How to Be Evogen Elite in the 2017 Competition Season – Women’s Edition

“How can I be Evogen Elite?” We get asked this all the time, and it’s a good question! Being an Evogen Elite Athlete stands for much more than having a phenomenal physique. Being “Evogen Elite” requires a mentality that is relentless in its attempts to become the best. To become “Evogen Elite” an athlete must be focused on constantly improving themselves: setting new goals, constructing an attack strategy, and swiftly executing the plan. With the 2017 competition season on the horizon, we took this opportunity to check in with our Evogen Athletes to see what their fitness goals looked like this year. Let’s see what they have planned!

 

LAUREN FINDLEY (NPC Figure)

  • What is your physique goal(s) for 2017? 

My physique goals for 2017 are to finish this off-season improving areas that need to be worked on (middle back, glute/hamstring tie in, calves) so that I can showcase the best possible package once I step on stage this summer.

  • How are you planning to accomplish said goal?

I have been hitting back and legs twice a week (especially glutes and hamstrings) in order to accomplish these goals. I am targeting the middle back by utilizing more rowing motions, and I have added an extra glute/hamstring day into my training, as well as training calves 3x a week.

  • What exercises or techniques will you utilize to accomplish your goal?

Bent over barbell row, weighted hip thrusts (glute bridges), and seated calf raises.

  • Which Evogen supplements will you be utilizing to accomplish your goal, and why?

To accomplish my goal before my contest prep starts, I will be utilizing EVP/EVP Plus pre workout, GlycoJect and AminoJect as intra-workout, and IsoJect or Cell K.E.M. post workout. Once I start prep, I will use Carnigen and Lipocide IR pre workout/ cardio, AminoJect intra-workout and Cell K.E.M. post workout!

 

JAZMIN PINEDA (NPC Bikini)

  • What is your physique goal(s) for 2017? 

My physique goal for 2017 is to bring a better package on stage. Therefore, I will need to have a good off-season to help my physique look its best when I step on stage. During my off-season I will focus on making improvements in my shoulders, as well as in my glutes. I need more muscle growth in my front delts, and a better hamstring/glute tie-in.

  • How are you planning to accomplish said goal?

In order to accomplish my physique goals I will need to make sure my nutrition is top-notch, consuming the proper macronutrients my body needs in order to grow, while puuting on the least amount of fat as possible. My training will be a little more intense during my off-season. I won’t be doing anywhere near the amount of cardio I was doing during my competition prep, but I will be lifting a lot heavier.

  •  What exercises or techniques will you utilize to accomplish your goal?

There are a couple of exercises that I will be including and increasing in my training to help me accomplish my goals. The first exercise is Incline dumbbell press. I will be incorporating more chest exercises into my training to help shape my front delts. For my hamstring/glute tie-in, I will be including more step-ups and lunges into my training to really help target that area. Since this is the area that I tend to hold the most fat, I plan on sticking to a higher rep scheme (12-15 reps) during the off-season.

  • Which Evogen supplements will you be utilizing to accomplish your goal, and why?

During this off-season my daily intake of supplements will be:

Pre-Workout

½ scoop GlycoJect (Watermelon): Adding this to my pre-workout stack has really helped my training. I feel like I have the best workouts when I stack this with my pre-workout. I get a great pump and my training is much more intense.

1 scoop of EVP Plus (Peach Mango is the way to go!): I take EVP Plus Caffeine to give me the energy I need during my workout.

Intra-Workout

½ scoop GlycoJect – I take this during my workout as well to keep my pump going!

1 scoop AminoJect: I take 1 scoop of AminoJect religiously so that I make sure my body is breaking down the least amount of muscle as possible. Aminos are very important because they are the building blocks of protein.

Post-Workout

1 scoop Cell K.E.M.: Because, well, it’s GAINS in a bottle! It contains BCAA’s, Glutamine, Creatine, and Nitric Oxide, all of which your body needs!

1 scoop of IsoJect: Best protein, hands down! My favorite flavor is Chocolate Peanut Butter, the taste is honestly the best. I take 1 scoop after my workout to help my body begin healing the micro tears from my workout.

 

AMANDA WERNER (NPC Bikini)

  • What is your physique goal(s) for 2017? 

2017 is about receiving my IFBB Pro Card. Currently, I’m a nationally qualified NPC Bikini Competitor, and I placed 12th in my first national show. That placement is important to me, because only the top 15 girls in each height class are ranked. This year, I aspire to be better than last year.

  • How are you planning to accomplish said goal?

This starts with dieting longer, focusing on isolating specific muscles, and booty gains. To achieve these goals, I have started prep 12 weeks out rather than 8-9 weeks out, doubled up cardio (two a day) everyday, and have been focusing on maintaining my glutes.

  • What exercises or techniques will you utilize to accomplish your goal?

