Abfitt talks with rising local NPC Athlete Ehreck Wes


 NPC MEN'S PHYSIQUE COMPETITOR ERIC WES 


Name: Ehreck Wes        
Age: 25
The Particulars- 5'9  165 Lb
Years competing: 1
Sponsors: None


ABFITT: You have been very busy lately two NPC shows in what three weeks? Thank you for taking the time to talk with ABFITT. Can you give us some background information?




Ehreck Wes : Yes I did 2 shows in the past 3 weeks it defiantly took a lot of discipline to not want to break diet after the first show. I was born in New Haven, Connecticut and raised in Staten island, NY and Scotrun, Pennsylvania! I am 25 years old and studied at East Stroudsburg University and The University of Jaen in spain, Europe and I have a bachelors degree is in foreign language and business. I competed in the Lehigh valley NPC show and took third as well as the New Jersey NPC show and took 4th. I would have very much like to have taken first but these were my first set of shows ever so I was happy with the results of being in the top 5 for both. 


 ABFITT: What sparked your initial interest in weight training and how did this lead to competing in the men's physique division?



Ehreck Wes: I originally started weight training thanks to my father and uncle. I had gotten caught with marijuana on school grounds when I was around 15 years old and had been suspended and put on juvenile probation. needless to say I was grounded by my parents. One morning at around 4 am my father woke me up and said "LETS GO!" so I got out of bed, we jumped in the car and he drove me to a local Wal-Mart and purchased me a bench, weights and a set of dumbbells. by the time we got back my uncle had been at our house and my father said "Your uncle is going to help you set this up and he is also going to teach you how to weight train." so being that the only thing I was allowed to do was spend time with my uncle after school I began to learn dieting, weight training and supplementation through my uncles guidance, but the thing I will remember most is the reaction I got when I returned to school my 11th grade yeah after a whole summer of training. People could not believe how different I looked and how much bigger and stronger I had gotten! I loved the feeling of being able to feel and look great!     
  



ABFITT: Talk to us about the importance of nutrition and how you dial it in when preparing to step on stage.





Ehreck Wes: Nutrition is the number one most important thing when it come to stage prep or even training in general it allows you to maximize your gains and can help you achieve that razor sharp physique you need, to be able to place well, and really stand out on stage. There is no amount of cardio you can do to out run a bad diet. I am always sure to take in the proper amounts of proteins, healthy fats, carbs and water.   




 ABFITT: What is your take on training? What has worked best for you? With so much information available to people looking to start, what the best advice you can offer?



Ehreck Wes:  I think when it comes to training being consistent is the first place to start. Getting in your 5 days at the gym and your 2 days of rest. I like to train separate body parts on each one of those 5 days making sure I am hitting all my muscle groups within the training week. I like to pyramid my sets making sure my rep range is usually 15, 12, 10, 8,  and I adjust my weights accordingly, as I grow in strength. I will however change my exercises and swap out rep ranges to 10,8,8,6 or 20,15,12,10 to give my muscle some confusion that will help stimulate constant growth. I usually top of my weight training session with about 30 minutes of high intensity interval cardio.   




  
ABFITT: Let’s talk about your competitions. Tell us about them  and what if any one show stands out the most so far.




Ehreck Wes: Doing My first 2 shows was an amazing experience it allowed me to stay disciplined and train much harder knowing I would have to step on a stage in front of a panel of judges, audience and along side other guys who have been training just as hard as me. The show that will always stand out in my mind is my first show at Lehigh Valley where my best friend Zach Migala and I turned an individual sport into a team sport by training together, dieting together, and stepping on stage together. We stuck by each other and made sure we pushed ourselves to ultimately become better versions of ourselves and it allowed both of us to place among the top 3. Bobby Cartalemi our coach at Muscle INC also was a big part of my success. He was able to monitor my diet, improve my training techniques and help me with my posing. He really helped keep me on track in the weeks leading to the show.



ABFITT: What advice would you give guys thinking about competing in MPD?



Ehreck Wes: Stop thinking and just do it! Its a great experience even if you come in dead last or first place you still are walking a path that will ultimately make you a better person then you are currently! You will learn discipline, proper nutrition, become more in tune with your body and walk away feeling and looking better then you ever did.


ABFITT: So what’s next?


Ehreck Wes: Now that I am done with the shows for the season I am going to continue to train, look for modeling work and casting calls for television shows and movies. I am also going to be trying to receive some sponsorships from other companies as well as continue to compete.  


ABFITT: How can ABFITT readers follow you and your MPD career?



Ehreck Wes: I currently have a Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and profile on backstage.com many of which you can find by just typing Ehreck Wes into a Google search bar but here are the specific links to my Instagram and Facebook.
 
http://facebook.com/ehreck.wes


                    
 ABFITT: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with ABFITT and I wish you continued success.

Boxing Workout Programs


boxing may at times look easy when watching from the comfort of your living room, however the basics of the sport require a great deal of mental skill and strategy and of course a tremendous amount of physical training. A boxing workout is long, tiring and made of many types of exercise.

