Monday, April 29, 2013

15 Minute Body Weight Interval Workout: Home Fat Burn

Hi Everyone!

Tonight we changed it up a bit, and Jesse got out from behind the camera and led the workout. :) It's a high intensity, fat burning workout. This workout uses no equipment, and only takes 15 minutes, but you will feel the burn!

Interval workouts maximize your fat burning capacity, so it is as beneficial as doing steady state cardio for 2-3X as long. Plus, your metabolism remains boosted for hours after the workout. HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts are on of the best ways to burn fat and maintain lean muscle. 

I hope you guys enjoy Jesse and the workout! See you tomorrow!


All Levels: Max reps during each 50 second interval. Repeat 1-3X. 

1. Frogger
2. Lunge Jump
3. Superman
4. Spiderman Pushup
5. High Knees
6. Heel Tap Squat Jump
7. Hip Lift
8. Leaning Pushup
9. Bicycle Abs
10. Mountain Climbers
11. 1 Leg Hip Thrust (right)
12. 1 Leg Hip Thrust (left)
13. Pendulum Squat
14. Running V-Sit
15. Burpee

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Summer Body Fat Burn

Hi Everyone!

It was gorgeous outside yesterday so we headed up to the State Park near us and took our workout outside. I love sunshine. Jesse and I followed the workout with a run. I did about 3.5 miles at an easy pace. Jesse did about 4 miles and did a fartlek run, incorporating sprints into his workout. 

This is a full body, fat burning workout. I incorporated sprints at the beginning and end of the workout. Other options include jump roping, or 30-60 seconds of high knees. 


Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

*Team Bender's weekend challenge: add 5 reps to each exercise. 

Start: Sprint
1. Walking Lunge
2. Lateral Squat Jump
3. Squat Walk
4. Sumo Pushup
5. Lunge Jump Kick
6. Knee Drop Plank
7. Side Plank Twist (right)
8. Side Plank Twist (left)
9. Surfer
10. Plank Press
Finish: Sprint

Repeat: 1-3X

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Low Impact 8 Minute Interval Part 2: Weighted Abs/Core

Hi Everyone!

This is part two of my Low Impact Workout. This section of the workout is focused on the core. You can find part one here: Low Impact Workout Part 1: Lower Body

This workout can be done with or without weights. I used a 20 lb dumbbell during this workout. It's a nice challenge, and it's good for your body to switch up your workout routine. 

This workout can be repeated 1-3X on it's own, or in conjunction with part 1. 


All Levels: Max Reps During Each 50 Second Interval.
*Focus on Form. 
Repeat 1-3X. 

1. Russian Twist
2. Weighted V-Up
3. Right Plank Row
4. Weighted Hip Lift
5. Left Plank Row
6. Weighted Crunch Twist
7. Weight Drag Plank
8. Back Extension or Superman

Low Impact 8 Minute Interval Part 1: Lower Body

Hi Everyone!

This is a two part, low impact workout. It utilizes several compound movements, and can be done with body weight or dumbbells. 

This section of the workout is focused on lower body, and can be repeated up to 3 times. It can also be done alone, or combined with part 2, which focuses on abs. 

I will also be posting a video that combines both sections of the workout. The separate videos make it easier to select the amount of time you have for your workout, and how many times you want to repeat each section. 


Click here for part 2 of this workout!

All Levels: Max Reps During Each 50 Second Interval
*Do not sacrifice form for speed. Form is number one!
*Weights are optional, and should be selected based on what is challenging for you. My dumbbells weight 20 lbs each.
Repeat 1-3X. Follow with the Low Impact 8 Minute Ab Interval Workout. 

1. Heel Lift Squat
2. Dip Kick
3. Squat Row
4. Curtsy Lunge Twist Lift (right)
5. Curtsy Lunge Twist Lift (left)
6. Romanian Deadlift
7. Press and Lift (right)
8. Press and Lift (left)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

10 Minute Ab Fat Burn Workout: Plus Round 2 (No Talk, All Work) Bonus

Hi Everyone!

Today's workout video is a little bit different. I did one round the way I normally do, going through and explaining the moves as I go. Then I filmed one round of me going through the workout real time, with no talking. 

I actually found it to be very awkward to go through the workout without talking. I wasn't going to post the whole video, but I thought I would try it out and see if you guys find it helpful. You can see me struggling through the workout, and trying to push the whole time. 

