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How to Get In Shape & Gain Weight as a Bikini Competitor

By: - at June 11, 2013

My Story
I am a twenty year old female with a skinny and athletic body build. I was blessed and cursed with a fast metabolism that makes it extremely difficult for me to gain weight. I've always been involved in sports, lifting light, and running, but recently I've decided to enter my first fitness competition in the "bikini" category. These are the girls that are very toned and fit, not necessarily huge bodybuilders. I am 5'4 and at the beginning of my journey weighed 100 lb. Now about 10 weeks later I weigh 110 lb. I have seen tremendous progress, but would still like to gain about another 5 lb. once I start my competition meal plan.

This is me:

One of the most important keys to weight gain is the amount of calories you're intaking daily. The average caloric intake for an individual is 2000 calories. To gain about one pound per week, you must take in about 2500 calories. This does not include any exercise that is being done. If you're exercising which on average can burn from a couple hundred calories to over a thousand calories depending on the intensity, you must account for this. If you burn 500 calories jogging then you must add 500 calories to that days intake. It is so important to keep track of your daily calories or figure out a set meal plan that works for you so you know you're supplying your body with the fuel that it needs.

The three main macronutrients needed for any balanced diet are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Yes, fat is essential for your diet, especially for weight gain. The trick, however, is to get the right balance that works for your body and your intended goals. Usually your macro percentages are about 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 20% fat. A good application that is available on smart phones is called 'My Fitness Pal.' This has been so helpful to me! You can log in and keep track of you calories, grams of carbs, protein, and fat, and it also gives you a macro breakdown of your percentages. You can also program it based off of your fitness goal and it will tell you (without burned calories from exercising) how much you need to eat for the day.

Everyone always runs, kicks, and screams about carbs. Carbs are a great thing! They play a number of important roles in your body. They are stored in your muscles for energy and they enable the majority of the protein you consume to be used for tissue synthesis or better known as muscle building. Carbohydrates are REQUIRED for your body to continually produce energy during physical activity. Think of carbs as the gas needed to fuel a car. Without gas, a car won't run. Just like without carbohydrates, your body won't have the fuel it requires to support your daily activities.

Here is a pic of my arm:
Toned female fitness arm

Refined Carbohydrates
Now there are different types of carbs that are the most useful are certain parts of your day. Refined carbs are bad carbohydrates. Essentially the fiber has been stripped from them, causing them to digest like simple carbs and basically be empty calories. Some examples of refined carbohydrates are: table sugar, syrup, soft drinks, beer, wine, sweet tea, frozen fruits or vegetables, bagels, white rice, pasta, muffins, etc.

Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbs or unrefined are known as the good carbs. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are absolutely essential for eating during a post workout meal. These carbs take longer to digest and don't raise the blood sugar level as quickly as refined carbs do. Complex carbs include honey, spinach, vegetables, yams, beans, and whole grains. Eating the bulk of your carbohydrates in the morning is the best time. Carbs with kick start your metabolism for the day, ultimately allowing you to burn more fat. Usually for breakfast I will have 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 1/4 cup of dried fruit, and a flaxseed muffin. This breakfast is packed with about 500 calories and 83 grams of carbohydrates. For bodybuilding and to help fat burning, DO NOT eat any carbohydrates after eight o'clock. This way your body isn't storing anything while your sleeping and being inactive and you will be plenty hungry in the morning, which at first was also a big struggle for me.

Protein is very important throughout the day, but should be taken with your complex carbs after your workout. Purchasing protein powder for shakes is an easy way to fulfill the grams of protein that your body needs. I use Syntha-6 Isolate chocolate protein powder, mixed with either water or milk, and this contains 25 grams of protein. You should be consuming a gram of protein per pound of body weight or whatever weight you'd want to weigh. I usually consume around 120 grams of protein. Good and healthy sources of protein obviously come from meat such as chicken, salmon, turkey, beef, and eggs. Protein shakes should only be used for convenience and not to replace protein in meals all the time.

It's not so much the amount of fat that you eat, but more the type of fats that you eat. The answer isn't to cut out the fat, but to educate yourself on how to make healthy choices. Good fats such as monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3's are essential for your mental and physical health. The best kind of healthy fats come from foods like fish, avocados, walnuts, almonds, olive oil, and canola oil.

Obviously nutrition is a huge part of gaining weight and building muscle, but that can't be the only thing done. Being dedicated to lifting and training is also needed. Heavy lifting and pushing your limits will build muscle faster, but you can't over do it. Gradually build up your weight amount by doing one rep with a heavier weight and then going back down to the regular weight that you were using. This will help you become stronger and eventually do all of your sets with the heavier weight. I currently train six days a week, resting on Sunday.

Toned bikini female fitness bodybuilder

The exercises that are listed together are super-setted, meaning after you complete the first you go straight into the next exercise, and then straight into the third if there is one. Then you can rest.

