Motivation to prep for a show during the winter in New York is difficult.  Very difficult.  Aside from wearing baggy clothes and dealing with cold weather, I haven’t had the urge to compete, regardless of the fact that I was supposed to be doing a show at the end of March.  Not going to happen.  I will, however, still be competing in a natural show on April 30.  7.5 weeks out and I have to kick it into high gear.

I just returned from the Arnold Classic this weekend in Ohio and that certainly gave me a little motivation, after seeing competitors and fitness junkies, unbothered by the winter blues. Today is a new day and I have about 2 months to make it count.  Weather is finally getting nice around here so I’ll be doing some outdoor cardio today.

Here’s to motivation!



I’m Back!

After a couple months of inactivity, I’ve decided to resurface in blog world.  I’m thinking of it as a bit of a New Year’s Resolution because I haven’t made any others.  Also, over the past few months, I’ve taken a job as a photo journalist.  Because I’ll be taking pictures and writing about other people, I might as well do it about myself, too.  Please note that I will probably not be editing these like I would a normal assignment, so if there are a few grammar mistakes, don’t judge me ;).

My new NPC Figure Prep begins Saturday, January 2, which is 12 weeks out from my first show on March 26.  I plan on competing in two shows after that, including a natural show on April 30.  Posts will hopefully be consistent, as will workout posts.  If you have stumbled upon this page and would like to give me feedback, don’t hesitate to comment or contact me at

Here is a recap of the last few months (during the hiatus)…

7 Weeks out:

michelle 1

3 Weeks out:

michelle 2

2 Weeks out:

michelle 3

3 Days out:

michelle 4


michelle 5

I ended up placing 1st in my height category, but didn’t grab the Overall Title.  During the off season, I focused on my lower body and I’m hoping that the hard work will pay off when I begin to shred again. Since the show, I have not stopped doing IIFYM.  I ate a lot to put on mass, but of course, I put on bodyfat as well.  On average, I have been consuming roughly 2600 calories/day with 1-2 higher calorie days/week.  I will post my macros and training schedule as the days go on, and I will also be training myself, like last time. All these pictures were taken from my instagram, so if you’re interested in every part of this journey, follow me @michelleberhart.

Looking forward to beginning a new challenge! Happy New Year!



Transformation Tuesday

Everyone starts somewhere.  I have been lifting weights since my freshman year of high school (10+ years!) I’ve noticed that only when I start to diet that I notice my results begin to shine through.  In this sense of the word, “Diet” is PROPER NUTRITION. Not a juice cleanse or grapefruit diet, etc.  It means that you are fueling your body with everything it needs to be a well-oiled machine.  Over the past year especially, I have used my knowledge of nutrition and been able to transform my body.The pictures on the left are from exactly 11 months ago.  The pictures on the right are from today…


transform 2

Posing has improved too 🙂 8.5 Weeks out!

I would also like to announce that I recently signed up for the Oxygen magazine ULTIMATE CHALLENGE #TeamErin.  The contest starts July 15 so I will keep posting on that.  It’s a 90 day challenge and I’m hoping the athlete in me will want to take my physique to the next level! The link for more info is here.

team erin

Have a good night 🙂


Leg Day!

Happy Sunday! I am going to run through a leg workout I did on Friday… I can barely walk today so that proves it was successful 😉 I switched out of my regular routine, went a little heavier and I really noticed the difference.  If you do a “usual” leg workout (or any workout for that matter) make sure to switch up all the time.  The difference in gains is crazy!

leg extension

Squats: 15×95, 2x8x135, 3x5x155
Bulgarian split squats on smith 4x10eax50
Leg extensions 15@7,8,8,12@ 9
Single leg deadlift 15x25lb kb
Glute bridges 15x100lbs
Walking Lunges 4x25x45 bar
I included the weights I used to give you an idea of rep range/weight but also because I copied and pasted this from my phone 🙂
Have a great day and remember to make your leg day LEGenDArY

“She’s pretty big…”

During the hour I spent at the gym today, 3 people commented on how “jacked,” etc. I was looking.


While my swole was definitely prominent thanks to various factors of water retention, I guess my “jacked-ness” was extra noticeable. The first person to say anything was a man who always says hi to me.  I could take his remark as a compliment. The second was another man who said I have been getting more muscular and segued his remark to ask if I was doing any more shows in the near future. I’m undecided. Maybe he was just trying to have a conversation? I don’t know, I didn’t think about it too seriously.

