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Alli in Wonderland

I feel this title is appropriate as it refers to a very current fairytale that involves a girl who must “eat this” and “drink that” to change size. Well my friends, I am about to do just that as I am preparing to drink lots of water & protein shakes, limit my diet to essentially lean protein sources and vegetables and once again, shrink down to a stage ready physique…only this is no fairytale! ;)  

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In about 4 weeks, I will embark on Season Three of Fit to Figure! With Nick in my corner again, I have started to map out the details of prep timing, training, diet, travel and stage day! This is exciting! I have had roughly five months off since my last show. In those five months Nick, Marc and I have been training HARD. My diet has been moderate and I’m excited to tighten that up so that this hard-earned physique can start to unveil all of it’s new cuts and curves! We are hoping to incorporate a nutritional powerhouse for consulting but no final word on that just yet.

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The show I have set my sights on will be the NPC Maryland show on August 21st, 2010. That means I’ll be sharing several months of cutting edge Physique and Performance training with you all. Not only is it important to me to reach my physique goals, but it’s equally important to maintain (and even improve) my foundation of athleticism — that’s what makes our training programs killer and effective…we don’t just look the part, we continue to operate like a well-oiled athlete.

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Nick and I will also be traveling to some exciting conferences within the next few months so even more training material to bring back to you readers. In April we’ll be attending the AFPA Fitness Conference in Ocean City, MD. In May we’ll be at the JP Fitness Summit in Kansas City, MO. In June, you can find us at the Perform Better Seminar in Providence, RI. And just booked, we’ll be attending the Kettlebell Concepts Galvanized Convention and Trade Show in NYC in July!! Wow, an exciting list of travel, networking and learning!

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So YES, in case there was any question, I’m BACK! That said, I will leave you with this… I was running today and have many staple songs on my ipod for motivation. One being Jay Z’s “my first song.” In that song he says:

“The key to staying, on top of things is treat everything like it’s your first project…

It’s my life – it’s my pain and my struggle
The song that I sing to you it’s my everything
Treat my first like my last, and my last like my first
And my thirst is the same as – when I came
It’s my joy and my tears and the laughter it brings to me
It’s my everything”

Happy New Year!

Although two weeks into January already (wow), HAPPY NEW YEAR! I must say 2009 was filled to the brim with both change and accomplishments. Nick and I capped off 2009 with a great trip to Las Vegas for NYE. I am now enjoying the “normalcy” that comes along with January. I’m also eager to live and see what will unfold, plus what I will manifest, in 2010!

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Now, for training! To be real with all of you readers, I am working diligently to get my mind transitioned out of the holidays and temptations back to the competition stage. I was hoping to come back to the stage as soon as possible. After heavily weighing the level of committment I am ready for at the moment, I have decided that I am not going to pick a show date just yet. I love it and I will, but I am not ready to marry the zero deviation policy yet. I feel if you’re not fully ready to embrace those choices, you’re NOT ready yet.

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On the contrary, nothing great comes easy and if it were easy, everyone would do it. What separates my healthy lifestyle from competition season are even greater sacrifices made, more planning, prep and complete dedication to the stage. I am gearing up for the HUNGER (no pun intended) that will come when I’m ready. When the passion for the goal and committment outweigh any other choices and temptations. So to all you Physique Competitors that hit the ground running January 1st (or before) for the early spring shows–more power to you and I wish you allllll the praise I can send. :)

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What can you expect from me over the next few months?? Well, I AM on a progressive 15 week training program. I just started this past Monday. I am still training “as if” and dieting clean. I am training Monday through Saturday with two of the best partners I could ask for–Nick and Mark. My goals are to continue to create my best physique through hard training and a good diet/lifestyle. That way, when I DO chose a show, I will be closer to having the best that I can bring to the stage. Stay tuned to the blog, I plan to deliver training highlights and education over the next 15 week training phase.

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I will leave you with this…Today was an upper body day with an emphasis on pulling. We superset our pulling exercises with push exercises. I am happy to report that I am still able to crank out 3 sets of 8 one arm push ups (4 per side)  ;)   

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Happy 2010!

It doesn’t always go “According to Plan”

I like having a plan. It makes me feel more at ease. I like mentally preparing for what I must accomplish. Life doesn’t always play out according to our plans, not on the small stuff or even the grand scheme at times. That is something I’m learning to get better on and of course have had to face it for my show.

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This past week was supposed to be my last week of hard training. Everyday was planned. Each cardio, each strength session, each metabolic and conditioning piece, my competition specific training day, my posing, my diet refinements, even down to the last massage I was going to treat myself too :) .

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I started Sunday off with a cough again. Monday I felt a little achy in the gym, I thought it was due to a few tough training sessions. Tuesday I woke up with the full-blown flu. This was NOT part of the plan. Nor did it seem like good timing when so little was left to make the most of my competition prep! My mental state was so strong, my physique coming in well, not to mention, I thought I couldn’t be any healthier! How could I get the flu!?!?

