Nutritional based articles straight from's specialist writers 

Posted 11 January 2014 by Becs Cronshaw FST1 iTS BCT

Competition Prep:

What It Takes

Competition Prep - What It Takes

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When I was prepping for my first competition, I remember reading an article written by world renowned coach Phil Learney regarding what it takes to get in competition shape. He spoke about the fact that he had hundreds of people approach him each year, claiming that they would do everything it takes to get the comp prep - what it takes q1.pngbody you need to get on stage, but that only a handful of these people would ever truly be willing to make all the sacrifices you need to get to the top. Immediately I put myself in the 'willing' camp, I mean who wouldn't set a goal and do everything they possibly could in order to make it happen? But, honestly, I didn't really understand the journey until I had been through it from start to finish. Then and only then did I understand why so few succeed, and how tough it really is. Bodybuilding is not a sport that fits alongside 'normal' life and you really do sacrifice alot.

In my opinion, there are hundreds of articles out there on how you should train, what your nutrition should look like, and what to do with your tan and your makeup, but not so many on the other stuff. So here's my take on what you need to do not only to step on stage, but to make a statement, from a slightly different perspective.

1) You have to not care what people think

People will not understand. Even your friends and your family, the people you thought were on your side, some of them will try and pull you off track, tell you that you looked comp prep - what it takes q1a.pngbetter the way you were before or encourage you to have that glass of wine! You have to be ok with being different, with doing things that make you feel like the odd one out. Not drinking at social engagements, eating out of Tupperware from your handbag at a friends wedding, taking every ounce of food with you to France for a friends hen party whilst you watch everyone else eat cheese and drink wine. I've done all of these things. The truth is, the supportive people in your life won't care what you do, they will accept it and let you get on with it, no questions asked.


2) You need to know when to reign it in

In all honesty, every article I've ever read regarding competition prep talks about the crazy, super high intensity training over the last few weeks. Rumours fly around of grown men passing out on the gym floor completing giant sets or 100's of reps during carb depletion. comp prep - what it takes q3.pngNo surprise then that during my final week I was prepared for hell on earth. So when my coaches were telling me to train less, hold back, rest more, I questioned their sanity. But it makes sense. As you eat less, you need less stress on your body not more; more training just increases cortisol levels and can actually lead to fat storage, not fat loss!
So, anyone who tells you you need to do 3 hours of cardio a day, on a diet of 800 calories is wrong. It's stupid, and it's dangerous. Start you prep early enough so that you can dial it in slowly and safely, without any crash dieting.

3) You can't take it personally

Figure competition is a tough sport, the judges are critiquing your body and ultimately it can feel like they are scoring you. You need to be able look at your body objectively, to take criticism constructively and think of it as an art form, a project that you build on year on year.

It's easy to compare yourself to the top competitors out there; Nicole Wilkins, Dana Linn Bailey, and be disheartened with how far you have to go. But you must remember that they have spent years training, refining the process, sculpting that body, working with some of the top coaches in the world, and that it doesn't happen overnight.

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4) You have to fall in love with the process
as well as the result

Ultimately you are only in competition shape a few days of the year, so it can't just be about the body you want. You have to love the process; the training, the way of life. Yes it's tough; in fact mentally it's probably the hardest thing I've ever done, but that's part of the fun, the challenge. It's about knowing that you have made sacrifices that your competition weren't willing to make, it's about always striving to do better. Yes, there were times when I screwed up, times when I questioned why on earth I was putting myself through the weeks and weeks of sore muscles and going to bed hungry. But was it worth it? Of course, it was worth every second.

There's no doubt about it; competition prep is probably one of the most mentally, emotionally and physically challenging things you can do. But it gives you a drive, a complete focus to achieve something that most people couldn't even contemplate. The best part? I've made some great friends, people I both respect and admire. You realise that you are a part of this tightly knit community of people who are competitors, but also completely supportive on each other. Only they understand what you have been going though, and no matter what happens on stage, you have earned a physique that no one can take away from you.


Becs Cronshaw trains busy City workers with her own personal fitness training company Salecca  
Follow Becs on her Facebook fanpage

Posted 10 January 2014 by The Diet Kitchen

Recipe: Mexican Cheese

& Jalapeno Beef Burgers

Video Recipe: Healthy Mexican Cheese
and Jalapeno Beef Burgers

A quick and easy video recipe for a Healthy Mexican Cheese and Jalapeno Beef Burgers.

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  • 150g lean beef mince
  • 40g jalapeno
  • 40g low fat cheese
  • salt - black pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • garlic powder

Macros per Batch of burgers:

  • Calories: 338kcal
  • Protein: 46g
  • Carbs: 5g
  • Fats: 14g
  • Fiber: 2g

Simon’s Channel:

Posted 15 December 2013 by Kimberly Marie

Recipe: Chocolate Chip

Protein Cheesecake

Chocolate-chip Protein Cheesecake

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  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1-2 tbsp oil (as needed to make to desired consistency)

Blend all ingredients together and press into a prepared 8x8 pie tin. Bake at 350°F for 10 mins.

