The Ultimate Guide to Building a Better Booty!

Well, here it is ladies! A 12 week guide to building and transforming those glutes. After a lot of research and personal experience trying to build a booty for myself, I have found what works! This guide provides a 12 week program and is perfect for the beginner and advanced athlete.

What are you waiting for? Let’s build that booty!

Now Available at Amazon

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Do I Need to Hire a Contest Prep Coach?

15027615_1072758956174822_1231113419248564194_n1So you’ve decided to enter a fitness competition and now your wondering, do I need a coach? Well, while I cannot tell you personally yes or no, I can offer some things to think about which can help you decide.

As a personal trainer and nutrition coach I figured I could do most of my first prep on my own while enlisting the help of friends who had competed before. Well, at about 3 weeks out I started to panic when I realized I really had no idea how to ‘cut’, when to water load, when to deplete, if I was anywhere close to stage ready and so on. Searching online, through my text books and magazines really only left me confused and overwhelmed as the information and advice is extreme and different from source to source. Plus, as you get closer to the actual competition day, things can get a little more stressful and you start to doubt yourself and your progress, making the entire process less enjoyable. So, I did some research and found a prep coach who was willing to help me at only 3 weeks out and I made top 5, qualifying myself for Provincials. Had I been able to do this without him? Most likely not.

So, with that said, unless you have the experience of preparing for a competition or just want to be on stage for the sake of being on stage without caring how you place, I highly recommend you hire a coach. Not only can they help guide you in the process, they can hold you accountable and help prepare you in what to expect on show day.

Some other important things to consider –

You are being judged in a physique competition so having another set of eyes, more so a set that knows what the judges want, is definitely going to be beneficial.

You need to consider your mental well being when prepping for a show. There is a physiological response to being in a caloric deficit for an extended period of time and the lethargy that sets in can cause a lack of mental focus and an emotional drain that can be very difficult. A coach understands this and a great coach will be there for you on those days where you feel like you just cant do it or want to give up.

Diet and supplementation are huge in prepping for a show and because everyone is different, copying a diet you found online or that a friend followed is risky. Proper nutrition before and after a show is crucial. You may believe once the competition is over you can just eat as you wish but this can have negative effects on your body, mental health, metabolism and hormones.

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So, while the decision is ultimately yours to make, if you are serious about competing and bringing your best package to that stage, it’s pretty obvious, that until you gain the necessary experience, hiring a prep coach is in your best interest. I personally will never compete in a show without a coach, even with my experience and my education in fitness and nutrition as the benefits are far to vast.

Mind Matters – The Mental Aspect of Prepping for a Fitness Competition

indexWhile some may argue, mentally preparing for a fitness competition is probably the most important part of prep. Your mindset from the moment you decide to compete will set you up for success or, unfortunately, failure.

Why are you competing?

This is the first question you need to ask yourself and answer, truthfully. Is it because you want to prove to others you can? Your friends are doing it? While these reasons can play a small part for any competitor, if they are your main reason, you’re off to an erring start.

Now, I cannot tell you what your reasons for competing should be, these will be different for everyone but if not for yourself and your (unique) personal reasons, you may want to reconsider or at least give some more thought into why you want to compete.

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Preparing for a competition is much more than just planning out your routine, supplements and nutrition plan. Prepping for a show is an all day, every day event that can last anywhere from 8 weeks to 6 months +, depending on the competitor. Planning is crucial and includes everything from meal prep to training time to rest days, all on top of your daily regular routine of work, school, kids etc.

Life is full of distractions and stress, expected and unexpected. How do you plan on handling these situations as they pop up? Not having a plan can have a negative effect on your prep as well as leave you feeling overwhelmed and potentially lead to burnout.

Mental Resilience

is defined as an individual’s ability to properly adapt to stress and adversity”

I’ll be honest in that I went into my first competition thinking I had the mental toughness to see me through my prep at ease. Yeah, I was wrong. While it turns out I did have the mental resilience to see it through, it was only because I refused to give up and took every opportunity as a challenge to learn. Having lived with a mental illness for 15 plus years now (anxiety/panic disorder and depression), I have spent a lot of time learning to master my thoughts and doing so to my benefit, in every aspect of life. I truly believe everyone has the ability to do the same, many just do not know how or think they are already ‘mentally tough’ and until they are in a situation where this toughness is going to be tested, they really have no idea.