Understanding the Sport
To understand why a boxing workout is so involved, it helps to understand the basics of the sport. Televised professional boxing puts a lot of emphasis on knockouts and injuries--they make for good television after all. But amateur and Olympic boxing puts its emphasis on landing good touches while keeping your opponent from touching you.
A touch happens when your glove makes contact with your opponent. You can touch them on the head, face, body and arms, but nothing below the belt. In order to get your gloves near their body, you must be fast, have great endurance, decent flexibility and strength.

Warming Up


Shadow Boxing: Facing a mirror so that you can check your form, practice each of the moves you would use in the ring. Start with a simple combination and work your way up to something more complicated.
For example, start with a simple 1-2-3-4 combination (jab, cross, hook, uppercut) and work up to a more complicated combination of moves. The objective here is to check form and keep your heart rate up.

Jump Rope: Jump roping keeps the heart rate up, strengthens arms and legs, and teaches quick footwork. Try jump roping for 3 minutes at a time, then resting for a minute--the same pattern of time you would be boxing in a ring.
As you jump rope, switch up the way you are jumping. Try jumping with your feet moving in a shuffle pattern, crossing your arms as you jump or double jumping--making the rope move twice under your feet before your feet hit the ground again.
Strength Moves
Building muscle serves two purposes in boxing. It helps you land stronger, faster punches and helps protect you when you get hit.
Pushups and crunches are the best basic moves for boxers to practice. These moves train the areas where you will be getting hit and require no additional equipment. Try these variations to add even more power to your workout.

Pushup Variations
Standard pushups - Legs are straight out behind you while hands are under your shoulders.
Diamonds - Legs are in a V-shape you. Hands are together with the forefingers and thumbs touching to make a diamond shape under your chest.
Wide grips - Legs are straight out behind you. Hands are set farther away from your body so that your body makes a "y" shape.
Knuckles - Legs are straight out behind you. Hands are in fists under your shoulders.
Fingertips - Legs are straight out behind you. Hands are in the standard pushup position, however you will balance yourself on your fingertips.

Crunch Variations
Basic crunch - Hands are behind the head. Feet are flat on the floor so that the knees are bent at a 45-degree angle.
Obliques 1 - Hands are behind the head. One foot is flat on the floor so that the knee is bent at a 45-degree angle. The other foot rests on the opposite knee. Repeat on each side.
Obliques 2 - Hands are behind the head. Legs lay to one side, resting on top of each other. Repeat for each side.
Rope climb - Hands are straight out from the chest at a right angle from the body. Legs are extended up at right angle from the body. As you crunch, move your arms as though you are climbing a rope.
Mitt and Bag Work
After your body is well warmed up, it is time to actually hit something.

Speed Bag - Use the speed bag to practice precise movements. You do not need to hit the speed bag very hard. Instead, you should focus on hitting it accurately--making it swing the same amount after each hit and being able to hit it again when it swings back.
Heavy Bag - Use the heavy bag to practice all the punches and to add strength to your punches. You can practice each of the four punches on the bag, now concentrating on landing each punch with power.
Mitt Work - Use a partner wearing mitts to practice hitting a moving target. This will also show you why cardio training is so important because you will have to control your breathing as well as your punches.

Make sure that your partner moves around as they hold the mitts that you are working to hit. Like the shadow boxing warm up, start with a simple combination and work up to something more complicated.

An Inside look at IFBB Men's Physique Pro Jake Phippen's contest prep for 2014 IFBB Pro Grand Prix

Part I of a IIII part series following IFBB Men's physique pro Jake Phippen's contest prep for 2014 IFBB Pro Grand Prix April 12 in Culver City, CA (Los Angeles) 
Interviewed - 2/2014

ABFITT: Jake the last time you spoke with Abfitt you were wrapping up the 2013 season with a win
at the Sacramento pro. Can you bring us up to speed on what's been going on in your offseason?


Jake Phippen: Since the IFBB Sacramento Pro my coach and I decided to add a little mass to my physique, increase metabolism, and continue to work on symmetry.

The last couple months my diet has been a higher caloric intake mainly through an increase in carbs with a free meal once a week. My workouts would be described best as MET Training (Metabolic Enhancement Training). This is strength and/or conditioning exercises performed with the intention of increasing the capacity and efficiency of the energy pathways to store and deliver energy for activity.

As of this morning my weight is up 12 lbs from what I
 typically show at. With the increase in mass I will step on stage heavier, fuller, and just as lean. Very excited to see the end result April 12!


ABFITT: Lets talk about your upcoming contest, the first for the 2014 season. The 2014 IFBB Pro Grand Prix April 12 in Culver City, CA (Los Angeles) Why this particular venue?


Jake Phippen: I wanted to get back on stage ASAP to give myself
 enough chances to try and qualify for the 2014 Olympia and this show is 1 of the 2 first IFBB Pro Men's Physique shows of the year. It's the closest event from where I live and I enjoy competing out in Cali. But, the main reason I wanted to do this show was for the competition. There will be a bunch of guys competing who also competed and placed in the '13 Olympia. This will give me an idea of where I stack against them and what I need to work on.

ABFITT: So take the casual observer through your thought process going from your last contest to this point, as you prepare for the Grand Prix.


Jake Phippen: Mental strength will either make or break you. I get into the mindset that nothing will stop me or distract me from my prep. I always train to win and this motivates to give my all day in and day out.


