T Nation

Prepping Questions

Hello! I’m so happy there’s a thread for female athletes on here :slight_smile: Anyway, I am new to lifting (started about 6-7 months ago) and trying to gain muscle and then lean out. I may one day like to compete in a bikini competition… but not sure yet. I really just want to learn how to get my body to reach where I would like it to be. I hear all of these women saying “bulking up” and then “prep”/“lean out”/“shred”… I don’t really understand how to do this!

I am getting married in September 2015, and I want to look at this as if it’s a bikini competition (don’t make fun haha) and have my physique be in tip-top shape. I find it’s hardest for me to lose fat in my mid section (which I never knew) and I gain muscle relatively quickly.

Right now my diet is relatively restrictive. I don’t drink much (1-2 times a month), I don’t really eat sugar (occasionally chocolate), I am gluten free, don’t eat much dairy, have lots of veggies and lean meats and I take Elite protein powder post workout. I also eat 5-6 meals a day and train 4-6 days a week.

When should I begin “prepping”, I have about 7 months. What should my diet consist of? how do I get that really lean mid section.

Thanks in advance for all of your help!

Congrats on your upcoming wedding! And it’s always nice to see women discover lifting.

This isn’t a simple question because it depends on what your goals are, and your current level of fitness. I apologize if I’m telling you stuff you already know.

To loose fat intelligently and in a sustainable way, you need to create a gradual calorie deficit.
To gain muscle, you generally need to eat enough protein to build AND create a calorie surplus. You might see your scale weight go up, but your body composition would improve. You may even loose inches. Unfortunately, you can’t spot reduce your mid-section but it should improve under either plan, IMO.

Yes, 7 months is enough time to see some really nice changes to your physique. When you need to “start prepping” depends on your current level of fitness/ how much fat you want to loose, etc… If you plan on trying to loose a pound of BW per week, that would give you an idea of how soon you could reach your goal. Without seeing your physique, or knowing your current body comp, it’s hard to say if that is a reasonable goal. Not everybody needs to loose scale weight.

It sounds like you’re already doing it right, but you’d need to keep track of your food in a more precise way to see where you are at in terms of maintenance calories and macros for people to give more detailed advice.

You have 7 months, so I’d avoid drastic dieting down for your wedding because you’ll almost certainly yo-yo right back up. Slow and steady and making changes you can maintain is the best plan, and the least likely to mess up your metabolic rate.

I hope this helps!

It does! thanks so much! (sorry for the delayed response)