The TRUTH About Competitors and Fitness Models

One of the most FRUSTRATING things as a coach is Instagram.  I have a love/hate relationship with social media.  Whether it’s Fitspiration, Bikini Competitors posting pictures, or Fitness Models posting half naked pictures of themselves, I find that these images encourage more disordered eating, than they do “inspire” a healthy lifestyle, positive self image, or positive impact on the planet.

I’m sure they attain this type of figure because they just do more sit ups than you…right?

Here are a few tidbits you may not be aware of that run rampant in the Bodybuilding/Bikini Competitor/Fitness Community.

1.  Competing can be bad for your mental health – The incessant nit-picking of body parts, placing your self worth on your competition “placing” and the comparison of your body to other girls bodies half naked on stage- remind me what exactly is the point??  Not to mention the actual cost of competing itself.

2.  Getting your body to ultra-low body fat levels can damage your thyroid and adrenal hormones, creating metabolic damage.

3.  The Starve-Binge cycle – Even the best bodies in the world, don’t look like that year-round.  Competitors spend months putting their bodies through harsh dieting (ultra-low calories, hours of cardio, ultra-low carbs, heavy stimulant fat burners) then, once the competition’s over, they often binge, some times for days, some times for weeks, because they are so exhausted and their body is so starved.  This binge leads to a HUGE weight gain, which they often find they can not lose due to damage done to their hormones.

One competitor was quoted as being on a “very low calorie diet (900-1100 per day) for over 8 months straight with zero carbs nearly the whole time and an hour of cardio a day, 7 days per week”.

Dianna Dahlgren has been very public about her experience,  “she had a full blown eating disorder. She was binging. In her previous prep, she had been restricted to 600 calories a day and 3 hours of cardio per day.”

But I don’t want to compete, I just want Abs like “such and such” on Pinterest.

Please be aware that many fitness models are competitors and use the same preparatory methods for their photo shoot as they do for competition.  They also frequently schedule photo shoots around competitions since their body is already ultra lean.

Some fitness competitors, like Autumn Calabrese, even market their own “Weight Loss Programs” (21 Day Fix).  Let’s open our eyes people.  Do you really think the program she is selling is the one she uses to get her body into this type of condition?  (Maybe?  Have you seen the portion control cups?  I had to go get a snack; got hungry just looking at them)

Besides, a safe amount of weight to lose in 3 weeks is 3lbs.  Do you really need to spend $160 to lose 3 lbs?

Now, this certainly does not mean ALL fitness athletes suffer from disordered eating, damaged metabolisms, and stimulant abuse, but it certainly runs rampant– and all for the “perfect body”.

So the questions remain- How does this develop and relay a positive self image?  How does this help bring about good health?  How does this help the planet?

The answer, it does not.

One blogger put it perfectly,

“…So many of us compare ourselves and our bodies to other people’s on a daily basis and become too hard on ourselves.  By comparing ourselves to others, we become anxious and become unappreciative of what we have been given.” 

I do not give a flying f*uck about walking around with a 6-pack 365 days a year.  I am also not concerned with making others “wow” or “in awe” of my physique.

Destroying your health by going on any crash diet eating 600 calories a day, doing 2 hours of cardio and taking heavy stimulant fat burners won’t change anyone’s health for the better, it will not bring about change to our destroyed environment,  and it certainly won’t ease the suffering of millions of people and animals.

Focus on caring for one another, care for the environment, care for the plant and care for the animals.  Lead by positive example and be a voice for the voiceless.

Read about other’s experience with Competing.  It is WORTH the read, even if you have never considered competing yourself, these effects can be true from any crash diet.

Competition Dangers

Why I’ll Never Compete Again

Why I Hung Up My Competition Heels

Former Competitor Interview

Metabolic Damage and Why I’m Pissed Off

Can Bikini Contests Ruin Your Body 

BEST Tasting Non-Dairy Milks

Like cow’s milk, many varieties of dairy-free milks are fortified with nutrients including vitamins A and D.  Non-dairy types of milk are also fortified with calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and iron. So if you are looking to give your diet a little nutrient boost, non-dairy milks may provide the nutrients you need.  Calcium, iron, and protein needs can also easily by consuming a variety of vegetables, grains, and legumes.

Experiment with a variety of dairy-free milks to see what taste you prefer. Coconut and soy milks tend to be sweeter and creamier in consistency. Almond, hemp, and hazelnut milks have a slightly nutty flavor and rice milk tends to be more mildly sweet and thin in consistency.

No matter what non-dairy milk you choose, your health will benefit.

1.  Pea Protein Milk

2.  Pea Protein Milk

3.  Silk Almond Milk

4.  Flax Milk

5.  Oat Milk

6.  Hemp Milk

7.  Cashew Milk

8.  Coconut Milk

9.  Soy Milk

10.  Rice Milk

11.  Hazelnut Milk

12.  Sesame Seed Milk

Or, make your own from absolutely any nut/seed/plant!


1 cup nuts/seed (soaked overnight for hard nuts)

3 cups Water


Strainer/ straining bowl

Air tight storage container


Drain the soaked nuts/seeds and add to blender.  Add 3 cups of water and blend for 1 minute.  Slowly pour liquid through strainer to separate pulp, using a spoon to work the milk through the strainer.  Store liquid in an air tight container.  Milk will stay fresh for 3 days.

BEST Tasting Non-Dairy Yogurts

Ditching dairy has never been easier.   In today’s market, you can find delicious, creamy, plant-based yogurts using almond, coconut, hemp and soy ingredients in all your favorite flavors.