ABFITT: Take us through a typical day of contest prep for Jake Phippen. Your nutrition, your training, your mental state. *(Trying to give someone who has never sacrificed the things a competitor has to in order to compete an idea of  the daily struggles as well as rewards a athlete goes through during contest prep)


Jake Phippen: Nutrition wise I eat 6 meals per day and an Intra Workout drink called Plazma. My protein and fat is divided up fairly evenly through 6 meals and the carbs are setup for recovery and optimizing my metabolism (Each meal has a different carb amount).

 I workout 6 days a week with 1 recovery day and no cardio at this point. With the way MET training works my workouts include some heavy lifting, lighter tempo lifts, followed by a short high intensity circuit. I try to workout at the same time everyday. These routines last between 1-1 1/2hrs.

Each day I wakeup with the intent to better myself from the day before. This could include physically, mentally, or emotionally. Always trying to improve some aspect of my life.

Let me take you throughout a typical day while prepping for a show.

4am: wakeup, check weight, posing practice
5am: meal 1, work
8am: meal 2, work
11am: meal 3, social media, emails, and online clients
2pm: meal 4, preworkout supplements
3pm: workout, posing at the gym, work
5pm: meal 5, work
8pm: meal 6,
 social media, emails, and online clients
9pm: posing at home, meal prep 
10pm: bed

I normally cut out all social life so I don't put myself into a position to possibly ruin my progress. I also ramp up posing. Bad posing can ruin an exceptional physique. I've seen too many great competitors lose out because they don't present themselves well. I love my sleep and go to bed early but sleep is a key element for proper recovery. If you don't get

 Your rest your body will start breaking down and this can affect hormone levels and loss of muscle mass. I know if I can be 100% in the situations under my control (eating, workouts, sleep, posing, social life, etc) then I will bring to stage the best physique possible.


ABFITT: Any other shows planned for the 2014 season?


Jake Phippen:The only other show I have in mind is the Dallas Europa May 3. After that my coach and I will make a decision as to what shows would be ideal and realistic to compete in.  


ABFITT: Thanks for your time Jake. We are going to chat again at three weeks out for the second of four updates as we follow you in your lead up and post contest for the Grand Prix.


Jake Phippen: Thank you again and I look forward to updating you all in a few weeks. Feel free to follow me on social media and don't hesitate to ask any questions about my prep.
Facebook: IFBB Pro Jake Phippen
InstaGram: IFBB_JPHIPPEN
Twitter: IFBB_JPHIPPEN 

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Hope Taylor 2014 Posters For A Better Cause

" Our kids deserve advocates that empower them to believe in themselves and their future AS A BRIGHT ONE. If we don't act the risk that they might carry the beliefs and labels that society puts on them because of what they endured is highly probable. If we can help one kid, that helps another kid, that helps another kid... it'll be a beautiful thing to see, experience and be amazing to be apart of. I can show them what I've done and the odds I fought to aligned me with my dreams. And this is only the beginning "

Please show your support, friend of Abfitt  Hope Taylor: 

" These Hope Taylor 2014 Posters are selling 1 for $15, 2 for $25 and 3 for $30. Proceeds will go to a local organization designed to protect children from abuse. It's a cause very close to my heart.

In addition to our collective monetary donation, I'll be contributing my time in efforts to be an advocate for these kids, to help them believe in themselves, to be their own success story, in whatever direction they choose to live their dream!

If you are interested in purchasing please send me an email to fitlife4hope@gmail.com  with your selections and/or any questions. PAYPAL is available! I only printed a limited amount so if you are interest please order promptly!

Thank you all so very much for your consideration. Love, Hope "


The Curvy Truth...One woman's Quest For Balance, As She Reaches Her Fitness Goals



Note from the editor: Guest writer and friend of AbFitt Latina Wanda shares her story of struggle and success with her personal fitness. All photo's courtesy of Miss Wanda.

The Curvy Truth-

I gave up everything to move to a foreign country and follow my heart. Cultural integration was proving to be a challenge due to the need to quickly learn a language that could possibly open the gateway to social acceptance and a chance to work. In spite of my high qualifications and many job interviews, I never found a job in my area of expertise. It was frustrating because I was very young, full of ideas and the energy to boot…

I had always been active, but with my move to Germany came complacency. I didn’t make much of it since a high metabolism compensated for my overindulgence. But then it came… That dreaded moment that most of us women know all too well and to which I refer to as “the shift”… It basically translated to “I gotta start cutting down my intake”, and I knew I ate way too much because 1) I love food and b) I could. Well that wasn’t happening anymore. I also knew that I had to start exercising.



There was a pivotal point in my life where I just got tired of living for others, and it was pretty much exactly at the same time where as a young family we were struggling with money. I had my first child, a workaholic husband, a demanding household and absolutely no time for myself. A gym membership was out of the question and forget a babysitter because there was no money for that either. I had no support system, because I left that behind when I moved and his family was far away. What did I do to overcome so many obstacles? I decided to put myself as a priority – no excuses! I started doing all sorts of floor exercises at home while my child took his naps and even found a YMCA that offered aerobic classes at a reasonable fee with childcare. It was a start towards getting my body back after the initial shock of pregnancy and childbirth but more importantly, towards liking myself again.

