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We sat down with Bikini Competitor Jada Kelly to get the details of her training and contest prep for the NPC West Coast Classic.
Q: Now being a mom of two beautiful boys, how did it change how you attacked your contest prep?
Jada: With this being my first show as a mom of 2, I knew that everything had to be different. All of my previous preps included a minimum of 45 min of cardio per day in addition to my 45 to 60 minute lifts and I just didn’t have that kind of time available anymore. Previous preps were pretty stressful and I would worry about getting small enough for my shows. I knew that I didn’t want to be stressed this time and I wanted to enjoy this process completely. I decided that I would do these things to make my prep different-
I trained on my own. I previously trained with a team or coach. While this was extremely helpful before, I knew that I had enough knowledge to do this on my own this time AND I wanted to make this truly for me and not about pleasing anyone else.
I kept cardio to a minimum. I decided to go with a “graduated” cardio schedule. For example, in the beginning of my prep, I only did cardio 2x a week for 30 min max. Sometimes, I would only be able to do 20 min sessions. As I got closer to my show, I added in more cardio, for example, 4 weeks out I was doing 3 days a week for 30 minutes, 3 weeks out was 4 days a week for 30 minutes, 2 weeks out was every day for 30 minutes and the final week was fasted cardio in the morning for 30 minutes every day up until the day before the show. This plan worked very well for my body and also fit into my life!
I gave myself more time. Previously, I would give myself 8-10 weeks to prep for a show with pretty bad eating habits the week before I started prep. This time, I had already established a really strong eating routine 3-4 months before official prep began and the transition into prep wasn’t very different from what I had already been doing. I also had a treat meal every week up until the week before the show. That treat meal gave me a chance to relax or have a date night with my husband without having to worry about bringing my food with me.
I didn’t worry about things that I couldn’t do. This might sound obvious but it was actually really helpful when I did this intentionally. There were days when the kids were sick so my workout scheduling changed or I missed a cardio session. Previously, this type of change would have made me stressed and worried about my progress. This time, I just let it go and went with the flow. I decided to be confident in my consistency and not let 1 missed workout bother me. This attitude kept me smiling and made my prep a very positive experience.
Q: Dieting down for contest can be so difficult, what are your staples that help you get through it? Do you have a specific strategy you follow so you don’t go off the rails?
Jada: Dieting down can be very difficult, but I was so determined to make this whole process as smooth as possible. There were a few staples that helped me get through prep but I use these same things in my everyday life! I made a food formula and pretty much plugged in different items to create variety. For example, meal 1 (breakfast) was always 1 serving of fats + 1 serving of complex carbs + 1 serving of protein. My favorite meal from that formula was ¼ avocado spread on a slice of Gluten free toast, topped with 4 egg whites and hot sauce. Each meal had a formula and as long as I followed the formula, I continued to lean out. Food staples that I always use are chicken breasts, boiled eggs, apples, peanut butter (cut this out about 2 weeks before the show), yams, and arugula. I switch up my veggies a lot and used whatever was in season. This prep I used a lot of corn, kale, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, and cabbage.
My strategy for not going off the rails included 2 things: First, have a treat meal every week. My treat meals were usually pizza or a burger with fries. Every once in a while, I wanted something else but usually I just wanted those 2 things. Second, I decided to think positively about my food choices. For example, instead of thinking about things I knew I wasn’t going to eat (like the brownie that everyone else was devouring), I focused on all the great choices I did have. I also took it one step further and thought about how my food choices were doing amazing things for my body and my health.
Q: Nutrition is key in dialing in your body, but what supplements do you use to help assist your training?
Jada: Supplements this time around were a little tricky! I am newly allergic to gluten and dairy and was having reactions with some of my regular supplements. Thankfully, I was able to still use HMB!! My new daily supplement routine included 1 multi-vitamin, 1 fatty acid supplement, HMB in the morning and evening and BetaTOR before my lifts, Glutamine after my lifts, Plant based protein supplement/shakes and L-Carnitine before cardio.
Q: How do you personally feel about your performance at the NPC West Coast Classic?
Jada: I was thrilled with my performance. I truly felt like I looked the best I have ever looked. My posing was on point and I had an amazing suit. I felt like a winner! I placed fourth that evening. The only thing that could have made the night better would have been winning 1st in my class. I gave my best. I gave my all. I’m super proud of myself!
Q: After stepping off stage, what treat did you enjoy?
Jada: My best friend came to the show and we actually went to Chipotle after!!! I wanted to have chips and guacamole.
Q: If you were to go back, would you have changed anything during prep?
Jada: Yes, I would change the meal that I had the night before the show. Looking back, I don’t think I had enough fat in that meal. I would have changed it to salmon with asparagus and quinoa instead of having chicken breast! I wouldn’t have changed anything else. It was an awesome prep.
Q: What’s your favorite part of the whole process? Stepping on stage? The training?
Jada: My favorite part is being on stage and knowing I successfully completed the process! The stage, the suit, the makeup and getting all glammed up are the icing on the cake. Nothing compares to the feeling that I have the day before the show, knowing that I am ready to rock it because I was consistent with the process. Feels so good.
Q: Any tips or advice for the ladies that want to try competing in bikini?
Jada: Do it!! If it’s your first time, be sure to sign up to work with a coach or team. DON’T let prep rule your life. DO be sure to enjoy the process. You must enjoy the process. Bikini is a very subjective sport and you truly never know the exact look/leanness the judges are going for. You have to be able to be proud of yourself and all the work that you put into prep regardless of the placing that you get.
Q: Any other shout outs or items you would like to share?
Jada: Thank you so much to the amazing HMB team for all the support that you have shown me over the years. Thank you to my husband who is my biggest cheerleader and a shout out to my little boys, Champ and Bo, who make me smile and bring so much joy and love to my life. If you are a mom, please know that you can be better than ever even after having kids!! Choose to focus on and listen to the women who are moms and living fit, healthy lives while juggling the responsibilities of work and family. It is possible. You can do it. You are worth it.
Thank you so much Jada for filling us in on your competition and all the advice. We wish you the best in continuing your healthy, fit mom lifestyle.