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 michelleworkoutparty@gmail.com.

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

SHOW DAY:

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!

Michelle

 

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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

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 🙂

Michelle

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
Michelle

PREP PARTY!

It’s apparent I haven’t posted in a while.  Oops.

Anyway, I’ve been training harder than I ever have and to me that only means one thing: I AM COMPETING IN ANOTHER SHOW! 

After careful consideration, I have chosen AUGUST 15 as the show date, which means it is 9 weeks, 4 days from today! I am going to use this blog to help keep my moral up, keep me motivated, and hopefully find some supporters along the way! Throughout the next 9.5 weeks I will share my workouts, diet recipes, pictures (lots of pictures), and pretty much everything. I have also decided to do this show without a coach.  This is to test my knowledge, experiment with my body, and really see how far I can push myself. Of course, I will have friends pushing me along the way training with me and helping me with my diet, etc.  But, heck, why not do it while I’m young!?  I had a friend take pictures today and those are below.  I am also posting my workout split and current macros!

9.5 weeks progress pic

 If you have insight, hook it up.  If you have questions, PLEASE ask.  If you just want to say hi, definitely do

WORKOUT SPLIT: 

workout split

For my DIET, I will be following an IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) Approach.  I have a pretty fast metabolism and I work out a lot so here is my breakdown FOR NOW (it will change as I get closer to the show)

2178kcal= 250c (~46%), 62f(~26%), 155p (~29%)

I am currently 5’8″ and 155lbs, 21% bodyfat

CURRENT GOALS: 

1. I am aiming to lose ~10lbs of fat (Stage weight- 145lbs) and lose +5% bodyfat. As long as I stay consistent with my diet and tweak as I go, I think I will be fine.

2. Bigger, leaner quads and legs.  Legs have always been my trouble spot.  It’s where I hold most of my fat and the least of my muscle. #Genetics.  During my last show, I did 2 hours of cardio a day. I am afraid that contributed to my lack of leg growth.  This time I am incorporating 2x 30 minute HIIT sessions a week (mostly treadmill work) and 1x 30-45 steady state cardio (going to try to do stairs more, incline walking, and a little running because I love it).  I am also doing legs twice a week and lots o’ booty!

3. Have fun!!! I had a great time my last prep, especially after seeing the end result.  However, I felt like I was always hungry and was always on the treadmill.  It’s not awesome.  I want this DIET/ WORKOUT PARTY to be a blast and I want to share that here!

I’ll be posting pics and workouts throughout the upcoming weeks.  I am also thinking about either making a new instagram account or adding this stuff to my personal account.  Any suggestions? I’m so freaking excited about this I can’t even begin to explain it (I guess I did above, but whatev)!!

Thanks for reading!!! 🙂

Michelle

“She’s pretty big…”

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

flex1

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.

END RANT.

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.

Michelle

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

-Stretch

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!

Michelle

My Favorite Exercise

Deadlift

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 🙂

Michelle