I will primarily be focusing on deadlifts.

  • Which Evogen supplements will you be utilizing to accomplish your goal, and why?

The Booty Blaster Stack to help fast track glute stimulation and growth!

 

NATASHA SIMPSON (NPC Bikini)

  • What is your physique goal(s) for 2017? 

My main physique goal for 2017 is to improve the overall development and shape of my glutes.

  • How are you planning to accomplish said goal?

To accomplish this I will be training glutes twice a week and focusing on isolating the glutes. To do this, I will be incorporating moderate weight with a rep range of 10-15 reps per set, 4-7 sets per workout, and utilizing time under tension. Using this technique, I will aim to bring the glutes to failure with every exercise performed. I will also be concentrating on training specific areas of the glutes individually to give them an overall well developed and we’ll balanced appearance.

  •  What exercises or techniques will you utilize to accomplish your goal?

Two of my staple exercises I will be incorporating are wide stance squats on the Smith machine and hip thrusts.

*Wide stance squats on smith machine:
When I perform these, I use a moderate to light weight and really focus on my glute contraction and engagement throughout the movement. At the top of the movement I squeeze/contract the glutes hard. Keep your toes pointing out and feet wider than shoulder width for more glute engagement. Keep your knees in line with your toes, and watch that your knees do not come inward during the movement and press through the heels.

* Hip thrusts:
I love these because there are so many variations that can be done with this exercise ( feet together, feet wide, single leg….) so many options! When I perform these, I make sure I am getting a full range of motion with each rep and a good, hard glutes squeeze at the top of the movement, usually with a 2 second pause. Press through your heels and keep the movement controlled. No swinging or using momentum. Let your glutes do the work.

  • Which Evogen supplements will you be utilizing to accomplish your goal, and why?

Proper supplementation is incredibly important to any muscle building or sculpting program. Give your body the adequate, quality fuel to grow and develop. The supplements I will be fueling my body with this off-season to help me developed my glutes are Evogen Nutrition Cell K.E.M., GlycoJect, EVP Plus  ( otherwise known as the “PRO CREATOR PLUS” stack) and IsoJect. Below is an example of how I stack my off-season supplements and my favorite flavors.

PREWORKOUT: 2 scoops EVP Plus (raspberry lenonade) , 1 scoop GlycoJect (cherry) taken 15-20 minutes prior to training.

INTRAWORKOUT: 1 scoop GlycoJect (cherry) , 1 scoop Cell K.E.M. ( raspberry lemonade)

POSTWORKOUT: 1 scoop GlycoJect (cherry) , 1 scoop Cell K.E.M. (raspberry lemonade) immediately after training. I will also have in a separate shake, one scoop IsoJect (peanut butter chocolate) and 1 banana.

 

FIONA HARRIS (IFBB Pro, Fitness)

  • What is your physique goal(s) for 2017? 

Each new competitive season I always look to make improvements on my physique from the previous year. This year, one of my focuses will be to develop further roundness through my shoulders.

  • How are you planning to accomplish said goal?

I will look to increase the volume of my training for shoulders and hit them twice per week. As long as you allow adequate time between training sessions, this is a great technique for further developing a lagging muscle group.

  •  What exercises or techniques will you utilize to accomplish your goal?

I will definitely incorporate FST-7 for specific exercises – alternating between exercises such as lateral raises, machine overhead press, and reverse peck deck.

  • Which Evogen supplements will you be utilizing to accomplish your goal, and why?

EVP combined with GlycoJect for my pre-workout will definitely help with building a great pump that will carry throughout my work. Intra-workout I like to sip on Blue Raspberry AminoJect. But most importantly, I will finish off my workouts with 2 scoops of Cell K.E.M. post-workout to assist with recovery and growth.

 

 

 

 

Amino Acids to the Rescue

Branched-Chain Amino Acids are made up of three essential aminos – leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are essential, meaning we have to get them in our diet because our bodies don’t produce them. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein which make up our body’s muscle and have various functions related to energy production during and after exercise.

BCAAs are found in foods containing protein, such as chicken, beef, salmon, eggs and whey protein. Aminos can can also be supplemented, which is extremely useful for athletes because they are free-form, require no digestion, and can be rapidly absorbed directly into the bloodstream for immediate use. This is key because the more BCAAs that are present in the muscles, the more they will be used for energy, slowing the breakdown of muscle cells and preventing muscle loss.

BCAAs have been shown to have many benefits but, their primary role is to increase protein synthesis and reduce the amount of muscle damage that occurs with strenuous resistance training. The equation is simple: Muscle Mass = rate of protein synthesis – rate of protein breakdown. So, if BCAAs can enhance protein synthesis and reduce protein breakdown, you are sure to see those muscle grow!