Monday's Workout (Legs-Quads):

  1. Dumbbell lunges 3 x 10
  2. Jump squats 4 x 12
  3. Narrow Squats 5 x 8
  4. Leg Extension 5 x 12
  5. Separate Leg Lunge 4 x 12
  6. Leg Press 5 x 12

Tuesday's Workout (Bi's and Tri's):

  1. Barbell Curl - Lying Tricep Extension - 4 x 12, 10, 8, 12
  2. EZ Bar Close Grip Curl - Tricep Dumbbell Kickback- 3 x 12
  3. Reverse Plate Curls - Bench dips - 4 x 12
  4. Hammer Curls - Overhead Tricep Extension- 3 x 12

Wednesday's Workout (Cardio and Abs):

  1. V-ups 3 x 10
  2. Oblique crunches 2 x 15 each side
  3. 1 minute plank x 3
  4. Russian twist with medicine ball 3 x 30
  5. Full body crunch 3 x 12
  6. Leg lifts 3 x 10
  7. Slow twists with medicine ball 2 x 20
  8. Crunch on workout ball 2 x 20
  9. Corkscrews 3 x 12
  10. Abdominals thrusts 3 x 10
  11. Goalies 3 x 20
  12. Scissors 2 x 30 (hold legs straight for 30 seconds after)
  13. Kicks 2 x 30 (hold legs straight for 30 seconds after)

Also on random days that I feel like doing some extra abs I go to RandomAbs.com. Each day they post a new ab workout that is supposed to be super-setted (so done back-to-back right away) and let me tell you, they are a challenge! Awesome to do if you're feeling up to it.

Afterwards do 30-45 minutes of cardio through running, elliptical, stair master, or walking on an incline.

Thursday's Workout (Legs-Hamstrings):

  1. Dumbbell Lunges 4 x 12
  2. Sumo Squats 4 x 12, 10, 8, 12
  3. Barbell Deadlift 4 x 15
  4. Seated Leg Curl 4 x 12
  5. Single Leg Knee Raise 4 x 15
  6. Calf Press on Leg Press 4 x 20
  7. Glute Kickback 3 x 12
  8. Lying Leg Raise 3 x 20

Friday's Workout (Shoulders and Back):

  1. Lying Rear Delt Raise
  2. Bent Over Row with Bar 3 x 12
  3. Push Press
  4. V-Bar Pulldown
  5. Bent Over Row with Bar 4 x 12
  6. Assisted Pull-Ups
  7. Shoulder Planks 3 x 12
  8. Underhand Row with Bar
  9. Lat Pulldown
  10. Dumbbell Pullover 3 x 12

Saturday's Workout (Cardio and Abs):
Do the same abdominal workout from Wednesday. Afterwards do 30-45 minutes of cardio, a different form of it than Wednesday because changing up your routine helps to tone your body better. For weight gain cardio needs to be watched carefully. Too much will burn all the weight, but to maintain a healthy lifestyle, keep a healthy heart, and to keep your metabolism up cardio is important. So doing it just a couple times a week is enough, whereas those trying to lose weight should do it more often.

Sunday: REST!!! Having a rest day is so important for your body to recuperate. Resting repairs your muscles and allows them to get stronger. Working out everyday can actually damage your muscles, so don't over do it! The human body needs to have rest to perform. Along with a rest day getting a full 8 hours of sleep every night will also help your body become stronger and healthier. So it's not all about how much you can lift and what you eat, but all of these aspects combined.

So far on my journey I have been successful and gained 10 pounds in two months. I have seen so much progress and tone in my body that I have decided to compete in my first fitness competition. Educating myself on nutrition especially has helped me along the way. Obviously for competitions my diet will change, but as for now I am still in my bulking phase so my diet is a little bit looser. Once I get closer to the competition I will go through what is called a 'cutting phase' and my diet will become very strict, cutting out all of my water weight and reducing the amount of fat on my body.





General Info Articles
How to Get In Shape & Gain Weight as a Bikini Competitor
Common Bodybuilding Myths
Motivational tips
How to get 6 Pack Abs
Beginner Body building Guide
How to do Natural Cutting and Bulking Phases
Common Misconceptions In Bodybuilding

Diet Advice
General Bodybuilding Diet Info
Zig-Zag Calorie Diet
Ketogenic Diet for Rapid Fat Loss
Great Tasting Bodybuilding Recipes

Workout Info and Routines
Weight Workout Routines and Info
The Importance of Deadlifts
Dumbbells vs. Barbells - Which is Better?
How to Increase Your Bench Press
Is a Military Press the same as a "behind the neck shoulder press"?
How to Build Lower Abs
Keys to Lower Abdominal Definition

Cardiovascular Info
Understanding What Cardio Does for Bodybuilders
Track workouts
Phases of Sprinting
Track Competition Race Preparation

What Supplements are Important for Bodybuilders

Improve Bodybuilding With Health And Lifestyle
Is this site for Women?
Hormones And Bodybuilding
The Importance of Growth Hormone
Lifestyle Factors that Effect Bodybuilding


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