Cassidy Harris - Bikini Competitor

Cassidy Harris, Age 20
NPC Bikini

When I first began hitting the weights on a regular basis, I noticed changes consistently, but had never ďcutĒ body fat before or really seen what was underneath. I was curious to see what I had truly accomplished in the gym over the course of a year and a half of growth, and I knew that one of the best ways to do that was to cut down to a lower body fat.

Diet, Losing Weight, and Building Mass: In the off-season, I consume a good deal of carbs and remain relatively low-fat. The carb intake is essential for maximum energy output and growth during time periods when Iím in a caloric surplus or trying to maintain my weight. When I am prepping for a competition, my carbs are lowered significantly, and I consume primarily from protein sources. I start at 12 weeks out with chicken meals and transition around week 8 into tilapia meals. Tilapia is an incredibly low-fat, lean source of protein. As far as losing weight and building muscle, you wonít lose WEIGHT while putting on muscular size. You can, however, lose FAT while putting on muscle. For me, this can be achieved with lowering carb intake, raising my protein intake to about 1.4 grams per pound of bodyweight. This seems like a lot, but must be paired with a water intake of a gallon or more a day to keep those kidneys functioning smoothly.

I find that lowering your carb intake pre-show and NOT allowing yourself to carb cycle and experience higher carb days intermittently will cause your metabolism to slow greatly and youíll burn out twice as fast. I found that I was constantly hungry and never felt truly full, which made me want to binge whenever possible. You have to allow yourself low carb days, and higher carb days throughout your prep weeks to keep your metabolism grooving and your energy levels up, because for many people fatigue can become a very true issue.

My training program pre-show consists of weight training 5 days a week, with two leg days incorporated to each week. Bikini competitors are judged greatly on hamstring and glute development, so working those muscle groups regularly is always a priority for me during prep. I usually start out my prep with HIIT sessions 4 times a week after my lifts and transition at the halfway point into steady state cardio 5-6 times a week. I took a workshop several months back, where we learned that HIIT workouts tend to burn off your sugar reserves primarily, while steady state cardio actually burns fat to a significantly higher degree, especially after the 10 minute mark.

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Building self-confidence: It took a lot of time and careful consideration for me to convince myself that I was going to compete FOR ME, and for nobody else. I have a family who is incredibly unfamiliar with bodybuilding/competing, so it was a challenge for me to find the confidence and strength to pursue my plans of competing for a long period of time. Eventually, I just came to the realization that people will support you when they see your drive and passion for something FIRSTHAND. I realized that maybe my family and friends needed to see that I didnít need external motivation and that I could motivate myself internally before they would realize that this sport is something that I love and have a passion for. Spending hours in a hot gym on a weekly basis shows perseverance, and getting up on that stage is my time to showcase all of those hours and hours of hard work.

Future plans: After this competition season, I am planning to take a year or two to do some serious growing. I want to proceed as a figure competitor in the future, though I do love bikini, and I know that can potentially take 2-3 years of just working on developing my upper body more. In the off season, I am going to continue being my crazy gym rat self and place a great deal of focus on my personal training business, Fit with Cassidy.

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