Dieting is a catabolic process which can lead to muscle loss. The body will break down proteins within the muscle to free amino acids for fuel. Reduced energy intake through dieting will only further promote protein breakdown and decrease protein synthesis. This is a perfect storm for muscle loss, making BCAAs an essential line of defense.

Studies have also shown that BCAA supplementation before and after exercise has beneficial effects in terms of accelerating recovery time following intense training. Several studies suggest that BCAAs influence delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and the markers of muscle damage associated with intense exercise. Less muscle damage and soreness means faster recovery, and the quicker you recover, the sooner you can go hard again in the gym again.

As if all that wasn’t enough, BCAA supplements are also performance enhancers. Exercise causes an increase in serotonin levels, which in turn increase the “perception of fatigue”. BCAAs inhibit the production of serotonin, therefore allowing you to work out for longer, push harder, and lift even more weight!

Simply put, whether you are looking to build muscle through training, spare muscle when dieting, accelerate your recovery time, or enhance your performance, BCAAs are a vital tool that should be incorporated into every athlete’s supplement regimen. Evogen’s AminoJect provides the highest quality ingredients in an awesome tasting formula that is packed with not only BCAA’s, but also glutamine and betaine to accelerate recovery. AminoJect contains 6 grams of fermented L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine, 5 grams of fermented L-Glutamine and 1 gram of Betaine. It’s a premium amino acid accelerator that offers maximum endurance, recovery and repair.

As I head into my prep for the upcoming Arnold Classic Fitness International, AminoJect will continue to be an essential tool in my arsenal.  It’s an integral part of my supplement regimen on both my training and non-training days. My training will be intense and I’m definitely going to rely on AminoJect to maximize my lean gains while fighting off potential muscle loss as I dial in to hit the stage looking and performing my best.

Training Days:  1-2 scoops AminoJect intra-workout

Non-Training Days:  1-2 scoops AminoJect throughout the day

Favorite Flavor: Blue Raspberry AminoJect

The Lowdown on HIIT Cardio

THE BASICS

What is HIIT Cardio?

HIIT is rapidly gaining popularity in the fitness industry and among exercisers of all levels as the “IT” cardio to do! HIIT, aka “high intensity interval training,” is any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity for recovery. HIIT is considered to be more effective than steady state cardio because you are able to simultaneously increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance capacities while burning more fat than ever before. Because the training is that much more intense, you are able to accomplish a larger work load in a shorter period of time – and who doesn’t want that?!

 

Who can benefit from HIIT Cardio?

Someone looking to burn as much fat as possible during a cutting phase, someone looking to minimize fat gain during a bulking phase, or someone looking to significantly increase their aerobic and anaerobic endurance for increased athletic performance.

 

Why is HIIT Cardio better than steady state cardio for the avid weight lifter?

The shorter duration of HIIT workouts prevent the body from entering the catabolic state that occurs with extended steady state cardio. With prolonged cardio sessions, the body starts to break down muscle tissue and uses it as fuel. Clearly, this is not the goal of someone looking to either increase or maintain their muscle mass. HIIT can also potentially increase the production of many anabolic hormones, making it the perfect method for losing fat while retaining that coveted muscle mass.


TIPS & TRAINING

Layout for a HIIT Cardio Workout:

Typically, HIIT workouts encompass all out bursts of intense exercise lasting anywhere from 10 to 60 seconds, along with brief recovery periods of anywhere between 30 seconds and 2 mins at a low to moderate intensity. The work/rest ratio can vary depending on your starting fitness level and your fitness goals (i.e. sport specific performance such as 10 sec sprints down a soccer field). An example of a common HIIT work/rest ratio would be 30 secs high / 60 secs low, repeated 10-15 times. Each HIIT session should last 15-20 mins, incorporating a 5 min warm up, to prime the body for the intense physical activity, and a 5 min cool down to clear the lactic acid from the muscles. Using a heart rate monitor is a great way to ensure you are working within the proper intensity ranges. During the high intensity intervals, your heart rate should be upwards of 90-95% of your maximum heart rate, and during the recovery periods it should be between 65-75% (your maximum heart rate can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220).

 

Sample Track or Treadmill HIIT Cardio Workout:

5 min light jog/brisk walk warm up

30 secs all out sprint (90-95% of your maximum heart rate)

60 secs light jog/brisk walk (65-75% of your maximum heart rate)

Repeat 10-15 times

5 min light jog/brisk walk cool down

 

Supplementation:

I start each morning fasted cardio session by drinking 2 scoops Carnigen Grape or Carnigen Plus Mango Lemonade (if I need an extra boost) to maximize my fat burning potential. Then, I sip on 1 scoop of Raspberry Lemonade AminoJect throughout my HIIT session to enhance muscular endurance and assist with recovery post training.