By the time I had my second child, I was better prepared, but goodness do these kids suck the life out of you! My energy levels were alarmingly low and soon after the birth of my second child I fell ill. I had very little support at home and was stressed beyond belief… I do think it was the closest I have ever come to being depressed. I needed surgery and knew that once I recovered, I would be pain-free and could get back on that horse. I got through that and continued to keep my focus. Through my home efforts I at least manage to keep my weight under control and felt very proud about that.

The biggest change, however that I experienced as a woman came when I moved to Asia. Expatriate life offers many perks, and one of them was the luxury of time… Now we all know that you cannot buy time, but you can hire a housekeeper/babysitter to clear your day so that time magically appears… All the things that were not possible before, could now be done. I wasted no time! The gym membership was the very first thing I got. I attended classes feverishly, trying out everything, and my body transformed before my eyes. With my new body came overwhelming confidence. My energy levels were through the roof, and to be completely honest, not much has changed today…. I am the oldest in my current boxing/mix fight class, and I leave that class nearly every time with the biggest smile on my face because when we are doing those drills, it would seem that in a room of teens and 20-year olds, I am the only one that can complete them without looking like I’ll be dragged to the next emergency unit! Now that’s something to brag about…!

Returning back to Germany meant a smack of reality and a test to see what I had truly learned about my fitness journey. I no longer had the maid to clean the house nor the babysitter to look after my kids, and the monetary benefits were all slashed. So what changed in my fitness regime now that I had less free time? Absolutely nothing! The moment you make that conscious decision to care for yourself and you begin to reap the benefits, chances are you’ll never go back! It becomes a priority and not an item on your excuse list. Working out should be a habit but never a burden! You do it because you keep remembering how utterly fantastic you feel every time after that. If your attitude is to live a healthy lifestyle, then the fact that you may have little money, have kids to care for, have a house to clean, have a job in a workplace, etc. should never be a reason to NOT do something about it!



Exercising comes in so many shapes and forms. There is something out there for everyone. And today we even have the luxury of attaining a wealth of information online, and get this, for free! One of the great things about exercising besides the obvious fact of staying healthy is the amazing side effect of looking good. People look at you differently, admiringly, with respect and some even with a little bit of envy… ;) How can anyone want that to stop?!?

Being a Hispanic woman has endowed me with steep curves and some serious junk in the trunk! So many believe that I am lucky because they wish they could have it too. Now I’m not going to lie to you, it is great to be curvy IF you can control the fat…. IF you can eat moderately all the time… IF childbirth doesn’t expand you and then deflates parts of you that say “a perky butt once lived here”…

IF the weight you are trying to lose is coming off the excessive saddlebags you’re lugging around and NOT from your already lean forearms… I could go on with the “IF”s, but you get the picture. For me it has always been important to have a body that exudes both strength and femininity. I’m not in this to compete, and I most certainly am not in it to prove that I am stronger than anybody. I am just a normal mom and housewife, who just wants to prove that a positive attitude and an ironclad will is all you will ever need to begin to care for yourself!

Wanda-

ABFITT Talks With Rising Local NPC Athlete Allegra Nicole....

Rising Local NPC Athlete Allegra Nicole....

               Vitals
Name: Allegra Nicole Labar         
Age: 24yrs
Years competing: 1
Sponsors: N/A

ABFITT: You have been very busy as of lately, thank you for taking the time to talk with ABFITT. Can you give us some background information?

Allegra: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share a little bit of my story! I’m 24 years old living just outside of Philadelphia and I started my fitness journey about 2 years ago at the tail end of my college career. Today I’m an Internal Auditor and Security Analyst by day and a self-proclaimed gym junkie by night. I’ve competed for the first time in two shows this past August, and since then my fitness aspirations have been materializing before my eyes! More recently I’ve had the opportunity to travel for some photo shoot opportunities and have been selected as a semi finalist in the BodySpace Spokesmodel search on Bodybuilding.com.


ABFITT: Seems I am currently seeing you all over BodyBuilding.Com can you talk more about this?


Allegra: It’s so exciting - I’m still wrapping my head around it all! Bodybuilding.com is really where it all started for me about 2 years ago. I began my fitness journey by reading a ton of articles, watching videos, following diet plans and using workouts that I found on the site. It’s always been a great educational tool for me! I stay active on BodySpace, and more recently it seems to be paying off as I’ve been featured several times in the “We Mirin” editions and most recently as a semifinalist in the 2014 BodySpace Spokesmodel Search! I can’t explain the feeling to see my face on the website side by side with my biggest fitness inspirations. It’s truly an honor!


ABFITT: What sparked your initial interest in weight training and how did this lead to competing in figure?


Allegra: I “found fitness” during my last semester of college. I was discouraged with my physical appearance and mental state after four years of living the typical college lifestyle. My boyfriend ended up taking me to the gym one day to teach me how to lift as a last stitch effort. I was terrified and had no idea what I was doing. I was a certified cardio-bunny up until that point, so I was a stranger to weight training and possessed very little strength and confidence in the gym. He was very patient with me and taught me all of the basics. After that work out I was hooked. I slowly started seeing results and that fueled me to keep pushing even harder! It wasn’t long before I started getting asked at the gym if I was training for a show. That’s really what sparked my initial interest in competing. The wheels started turning and I was curious what these “shows” were all about. Once I learned more about the competitive world and the sport of bodybuilding, I was determined to be a part of it. The women I saw on stage were strong, sexy, athletic, and moved with such grace. I knew I wanted to be up there doing what they were doing!


