1st Bodybuilding Competition – Exercise Pie Chart

Since I wrote about the financial costs involved with my first bikini bodybuilding competition, several people have sent me emails asking what the TIME cost was, in terms of exercise.

I made a nifty little pie chart for you, but  let me mention a few things.  First, every person’s body is unique so my exercise schedule may not be right for your exercise schedule.

Exercise breakdown - 1st competition

Exercise breakdown – 1st competition

Second, my goal with the first competition was to lose weight.  Gaining lean muscle mass was not even a thought in my head beyond a vague concept of wanting to look “toned.”  (Personal trainers of the world, feel free to cringe at the word “toned.”)

Strength Training

Strength Training

Third, my goal had a very specific timeline – I had only five months to get from couch potato to competition ready status.  Apparently most people take a full year of training before they even consider stepping on stage.  (Here’s where that whole “research” thing might have come in handy…)

Finally, I gradually progressed my exercise time.  The first month I only did cardio 3 days a week for 40 minutes and strength training 2 days per week with my trainer; by the final month I was doing an hour and a half a day of just cardio + an hour or more of strength training five days per week + stretching every day, for a total of 3 hours a day.  Yikes!  I went to the gym 5 a.m. before the kids were up and 9 p.m. after I put my kids to bed because I didn’t want to mess up their routines.  I was very tired but was on a mission.

My 2nd competition had a completely different breakdown.  I was already starting from a healthy weight and my goal was to gain lean muscle mass.  This time around I only worked out an hour and a half per day, also before the kids woke up.  My pie chart looked like this:Exercise breakdown - 2nd competition

The lesson I learned from this was that cardio is a huge time suck!  Once I lost the weight it took half the time to maintain a healthy weight plus gain some muscle.  In other words:  It gets easier.  This can be a nice mantra to repeat to yourself when you’re bored on the treadmill.  It gets easier.  It gets easier.  It gets easier.

If you are training for your first competition, my suggestion to you would be to hire a personal trainer experienced in bodybuilding who will customize your workouts based upon your body and your goals.

How about you?  Where do you focus your workouts?


Sheslosingit.net (c) 2013 Lisa Traugott.  All rights reserved.  No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.

25 responses to “1st Bodybuilding Competition – Exercise Pie Chart

  1. Right now I’d say it’s half and half. 3 days a week doing NROLFW and 3 days cardio. Some days I double up which I don’t really like doing, but my schedule is a bit crazy right now and I have to balance workshops + lifting + cardio + everything else.

  2. You are one dedicated, disciplined, and sleep deprived woman. Very inspiring and motivating. You’re making it difficult for the rest of us to continue having excuses for not being in better shape. Thank you for that. Three hours sounds brutal to maintain but good to know an hour and a half keeps it up. That’s actually more reasonable than I would have guessed. I’m guessing you didn’t have time to see many friends during those first five months though? 🙂

    Now for the area where I am the weakest but willing to learn (and think this could be the area that is most difficult but also most beneficial with a family) – nutrition. Did your trainers start you with a prescriptive diet from day 1 so you didn’t have to do any guess work? I imagine menu planning and prep and learning are some of the hidden time sucks in this process. I think I recall you writing about some of this but need to go back and look. What are some of the best resources for covering nutrition and/or recipes/meal planning.

    You truly are motivating.

    • Thanks 🙂 You definitely have the motivation, which is a big part. You are good with your exercise. Diet is the missing link. The diet he put me on is listed under the cover title – free!! the bikini diet. Click on that and you will see what I ate for the first month. It may or may not work for you depending upon your height, weight, amount of exercise you do, medications you might take and your fitness goals. Every four weeks he gave me a new meal plan because your body adapts to things so you have to keep changing it up. If you would like a meal plan customized for you, send me an email at sheslosingit.net@gmail.com and I can discuss with you.
      Lisa 🙂

      • I was very good at exercise and diet today but am throwing it out the window tonight. (Haiku coming in a moment.) I hate the word diet. It always means ‘temporary’ to me. That said, I need to improve my nutrition. I’ll tell you more later when the head singer at dueling pianos stops giving me a bad time about texting. I am pleased to say that one of my accomplishments was filling the fridge and pantry with everything I need for the first month of what you ate, sans protein powder. Also, two clean eating books are on their way, including the ‘sexy’ book from your site. Meanwhile, I feel like I’m you texting Daniel because tonight is better left unreported.

      • LOL! You can do this. Here are some tips: 1. Keep a food journal. It holds you accountable to yourself. 2. Clean out your pantry. Get rid of all the junk and processed foods. Make it as easy as possible for you to eat clean. 3. Cook ahead. It’s easier to stay on track when all you have to do is re-heat something already in the fridge.

        Good luck!

      • Drinks aside, friends asked me to stay later to eat in the restaurant afterward. I declined saying I had to get up at 5:30 am to workout. He amusingly said, “sounds like a personal problem to me.” I laughed… But still declined. Jump start training here I come! (It was an unusually great running day.)

      • I had fun tonight but already believe I can do this. (Thank you.) I’m supposed to meet friends at a cabin for the weekend and can already picture their surprise when I roll in with my own cooler of food. Now that I’ve gotten fun out of my system, I’m ready. Unfortunately I may have taken “last chance” mentality too far. Tomorrow’s haiku will probably include the following 7 syllable second line: “Running with a hangover.”

      • I have to pay attn to the schedule to keep up and not skip meals/snacks. This is a lot of food so far! It will be easier when I can get all the prep done at once.
        Broke the news to my friends about bringing my own food this weekend. Impressed is not the word I would use to describe their reaction but I didn’t get too much push back from them. They already think I’m odd but they’re even odder so it’s all good.

      • LOL! Well, my friends were pretty impressed. Although they did find it odd that I measured my lettuce.
        You are right – it is a lot of food!! But you are exercising too so you need the calories.

  3. I’m not heading into any body building competitions any time soon, but I would say that at the moment my work outs are probably 60/40 weights/cardio. Once the nice weather hits I’ll be running ro riding pretty much every day, so the cardio percentage will take over.

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  6. 7 weeks out and I’m about half and half. Losing those last %s is tough

    You have done amazing. Looking forward to the figure prep stories

  7. Oh gosh I hate cardio. I figure that should be my main focus to lose squish and do some cardio, and then after I lose a bit more squish then do more weights. I swear I may have to do your bikini diet. I keep THINKING about doing it but haven’t actually DONE it! 😉

    • Cardio and strength training work great together to lose weight and create lean muscle mass. The diet I used may or may not be right for you based on your height, weight, and current goals but it does offer a good look at what “clean eating” looks like and let’s you know that you don’t have to starve or eliminate entire food groups to maintain a healthy weight.

      Good luck!

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