The best advice I can give here is if you want to step on that stage with your best package and have a positive experience no matter the outcome, don’t be ignorant to the fact that some days may be really hard. Hell, if they aren’t, you’re not doing it right!

 

Be sure to check out the follow up post Train Your Brain – 7 Strategies for Building Mental Toughness

 

Competition Prep B.C. – Let’s go Shopping!

You’ve decided to compete so now where to find your suit, shorts, jewelry, shoes?? Relax, I’ve got you covered! Here is a list of Canadian retailers that have everything you need for your competition.

suitCompetition Suits

The following shops provide both custom and ready to wear competition bikinis and shorts/trunks. Many of these retailers also carry competition shoes, jewelry and other accessories.

 

Competition Shoes

shoesIf you cannot find what you need from the retailers above, you have the option of shopping for competition shoes in the US. These retailers ship to Canada.

 

Competition Jewelry

glamComplete your look and have some fun shopping for your show bling at these retailers. These shops are in the US so I recommend checking out the stores under Competition Suits first. Sites like Etsy and eBay and stores like Ardene’s and Aldo Accessories are always great options as well.

 

Competition Prep B.C. – 5 Things to Know Before Entering Your First Fitness Competition

Co15025200_1069914893125895_4324883308266392994_ompeting in a Fitness Competition can be an excellent way to build discipline and see what your body is capable of while crushing new goals and pushing the limits. What it is not is a walk in the park! Prepping for a competition will impact every part of your life as well as the lives of those closest to you. Now, this doesn’t have to be a negative thing, but knowing what to expect before making the big decision to compete can definitely help you prepare.

Evaluate the time you will need to prepare – deciding when to start your prep is #1 because we are all different and while one athlete may only need 6 weeks another may need 12 or more. Figuring out how much time you will need should be evaluated by a prep coach or someone who has experience competing. The key indicator of being stage ready is your body fat percentage. The average woman is 25-31% body fat according to the American Council on Exercise. A bikini competitor is anywhere from 8-13% body fat. In order to show 6 pack abs, the body fat level needs to be <13% Finding someone who understands this and can help you gauge how much time you need to reach this is key.

As a single mom with two young kids prepping for a show not only effects me but my children as well. My first prep was a great learning experience for all of us and this made my 2nd prep a little smoother. I took the time before and during my prep to explain to my kids what I was doing and why, covering everything from the twice a day gym sessions to the 6 meals a day to the mood swings. While they liked to tease me with their Halloween candy, they were very supportive and understanding when Mom would burst into tears over nothing, needed a time out or had to ask their help taking progress photos for my coach. Letting your family and friends know what to expect and asking them for patience and support should definitely be one of the first things you do once you have decide to prep for a fitness competition. Unfortunately not everyone is going to be as supportive or understanding as others and so that is where our next topic comes in…..

Prepare to feel lonely – even with friends who compete and have prepped alongside me, there are times when I felt like I was totally alone and no one understood what I was feeling or going through. Looking back I know this is mainly due to the stresses that can come with prepping for a show. I found the best way to beat this feeling was to do something I enjoyed that had nothing to do with the gym or prep. A board-game with the kids, a hike with the dog…anything that will take your focus off your prep for a little bit.

As you get closer to your show (4-12 weeks out, depending on where you started) social outings and time with friends and family can be difficult and many athletes end up isolating themselves to avoid temptation and ‘cheating’ on their diets. Depending on the interests of your friends, this can cause some tension, so again, it is important to talk to those closest to you and explain the reasons as to why you may choose to avoid certain situations. True friends will stick by your side no matter what 😉

Cost – the cost of competing adds up quickly so it is definitely important to get an idea of how much everything is going to cost you to make sure it fits your budget. Have a look at The Cost of Competing to get an idea of what competing in B.C. can cost you.

15168728_762731867200940_3134113005952849267_o.jpgMindset & Expectations – your mindset and expectations during your prep, on show day and after competition is crucial and not just to succeed but in order to have a positive experience no matter what the outcome. Knowing why you are choosing to compete and what you hope to get from the experience is key in keeping you motivated and focused. While there is nothing wrong with being confident, going into a show with an arrogant attitude can do a lot more harm than good, especially if you don’t do as well as you were sure you would.

