All posts in Figure Athlete

Hard Work and The Arnold Classic

“Hard work can be defined in many ways. Work can be physically hard or mentally difficult or something so unpleasant that it is hard to make yourself do it. Most people will look for the easiest way out and avoid hard work all together. That is exactly why doing the opposite sets you apart from others.

When you have the discipline to work hard, you gain results that other people aren’t willing to work for. More results will fall into place if you have a greater capacity for hard work. Hard work does not have to be overly challenging to the point where it is painful or uncomfortable. A major key to success is to learn to enjoy the challenges that come along with work. Instead of running from the challenge, embrace hard work and you will gain the ability to execute your goals no matter what it takes. Tackling daily challenges help build character just as lifting weights builds muscle.” -Jeremy Reynolds

Whether it’s within our careers, our education, our relationships, our sport or our hobby - to me, hard work is not the specific challenge(s) we face, hard work is the attitude and approach we make towards our challenges.  To work hard is a choice. Some of us have personalities wired to do nothing short of hard work. I also believe it is a mindset, similar to mental toughness, that can be trained through effort just like the body can be trained in the weight room.

Continue reading →

All SHOW and GO!

Ahhh, you all know I love a good strength and conditioning challenge. I haven’t shared a lot of my personal training videos lately and that is simply because I keep some of Carter‘s program design private as it is his intellectual property. The following however is a new favorite of mine and one I must share!

We are in the home stretch of my figure prep for the Arnold Classic and I am proud to say that I still have as much hustle in my training sessions as I do the stage physique. I am also very pleased to report that my back has been pain-free (knock on wood) since I started this prep. I no longer consider myself an injured athlete with a fear of flaring up my low back. Though I am still cautious, I am confident in my health and movement.

Right now, Carter has me on a two-a-day schedule that is heavy with cardio or as he prefers to call it, Energy Expenditure Work :-) . I am also strength training four days a week with two push / pull days, a quad dominant leg day and a hip dominant leg day. At the end of each strength training session, I have the beloved CONDITIONING!

As you know, I love to push my limits when it comes to conditioning and cross the finish line with the hardest effort available despite fatigue setting in. The following is my current conditioning segment on Friday’s push / pull training session. I have recorded the entire circuit from start to finish so you can see I do indeed practice what I preach. You can also see how hard we train and I still have the GO behind the SHOW

Push / Pull Conditioning Circuit
Reps and Regulations:

  • Explosive Burpee into Pull Up x AMRAP
  • Vertical Thrust x 8 – 10 reps
  • Jump Rope x 15 seconds
  • Complete 5 ROUND in as little time as possible

The other beautiful component of this circuit is the self-regulation. The objective is to take as minimal rest as needed, however, you may take as much rest as you need to complete the circuit. The burpee / pull ups are AMRAP (as many reps as possible) so that is relative to your abilities and the weight of the vertical thrust can be  selected based on your strength abilities. Even further, this circuit can be measured and progressed simply by cutting down your rest time and or adding weight. It’s all about relative intensity baby!!

Have at it and enjoy!

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Video filmed at Under Armour’s Combine Training Center (UACTC) and a special thanks to Mike Whitman. :-D

Alli’s Road to Dallas and Columbus!

This past Monday, I returned home from Dallas, TX where I was working the NFL Experience with Under Armour. Needless to say, it was an incredible time. The environment and activities were so much fun to be a part of, but above all, it was the team I was with that made the trip! Thank you so much to Jamie, Chris W, J. Parker, Big E, Dash, Coach Cox, DJ, George, Chris H, Jordan, Ryan, Shana, Patty and Xan for making the trip so fun and memorable! It was a pleasure to work with you all and I really look forward to crossing paths again and working together in the future. 

Continue reading →

Progress Report: 6 Weeks In, 12 To Go.

Today begins week six of the Arnold Prep already! It’s crazy how fast time flies. Perhaps because after two years of continuous prep, my training and nutrition feel like a natural part of my day, week and lifestyle.

Over the past 5 weeks, my body composition has changed tremendously which puts me in a very good position for the next 12 weeks of prep. As mentioned in previous posts, my initial training focus was to rev up my metabolism and reduce body fat. I recently had my body composition taken and am currently at 13% body fat while managing to gain a little lean mass in the process - operation complete!