Today’s non-dairy yogurts are creamy, silky, sweet and satisfying, and contain all of the beneficial probiotics as traditional yogurts to keep your gut healthy.

Experiment with a variety of dairy-free yogurts to see what taste you prefer.  No matter what non-dairy yogurt you choose, your health will benefit.

1.  Kite Hill Yogurt

2.  Silk Soy Yogurt

3.  Chobani Oat Milk Yogurt

4.  Ripple Pea Protein Yogurt

5.  So Delicious Greek Yogurt

6.  Cashew Milk Yogurt

7.  AYO Almond Yogurt

8. Amande Almond Yogurt

9.  Stony Field O’Soy

10.  Nancy’s Soy Yogurt

11.  Flax Milk Yogurt

12. Daiya Non-Dairy Yogurt

Or, Make your own!

Tofu Yogurt

Blend 7 oz tofu

1 cup blueberries

1/2-1 cup cup non-dairy milk

Sweetener if desired

Combine all ingredients and blend in a high speed blender until smooth.

Banana Yogurt

2 Bananas

1 scoop plant protein powder

Combine ingredients and blend in a high speed blender until smooth.

Chia Pudding

1/2 cup chia seed

2 cups non-dairy milk

Combine ingredients and place in an air tight container.  Refrigerate for 24 hour before eating.

Top with fresh fruit if desired.

How Much Cardio to Lose Fat/Build Muscle | Time Saver Gym Workout

How do you lose weight and build muscle at the same time?  And how often should you do cardio?

Losing weight is very different from losing fat.  You want to lose fat, not just weight.  In short, the combination of aerobic training + resistance training will lead to the most fat-loss while gaining muscle, and the longest lasting improvements in body composition.

Muscle mass matters. A lot.

Muscle helps you lose fat and stay lean.  The more muscle you carry, the higher your resting energy expenditure (REE or basal metabolism).  Muscle is constantly being broken down and re-constructed, or synthesized.  Your body uses energy to break down and remake muscle. How much energy? That depends on how much muscle you have.


Once you have your goals, figure out a schedule to accomplish them and give yourself enough time to healthily accomplish the goal, but not too long that you lose motivation.

An example would be, “My goal is to lose 20 lbs.”

1-1.5 lbs per week is fat loss at a healthy rate, so give yourself 20 weeks to lose 20 lbs (keeping in mind that weight loss is not linear, so there will be ups and downs)


Then, decide how many days a week you are going to do weight training.  The most important part of any workout plan is to create a stimulus for your muscles, aka. lift weights.  Weight training impacts hormones and metabolism positively, and also builds strength, structure and function that you can use for many years into the future.

Apply the “opposite rule” here (in other words, the opposite of what you were doing before that didn’t work). For example, if you were training every day, twice a day, then start your program with once a day, only 4 or 5 days a week and increase from there to give your body time to rest and recover.  If you were only lifting weights two or three days a week, double your efforts.


Now plug in your anaerobic or interval progression. Think sprints, burpees, bike sprints, ect.  Start with 1 interval training session a week for a total of 12 minutes each session, and work up to three, 20 to 30 minute sessions weekly.

The duration of your interval can be anywhere from 15 to 45 seconds and your rest is relative to the intensity and duration of your interval.

Sample intervals:

  • 15 seconds HIGH intensity work such as burpees or 100 m sprints at the track – 1:00 REST – Repeat until your total time is completed.
  • 30 seconds MODERATE-HIGH intensity upright bike sprints – 1:30 REST – Repeat until your total time is completed.
  • 45 seconds MODERATE-HIGH tire flipping or elliptical sprints – 2:00 to 3:00 REST – Repeat until your total time is completed.

Ideally do intervals/sprints after upper body days OR at a separate time from strength training. As the weeks progress, it’s better to move them away from your strength training sessions all together.


Now we’ve taken care of the components that get optimal results — the strength training and anaerobic work, only after that’s happened should you add a “cardio” component. In fact, some people may not need any cardio, as they are metabolic furnaces — genetically gifted machines who respond very well to strength training and anaerobic work. However, those who have had issues with their weight much of their life, and would not define themselves as genetically blessed or fortunate, will benefit from the additional cardio. But remember, it is progressive and part of the entire plan. If you are doing five 40-minute strength training sessions a week and follow each of those with 12 minutes of either steady state or interval training (anaerobic) “cardio” sessions. This results in much less total “cardio” time, plus more metabolism and hormone boosting strength training – thus, better results in less time!


Throughout this period, follow the evidence. Take regular measurements of body composition, athletic performance and health to keep track of how this works for you.   Aim for a combination of aerobic and resistance training and working out 5 hours a week for fat loss and cardiovascular fitness. This combo will also help lower dropout rates and will improve cardiovascular performance.

Be Realistic

Be Consistent

Strive for Progress

No Powder High Protein Vegan Shakes


Beet Root Smoothie
7oz Tofu
4oz cooked beet root (Rich in nitrates for improved athletic performance)                                                                                          1.5 cups almond milk

Blueberry Oat Smoothie
1 cup quick oats
1/4 cup hemp seed
1 cup blueberries
1/5 cups almond milk

White Bean Strawberry Smoothie
1 cup rinsed white beans
1 cup strawberries
1.5 cups almond milk

Mango Avocado Smoothie
7oz tofu
3oz avocado
2oz mango
almond milk