As a first time competitor my personal goal was to stay disciplined during my prep and to hit that stage knowing I did my best and to feel like I fit in with the other girls. I had no expectations to place so when I did, it was that much more exciting and rewarding. Appreciate the process, appreciate your progress and learn from the experience.

Post Show Rebound – while not everyone will have an issue with this, many will and so it’s important to discuss. You spend your prep sticking to a strict diet and during that time may find yourself day dreaming about the foods you cant have and making plans to get your hands on them after the competition is over. While you definitely deserve to reward yourself for all of your hard work it is important to have a plan in place to avoid any harmful effects of abruptly coming off such a strict diet. Your coach should help you with a reverse diet to ensure you avoid a rebound and transition from a pre-show to post-show nutrition plan.

Without a post show rebound plan many competitors find themselves binging which results in speedy weight gain as well as issues such as bloating,  cramping, digestion issues and so on. What’s of bigger concern is how this can effect your mental health and self esteem. Going from ‘shredded’ even back to your normal weight can be difficult, but adding extra pounds to that because you binged for a couple weeks post show can really mess with your self image. If you don’t have a coach then I recommend you seek the guidance of someone such as a registered dietician or nutrition specialist.


15000805_1071780842939300_1064812122837815025_oYour first fitness competition can be a great experience and a lot of fun if you plan, prepare and go in with a positive attitude. While yes, this is a competition, you may be very surprised at how supportive and helpful other athletes can be. I have made some amazing and extremely supportive friends who not only compete in the same shows but in the same class as me. This not only makes the experience that much better, but should you choose to compete again it can be reassuring to know you just may have a friend or two to share the experience with.

 

Fitness Competition Prep B.C.- Backstage Etiquette

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When preparing for a fitness competition there are many things to consider such as choosing a show, a suit, planning out your tan, hair and makeup and so on. One thing that may not cross your mind but is just as equally important is backstage etiquette. A lot of work, money and time goes into preparing a show for us athletes so it’s really only fair that we do our part as well to keep things running smoothly and stress free for everyone!

BE KIND!

If I could stress one thing, this would be it. Everyone backstage, from the other athletes to the volunteers are all a little stressed out and anxious to do their best. The volunteers work their butts off for us so be sure to treat them with the respect they deserve, without them we would be a lot more stressed out as we attempted to oil our own backs and glue our suits to our behinds! It’s a long day for all of us but even more so for these volunteers who stay behind to clean up after us while we’re out celebrating with our friends and family.

Every athlete has a story and a background you may know nothing about so don’t be quick to judge or assume. You can only control your own words and actions so keep them kind and avoid gossip or judging other competitors. If someone treats you disrespectfully or is unkind to you just remember that this is most likely their own insecurities talking. Be the bigger person and don’t indulge in such childish behavior.

Clean Up After Yourself

I really shouldn’t have to say this but you’d be surprised at how messy things can get backstage. Garbage and pee cups probably being the two main things people seem to have a difficult time tossing into the trash :/  I have never seen a shortage of garbage cans at a venue so why this happens is beyond me.

Backstage can get pretty chaotic and you can expect to share small quarters with a lot of other competitors so keeping your personal items neat and organized can not only help keep the space uncluttered but can help you avoid losing or misplacing items.

Sportsmanship

Perhaps you don’t place how you expected, this is no excuse to be rude to anyone or throw a fit. How you act both on stage and backstage matters, be an adult and keep yourself together. It’s ok to be upset, its natural, but taking others down to make yourself feel better is just not ok and will speak volumes of your character. Being happy for others is a great feeling and I highly recommend congratulating those who deserve it!

This can go for those who place well too. Being pompous or arrogant because you placed better than others won’t make you any friends and can be hurtful.


Backstage can be a lot of fun and you can create some amazing memories, meet some truly inspiring people and make a lot of new friends. Not everyone is going to be friendly or helpful but I can tell you from my personal experience, many will be and if you go in with a positive attitude and a kind demeanor you’re going to have a much better time 😉

 

 

Competiton Prep B.C. – Women’s Bikini with Annette Mountford

13708309_10153533031681557_2314448385603230473_oThe time is now.