I’d like to thank Nick Tumminello for his training guidance to date. Nick certainly contributed to the successful progression of my physique as a Figure Athlete and in my journey to compete at the Arnold Classic.

For the remainder of this prep, the architect behind my last show’s nutrition and supplementation, Carter Schoffer of Body Transformation & Precision Nutrition, will be taking over the exercise design reins as well. Carter has proven to be extremely bright, very comprehensive, well organized and supportive. He has my full trust in the process of taking the Arnold stage.

Through March, I have three more planned training blocks. Over the next four weeks, his goal (and my dedication) are to shift into shaping and sculpting my physique via strategic lean mass development. Followed by a more targeted fat loss phase and finishing up with a refinement or finishing phase. Our main goal throughout is of course, per Carter, “overall body comp optimization for Arnold dominance.” :-D

I’m looking forward to the upcoming weeks as I shift from the metabolic work to this next phase. Although I love the metabolic training, it’ll be a fun change of pace to truly resistance train. As Carter has instructed me, “please note, I want you to treat the resistance training as exactly that – resistance training – not “cardio with weights.” So lift as heavy as you can and worry about your muscles, not your heart rate, how hard you’re breathing or how much you’re sweating.”

Friends, it’s time to get LIFTING! :-D

More on training to come.

A Figure Athlete’s Warrior Spirit

“Risin’ up, back on the street, Did my time, took my chances. Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet, Just a woman and her will to survive.

Face to face, out in the heat, Hangin’ tough, stayin’ hungry. They stack the odds ’til we take to the street, For we kill with the skill to survive.

Risin’ up, straight to the top, Have the guts, got the glory. Went the distance, now I’m not gonna stop, Just a woman and her will to survive”

- Eye of the Tiger, Survivor

Good news! On Friday night, November 19th, I received my official acceptance letter to the Arnold Amateur IFBB Figure Championships at the Arnold Classic for 2011. This is incredible!

I began the Arnold journey on November 1st. In reality however, I began back in October 2009 when I was training with my posing coach for the OCB Yorton Cup. I said to him, “I’m going to go to the Arnold in 2011″ – and my goodness, here I am :)

I have come to conclude that facing challenge and adversity is an absolute part of the formula when in competition, goal setting and personal growth. It may not come in the same shape, size or form for everyone – but it’s there and you can count on it. How you deal with it, is another component – and that comes from YOU.

To me the formula looks something like this:


In the recent weeks, I have faced challenge yet again, but what better time to find strength in yourself and from those around you to keep moving forward on your goals.

Take for example, the Olympic skater from Canada, Joannie Rochette. Just days before her time to compete, her mom passed away.

“Though she was blinking hard her first few laps around the ice, Rochette quickly settled into her practice routine. She showed no lapses in concentration, jumped well and did a light run-through of her tango short program, even flashing a saucy smile at one point. In the stands, her father repeatedly rubbed his eyes.”

Joannie claimed an Olympic medal. To me, that is the pinnacle of amazing strength, heart and staying true to yourself and your goals.

In talking with my father, he said “if you can channel the energies from the challenging experience in a positive way, it can serve as a motivational springboard for recovery and personal growth.” (thanks dad) :)

My mom recited a quote to me last night (bless that wonderful woman too) from an episode of parenthood: “Life will knock you down more times than you can possibly imagine. Don’t knock yourself down!

I have a wonderful group of teammates from my family, friends, co-workers, clients, advisors, (you readers) and the spiritual protection from my Strength and Conditioning Guardian Angel, Jason Hadeed.

In this upcoming season, I plan to develop three things: my personal self, my professional self and of course, my physical self.

This is going to be an incredible journey as I am going to see my strength rise both in the gym and in my heart and spirit. It is empowering. I can’t wait to get to the stage in March – it’s going to be the most rewarding performance yet. My client said to me last week, “often times, the hardest things are the most rewarding” – Mr. Cleary, you are right.

If you enjoy following this blog, you can also find me on Twitter for 140 characters of quotes, training and positive progress. :) My account is @AlliMcKeeFit

Thank you friends for your time. Cheers to the Warrior Spirit in us all!