one of the leanest girls competing... and despite 3 years of heavy weight training, I was the smallest girl not in bikini, and yet much too lean to do bikini. So my mistake was not accounting for the fact that I could lose some muscle, and did not have to get quite that lean. Apparently, 3 years of training wasn't enough!

    Also my posing was not very good at all... I thought practicing quarter turns a few minutes once a day, without getting feedback from others would suffice. I was wrong; I had no idea that my footing was off and my lat spread was horrible, and I felt really awkward. Take time to learn the poses to a T, in your sleep, and get a coach/other bodybuilder to watch you pose and comment. Even get a posing coach. It'll be worth it.
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  18. #18
    I Train to Bring You Pain kfisherx's Avatar
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    MUCHO Love to all women responding to this thread. Sorry it took me so long but I think this one is far better than the one I was thinking about writing when I first started this.

    Also to all of you who are brave enough to post your "competition" horror stories, many, many thanks. It is an UGLY world for those not ready.
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    Thank you for this post!

    As much as I loved my first experience on stage, I look back and realize I could've come in leaner. What's tough about the sport is knowing ahead of time what the judges at your show are looking for. My coach was afraid to bring me in too lean, yet I probably carried the most body fat out of the top 5 girls that I placed with.
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    Originally Posted by rcswent View Post
    Thank you for this post!

    As much as I loved my first experience on stage, I look back and realize I could've come in leaner. What's tough about the sport is knowing ahead of time what the judges at your show are looking for. My coach was afraid to bring me in too lean, yet I probably carried the most body fat out of the top 5 girls that I placed with.
    Just want to say that your coach did a REALLY good job for first time. That is one nice showing. Of course you have to fine-tune but it takes some time to do that as we are all a little different. Hope you are enjoying the off season and make sure you take a few years off to build here and there.
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    Awesome sticky!
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    Originally Posted by Spottydog View Post
    Fo sho.

    Also my posing was not very good at all... I thought practicing quarter turns a few minutes once a day, without getting feedback from others would suffice. I was wrong; I had no idea that my footing was off and my lat spread was horrible, and I felt really awkward. Take time to learn the poses to a T, in your sleep, and get a coach/other bodybuilder to watch you pose and comment. Even get a posing coach. It'll be worth it.
    Posing is soooo very hard to get and actually look natural and do it right. My first show i had my shoulders hunched up around my ears! It didnt feel that way on stage but thats what it looked like. After seeing the photos i knew i hadnt practiced enough.
    I am the girl on the far end, dark hair dark blue suit:


    Looking at recent pics now (in my bodyspace) I see that my posing is much better, but still have a lot of work to do on hand placement and shoulder set, something is still off. And even the bikini stance is hard to do without practice.
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    THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this!!

    I'd been asked so many times if I've chosen a show yet and I've had to say not even "close"! LOL! I want to build muscle! I know it'll take me years to get the physique and muscles I want to begin with. I'm confident that I will look darn good when I reach that goal, but I also want to enjoy the journey and do my research about the sport itself (rules, federations, politics, etc), not just the training/diet parts. Once I attain that physique, I'm gonna enjoy "wearing" it and learn how to maintain it for a while (and practice posing, ha!) long before competing anyway. I don't want to (nor expect to) be "perfect" when I do my first show, but I DO want to be "ready" all around.

    This whole train of thought, now combined with the affirmation of your post has relieved me of any pressure, and had taught me about patience, which is very important in the end.

    It's nice to see a sticky of this, to reference. Again, thank you!
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    Why are random cheerleaders so offended that some women on bodybuilding.com have some kind of standards/expectations for competition? One of those threads going on elsewhere right now...
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    Very good read. I'd never have the courage to get on stage but I am guilty of stalking a lot of the competition ladies.

    I've always wondered why there was a rush to be judged. I try to avoid judgement at all costs. Obviously everyone has different motivating factors to losing weight and staying in shape however.

    That being said, if you're going to play with the big girls, you should respect them and yourself enough to meet minimum standards and strive for better. We all start somewhere though.
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    I can't believe experienced competing bodybuilders are encouraging unprepared women to compete in figure. And then we wonder why figure competitions are a joke.
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=130920413
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=130828973
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    Originally Posted by juliacheh View Post
    I can't believe experienced competing bodybuilders are encouraging unprepared women to compete in figure. And then we wonder why figure competitions are a joke.
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=130920413
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=130828973
    That first woman could get away with bikini actually. She should build up her butt a bit though. Otherwise is pretty genetically gifted for bikini. Second one has too much fat to do either in any near term.

    I don't even venture outside of this folder too much for this reason. There has to be a place for girls to go who will not listen to reason and still want to go on stage.
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    Originally Posted by kfisherx View Post
    That first woman could get away with bikini actually. She should build up her butt a bit though. Otherwise is pretty genetically gifted for bikini. Second one has too much fat to do either in any near term.

    I don't even venture outside of this folder too much for this reason. There has to be a place for girls to go who will not listen to reason and still want to go on stage.
    I told the first woman that she would do very well in bikini. But bikini and figure looks are supposed to be different. Or at least I thought so LOL.
    I read contest prep section sometimes, though I don't compete.
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  29. #29
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    Originally Posted by kfisherx View Post
    That first woman could get away with bikini actually. She should build up her butt a bit though. Otherwise is pretty genetically gifted for bikini. Second one has too much fat to do either in any near term.
    I agree completely. The second one doesn't seem to have any more muscle than an average person who does not train.
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    Originally Posted by juliacheh View Post
    I told the first woman that she would do very well in bikini. But bikini and figure looks are supposed to be different. Or at least I thought so LOL.
    I read contest prep section sometimes, though I don't compete.
    Oh they most certainly ARE different.

    Bikini girls can have a goodly amount of fat if they are otherwise genetically gifted. The first woman has nice even fat distribution, legs that go on forever and actually doesn't have much fat to start. She could actually do the bikini thing okay. She MAY even be able to do some novice figure shows with a decent showing... but it would hurt her rather than help her as she will need to build at some point if she wants to be serious and going very low in bf% with such a small base is not really a good idea ever. She has such a nice start that she should either commit to bikini to get the stage experience or start building muscle to kick-ass in figure in a year or two. Personally, I'd go for bodybuilding if I had that to start with but I like it big and bulky.

    BTW: Notice what Layne Norton tells her.
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