ABFITT: Talk to us about the importance of nutrition and how you dial it in when preparing to step on stage.


Allegra: Nutrition is everything. I can’t stress that enough. The gym part is easy; it’s the refrigerator that presents a challenge. I often get asked in the locker room or in between sets at the gym, “What’s your secret?” or “How do I look like you”, and “What fat burner are you taking?”. My answer isn’t always popular with most people. I put in hard work at the gym and I eat in accordance with my goals. That’s it! No short cuts or magic pills. Personally, I follow the IIFYM approach to dieting. Everyone has a different theory for dieting, and that is perfectly fine. You need to find what is realistic for you, so that you can actually sustain that diet and that lifestyle. I follow a nutritional plan that gives me the ability to eat foods that I enjoy while being structured so that I’m eating whole and nutrient dense foods 80% of the time to fit my macronutrient constraints. I’ve found a great deal of success with this methodology because it’s a realistic lifestyle for me.
               When I’m preparing for a photo-shoot or to step on stage, truthfully I don’t do anything drastic. I increase my cardio and slowly decrease my daily carbs, consequently lowering my caloric consumption. For my first two shows, I prepped for a little over 5 months. That gave me the opportunity to dial in slowly while keeping my carbs and calories relatively high.


ABFITT: What is your take on training? What has worked best for you? With so much information available to people looking to start, what the best advice you can offer?


Allegra: It can be completely overwhelming for a beginner to figure out what the best approach to training is. There are so many conflicting ideas on training. It’s confusing and easy to end up second-guessing yourself.  The best advice I can give is to find what challenges you, keep the intensity high, and don’t doubt yourself. Personally, I train on a 3 day split. A typical week looks like the following:

Day 1: Legs & Abs
Day 2: Back & Chest + 20 Min HIIT Cardio
Day 3: Shoulders, Triceps, & Biceps
Day 4: OFF
Day 5: Legs & Abs
Day 6: Back & Chest + 20 Min HIIT Cardio
Day 7: Shoulders, Triceps, & Biceps + 20 Min HIIT Cardio
When I was first starting out, I went to the gym with my workouts written down. As I became more comfortable in the gym and more in tune with my body, I stopped planning my routines ahead of time. Now, I plan which muscle groups I’m going to work out and I choose exercises based on how I feel. Additionally, I don’t follow any rep range rules. I lift heavy and with intensity whether I’m in the “off season” or 2 weeks out from a show or photo-shoot.


ABFITT: Let’s talk about your competition history. Tell us about it and what if any one show stands out the most, for better or worse?

 Allegra: My competition history is actually very brief! I’ve only competed in two shows, both of which were in August of 2013. I competed at the NPC Muscle Beach Championship where I won 1st place Novice, 1st place Figure Class A, and Overall Figure. Next I competed at the NPC PA State and PA Classic show where I won 1st place Figure Class A and Overall Figure in the PA State division.
               My first show will always stand out to me. I was so nervous and I was shaking like a leaf on stage! I prepared for so long, but nothing prepares you for that rush of adrenaline the first time you step foot on stage! Its an amazing feeling – and so addictive!
              I have yet to have a negative experience at a show. From the first moment I’ve stepped on stage, I fell in love with the sport! I’m always so taken back by how friendly and supportive everyone is back stage. Even though it is a competition, I’ve always experienced a strong sense of respect and support between the competitors!

ABFITT: So what’s next?


Allegra: At the moment, I’m currently in the running for Bodybuilding.com’s 2014 BodySpace Spokesmodel Search. It’s an honor and I’m thrilled to death to even be considered! The male and female winners will become a Team Bodybuilding.com Athlete, which would undoubtedly change the path of my fitness journey. Cross all of your fingers and toes, and wish me luck!
               As far as competing, right now I’m focused on making improvements for next year. There is always room to improve and build a better you! I plan on competing in a few national shows in 2014 in an attempt to secure an IFBB Figure Pro Card. That’s the goal! I don’t want to just compete for the sake of competing. I want to make sure I’m bring the best possible package to the stage so I’m not sure as to how many times I’ll be stepping on stage in 2014. One of my first stops with likely be Team Universe in July. 
How can ABFITT readers continue to track your progress and continue to follow you?

Allegra: I share my fitness journey on a daily basis through Instagram on @Allegra_Labar and on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/Allegranicolefitness . I post my workout videos, progress, personal


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ASK HOPE....NPC Athlete Hope Taylor Answers ABFITT Reader Questions.

ASK HOPE....NPC Athlete Hope Taylor Answers Your Questions


1) Gale, Charleston South Carolina - Hope I was so inspired after reading your interview with ABFITT. What a whirlwind of accomplishment in such short period of time. How as a mother did you find the time to plan, focus and complete multiple contests?