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  • 2 8oz packages Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 eggwhite
  • 1 tbsp nut butter of choice
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder (or your flavor choice)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 15 drops liquid stevia (vanilla creme, to desired sweetness)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

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Mix filling ingredients together in a mixer or blender except for dark chocolate chips.  
Once blended well, stir in dark chocolate chips and pour over the baked crust.  
Bake at 325°F for 25-35 mins.  
Let cool completely before serving.

Macros (for 1/8 of the cheesecake):

Calories: 325 
Fat: 25 g (Saturated 10.4 g, polyunsaturated 0.6g, monounsaturated 3g, trans fat 0g)
Carbs: 15g (Fiber: 3g)
Sugar: 10 g
Protein: 15g

Kimberly Marie

Posted 21 December 2013 by The Diet Kitchen

Christmas Video Recipe:

Healthy Egg Nog

Healthy Egg Nog

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- 500ml Almond Milk
- 100ml Egg Whites/ 3 Egg Whites-ish
- 2tbsp Sweetener
- 1tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2tsp Cinnamon + Nutmeg

Macros per ½ batch of Egg Nog:

Calories: 57kcal
Protein: 6.5g
Carbs: 1g
Fats: 3.5g
Fiber: 2g

Simon’s Channel:

Posted 08 December 2013 by The Diet Kitchen

Video Recipe:

Protein Ice Cream

Protein Ice Cream

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- 100g Banana/1 Medium Banana
- 1 Big Scoop Whey
- 50ml of Milk

Macros per 1 Protein Ice Cream:

Calories: 214kcal
Protein: 25g
Carbs: 25g
Fats: 3g
Fiber: 3g

Simon’s Channel:

Posted 24 November 2013 by The Diet Kitchen

Video Recipe: Protein


Video recipe: Protein Pancakes



- 3 egg whites/90g
- 90g yoghurt
- Vanilla Extract
- Cinnamon
- Sweetener
- 1 scoop Protein Powder
- 35g Oat Flour  

Macros per 1 batch of pancakes:

Calories: 332kcal
Protein: 42g
Carbs: 31g
Fats: 4.5g
Fiber: 5g

Simon’s Channel:

Posted 30 November 2013 by The Diet Kitchen

Video Recipe: Chocolate

Peanut Butter Protein Muffin

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Muffin

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  • 1/2 or 50g cup oat flour
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder
  • 2tsp Cocoa
  • Pinch of Baking Powder
  • Sweetener
  • 90g/3 Egg whites
  • 35g Peanut Butter

Macros per 1 muffin:

Calories: 175kcal
Protein: 12g
Carbs: 14g
Fats: 3g
Fiber: 7.7g

Simon’s Channel:

Posted 18 November 2013 by The Diet Kitchen

Video Recipe: Banana and

Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

Video Recipe: Banana and Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

A quick and easy video recipe for Banana and Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies



  • 200g Banana/2 Medium Banana
  • 70g - 3/4 Cup Oats
  • 1 Big Scoop Whey
  • 15-20g Dark Chocolate


Macros per 1 out of 6 cookies:

  • Calories: 90kcal
  • Protein: 6g
  • Carbs: 14g
  • Fats: 1g
  • Fiber: 2g

Simon’s Youtube Channel:

Posted 15 November 2013 by Kimberly Marie

Recipe: Healthy

Chick Pea Cookies

Healthy Chick Pea Cookies



  • 1-1/2 cups Chick Peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup Natural nut butter of your choice 
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite cookie add in (dark chocolate chips, craisins, raisins, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup almonds chopped up


Combine all cookie dough ingredients EXCEPT cookie add-in (dark chocolate chips, craisins, raisin) and almonds in a food processor and blend well. Once blended, using a spoon mix in cookie add-in and almonds. Drop by spoonful onto a prepared cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Optional:  Sprinkle chocolate PB2 over top of unbaked cookies.


Makes about 16 cookies.

Per cookie:

Cal: 96
Fat: 4.6 g
Sat fat: 1.2 g
Monounsaturated fat: 1.2
Sodium: 67 mg
Carb: 12.8 g
Fiber: 2.1 g
Protein: 2.7 g

Recipe created by: Kimberly Marie, Facebook: KimberlyMarieFitness

Posted 22 October 2013 by Melih F. Cologlu

4 Quick Tips To Naturally

Boost Your Testosterone Levels

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4 Quick Tips To Naturally Boost Your Testosterone Levels 

Testosterone is one of the most important hormones that is responsible for building muscle mass as well as bone strength, sexual functions, mood and other factors in the human body. What matters to body builders and us fitness enthusiasts the most is its muscle building power.