As you can tell by the outfit change I didn't do the workouts consecutively. I had extra time in the evening and decided to repeat the workout. 

I hope you enjoy the workout. Let's get ready to be strong, and look great in our summer clothes!

PS If you want to see something cute my cat (Gambit) did, scroll to the bottom of the page!

1. Bicycle Abs
2. Wide Burpee
3. Oblique Toe Reach (right)
4. Oblique Toe Reach (left)
5. Super Fly Girl
6. Russian Kicks
7. Heel Tap Abs
8. Walk the Plank
9. 3 Part Abs
10. Mountain Climbers

Bicycle Abs
Wide Leg Burpee
Oblique Toe Reach
Super Fly Girl
Super Fly Girl
Russian Kicks
Heel Tap Abs
Walk the Plank
3 Part Abs
Mountain Climbers

Bonus pictures! Gambit likes to workout!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Veggie Wrap: Fast, Healthy, Delicious

Hi Everyone!

I have been veggie obsessed lately! Salads, sandwiches, wraps. I just can't seem to get enough veggies. 

In honor of Earth Day I wanted to share some vegetarian recipes. This was my lunch yesterday (and very similar to my lunch and afternoon snack today!)

It's easy, quick, healthy and filling. You can use any vegetables that you want, and if you leave off the feta it's vegan. 

-Wrap of Choice (this is also delicious on Ezekial Bread or whole wheat)
-Sliced Tomato
-Baby Bella Mushrooms (sliced)
-Diced Avocado (hummus can be substituted)
-Mini Cucumber (sliced)
-Tomato Basil Feta Cheese (optional)

*I would have added fresh baby spinach, but I was out. Artisan Lettuce is also good. 

Add all of the veggies to your wrap, fold up and enjoy. 

Today I brought a large salad to work with most of the same ingredients, a whole wheat sandwich thin, and a triangle of spreadable cheese. I ate half of the salad for lunch, and had the rest on a sandwich with the cheese as an after work snack. It was delicious, satisfying, and best of all my stomach felt great after eating it! (As someone with food allergies/sensitivities this is a huge bonus!)


Monday, April 22, 2013

Love Handle Loser: 12 Minute Interval Workout

Hi Everyone!

Tonight I re-did an older workout: Love Handle Loser, Lower Ab Workout. Originally I did this workout with Cydney, and we filmed the workout as a tutorial. This time I switched it up a bit, and tried it out interval style. The original video has variations for all levels, so be sure to check it out. This is a fat burning core workout. 

I have a confession to make. I wasn't pushing as hard as I could during the intervals. After the workout I realized that if I'm going to truly go high intensity I need to amp up the volume a bit!

That was a good motivator for me as I headed out into the glorious sunshine (as it grows warmer you will continue to hear how much I love the sun. I can't help it. It truly brings me joy!) I decided to do my run at a comfortable pushing pace. That resulted in me shaving 1 minute and 17 seconds off of my 3.5 mile run (as compared to a few days ago when I completed the same run). My slowest mile was an 8 minute, 39 second mile and totally uphill. The rest of my miles were between 6:56-7:47 pace. 

Jesse was doing a hard run today so I was on my own. Even though he's much faster than I am I find that I go much slower when I run with him. My theory is that it's because I talk a lot more when I run with Jesse. When I run by myself I just go. 

In honor of Earth Day I will be posting a vegetarian recipe. I am also doing some planting again this year (flower and vegetables). What are you doing for Earth Day? 

Enjoy the workout!

All Levels Max Reps During Each 50 second interval, 10 seconds of rest between exercises. 
Repeat 1-3X

1.       Mountain Climbers
2.       Double Abs
3.       High Knees
4.       Double side plank (right)
5.       Double side plank (left)
6.       Monkey Jumps
7.       Tricep leg lifts
8.       Sumo Squats
9.       Low Ab Hold
10.     Sitting Ab Lift 
11.     Bridge Squeeze
12.     Burpee

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pregnancy Progress Pics and Workouts: Meg 10 Weeks After Baby

By far my favorite part of having my blog is when people share their progress pictures with me! Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Meg. 

Meg is a full time graduate student. She is studying to be a nurse practitioner. She also works as an RN, and is the mom of a beautiful 10 week old baby! She is very busy, and doesn't have hours per day to spend working out. 