Hi Gale! Thank you so very much for your kind words. You actually hit the nail on the head while asking your question. In efforts to accomplish 4 contests in five months a lot of planning and focus was involved.
I started my preparation for these shows in January about 20 weeks out. It gave me plenty of time to see how my body responded to certain training techniques and diet regiments. I worked with two coaches that kept me on track with the planning at that stage of the game and then continued on with what they taught me until the close of the season.
I tend to thrive with challenges and structure. I believe it energizes me to stay on track when I’m feeling great about my goals and the positivity that I saw both physically, but even more spiritually. It helped me to be an even more balanced mother, professional and athlete to push myself in this sort of way.
I completed my morning workout and cooking before my daughter even opened her eyes for the day. I got very creative with the time we shared outside of my career and gym obligations. I allowed her to pick special activities and trips we could do as rewards for time away a few nights a week at the gym and I usually worked out Saturday and Sunday since we had the majority of our day together. She never complained once and was a huge help with my prep. I encouraged her to be apart of it and at the very end we went out to eat at her favorite restaurants! She LOVED being an instrumental part of my prep, watching me compete and the fact that she could call her mommy a 3 time Bikini Champion! 

2) Anthony, Salt Lake City Utah - Any thought to tying for an IFBB pro card or competing on the WBFF stage? 

Hi Anthony! Sure, the thought of competing on a national stage has been a serious consideration for 2014. Although, I won’t compete in a national show unless I am confident I will place. I try to be extremely realistic with myself and my ability in the sport. I don’t want to waste my time, money or put my body through the stress of contest prep without a successful plan to win.
I’m still learning how my body responds to training and diet. Another tricky thing to learn is how to dry out for a show. I have it down to a science now, but that’s only because I’ve been through the process a few times and found what worked best for me.
I’m in the building phase of prepping for 2014 shows. My first show will be a very big one in May. Depending how I feel then I will map out the rest of the year.

3) Bonny, Dallas Texas - Hope can you describe a day of contest prep nutrition compared to your off season eating. Best wishes with your future plans.

Hi Bonny! Sure, absolutely and thank you for your well wishes. I love the support. Well on a typical day right now I still eat relatively clean. It’s the same diet with less focus on cutting to lean out. I enjoy 4 egg whites with one whole egg and 1 cup of oats for breakfast. Usually a protein shake in about 2-3 hrs. I have 4-6oz of turkey burger, 1/2 cup brown rice and a green veggie for lunch. A snack a few hours after will usually consist of natural peanut butter on unsalted rice cakes or 15 almonds in efforts to consume my healthy fats. Then I’ll have another shake. Dinner usually consists of the 4-6oz of protein and smaller portion of complex carbohydrates. During contest prep I will measure more precisely. I cut out the whole egg and go down to ¼ cups of oats with breakfast. Where you see my lunch and dinner I will eat only 3-4oz of protein and alternate with fish. Where you see shakes I won’t drink them any more at about 12 weeks out and replace them with 3-4 oz of protein and small portion of complex carbohydrate. I regularly aim to drink a gallon of water each day.

4) Carmen, Newark New Jersey - Loved your interview, I was very curious how your friends & family and even coworkers feel about your contests and getting in such great shape.

Hi Carmen! Great question you have for me. Truthfully, it hasn’t always been easy. I think with any change in lifestyle there are critics from both ends of the spectrum. I think at the beginning of my journey a lot of my friends, family and coworkers where questioning what I was doing and how it was going to impact our connection. I didn’t really talk much about it as I was learning and didn’t feel I even knew enough to talk about it early on.
Your question is so simple, but there has been such a wide variety of reactions from so many people in my life that it’s difficult to answer specifically. What I try to focus on is the positivity it’s brought to my life and the quality of friendships, family and coworkers. I am so incredibly thankful to those that support me and love me unconditionally. Those are the people I will always make time for and help in anyway I can. I don’t give much thought to those that don’t respect my level of participation in the sport or the discipline I have to diet and train as I do. I understand what makes me the best I can be may not work for the next person.

5) Emily, Tempe Arizona - What advice can you offer to someone on the fence about doing a NPC bikini contest? Do I find a trainer or should I attempt it on my own by reading and doing research? I am excited but scared. Thanks.

Hi Emily! I remember the day someone suggested I compete. I thought how amazing it would be, but I had no clue how to get to the stage. Then I sat down and wrote out everything I felt I needed to answer for myself. What are my limitations? How can I change them? What are the tools I need to get there?
It was coupled with exactly your second question. I did as MUCH research as I could on my own and even to this day I still learn. Confidence comes with understanding and with different stages along your journey. It’s a completely natural feeling to feel the way you do.
In my opinion, you should work with a trainer and one that has a focus on contest prep. I worked with TEAM Edge out of California after learning how serious metabolic damage can be and how important it is to find a trainer that cares more about you than just taking your money. They were extremely insightful on the process, diet, training and posing mandatories. I even purchased my suit from them. Not only do you become their client, but you become part of their family which has grown so much over the last few years. My teammates have been extremely helpful and instrumental to my successes as well.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1vO2i4mn9E&feature=youtube_gdata_player 
Check out Hope Taylor's video by clicking link above 
Follow Hope @  instagram is fitlife4hope
https://www.facebook.com/SHIZZLEMD?fref=ts


 Thank you ABFITT for the opportunity to connect with some of your loyal readers about my journey. The interest that they have shown is truly remarkable and inspires me to stay the course!
Photo credit: Mycontestpix.com

THE SUPER SEVEN!