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Perhaps I was pushing the limits? My mind and my heart however are so focused on this show, I think they would have hushed my body’s pleas to a whisper if trying to talk to me too! My body out smarted them though! It figured out, “if Alli won’t listen to me, I will shut her down by picking up a virus!” What a mean thing to do! Sounds evil doesn’t it? Let me tell you, it felt anything but pleasant!

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My body won. I suppose, all’s fair in love and war  :) . I went to the doc, in tears, afraid I might not be able to follow through with the show. He assured me I would be OK by Friday if all goes “according to plan” (wink wink). So, I picked up the antibiotics (not quite sure how they would make my body respond at this point of tapering) and figured nothing was worth my health. I slept, slept and slept some more. Fortunately, I’m feeling better now and hoping to be back on my feet in another day or so. The best thing I could do was rest. Fortunately, I was already drinking a gallon of water a day for fluids and I made darn sure I kept eating my foods and staying on the diet despite the lack of appeal most foods had.  

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Now it is time to play smart. Be comfortable with last-minute changes, confident that I am where I need to be and will still make any last-minute gains because I am still consistently focused and have a great team of coaches and support. Perhaps this path is a blessing in disguise. I’m learning to trust my body, my instincts and take pieces of advice from those who have more experience in all of this. All are part of this journey as well.

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I’m really looking forward to recovering from this flu which was holding me hostage to my bed and getting back on my feet! I will keep you posted as the last week of competition prep (aka love and war) continues!

Tapping into the Bottom of the Barrel

As I arrive at the final weeks of training, my goals now are to maintain the muscle mass I have built and continue to reduce the last bit of body fat. My physical therapist once explained to me, those last lingering areas of body fat are the “bottom of the barrel” and once it’s gone from everywhere else, it will finally take from the bottom of the barrel.

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We must be doing something right however because my body is responding. In the last 10 days, I continued to drop two percent body fat and gained one more pound of lean mass! And still 2.5 more weeks to focus!

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We have a few focuses in my current workouts, to maintain my current muscle, bring out the little muscles and additional shape and shave the bottom of the barrel fat! Our bodies are designed to respond to its demands, so in order to maintain my muscle, we start off demanding strength in my session. After a proper warm up, I hit 4-6 heavy sets of two to three dominant exercises. 

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As I mentioned however, our primary focus is creating a very metabolic response from my workouts to increase fat loss. After completing the strength portion, we move into dumbbell or barbell complexes to recruit a higher demand on my system. (I love these!) What is a complex?? A complex is composed of separate strength training exercises strung together back to back for a given number of reps each without rest. (I will give you an example and video clip in my next post). I usually perform a complex for four to five rounds with a set amount of rest in between each round.

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Last but not least, to finish off the training day, we always have conditioning. I have two high intensity conditioning days which are more anaerobic and roughly 4 – 8 minutes long. I also have two moderate intensity conditioning days which are more interval based and roughly 12 to 15 minutes long.

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There you have the structure of my training sessions for the final few weeks of physique show training. Again, there are so many ways to train and quite often, what works for one may be different from what works for the next…but it’s working for us!! Stay tuned in the next day or so I will be providing you with an upper body training day in this form.

Time to Zero In.

My show is in three weeks on Friday November 13th. For the past week and the next three, the focus on this show and the final prep involved are getting very zeroed in. As of Monday, Nick and I have shifted my training structure from the undulated series to a much more metabolic way of training. The objective here is to maintain my muscle mass but continue and hopefully even accelerate the process of getting that last bit of unwanted body fat off. Stay tuned for those training days, they are FUN and challenging!!

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I have also shifted my focus to fine tuning my diet, working directly with my posing coach Blythe Alberg and competition specific training John Puskarich. Blythe and John are married and have both had a tremendous amount of time and experience in this industry. You can catch Blythe’s pod cast series titled “Cut the Fat” here.

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As for my training structure, Nick and I are still operating on a upper/lower split. Saturdays have shifted from “Vanity Day” training to cross training conditioning. I will be joining an open mat session at Ground Control on Saturdays to do mit work for additional conditioning, shoulder and arm development and hopefully some killer core attention. Following that will be a private posing session with Blythe and tomorrow (Sundays) a rest day finally.

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Lastly, I want to wish the guys at Ground Control a big GOOD LUCK. Several of the guys have been training hard to fight in Maryland’s first MMA fight tonight at the 1st Mariner Arena. I have had the enjoyment of hanging around these guys on Saturday’s as well as watching them train. I have a great respect and appreciation for their work ethic, their training drive and their passion for this sport. Nick has also been working with a few select guys on their conditioning for this fight and it’s impressive! You can see a clip of that training here.

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To wrap this up, GOOD LUCK to Binky Jones, Ryan Mackin, Rick Desper, Dave Daniecki and Mike Pascal!