Meg said: "Needless to say, I don't have much time or energy to spare these days. My husband found your page for me, and the short, intense, no-equipment-required workouts get results and fit my schedule. I still have a long way to go on my fitness journey, but your page is a valuable resource that I now recommend to friends and patients alike."

In picture number one Meg is 9 months pregnant and weighs 145 pounds. In picture two (taken yesterday) she weighs 115 pounds. 

Meg and her family are about to embark on an exciting trip, and during it she is going to continue to challenge herself with my workouts. She is going to send in another picture in about a month to show us her progress. I can't wait to see her continuation of her fitness journey! What better gift can you give yourself, and your family than increased health and energy? 

Meg's Workouts: 
"I mostly followed your bikini competition prep month 1 schedule (working at the intermediate rep/time recommendations, usually repeating twice). I also did the fitness transformation workouts because I found if I was cheering for Josh there were fewer thoughts dedicated to my own struggles/discomfort . My favorite workout so far though has been the 10 minute quickie posted this week; I loved the burn from the side step leg lifts!"

Congratulations Meg and thank you for sharing your journey! You're an inspiration. Stay strong, healthy, and fit!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Full Body Bender Boot Camp at Home

Hi Everyone!

I have been MIA a bit this week because I have had a million and one things on my to-do list. I needed a good workout today, and this did it! I was feeling a bit "off" and unmotivated today. Maybe I'm tired, or maybe it's the cold weather that refuses to leave, but I felt better after working out. 

This is a full body, high intensity (HIIT) workout. Every other exercise is burpees, but depending on your level you can also substitute high knees. As long as you are pushing yourself you are getting benefits. HIIT workouts are especially effective at burning fat, while maintaining lean muscle mass. The result is a metabolism boost that lasts for hours after your workout. Also, as your body fat drops, and your muscle mass increases you become tigheter, leaner, and burn more calories throughout the day. 

I found this workout challenging, and I hope you do too! 


All Levels: Max reps during each interval. (60 seconds, 30 second Burpees)


Beginner: 10 reps, 5 Burpees
Intermediate: 15 reps, 8 Burpees
Advanced: 20 reps, 10 Burpees
1. High Knees

2. Burpee
3. Plank Jack
4. Burpee
5. Temple Tap
6. Burpee
7. Windshield Wiper Plank
8. Burpee
9. Ab Extension Pulse
10. Burpee
11. Warrior 3 Hop
12. Burpee
13. 1 Leg Hip Thrust (right)
14. Burpee
15. 1 Leg Hip Thrust (left)
16. Burpee

Plank Jack: In a forearm plank position jump your feet out as you would in a jumping jack. Jump them back together. That is one rep. 
Temple Tap Abs: Lay on the floor, lift your legs, and shoulder blades off the floor, hands at prayer position at your chest. Reach your elbow toward the top corner of the mat, following with your eyes. Bring your hands to center, and then repeat the motion to the left for one rep. Shoulder blades and legs stay lifted throughout. 
Windshield Wiper Plank: In a plank position step your foot out to the left, and then return it to central starting position. Repeat on the other side for one rep. 

Ab Extension Pulse: Legs and shoulder blades lift off the floor. Low back stays on the ground and arms extend over your head. Lightly pulse, keeping the movements of your legs and upper body small. Your abs should be pulled in throughout the exercise. 

One Leg Hip Thrust (part 1): Plant left heel on the floor with your knee bent at a 90 degree angle. Arms extend, fingers point toward your toes. Keep your right leg extended and foot flexed. 

One Leg Hip Thrust (part 2): Pushing through your planted heel and both arms press your hips toward the ceiling until your body forms a straight line from shoulder to knee. Press your heel toward the ceiling. The focus is on the movement of the hips. The leg will follow. Repeat this on the other side. 

Warrior 3 Hop: During Warrior III Pose the standing leg is slightly bent, back is flat, and your body hinges at the hips. Reach your arms and leg back behind you. Bring both feet together, hop into the air, and then perform this movement on the other side. 

Burpee: When jumping push up through the heels to spring toward the ceiling. 

Burpee: Jump up and reach as high as you can each and every time. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

4 Weeks Until NPC Bikini Competition Day: Bikini Body Workout Program Month 3

Hi Everyone,

The list of my workouts for the last 4 weeks of my NPC bikini competition prep is below.   You don't have to be stepping onto a stage to want a bikini ready body. Summer's on it's way! Whatever your goals and motivations this is 4 weeks worth of toning and sculpting workouts. 