 Shape! Sculpt! Shred! Surpass Your Best With The Super Seven!


Squats. Squats are the king of all muscle and strength building exercises. No workout should be without deep squats. They are performed with a barbell, generally in a squat rack. Squats not only build massive legs and a great ass, but also stress most of the upper body. They are like a hormonal nuclear bomb – destroying the entire body, forcing it to get bigger and stronger with ever rep.


Deadlifts. Second only to squats in effectiveness (and a very close second at that), deadlifts are another manmaker that will pack on slabs of muscle mass while helping you become as strong as a bear. Like squats, deadlifts are a barbell only exercise.


Dips. Dips are often called the upper body squat, and for good reason. Dips work the shoulders, chest and triceps very hard, and are a great overall exercises for building a beefy upper body. Dips should be performed at a parallel bar dipping station.



Pull Ups. It seems that even the strongest and most fit lifters can barely squeak out more than a few pull ups. The pull up is an excellent exercise for building the back and biceps, and should be used instead of inferior exercises such as the lat pull down when possible.


Bench Press. The bench press is an upper body staple. There are several highly effective variations including the flat bench barbell press, flat bench dumbbell bench press, incline bench barbell press and incline dumbbell bench press.


Overhead Press. As with the bench press, there are numerous quality variations of the overhead press that can be used. Nearly all seated and standing dumbbell and barbell overhead presses are solid choices. You may also use the Arnold dumbbell press, and behind the neck overhead presses. Another popular press variation is the standing push press.



Rows. Both barbell and dumbbell rows are tremendous upper back exercises. Old school barbell T-bar rows are also a solid choice. While cable and machine lifts are generally sub-par, seated cable rows can be very challenging and effective. GW & Ashley Horner

IFBB Pro Jake Phippen Talks With ABFITT



 IFBB Pro Jake Phippen, 2013 Sacramento Pro, Masters IFBB 35+ Mens physique winner. Takes time out to discuss life after his first pro win, training, nutrition and his future plans.
 
NAME: Jake Phippen        
AGE: 36
Years competing: 1 1/2yrs
Interesting fact: I've competed in contact sports for over 30yrs of my life.
Sponsors:
Anytime Fitness, Salt Lake City, Utah and Nutraspire.com
 
ABFITT: Jake congratulations on your first Pro MPD win a few weeks back at the Sacramento pro. What have the days been like following your win? 
Jake Phippen: Thank You! The days after the show have been a bit crazy. This is my 3rd interview and have been contacted by numerous competitors for contest prep and potential new personal training clients. Also, I was on a mandatory break from structured eating or working out which was driving me nuts. Although I was able to indulge in some foods I normally don't eat while getting ready to get on stage. Overall relaxing and stress free.


ABFITT: Jake can you give us your MPD background and talk about your favorite show or win.
Jake Phippen: -2012 NPC Utah State Championships (June 2012) 1st open div, Overall winner Open div, 1st Natural div, Overall winner Natural Div
-2012 NPC USA National Championships 15th place C-class
-2012 Muscle and Fitness Male Model Search top 10 (held during the Olympia Expo)
-2012 NPC National Championships 5th place C-class
-2012 Muscle Contest Excalibur 3rd Masters 35+, 4th open C-class
-2013 NPC Utah State Championships (June 2013) 2nd place open A-class
-2013 NPC USA National Championships 3rd place C-class
-2013 IFBB North American Championships 1st place Masters 35+ B-class, 5th place Open B-class
-2013 IFBB Sacramento Pro 1st place Masters 35+
It's hard to pick a favorite show or win but 2 stick out in my head. My very first show I had no clue what I was doing. I had to figure out how to pose by watching youtube videos and looking at pictures of other competitors. I was extremely nervous and had no idea what to expect until I walked out on stage and a 'sudden calm' came over me. Everything was a bit of a blur but I presented myself good enough to take home 4 trophies. I was completely lost for words and couldn't believe I had just stood on stage willingly to be judged on my physique and won. This sparked my competative edge and I knew this was what I wanted to pursue. The other win was at the Sacramento Pro. I wasn't sure if I had what it took to really be a competitor at the Pro level. My goal for the show was to just not finish last. Things went well that night for me winning my first Pro show and giving me the confidence that I can be a competitor at this level. I'm more motivated now to take this journey as far as my body will let me.

ABFITT:  Take us through your contest prep, how far out to you start and what is your main focus when planning a prep? Can you give our readers an example of a day of contest prep meal planning. (of course we dont want you to give away any prep secrets).....

