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Diet of a Figure Athlete

My Diet

To start this post I wanted to address the topic I get most frequently asked about – Nutrition! When I tell people I’m prepping for a show, the majority of questions I get asked are about what the heck I eat. Although I call myself a ‘flexible dieter,’ being in a caloric deficit there isn’t much ‘flexibility’ that really occurs.

That being said, I also don’t walk around eating tilapia from a Ziploc bag. To meet my macronutrient requirements I follow what I refer to as a ‘flexible meal plan’. Being a full time graduate student and working 40+ hours each week I have found this approach to be the most maintainable for my busy schedule. I eat 6 structured meals a day, but choose from a variety of foods to meet my macronutrient requirements. A typical day of eating and my list of food choices are as follows:

  • Meal 1 (pre-workout): High carb + protein
  • Meal 2 (post-workout): Protein shake
  • Meal 3 (breakfast): High carb + protein
  • Meal 4 (lunch): Low carb + moderate fat + protein
  • Meal 5 (snack): Low carb + high fat + protein
  • Meal 6 (dinner): Moderate carb + moderate fat + protein

Protein sources:

  • Chicken
  • Lean ground turkey
  • Salmon
  • Eggs and Egg Whites
  • Core Nutritionals PRO
  • Core Nutritionals ISO

Carb sources:

  • Rice (Jasmine and Basmati are my favorites!)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Sugar free oatmeal
  • Cream of wheat
  • Cream of rice
  • Low carb bread (Trader Joe’s 7 grain sprouted bread or 35 calorie potato bread)
  • Vegetables (spinach, asparagus, green beans, cauliflower, zucchini and bok choy)
  • Fruits (strawberries and blueberries)

Fat sources

  • Almonds/almond butter
  • Sunflower butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil

Weight and Macronutrients

In my last post I made mention of how my weight fluctuates on a daily basis. Below I have included my weigh-ins from the week to show an example of this:

  • Sunday 08/14 - 136.0
  • Monday 08/15 - 135.6
  • Tuesday 08/16 - 135.8
  • Wednesday 08/17 - 135.0
  • Thursday 08/18 - 135.6
  • Friday 08/19 - 135.2
  • Saturday 08/20 - 136.2
  • Sunday 08/21 - 134.0

Given the downward trend and rate of weight loss, macronutrients will stay the same (150P/78C/36F) for week 4.

Training and Cardio

My current training split is as follows:

  • Monday – Push A (Shoulders, chest, triceps)
  • Tuesday – Lower (Quads, hamstrings, calves)
  • Wednesday – Pull A (Back, biceps, core)
  • Thursday – Push B (Chest, shoulders, triceps)
  • Friday – Lower (Hamstrings, quads, calves)
  • Saturday – Pull B (Back, biceps, core)
  • Sunday – Off

The muscle group in bold is what is most heavily focused on during that lift. I primarily work in the 8-20 rep range, with the exception of my larger compound movements that can fall anywhere in the 3-12 rep range depending on the training week.

I barbell bench press on Thursdays and conventional deadlift on Saturdays, but am not currently incorporating barbell squats in my training. I actually haven’t been under the bar since March (gasp)! This is due to an ankle injury that limits mobility and a shoulder impingement that makes bar placement incredibly challenging. For my quad dominant lower session I incorporate a variety of hack squats and goblet squats, which I have found to be very beneficial in targeting my long femurs!

For my cardio, I am up to 4 sessions of steady state cardio/week burning 350 kcals each session. For these sessions I prefer to us an elliptical or walk on the treadmill at an incline. I get a lot of questions about why I have not implemented HIIT and the answer is simple: I hate it! After working with a past coach who had me doing 50 minutes of HIIT cardio 5x/week I developed a very poor relationship with HIIT. At some point high intensity intervals will be thrown into my cardio regimen, but for the time being I’m enjoying sticking with steady state!


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