Every single workout I did to get in shape for this competition is here. I prepped 100% at home. It can be done! :D

Enjoy the workouts! If you are trying out my workouts feel free to share your before and after pictures with me on my facebook page:


PS If you are looking for a 12 week program start with Month 1. For 8 weeks start with Month 2. 
Month 1 Workouts
Month 2 Workouts

Week 1:
Quick Fit Cardio

Tight Booty Toned Abs and 5.5 Mile Run (47 Minutes of Cardio)

Bikini Ready Arms and Abs

Trial By Burpee Boot Camp

Ultimate Body Weight Workout

Week 2:

Building Up to a Pull-Up 

Static/Dynamic Body Sculpt and 3.5 Mile Run

Bubble Butt Cardio Burn and Mile Repeats (3 miles total, explained in the blog post)

Yoga Arm Balance: Bakasana, Crane/Crow Pose How To

Bender Boot Camp

Week 3:

Stronger Core and More

Full Body Sweat and 30 Minutes of Cardio

Shape and Burn Workout

Tight Tummy at 30

Trial By Burpee Boot Camp

Week 4:

Long Run (45-60 Minutes)

Quick Booty Workout

Fit at Home Workout

Bender Boot Camp

Fit to Sweat Workout and NPC Competition Results

Other Articles of Interest:

Less Than 24 Hours Until My First NPC Bikini Competition

Competition Day: NPC Natural Eastern USA Championships (National Qualifier)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Jillian's Marathon Training, Diet, and Shakeology

Hi Everyone! 

My friend Jillian is running in the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 5th. She has agreed to give you all a glimpse into her marathon training and diet. I am thinking about doing a half or full marathon so I was super excited when she agreed to do a guest blog post! It also means you get to see a throwback picture of Jillian and I circa 2005 when we were on a dance team together. Where were my arm muscles? ;)


Hello Bender Fitness enthusiasts!  My name is Jillian, and I want to thank Melissa for giving me the opportunity to write a guest post on her blog!  I am currently training for my second marathon, which will take place in Pittsburgh on May 5.  I’m also a group fitness instructor and Independent Team Beachbody Coach (Beachbody is the company that sells popular workout programs like Insanity, P90x and TurboJam).  Melissa asked me to write a little about my marathon training and nutrition plan, so here I am – I hope you guys find this information useful!

I’ll start out with a little background of how I got where I am today.  Growing up, my after school activities were non-athletic.  I was a bit of a nerd in more than one way – I was on the mathletes team, reading Olympics team and I was drum major of the marching band.  I did go to a private dance school once/week, but it’s safe to say that I was studying a lot and not being active.  When I got to college, I started to take an interest in increasing my activity level, mainly to avoid the Freshman 15 J.  I would run on the treadmill and lift some weights, but it was never with any regularity.  It wasn’t until I moved to Pittsburgh for grad school that my passion for fitness really evolved.  A friend of mine asked me to take a yoga class with her at Carnegie Mellon.  Sure!  Why not?!  Well, don’t tell Melissa, but I HATED yoga!  I wanted to SWEAT and MOVE!  So here I was, with nine more punches left on my group fitness pass.  The next class I tried was Step Aerobics, and I’ll be the first to tell you – I was HOOKED!!  Over the next two years, I couldn’t get enough step aerobics!  I was still running a little and lifting weights too, but I just LOVED Step Aerobics.  It wasn’t long before I decided that I just HAD TO TEACH Step Aerobics, so I got trained by another step aerobics instructor, and the rest is history.  Fast forward about 7 years and I now teach Step Aerobics, boot camp classes, TurboKick, Hip Hop Hustle, Les Mills Bodypump and Beachody’s Insanity (my most recent addition to my repertoire).  I can’t get enough group fitness, and yes, I even learned to appreciate yoga eventually too!