JAKE PHIPPEN: I typically like 10-12wks to be fully prepped for a show. This gives me enough time to bring my body fat down slow and sustain muscle mass without having to play catch up 1-2wks out. Taking it slow will also gives me a healthier look and allow for small adjustments to dial me in. I prefer to do a mixture of heavy lifting and supersets. I will also add in some cardio depending on how I'm progressing. When planning my prep I always take judges critiques and study contest pics from my previous show to make improvements to my physique and stage presents. Then I adjust my workouts to fill in weak spots and start posing everyday first thing in the morning. The best way to describe how I train is I lift like a bodybuilder and condition like an athlete. In other words lift heavy and condition with sprints. Meal planning is pretty simple. I take my daily macros and divide it up fairly even for 6 meals. I never deplete myself of carbs, sodium, or water. My carbs are rotated,  I measure 3000mg of sea salt daily, and drink 8-10liters of water. I do this up to the day before I step on stage. Doing this gives your muscles a full look and not stringy and flat.


ABFITT: How does your contest prep training differ from your off season training and whats your take on steady state cardio versus HIIT or HIT?


JAKE PHIPPEN: In season prep consists of more target training, decreased caloric intake, and an increase frequency of cardio. My lifting is still heavy but I don't go full out. I try to keep a few reps in the tank. Cardio is determined by the progress of lifting and diet. If I need to tighten up more then the cardio is increased and vise versa if I'm dropping pretty quick. In the off season my caloric intake increases, cardio is cut to a minimum, and I try to increase maxes on core lifts. By doing this it helps build the muscle that was burnt off while competing and help restore hormone levels back to normal. Along with the heavy lifting I will implement high reps to bring blood flow into those fibers for expansion and recovery. Cardio is very basic either incline walking or 20min HIIT.
  I feel steady state cardio and HIIT are equally important while prepping for a show. Your body needs the high intensity for that conditioned look but also needs to be able to recover while still burning body fat which the steady state helps with. I believe that you need to limit your steady state cardio to about 45-60min to avoid overtraining and burning muscle. Moderation is key. 
ABFITT: So whats next Jake? What are your future plans now that your first pro win is under your belt? Any thoughts on the Olympia in 2014?
JAKE PHIPPEN: I am planning on doing one of the first shows of 2014. Not sure as to which one yet. It will depend on how I'm looking and if I need more time to build my best physique to be a real competitor. The ultimate goal is to compete in the Olympia and that's what I'm striving for. If I don't accumulate enough points or win a show to qualify in 2014 I will continue to improve and work towards that goal.

ABFITT: What advice would you give guys thinking about competing in MPD?


JAKE PHIPPEN: Once you've decided to compete have fun, keep your eye on the prize, and give 110% until the shows over. If you hire a coach make sure they put your health first and comp second. This will allow for a long term career and you will enjoy the whole process.


ABFITT: How can ABFITT readers follow you and your MPD career?

JAKE PHIPPEN: Facebook: IFBB Pro Jake Phippen, Twitter and Instagram: IFBB_jphippen

ABFITT: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with ABFITT and I wish you continued success.
  
JASON BALL PHOTOGRAPHY: ALL PHOTO CREDITS

Conditioning For Fighters.....

There are several general concepts, which helped to shape the specific program. First, the work profile of boxing is repeated 3-minute rounds of activity, often with very high intensity bursts within a round. The rounds are separated by one-minute rest intervals. Thus, the relative contribution of anaerobic energy release pathways is considered extremely important, with aerobic capacity playing an important role in terms of facilitating rapid recovery. Extreme conditioning is required to fight effectively for ten intense, 3-minute rounds and anaerobic endurance is a key aspect that cannot be overlooked.
Short of an early round knockout, boxers cannot afford to win only the early rounds of a fight. They must maintain an intense, but measured pace throughout a long and competitive bout. So conditioning counts almost as much as skill for boxing success. Optimal physical conditioning provides the platform from which the skills can be used. The best way to simulate the demands of boxing is to use conditioning methods, which mimic the work/rest ratio and integrated bursts of power that typify boxing. I continue to use "suicides" and different versions of my H.I.G.T program to keep my fighters as well as my clients in peak physical condition.


Boxing is a highly individual sport. Fighters possess unique styles that create specific physical demands. Some rely on explosive strength ("power"), for others it's starting strength ("speed"), and for most a combination of the two ("speed-strength"). True champions change their style in a way that will make them more able to attack the weaknesses of any given opponent. Improvements in specific capacities can be made, but they are only helpful if integrated into the fighter's style. For example, extensive footwork exercises may not benefit the power puncher who fights stationary and looks to deliver a blow that starts with the legs and drives right through the opponent, and wins that way. Similarly, a fighter who relies on punching speed and fast footwork should not put all his training hours into heavy bag work and muscle mass development. So, the program designed must not only be specific to boxing, but also specific to the boxer.

Ideally, the boxing punch consists of synchronization between arm, leg, and trunk actions. The punching movement of a boxer consists of leg extension, trunk rotation, and arm extension, in succession. The more effective the coordination between arms, legs and trunk movements are the greatest and the impact force of a punch. The leg muscles play a vital role in the power developed in this sequence. Increasing leg force development and coordinating it with trunk and arm action is probably the most effective way to increase punching power.

Because boxing is an explosive sport, ballistic training methods are especially effective during weight training for boxing. This kind of training method requires the athlete to perform each repetition explosively, with maximal intended velocity. Finally, in my view, the best way to weight train for competitive boxing is via a cycled training schedule. This type of training schedule integrates workouts and exercises that will meet all the basic performance demands of boxing, strength, power, speed, agility, and strength endurance.