It’s busy, really busy. There’s bustling and hustling.  People are rushing around.  Other people are standing still in lines. There are beautiful, tanned bodies all around me.  It’s dark, it’s loud.  There is a unique smell in the air; Like sweat and peanut butter, spray tan and high protein diets.   “Look at your number Annette, don’t forget your number” I say to myself as I chant 565 in my head.

A stranger rubs shiny glaze all over my body, and glues my suit to my ass. Is it too late to pee?  I begin pumping up my shoulders and back muscles, with oily bands and spray-tanned weights. This is it. This is the place I worked so hard to be.  This is the pinnacle of a year of sobriety and hard work in the gym, even harder work in the kitchen, and 4 months of intense, focused competition and posing training.

Someone asks me what my number is, and files me into a line up of bodies that are all in peak condition. What have these athletes gone through, to get here?  What challenges did they have to face, and overcome to get to this moment. What an amazing group of humans.

It’s almost time! I can hear the crowd from behind the red velvet curtain.  I can see a sliver of light, and a small glimpse of the class before mine.  They are on stage, presenting to the judges. Now I can see the crowd. I have adrenaline surging through my body. I live for this feeling.  “Butterflies in my stomach”, “nerves and fear” kind of feeling.  It is only when we face our doubt, and our fear, that we can truly grow.  These moments mold us. These moments are what life is all about.  I calm my mind.  I have to focus.  This is no time to let myself get distracted.  “565” I say again.

The line ahead of me begins to walk out.  It feels like a wave pulling me forward.  I take a breath, check my posture, and step out.  The light washes over me. I feel the adrenaline rushing through my body.  Exciting every cell. My senses are all overloaded with energy.  I am addicted.  That was all it took.  One moment.  In that one moment, I knew my life’s path.   I am a competitor.  This, is my destiny.

12234966_10153034054796557_6939018595250375587_nMy path to competition wasn’t something that I really planned for or expected.  I simply made choices. Choices everyday, to better myself.  To become more of what I was really meant to be.  Competing was just the final step for my sobriety and new lifestyle.  It was a celebration of all that my husband and I had done, not just to get to stage, but to make better choices for our lives.  No one sees the 2.5 years of training in the gym, of learning food prep, of posing class every weekend, of changing our whole lifestyle.  It takes a lot.  It takes everything you have.  But that, is why it is so worth it!

Competition has taught me the value of working hard for what you want most, and when you finally reach your goal, it is a feeling that will never leave you.  It is the feeling of achieving something you cannot buy, and can’t fake.  Bodybuilding is a total solitary thing.   You may be on a team, or have a coach, or a trainer.  But it is YOU that will have to do the work. You will have to push yourself, push yourself past the point you were once comfortable with. It will be YOU that hits every rep, every set. And in the end, it will be YOU that grows, and gains from it.

Starting out competing can be difficult. Especially if you are not a “gym person”.   My first suggestion is to make sure you love the process.  It is a very challenging road to walk down.  If you do not already love lifting, cardio and eating clean, it will be even harder for you.  There are days when you fell like you are running a non-stop 16 week marathon.  Am cardio, then food prep, then back to the gym for weight training, then work, life, family, then laundry, then pm cardio… and repeat.  You are sore, you are smelly, you are tired, and you are broke (lol).   But did I mention it is worth every minute of it!?

I would make sure that you go to a few shows first.  Check out how the show is run.  Find a team that you feel will fit your needs.  Do your research.  There are so many coaches out there, and no two are alike. You should always feel confident in your coach.  Prep should never feel unhealthy.  I was eating big, well balanced meals, every 3 hours. I wasn’t doing crazy cardio, until the final few weeks.  If you are doing a prep on your own, make sure you are doing loads of research, and really design a plan for yourself.

Try volunteering with the BCABBA.  Both my husband and I volunteer for the BCABBA.   He bought a support membership so he can come to all the events and meetings and be a part of the experience, even though he is not a competitive member(yet).  You do not have to be a bodybuilder to be a part of this amazing group.  Because I only did one show at the local level, and winning overall at the Popeye’s Fall Classic 2015 qualified me for Provincials, I didn’t really get to have a lot of show/stage experience.  I found that volunteering gave me great insight and experience into how the shows are run.  I met all the amazing people who organize and run the shows (volunteers).  I was able to really be there for the other athletes, on their special day and made so many new amazing friendships.