About two and a half years ago, a friend of mine asked me to run a 10k with her.  I’m always up for a challenge, so happily agreed!  I never really “liked” running, but always loved that feeling of accomplishment you get when you finish a run and reach a goal.  After the 10k, I signed up for the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia, which is a 10 mile race.  I didn’t really have trouble training for that race, so I figure the next logical step was a marathon.  Right?  Seems logical…  Running a marathon had always been on my “bucket list” and it just felt like the right time.  I began training for my first marathon in June 2012.  I just wanted to get into the habit of running 4 times/week, with a long run (about 10 miles) on the weekend.  I started Hal Higdon’s Marathon training plan (a blend of Novice 1 and Novice 2) in July, and followed it to a ‘T’.  I had some good runs and some bad runs, but overall I felt ready for race day.  I also taught group fitness classes twice/week and worked in some Bodypump or P90x (both strength training) when I had the time.  I finished my first marathon with a time of 4 hours and 46 minutes.  It was a little slower than what I had trained for, but I finished and nothing can take away that feeling when you cross the finish line!  It took less than 8 hours for me to think about signing up for another marathon – I felt like I had unfinished business and wanted to work on my time.  Once I recovered from the Philly marathon, I signed up for the Pittsburgh marathon.  I kept the training schedule the same, but I added a weekly sprint workout to the schedule.  I also made the time to keep up with my cross training, instead of just fitting it in when I found the time.  This past weekend, I completed my longest run of my training plan (22 miles), and now it’s time to taper!

When most people think of marathon training, they think things like “carb-load”, “pizza”, “pasta” and “eat whatever you want”.  While that may work for some people, I didn’t want to completely abandon my “clean eating” habits.  I can confidently say that throughout two cycles of marathon training, I didn’t do any of those things.  I kept up with a high(er) protein and mostly clean diet, while increasing how much I was eating when my training called for it.  When I’m not training for a marathon, I tend to split up my calories so that 30% come from protein, 40% come from carbs and 30% come from healthy fats.  For the first half of the 18-week training plan, I can generally keep up with this breakdown, however, once the long runs start to creep over 13 miles, I try to increase my carb intake to 50% and drop my healthy fats down to 20%.  In the two days before a SUPER long run (18 miles or more), I might up the carbs to even 60%.  For me, my “carb-loading” or increasing my carb intake consists mainly of fruits and vegetables.  Through my entire training, I’ll have 2-3 cups of fruit salad with my lunch each day.  I LOVE fruit and can’t get enough of it.  I also LOVE squash – butternut squash and spaghetti squash have been my favorite things to eat when preparing for a long run.  If I need a carb boost the morning of a run, I’ll have dried fruit and/or cream of wheat.  Except for training runs over 16 or so miles, I don’t need to eat while running (only drink electrolyte water).  If I do need to eat while running, I’ll eat Clif Shot Bloks for sugar.  I liked having my electrolytes and sugars separate (rather than together as then come with Gatorade), so that I could drink a lot without getting the sugar. 

In general, I use Michi’s Ladder as a guide for my diet – trying to eat mostly things from tiers 1&2, some from 3 and avoid foods on tiers 4&5.
I don’t follow it perfectly, but I like to check in with it every once in a while to make sure I’m not getting off track.  I also like to plan my meals ahead, so that I’m not making last-minute decisions and reaching for things that might derail my whole training plan.  I like to eat small meals with lots of snacks so that I’m never overly full and never too hungry.  Other than fruits and veggies, I eat lean meats, fish, low fat dairy and whole grains.  However, the biggest asset to my diet through marathon training and weight loss programs has been Shakeology.   Shakeology is a Beachbody product that is so many things wrapped into one protein shake.  Shakeology can be a meal replacement or a protein shake, but it’s really a lot more.  For me, it has replaced my multivitamin, helped me get at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, helped me maintain a healthy weight, improved my digestion and increased my iron levels, giving me so much more energy!  It also made my hair and nails grow faster (and stronger)!  When I first started drinking Shakeology, I lost 5 pounds in 2 months by replacing my breakfast and continuing my workout schedule.  Although I haven’t experienced this myself, it has also been shown to assist people in lowering their cholesterol and blood pressure.   Some people don't like the taste immediately, and that's okay - it’s likely because it's probably something your body isn’t used to, but in time, you start to crave it.  If you get the consistency right, it tastes like chocolate ice cream!  Each batch is quality tested and hand packed to protect the ingredients from altering due to machines.  Natural sweeteners keep you at a super low level on the glycemic index, reducing the likelihood of insulin levels rising making you crave more food, specifically sweets, eventually aiding in weight loss.