The third was the kicker. After I had finished my workout I was over by the trainers’ station using the computer and I started talking to another trainer and his potential client. The trainer said something to the woman along the lines of working out and looking like me. Rookie mistake. She just stared at me… So much judgement. He tried to defend me saying that I’m “not huge,” comparatively, and she answered, “…she’s pretty big.” A couple times. She told him she was just gonna go walk on the treadmill. LOL.

Okay here’s my feelings about all of this…
First of all, don’t get me wrong, I love when people compliment or comment on my progress. It means I’m doing something right!
BUT, lady, I can guarantee you will never, ever look “big” like me. Even remotely. Why? Because I have been lifting since I was 15. 10 years of muscle development to get this “big”. I have been on an intense lifting and workout schedule since I was 18 and started collegiate Division 1 track and field. My body has adapted and responded very well to that training. Not to mention my genetics allow me to build muscle pretty well.
Also, if you think that training with a trainer once a week will turn you into the hulk, you’re nuts. He will give you tips and teach you some exercises but doing a couple circuits is probably gonna help you tone up a bit, lean out, not hulk up. So unfortunately, no matter how good of a trainer he is, you’re not gonna be so lucky to be as “bulky” or “big” as I am, sorry to break that to you.
Finally, I hope you enjoy your leisurely walk on the treadmill (While it’s beautiful outside!? What!?) and I hope that burns the fat right up. I can guarantee you won’t get bulky there.


Sometimes it’s hard to receive feedback that may seem negative or unnecessary.  In this particular case, I think I was caught a little off guard. However, over the past year since I’ve been lifting 6x/week and doing some sort of cardio 5x/week I have received a lot more attention regarding my physique.  Mostly positive, but of course some negative.  I think when you don’t fall into the cookie-cutter image portrayed in the media people begin to feel uncomfortable or don’t know how to react.  I also think that people believe that three half hour sessions of cross training workouts and bicep curls  are going to turn them into Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Maybe not, but that’s the vibe this lady gave me.

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY is that the strong, fit female physique has become desirable amongst the younger female generation.  Visibly, a strong woman is present, one with self-discipline and pride.  The external image that is reflected in internally.  I like that shiz.

What do YOU think?

drake gymI LOVE DRAKE.


Back Attack!

Hello! What a terribly cliche title for a back workout.  But I guess this workout is just that intense that I’ve deemed it an “attack.”  -_-

row 1

I’m not training for anything in particular right now so I’ve been able to experiment with sets and reps for fun.  I’m always switching up my training style in fear of remaining stagnant and not seeing results. I love results.  (But, I guess everyone does, duh)

Something I’ve noticed that works especially well for me is super-setting (I super-set pretty much everything except squats and bench press) and drop sets.  This workout contains both of them. Yay.

Also, this workout is a bit unconventional;. Like I said, I’ve been experimenting so I’m trying to see how I feel after combining different techniques.  Don’t knock it til you try it! 😉

SUPERSET #1- 5 sets

Pullups (Unassisted)– Until Failure

Wide Grip Pullups (Assisted machine)– Low resistance- Until Failure

Straight Leg Deadlifts– x15 (choose a difficult weight that you feel by the last 5.  Keep the weight the same throughout or increase slightly)

Go immediately from one exercise to the next, :60-:90 rest between sets

SUPERSET #2- 5 setsIncrease weight every set*

Seated Rows– Reps: 1. Warmup x15 2. 12 3. 10 4. 8, DROP WEIGHT until failure, DROP WEIGHT until failure 5. 6, DROP WEIGHT until failure, DROP WEIGHT until failure

Lat Pulldown– Reps: 1. Warmup x15 2. 12 3. 10 4. 8, DROP WEIGHT until failure, DROP WEIGHT until failure 5. 6, DROP WEIGHT until failure, DROP WEIGHT until failure

Go immediately from one exercise to the next, :60 rest between sets

SUPERSET #3- 5 sets

Bent over Rows or Single Arm Rows- Reps: 1. Warmup x15 2. 12 3. 10 4. 8, DROP WEIGHT until failure, DROP WEIGHT until failure 5. 6, DROP WEIGHT until failure, DROP WEIGHT until failure

Standing Lat Pulldown (cable machine)- Reps: 1. Warmup x15 2. 12 3. 10 4. 8, DROP WEIGHT until failure, DROP WEIGHT until failure 5. 6, DROP WEIGHT until failure, DROP WEIGHT until failure

Go immediately from one exercise to the next, :60 rest between sets

Supplementary Stuff:

-3×15 Glute ham back extension

-3×20 Supermans


It’s always good to step out of your comfort zone!! Even if you don’t want to use these exercises, try this style of working out one day (it can’t hurt, right?) Or it can– you’ll probably be sore. Really sore.  But we’re building muscles and character 😉

row 3

Let me know what you think!


