Alayna Machacek - Bikini Competitor
Alayna: In high school I made the decision that I wanted to study Exercise Science in college and become a personal trainer. It wouldnít be until my sophomore year of college before I could actually get into classes related to my major so I did a lot of research on my own. The more research I did the more I saw all different sub-cultures within the culture of fitness. I had always struggled with my body. In high school I weighed 105lbs and desperately wanted to gain weight. I didnít like how skinny I looked (I was considered under-weight) for my height and people called me anorexic even though (I thought) I was eating a ton of food.
I knew that I was capable of changing my body and my reason for competing was to see what I really was capable of. My goal was to compete before I graduated from college and I did my first (and only show so far) the spring semester of my junior year.
In order to compete I had to quit my job as an RA in the dorms because it was too demanding and the job required that I be on a meal plan, but I knew that it was going to be worth it. I didnít actually even start lifting consistently until I started my contest prep. I started prepping 7 months out because I knew I needed as much prep as possible as I didnít have a solid foundation of muscle or experience in the gym.
Diet and Training
During contest prep my goal was to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time since I did already have a muscle base. In the fitness industry a lot of people claim that this is impossible, but that isnít true. It just takes a lot longer to build muscle than a traditional bulk/cut cycle and it takes A LOT more discipline. Since my prep was long I didnít have to go crazy low in calories or carbs. My coach made my meal plan for me, but by my calculations my lowest in terms of carbs and cals were about 100g and 1500cal. The key to gaining muscle and losing fat is keeping blood sugar stable. The only carbs I consumed were low-glycemic ones. Oatmeal, sweet potato, berries, squash, brown rice, and quinoa are some examples. Insulin is the bodyís response to increased blood sugar which prompts fat storage. If your blood sugar doesnít spike your body is less likely to store the carbs you consume as fat, especially if your diet is consistent and your calories are controlled.
Majority of my time off-season is dedicated to trying to gain muscle. My body is stubborn when it comes to gaining muscle as my hormones arenít optimal to do so; because of this the best way for me to gain muscle is to EAT. The most muscle gain came when my kitchen was remodeled and had to eat most of my meals out. I did gain unnecessary fat, but my body needed the calories in order to grow.
I recently took a break from bulking in order to shed some of the excess fat. I tracked my ďmini cutĒ on myfitnesspal and my calories were around 1500. My macros were what is sometimes called the ďzoneĒ diet. My protein and fat were about equal in terms of calories per macro and carbs were slightly higher. One example of a macro split would be 35/35/30. I was more flexible with the macros as long as my protein was high enough and made sure my calories were consistent at ~1500cal. In two weeks I lost a little over 3lbs and uncovered a lot of the muscle I had gained during my ďdirty bulkĒ which had lasted about 2 months while the kitchen was being remodeled.
My stage weight was about 113lbs and right now I sit around 123, but it fluctuates with bulking and cutting phases.
I havenít tried any competition diets that failed my expectations. Iím honestly not an advocate of extremely low carb and Iím also not a fan of iifym where people eat junk food every day and are in a caloric deficit. The main thing to keep in mind is that every body is different. Something that might work for me might totally fail for someone else.
Throughout my contest prep and even today I lift 5 days a week, although my split has changed. Right now I lift shoulders / quads & glutes / back/bis, tris, and shoulders / hamstrings & glutes. I put my rest days in between as needed. During my contest prep I would do 10min of steady state cardio post-workout and one day of HIIT for 20 minutes. As of right now I donít do any scheduled cardio, but I do still dance every once in a while. My body responds well to changes in my diet and I use cardio to overcome plateaus.
I lift in the typical bodybuilding style with 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
Before I got into bodybuilding I was a dancer and used to perform at large sporting events. Competing in a bodybuilding show is unique in that most people step on stage looking the best that they ever have, no matter what that looks like compared to the other people on stage. Keeping that in mind is a major key to having the confidence to walk on stage. Another helpful tip is to practice, practice, practice posing in your heels and suit as much as possible. When I did my posing routine I actually donít remember doing it; it goes by so fast that I think we tend to rely on muscle memory.
The prep part of the contest is challenging. On the day of the contest you feel overwhelmingly proud and excited. All the hard nights of resisting cravings and turning down invitations to dinners or other social gatherings because you have to train are all made worth it in that moment.
Being on stage for pre-judging was very intimidating because you donít realize how close the judges are to the stage until youíre looking right down at them. Also, for my show there was no music and the crowd was small so it was hard to get hyped up and in the groove.
I just graduated from the University of Hawaii at Hilo with a degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. I currently hold two certifications in personal training and sports nutrition through NCSF. Now that I have graduated Iím beginning an additional certification for conditioning and strength coaching. Iím also starting a fitness blog focused on providing people with information based on science so that they can form their own opinions about all of the crazy theories and gadgets that the fitness industry throws at the public. Eventually I will be offering custom training and nutrition programs through that blog for people that need additional support in making a change.
I do plan to compete again, but want to really change my physique before doing so. My first show was a good introduction, but I know I can do so much better. I already know that I have added so much more to my physique since that first show and canít wait until I can display all the hard work that went into it.
My website is laynamacfit.wordpress.com.