Watch this video to learn about all of the fantastic ingredients in Shakeology:
And this one to learn about physicians who support Shakeology:
Shakeology comes as whey protein or as a vegan shake using brown rice and pea protein.  The whey protein comes in chocolate and greenberry flavors and the vegan protein comes in chocolate and tropical strawberry flavors.
To learn more about Shakeology, ask about samples or how you can get discounts, you can contact me and in the meantime look over the information on this website:
I also run challenge groups to help people meet their health and fitness goals.  A challenge group is a 30, 60 or 90 day fitness challenge, run through a private Facebook group.  As a member of the group, you’ll have a place to check-in, share tips, exchange recipes and find motivation, all as a way to be held accountable so that you can meet your health and fitness goals.  Sometimes everyone in the group will be following the same workout program, but other times, we’re all doing something different.  Melissa’s workouts are GREAT for challenge groups!  My goal is to help people achieve their goals and enjoy a healthy, fulfilling life, whether it’s helping someone find workouts that fit into their schedules and/or nutrition plans that they like.  I hold people accountable to create a manageable path towards meeting their goals.
I would love to hear from anyone who is interested in learning more about Beachbody, Shakeology or becoming a coach themselves or anyone who has questions about training for a marathon.  If you have general questions about setting and meeting a health or fitness goal, please contact me also!  You can shoot me an email at, find me on facebook ( or hit me up on twitter @FitYaf!  Also, let Melissa know if you guys want to hear more about a specific part of my training!  Happy sweating!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Jump Away Your Jiggle and 800 Meter Running Interval Workout

Hi Everyone!

My workout from last night is posted below. This is a great fat burning, and toning workout. I paired it with a running workout, so I only went through it one time. If I hadn't paired it with a running workout I would have repeated it up to three times. 

This series of exercises utilizes compound moves for a full body workout. Keeping the rest time in between each exercise short also increases the calorie burn of this workout. 

I paired this with an 800 meter repeat workout. I completed my run in 800 meter (half mile) increments. I chose a challenging pace, and ran this on the treadmill. It can also be completed outside. If your local high school or college has a standard sized (400 meter) track that would be two loops around the track. 
I ran six 800s, with short rest breaks in between each half mile. I kept my rest breaks in between each interval to about 1:30 to 2 minutes. When you are first starting with this type of workout you should keep the rest breaks equal to the running time. For example, if you run an 800 in 4 minutes, rest for 4 minutes before the next one. As your cardiovascular system progresses you will be able to decrease the amount of rest time in between intervals. It is important to select a pace that is challenging to you. I followed my run with a walk to cool down. 
My workout breakdown was as follows. Remember, if you try this workout select an appropriate pace for you. Also, be sure to warm up! (.5 Miles=800 Meters)
1. .5 Miles: 3:02 Minutes (Treadmill speed 10, Incline 1)
2. .5 Miles: 3:15 Minutes (Speed 9.5)
3. .5 Miles: 3:07 Minutes (Speed 9.6)
4. .5 Miles: 3:00 Minutes (Speed: 10.1)
5. .5 Miles: 2:58 Minutes (Speed: 10.1)
6. .5 Miles: 2:56 Minutes (Speed 10.2)
Total Distance: 3 Miles
Total Run Time: 18 Minutes, 18 Seconds

I find that I always have more energy as the run progresses so I picked up the pace a little bit. The first mile or so of a run is the hardest for me, as my body warms up and transitions into running mode. Jesse tells me that is the sign of a true distance runner. :) 

I hope you guys enjoy the workout!

Beginner: 10 reps, 30 second interval
Intermediate: 15 reps, 45 seconds,
Advanced: 20 reps, 60 seconds

1. Mountain Climbers (timed)
2. Lunge Jump
3. 3-Way Frogger
4. Squat Jump
5. Spiderman Push-ups
6. Lunging Side Kick
7. Plank Reach Stretch
8. Ninja Jump
9. Knee Drop Plank
10. Knee Tap

Repeat 1-3X

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Interview with NPC Bikini Competitor Brittany Cavicchia

Hi Everyone! 

As you all know I recently competed in my first NPC Bikini Competition. One of the best parts of the competition was meeting the other competitors, and women who are passionate about fitness.

As I have mentioned my workouts and bikini competition prep was significantly different than the traditional bikini prep methods (I was still eating sushi, bread and oatmeal the week of competition). Competitor Brittany Cavicchia, who won first place in Bikini Open Class B at the Natural Eastern USA Championships agreed to do an interview with me to give you all a glimpse into her bikini competition prep. As you can see from the pictures above, Brittany set a goal and went for it!

You can find Brittany on Instagram @bikinibrytt.

Check out her interview below!