Injury Prevention. Calm the EF down.

Happy Flex Friday Party People!!

As I sit here on a bag of ice, I will start with a disclaimer: nobody is safe from injuries.  Sometimes, I think I’m superwoman. Like forreal I think I can do anything.  I can’t.  But a reality check like this one is necessary every once in a while.

Anyway, over the past nine months or so I’ve stepped up my lifting and workout game tremendously.  I work out 5-6x/week usually 2x/day (AM lift, PM cardio for time and fueling purposes) and to be honest, I work at two fitness centers so when I have a break, working out is the clear choice in activity.

So this past week’s workouts were as follows:

Monday–  AM Shoulders/ PM HIIT

Tuesday– AM Legs/ PM steady state cardio

Wednesday– AM Back and Bis/PM steady state cardio

Thursday– AM Chest, Tris/ PM Sprints

Well, today is Friday and it’s blank. 

Why? Well, note how it says “sprints” on Thursday PM. Two days after leg day. I didn’t even think about it.

In case you’ve been uninformed of the weather in the northeast this winter, living in New York (or anywhere near it) has been miserable for the past 5 months.  I’ve been performing all of my HIIT work on the treadmill or just straight up skipping it because sprinting outside on a snowy track in below-freezing temperatures isn’t my idea of a Workout Party.  Anyway, Thursday was SUNNY AND OVER 60 DEGREES. Being a track and field athlete from middle school through college, I was so excited for a track workout. And good weather.  OMG.  Like probably more excited than I should have been, but whatever.

So I walk down to the track (about half a mile) and did a normal workout for me- 8x100m, so walk the curve, sprint the straight.  I could fly.  All my splits were :14-:16 and for repeats, that’s pretty great for me.  My twice a week leg workouts were paying off. Until #8, obviously.  I had about 20 meters to go, almost done, and POP! You see this happen to sprinters at meets all the time, the hamstring goes at the very end of their 55m dash and they grip their leg and fall to the ground in agony.  That didn’t happen to me. Thankfully.  But after hobbling the last couple strides, I realized I effed up.  I wobble-walked the half mile back to my building (which so amazingly comes fully staffed with athletic trainers) and it was clear I strained my hamstring. The trainer gave me a bag of ice and told me to take it easy for a few days.  Superwoman doesn’t “take it easy” so that’s when I realized I was definitely not her.

Long story short, I got lucky.  It wasn’t a BAD injury, I mean it wasn’t good, but it definitely wasn’t bad.  I was also lucky to have an athletic trainer check me out almost immediately.  But nonetheless, I effed up.

Like I stated earlier, I’ve been stepping up my workout game for almost a year now which means bigger, tighter muscles. Also, the weather has sucked so that means I wasn’t doing all-out-sprints like I do in the spring and summer.  AND, a :30-:45 “sprint” on the treadmill is tough, but an all-out 100m dash blows it out of the water.  I took a bite bigger than I could chew.


So YOU. Yes, you. Before you go out Usain Bolting all over the track, help yourself out and make an effort to prevent possible future injuries…

1. Warming up- Like duh.  Everyone’s body is different but apparently a half mile walk wasn’t enough of a warmup for me.  And 60 degrees may have been a little too cold for my muscles. Who knows, but a warmup is a good idea.

2. Be mindful of your workouts that week-  I should have realized that the Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) after my leg workout two days prior would have had an effect on my sprints.  But you live and you learn.  If your body is sore or tight from a workout, you don’t have to hit the same muscle groups immediately after.

3. Ease yourself into it. It’s okay.  I have to remember that explosive work like sprints uses fast twitch muscle fibers that haven’t been activated in that way for a while.  If you’re starting a new kind of workout, or re-starting it after an extended period of time off, don’t think you can be 100% the first time you do it, intense stuff takes practice.

4. Stretch. I definitely don’t do enough of this.  I love my foam roller but it hurts.  Like a lot.  From here on out, I vow to cut down my PM cardio on leg days down and replace it with 30 minutes of dynamic and static stretching and foam rolling.  Hopefully this will help me in the future.

5. Rest. If your body feels like it needs some rest, it probably does.

So in conclusion, don’t try to be a superhero or an Olympic athlete.  Unless you are one.  Then you do you, boo. Be mindful of your body and take all preventative measures so that this kind of stuff doesn’t happen to you.  It’s all good in the hood but missing my second leg workout this week was a bummer.  On the bright side, my arms are gonna look so sick next week ;).  Have a happy and healthy (and injury-free) weekend!


