Bookworm to Bikini-Ready: 13 Weeks to the Figure Stage (Week 1)

By Caroline Gick

Hi Everyone.

I’m finishing up my first week of contest prep, and I’m feeling it everywhere. My body is screaming at me, but in the best possible way. Ironically enough, I didn’t change my training much from the previous few weeks, because I had a good plan going already. I’d been focused on getting ready for a photo shoot in mid-January, so that preparation was already underway. Still, I’m feeling things differently now that I’ve made this commitment.


Why, then, does it feel like I’m reintroducing my muscles to what it means to really work?

Because I had gotten lazy and complacent, that’s why. I learned that I could keep myself where I wanted to be, aesthetically, without putting in any major effort, so I’d plan tough training sessions, but I wasn’t really pushing myself. After this week, that’s all become clear to me. I went into the gym this past week with a completely different mindset—putting everything I had into every rep and every set. I kept myself centered, concentrating on what I was doing when I was doing it, and I made an intentional effort with every push and pull.

Doing ELECT movements in the Shockwave Protocol requires this kind of focus. To get a move right, you need to explode to the top of the movement in just the right way at just the right time. To do this, you need to be present in the moment, and acutely aware of what you’re doing. Sure, it’s easy to complete your required reps and sets while letting your mind wander, but this defeats the purpose of what you’ve come to the gym for.

Here’s an example of the right way to do an ELECT movement: with intention.

I think that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few months. I’ve been there, but not really there, if you know what I mean. I’ve just been going through the motions. This was all fine and good when I was just trying to maintain a decent physique for daily life, but that level of effort and focus isn’t going to cut it for competition.

This is a major reason why I decided to compete: to give myself a reason to be there. To channel my mind and my energy and have something specific I can visualize. I have a long way to go to get my physique ready for the stage, and that scares me, but it’s a healthy and motivating fear. I’m now walking into the gym every morning thinking about how everything I do today is going to help me get to the point where I’m ready to get on stage—and with that thought process, I’m actually using every moment and every movement. Like I said, I feel it a lot more.

The Diet

Following The Carb Nite Solution is second nature to me. I’ve done this for years, and I don’t have to put any real thought into creating my daily meal plans. I know a lot of people following CNS are very specific and concerned about their intake, but that’s never been me. I follow the basic principles and leave the counting of calories, fat, and protein grams out of it—for the most part, anyway.

I think there’s a mind-body connection with all of this, and the more anxious I get about my diet, the more problems I have and the less effective it is. With that said, because I hadn’t been paying much attention to it lately, I found that I’d gotten lazy here, too. I’m good at staying low-carb during the week, but that was really the only thing I was monitoring on a daily basis—and it had been ages since I worked from an intentionally planned menu and didn’t do a bit of bingeing on an actual Carb Nite.

I definitely need to get more specific with my diet—which I’m tweaking right now—so I don’t feel locked in with it just yet. I am, however, making the first adjustments pretty well. Like I said, this isn’t a big deal for me, because I’m so used to following CNS, but the idea of cutting out random snacking requires definite effort at times.

A fortunate byproduct of this newfound focus is that it isn’t related exclusively to my contest prep diet and training. With focus and intention in this one area has come focus and intention in all areas—including my day job, my new business, and my personal relationships. I’ve felt more present this week in all areas of my life than I have in a long time, and I’ve gotten a lot done!

This is one of the other great things about contest prep. It requires so much of your time, energy, and thought that it forces you to impose structure on every aspect of your life. Scheduling workouts, meal planning, and sleep on top of work, life, and love is a lot to get done in one day. Because I don’t have time to stay late at work, I’m finding myself a lot more focused on getting everything done while I’m there. Because it’s unlikely that I’ll just get to things when I have time, I’m actually scheduling blocks of time on my calendar to focus on my new business—and because it’s difficult to spontaneously meet up with friends or go on a date, I’ve been calling, emailing, and texting friends more regularly to stay in touch and schedule leisure time.

Every little thing I do is intentional right now, and it’s working. I feel good. Sore, but good.