1. What made you decide to compete?
 I started getting in to the competition scene on Instagram. I have a cousin and his wife who do competitions so I always knew about them but I never wanted to do it. Then when I saw all these girls on Instagram who were taking charge of their bodies and I knew if I didn't have a goal like that then I would never get my body how I wanted it!

2. How did you select your first show and the division to compete in?

I have family in Pittsburgh and I wanted to make a mini vacation out of it. Since I'm from Florida I felt that making a big deal out of the competition would also motivate me and my family to help me get to my goal 

3. Who helped you prep?

I did everything myself until about 7 weeks out when I went to a trainer I once trained with. I knew I would need the help with competition diet and getting over my plateau. 

4. What was the hardest part of prep?

The energy! I had none!! And of course that was attributed to the diet.

5. What kept you motivated?

Myself, always! I am my number one motivation because I'm the one I'm competing against. I know I can make or break myself

6. How long was your prep?

Serious prep? About 7 weeks

7. Tell me about diet, calories, macros. Did it change or stay the same throughout? Would you like to share a sample day of meals?

Starting in November I really got in to the whole clean eating scene. I meal prepped and ate 6 small meals a day but nothing like a prep diet. About 7 weeks out is when I hit a plateau from that and got more specific. I started portioning my meat exactly and then 3 weeks out I switched to straight fish for protein. So for the horrible portion of prep I was eating 1 meal of 25g carbs in the morning but the rest was just fish and greens. Then two "higher carb" days which I could eat 25g of carbs for three meals. The diet is the hardest part!!! 

****Note (From Melissa): This is a competition diet. It is meant to be used for only a brief time, and is not a sustainable diet. Post competition Brittany returns to clean and healthy eating, which is not as restrictive as the later portions of the competition diet she is discussing here. 

8. What were your workouts like?

My split was:

On all days except rest days I did cardio and I did weighted abs about 3-4 times a week! I always tell everyone I know who are scared to start weight lifting that it is so simple! Everyone thinks I hang upside down and do crazy workouts to tone like I did. I stuck to basics for most everything and focused on keeping my heart rate up (through jumping jacks between sets) and just goin heavier every week. 

9. What is your cardio like?

From 7 weeks out I did 45 min of incline walking everyday on 15% incline at 4.2 mph. Then at 2 weeks out I started doing 1.5 hours a day and then the last week I had 5 days that I did 2 hours. I also mixed it up occasionally with the stairmaster !! 

10. Favorite snack?

Peanut butter!!!!!!! Dark chocolate peanut butter dreams from PB&Co. Or bananas. Or both together is heavenly, obviously 

11. What supplements did you use?

 I used a fat burner until 5 weeks out called Pro Power. I also used redline as a pre workout. I took Gold Standard casein before bed and every morning I had liquid L carantine.

12. Are you planning to do any more shows?

Yes! It was such an addicting rush that I will definitely do more. Looking in to a few in July and then two in November, one being nationals in Ft Lauderdale 

13. Best part about competing?

The feeling you get on stage when you realize you made it.

14. Worst part about competing?

The diet!!!! Hands down haha

15. Did you have any coaches?

Yes  his name is Dennis Shepperd and he is the owner of New Body Architects in Plantation, FL. He was amazing and did everything for me from diet to posing .

16. Fitness goals?

 I want to build build build! My legs are my weakest point and I need them to be extra solid next time around

17. Age: 22

18. Occupation:

I work for a competition bikini company called Ravish Sands based in Fort Lauderdale, FL. We make quality, affordable custom competition suits that fit any budget. Also soon to be personal trainer when I get my studying butt in gear!

19. Favorite exercise?

It's so hard to pick! My favorite muscle group to work is definitely back so I would have to go with cable rows if I HAD to pick. But really anything that pumps my back. 

20. Favorite quote?

"Patience breeds time but pain breeds strength. Trust your struggle because you can't ignore it" it's from a poem I wrote.  

21. Does anyone inspire you in your fitness goals?

The people all around me everyday who lift me up and support my decisions inspire me. I'm not one to have fitness chicks on my wall for motivation because I don't believe in aspiring to be anyone else's body but my own. I think sometimes people get too carried away living to have someone else's glutes/legs/back etc. They forget that everyone's body is different and theirs to love. Build your own life and aim to inspire others to build their own! But most importantly be your own inspiration because no matter where you are in your journey - you're progressing! Be proud of YOU.

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