Jumping on the IIFYM Bandwagon?!

Hello! Hope everyone had a great weekend! I spent my time in NYC walking around Times Square, eating food cart gyros, and experiencing the most on-point brunch I’ve ever brunched before (see below).


But now it’s time to get serious. Dun dun dunnnn. Summer is creeping up real fast and I’m excited to get consistent with my food intake and workout schedule.

I am officially ready to sign my life away to the world of IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). For those of you who’ve never heard of it, IIFYM is described as a “lifestyle” rather than a diet, ya-de-ya-da.  In a nutshell, you eat a certain amount of carbs, fats, and proteins (your macro nutrients) and adjust them your diet to fit these specific amounts. Sounds simple, right?  I used the IIFYM calculator on the website to calculate my own personalized macronutrient ratio and I’ll go from there.

I decided to increase my protein to 1g/lb of body weight.  Fat is at .35g/lb of bodyweight.  Carbohydrates will account for the rest of my intake.  I chose to “maintain” my bodyweight and then after 2 WEEKS, I will adjust and go from there! I will update my progress as the weeks pass :).

The great part about IIFYM, or flexible dieting, is that I could eat my delicious looking brunch (as pictured above) as long as I account for the carbs/fats/proteins I consumed. How exciting is that!?!? The important part is tracking your intake and not going overboard.  I’m also weird and I think of it as a game to see how perfect I can get the numbers to match my goals.

Do you do IIFYM?? If so, PLEASE lend me some tips or insight! I’d love to learn!

Have a great day!


Birthday Party: Protein Pancakes!

Birthday Protein Pancakes

Judging by the sprinkles, it’s obvious that there’s some type of a special occasion going on here 😉 … Yesterday was my birthday, woo! Anyway, in order to make it somewhat invigorating, I decided to decorate my standard protein pancakes with colorful sprinkles and mask the picture with an exciting filter.

My diet has been all out of wack this week due to dinners and festivities, etc.  (I’m a diva and my birthday lasts an average of 2 weeks).  AND because of all the extra cake calories, I’ve been getting in some KILLER workouts and super intense HIIT sessions.  I’ve also been drinking lots of citrus water (lemons, limes) to detox from the shenanigans. Remember, it all evens itself out in the end 🙂

This morning, to keep the spirit of celebration alive (obviously) I decided to make my normal protein pancakes with some color!

Here’s my recipe:

1/2c. oats

1/2 scoop protein powder (I used 1 scoop of Optimum Nutrition Protein Energy- Cinnamon, Macros are 1C/1F/10P- Cellucor and Quest protein powders cook really well, also)

1/4c pumpkin puree (really helps with texture and it’s low cal with a big punch of Vitamin A)

3/4c egg whites (6 egg whites)

1/8tsp baking powder

MACROS-  315cal:  34C/4F/36P (without the sprinkles! lol)

Directions: Blend about 10 seconds in magic bullet and put on skillet like a regular pancake! Makes 3-4 medium size pancakes

*I usually add Walden Farms Sugar Free Syrup but they taste fine alone!

**They are also good if you make them for the week and prep them each day as a snack

***Amazing post-workout recovery meal!!

Do you have a go-to protein pancake recipe you love? Any other quick and easy protein recipes? Please share!!

Have a wonderful day!


My Favorite Exercise


Hi! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend! I’m going to keep this post short, sweet, and to the point! 🙂

I wanna talk about my favorite exercise: Straight Leg Deadlifts

Do you have a go-to exercise that you LOVE? Like if it were up to you and you weren’t sore from the day before you would do it every single day?  That’s straight leg deadlifts for me.  Because of the intensity of the exercise, I’ve limited myself to twice a week– once on back day and again on leg day.  I switch up my style of training for each day so that burn never goes away 😉

On back days, I go for reps.  Generally I will pick a heavy, but not too heavy,  weight and go for 4 sets of 25 reps.  I’ll go a little quick and focus on keeping my back as straight as possible.

On leg days, I go for strength.  This is when I’ll do a hypertrophy style routine with slightly heavier weight each set.  Normally, I’ll warm up with 15 reps and go 12-10-8-6, increasing the weight each time.  Here, I’ll go a little slower and try to keep my legs as straight as possible so my glutes and hamstrings are heavily involved.

REMEMBER: Form is always the most important part of perfecting any exercise.  I suggest starting off with a light bar or dumbbells and get your form down and then begin to increase the weight.  Because straight leg dead lifts heavily target your back, be careful going too heavy!

Do you have an exercise you can’t get enough of? Do you do it more than once a week? Let me know what it is in the comments below 🙂