 

Tips Regarding HIIT Training:

  1. Changing the duration of your intervals is a great way to keep your workouts challenging. If you start out with 30 sec sprints on a treadmill, after a few weeks increase the duration of your intervals to 45 secs, and then 60 secs. Alternatively, you can change the duration of your rest periods. Initially, it’s a good idea to give yourself a lot of rest time. Take 90 secs to recover at first, then decrease your rest time to 60 secs, and so on. As your fitness improves, you’ll be able to sprint for a longer period of time and recover faster.
  2. If your goal is to reduce body fat, perform your HIIT workouts in the mornings on an empty stomach. Studies have shown that fat utilization can be up to 3 times greater when performed in a fasted state.
  3. Always begin your HIIT workouts with a 5 min warm up and end with a 5 min cool down. Both of these will help to reduce the risk for strained muscles, prevent dizziness or nausea, and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) post workout.
  4. HIIT training can be performed 1 – 4 times per week, but be aware this can put an intense amount of strain on the body and should be gradually incorporated in to your training regimen to reduce any overuse injuries. Also, consider varying the type of cardio performed to minimize the risk for injury and incorporate different equipment options like the bike, arc trainer and stair mill.

If you are feeling frustrated and in a rut with your fitness progress, try out a HIIT Cardio program to bust through your fat loss and/or aerobic capacity plateau! But be prepared – it’s not for the faint of heart!

 

Athleticism of an Olympian

Building an Olympia level physique while simultaneously executing an elite level fitness routine is a craft that requires a strategic training schedule, an unwavering ability to sustain a rigorous workout regimen, a meticulous nutrition plan and the best supplementation you can get your hands on!


12081148_850848658343919_981468879_nCompeting in the IFBB fitness division is by far the most physically demanding of all the categories. It requires all the training of a figure or physique competitor with the additional element of choreographing and performing a high flying, dynamic and entertaining all-out 2 minute fitness routine.

 

I’m fortunate enough to have the two best two coaches in my corner – Hany Rambod who is my physique coach and Renzo Coste who is my routine choreographer/trainer. They are both tops in the sport and are integral in helping to bring my best overall package to the Olympia stage.

Each excels in their own area of expertise.

 

Where the knowledge and experience of my 6 years as an IFBB Pro comes in to play is ensuring I balance both aspects of my training so I can optimize my overall development, execution and recovery.

 

markbradfieldfionaharris11Hany has me maintaining an aggressive weight training program and regularly utilizing his FST-7 protocol in order to continue to bring up my overall muscle development and symmetry. As a natural athlete, I need to hit my muscle groups heavy and often in order to make the changes I am seeking. Currently, I follow a 6 days per week training schedule, working each major body part once per week and then those body parts I am looking to further develop twice. I am a firm believer in the physical benefits of cardio for both physique and performance and incorporate cardio 5-6 days per week in both my on and off seasons. I tend to stick to HIIT training for the majority of my cardio sessions as I find my body responds best to this method and it helps build my cardio threshold for my routine performance. A typical day will include 35-45 mins AM cardio and a two hour PM weight training session.

 

When it comes to creating my routine, preparation needs to begin months in advance. That way, once I am full steam in to my competition prep I am fine tuning my skills, focusing on my execution and performance and most importantly building up my endurance. Heart rate can reach upwards of 200 bpm during a routine and 2 mins can seem like an eternity so you need to be in peak condition to not only execute your routine seamlessly and with precision but also making it look effortless! No easy feat! The wear and tear of tumbling, jumps, kicks and splits can be grueling so it’s imperative to listen to your body, rest when needed and get regular physical therapy and massage to keep your body functioning. Two hours a day, 4-5 days per week is typical during competition prep for routine training.

 

12628073_1105479616142605_1018111160_nBalancing resistance training, routine performance and cardio can certainly be a challenge. Not only in terms of time management, but in terms of avoiding overtraining. Proper nutrition, adequate sleep and proper supplementation are essential to ensure I am fueling my muscles for optimal growth, endurance and recovery. I have been using EVOGEN nutrition products exclusively for over 3 years now and the physical changes have been dramatic. Not only am I seeing significant growth, but my recovery from training has dramatically improved, allowing me to train harder and perform at a higher level. Although I incorporate all the EVOGEN products in to my supplement regimen, my top 3 picks would definitely be Aminoject, Cell Kem and EVP. I literally could not get through my competition prep without them!!!

 

So…. add all those hours together and you will get a sense of just how much training is required to compete at the elite level! Is it tough?? You bet it is! But, would I trade it for a slower pace of life? NEVER! I’ve learned I can push myself both physically and mentally to my absolute limit. Each Olympia prep I say I couldn’t have done any more, trained any harder – and this year is no different! I feel I’m 100% prepared and bringing my best physique and performance to the stage. And for an athlete there is no better feeling of satisfaction!!!