By the time I stepped on stage at my second show, Vancouver Pro\Am 2016, I knew all the amazing volunteers and I knew so many of the amazing athletes I was competing with.  It really felt like a huge family reunion!   I was so grateful that I had volunteered at all the shows, it made me feel like I was really a part of the bodybuilding community and I was able to share such an amazing day with everyone I loved.  It was such a great feeling being on stage. Knowing that so many of the people in that room, were my friends, and team mates. For Steve and I, sharing our journey with everyone, was what really made it so special.

I have competed in 3 shows from Nov 2015 – July 2016.  One local level, one Provincial level and one National level.   I must say, at the core, they were all basically the same.  There is an athletes meeting the Friday night before the show.  Make sure you bring your suit for check in and lots of meals.  You never know how long they might take.   Bring (at least) 2 suits just in case you do not get passed, and be aware of the suit requirements.  At Nationals they are very firm about these requirements so make sure you fit your suit properly.  Bring your ID, and cash is usually required for booking the stage photographer(highly recommended and usually around $100).  If you do not buy the professional stage shots, the judges cannot give you feed back.  So be prepared for this extra fee.   You usually get your first coat of tan on the Friday night too, don’t get wet after you have your tan on.  Make sure you prep your skin properly the week before your tan.  Ask your tanner for specific instructions to get the best result. Get good rest, and be packed up and ready the night before.

The morning of your show, will start early.  Make sure you are listening at the athletes meeting, to know when you are supposed to be at the theatre.  Do not be late.  It is impossible to know exactly what time you will be called on stage.  Some shows go really slow, but some shows go very quickly, so if you do not show up on time, you might miss your call.  On show day, your only job is to NOT MISS YOUR CALL.  Do not hang out in the parking lot, do not wander around the venue…just wait where the volunteers tell you to.  They will find you when it is your time, but only if you are in the athlete’s area.  I have seen competitors miss their stage, because they were on the phone in the parking lot, or they fell asleep between the morning and night show.  You worked for 16 weeks, and show day is not the day to mess up.

For show day you may want to bring:

A big mirror, blanket, pillow, spray tan, bikini bite, water, snacks, paper towel, towels, shower cap, cups (lol), bands or weights, glaze, ID, magnesium for cramping, umbrella…

It is very chaotic backstage, and very messy. So try to keep your stuff all in one spot. Once you have your tan on, you cannot get wet. One drop of water, can run a streak down your whole leg.  Touch-ups are usually available and can help, but its better to try to not ruin your tan. Make sure you are covered up until your group is called. If someone splashes water, clothing will protect your tan a little.

Make sure you are practicing your posing before you go on.  Do not go out there “cold’.  Run through your routine a few times to get your body ready.  And also stretch! Get those beautiful muscles nice and limber.  Once you are about to go on stage, remember, you are there to show people, what can be done with hard work and determination.  No matter what happens out there, always present your best and have fun!  You never know who you are inspiring!  Always smile. Even when your face starts shaking, keep smiling.  You want to make sure that you are projecting your energy outward.  Shine!  Be confident.  Own your moment!

I would suggest booking photo shoots around your show day.  Some people like to do the week before, and some do them the week after.  It is important to capture all your hard work.  If you are going to look for sponsors or start a fitness business, you will need pictures of yourself.  Its really fun to look back and compare my stage and photo shoot photos, from each competition.  It’s a great way to see your growth.

The goal is to place well on stage, yes.  But what you gain is not from a trophy or placement.  What you gain comes from every time you stepped into the gym, from every weight you lifted.  Don’t forget, no matter what happens out there, YOU did all the work, and YOU overcame challenges.  YOU are an absolute rock star!   You will forever be apart of a family of people, who love what they are doing, and who live with passion.  You will learn things about yourself that will surprise you.  You will become stronger than you ever though you could be.  You will rise, and you will lift others too.

Your time is now.

Annette Mountford

Follow Annette on Instagram @Annette_Corvette