Here are my top 4 tips on boosting t-levels naturally.

1 - Train With Compound Exercises:

You may have heard so much about the importance of performing compound exercises for boosting testosterone levels naturally.   Following workout plans designed around the fundamental compound exercises such as the bench press, the squat and the deadlift24-hour-test-r1-3d.png is the ultimate way to accomplish this. Studies have shown that the more muscles under tension simultaneously, the more testosterone is released by the body. Although not as much as the compound movements, any type of resistance training has shown to help increase levels of natural testosterone in the body.

Few compound exercises to consider: Bench press, deadlift, squat, power cleans, hang cleans, push press, dips.

Example quadriceps workout

Lifting technique: pre-exhaust training

Pre-exhaust training consists of pre fatiguing the given muscle group by performing isolation exercises first (single joint exercises) and finishing up with compound exercises (multi jointed).


A - Great way to shock your body out of its comfort zone.
B - For those athletes who suffer from injuries and do not want to go too heavy on the compound movements - This allows you to achieve muscle fatigue without having to go very heavy on the compound lifts due to pre exhaustion.

Muscle group: Quadriceps

Warm Up: 2 warm up sets of 15 reps
Sets: 5
Reps: 15 reps for the isolation exercises & 10 reps for the compound exercise
Rest: 90 seconds

Isolation exercise 1: Leg extensions (toes pointed inwards)
Isolation exercise 2: Leg extensions (toes pointed outwards)
Compound exercise: Barbell front squats

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2 - Increase training volume and intensity: 

You are already on the right track by adding the compound movements into your training routine.  Now, let's take it a step further to boost your t-levels even more by increasing the volume and intensity of your training sessions.  Latest studies suggested that higher volume training using repetition ranges around 8-10 rm (repetition max) boosted up T-levels more than when rep ranges of 4-6 rm were used. 

However, power training style workouts with lower repetitions are very crucial since they will only help you get stronger for when you train with higher rep ranges during high volume workouts and more weight means more intensity and more natural testosterone production.  

Example of a power workout:

Lifting Technique: Traditional straight sets
Muscle Group:  Chest

Sets: 5
Reps: 4 - 6
Rest: 90 seconds

Exercise 1:  Barbell flat bench press
Exercise 2:  Dumbbell incline bench press
Exercise 3:  Weighted push ups

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3 - Rest And Recovery = High T-Levels:

Allowing your body to recover and get ready for the next workout is essential for maintaining healthy levels of testosterone.  There are a few ways to allow your muscles to rest and your body to keep high levels of testosterone:

Come up with a workout regimen: Give a minimum of 48 hours before you train the same muscle groups again.  You can train up to 6 times a week, but if you would like to train this many days a week, you want to make sure that you follow a training split where the bigger muscle groups still get adequate rest.

Sleep like a baby for recovery:  I recommend for any athlete to get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep for maximum recovery

Stretch after your workouts:  Make sure to stretch out after each workout and between sets to improve flexibility and help recovery.

Respect your body:  If you feel symptoms of insomnia, constant fatigue and especially decreased levels of strength, this is your body's way of telling you that you should get more rest and recover properly, which will help keep up your natural t-levels.

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4 - Nutrition And supplementation:

There are lots of factors and different approaches when it comes to nutrition and natural testosterone production, but in this article I want to point out the importance of fats, vitamins and minerals.

Fats:  Fats play a big role in the testosterone production in the body.  Cutting out fat to very minimum levels could result in lower t-levels, which will hinder your growth and recovery.

Some of the good fat sources to consider:

*Peanut butter
*Olive oil
*Almonds & other nuts

Calcium -  A very important ingredient to bone strength, muscle and nerve functions.  1000 mg. Daily is suggested to help boost and maintain higher t-levels.  So make sure to include calcium rich foods in your diet such as milk and cheese.

Zinc -  This mineral has been proven to help maintain/increase natural t-levels in as little as 4 weeks especially when following an exercise program.  So make sure to include zinc supplements such as zma.

Vitamin D - Studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin d could help increase testosterone levels. 

Recommended supplement for natural testosterone production:  grenade at-4

Grenade at-4 has been formulated to support the body's hormonal axis. Improvements in the form of hormonal support would be expected to provide and environment that is conductive to enhanced:

*Exercise performance
*Muscle pumps
*Muscle mass


As athletes and fitness enthusiasts, we work very hard in the gym and the key elements above will help elevate your natural testosterone levels which will help you get the most out of your hard work in the gym.

Written by Melih f. Cologlu/acpt

Click image below to boost testosterone