Ashley Miranda-Boulay - Bikini Competitor

My interest to compete came from many bodybuilders encouraging me to step on stage. I would workout 2X a day on my own just because I enjoyed building my physique. (I knew nothing about bodybuilding). It wasn't until others starting asking me when my "show" was, that I actually considered competing. I took advice and started training with some of the top bodybuilders out in Los Angles, California (that's where I was training at the time- Golds Gym). Once I got involved on a competition level my interest grew into a passion and I never looked back.

My diet from pre-contest to off-season doesn't change too drastically. Off-season I am able to enjoy much more variety followed with planned cheat meals. My carbohydrates and fats remain higher than in contest-prep due to the need to convert enough energy to build in the off-season. While on prep, I am in a deficit and I stick to the foods that I know work best for my body. Some people are carb or fat sensitive, so you must know how your body functions with certain macro-nutrients. I believe that's why off-season is so important. You learn what works best for your body through trial and error and don't have to go into prep guessing.

I typically eat 6-7 meals daily and never drop my caloric intake under 1,200 calories (unless needed for some odd reason) but if you are having to drop your caloric intake below 1,200 you are most likely not ready for prep and need to take it back to the drawing board. I'm sure you have heard it before: "You need to eat more to lose/build more." I stand by this. Any prep is going to be difficult, but it should never be miserable or unhealthy. Now touching on losing weight and building muscle: If your body is at a state where it is ready to "carb cycle" (You should never just jump into a carb cycle... it's a process). I find this method works great for developing lean muscle while dropping body fat safely. The same can go for those who work better with higher fats than carbs. I've known a lot of competitors that work well with a keto approach. And again, it's just knowing which your body works best off of.

My first approach to competing sadly happened in an unhealthy manner. I went straight into a "12 week prep" I was allowed 9 grams of fat per day and fell far below 1,200 calories for 3 1/2 months! I ended up with serious health issues. I always stress to other competitors or potential competitors to make sure if they are working with a coach- that, that coach is certified in nutrition, understands and knows how the body functions, has your best interest at hand and isn't only coaching because "they" were a great bodybuilder. Quite frankly I don't believe in diets (diets are extreme) and extreme is never the way to go. I believe in nutrition. Nutrition is a healthy way of living and the best approach for competitors. I have been on such low carbs and fats in a prep that when I came out of the prep and went into off-season, I totally lost control of my body.

A video posted by Ashley Miranda-Boulay (@ashleyboulay) on

Right now I am split-training so that each muscle is getting hit twice a week. For my cardio I do slow-steady state. I have tried HIIT and honestly am not a fan of it. I don't mind fasted cardio while in prep but in off season I prefer P.M cardio or post training cardio. I match my training regiment to my nutrition. If I am in a deficit I know that my output on the weights has to be lower (lighter weight, higher reps) If I am eating more and fueling my body with more energy such as in off-season I will lift heavy with low- to moderate reps.

Self-confidence - Two words: Posing Practice! The only way I was able to build that confidence was to see my body at every stage in my heels and bikini. I get to watch how my body leans out and comes together in each pose. You can have all the confidence in your physique but if you have no confidence in your strut and poses it will show. I work on what I know I can control: I can control how my routine will look. My nutrition controls my physique. As long as I trust the process and let my nutrition work its course I can exert all my energy into perfecting my routine.

My most memorable experience was at the "NPC Natural Suncoast Classic" in Tampa Florida. It was a fairly large show, so there were a lot of competitors in each division. Athlete check ins were a little intimidating here because everyone looked so amazing. It's kind of hard not to question yourself on the past few months when you start seeing everyone pile in, but nether the less we were all put at ease with the show promoter making us all feel welcomed and applauding us for all of our hard work just getting there. It's always heart-warming when everyone is so friendly. Even backstage competitors encouraged each other and made it such a fun experience. (I've been to shows where it can be pretty brutal back stage against competitors) Prejudging is the most nerve-racking while finals are where you get to let lose and have the most fun.

My future plans are being put into play as we speak. I am currently getting ready for the 2017 season, and am planning to step on stage at The Europa Games in Orlando, Florida for the very 1st time. That is the show I am most excited for since it's been a dream of mine for a while. I am currently taking online courses in nutrition, to not only help myself but to be the best I can be for my clients. I am first a personal trainer before I am a bikini competitor. My ultimate goal is to expand my personal training business and train other athletes for the stage.

Contact info:
Instagram: @ashleyboulay
Facebook: Ashley Miranda-Boulay

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