Liz Berres - NPC Women's Physique Competitor

Liz: My boyfriend and I decided to make a change together, we both were not happy with how we looked or felt. We both signed up to participate in BSN Elite Physique -12 week transformation challenge on over a year ago. Since I had no idea how to get started as all I did was cardio I decided to follow my boyfriend around the weight room I knew in order to get the body I wanted I needed to get off the treadmill and start lifting. I ate and trained per his program, personalizing his training program by the weights I could lifted.

I continued to increase my weight, gain strength and toned up! Not only did I have a huge success with my body transformation (lost 10% body fat and gained 10lbs lean mass), I won grand prize for top female transformation! This was the initial igniter to a healthier lifestyle and encouraged me to compete that same year placing 3rd and 4th in my first 2 figure shows.

The past 14 months I have continued researching and gaining more insight to my body, I continue to tweak my diet and workout more accordingly to gain more muscle mass. I started working with Casie Shepherd IFBB Physique Pro to really focus on gaining more muscle while leaning out for my last spring shows. Her program is amazing and my body has responding tremendously. I placed 3rd at both of my recent shows were I shifted from figure to Women’s Physique. My next show is in August 2013!

Liz Berres

Liz Berres.
Photo courtesy of Jackson Faith

My first step in the right direction to eating clean was when I became aware of my 'poison'. It took about 8 years of living through many rough patches that I reached out for help. I had a food sensitivity test done resulting in sensitivities to gluten, corn, yeast, sugar, almonds and walnuts. I thought I was a goner....but little did I know this was a blessing in disguise. I began to do tons of research and began to really educate myself on a new clean diet. I added 'safe' and healthy carbs and bam my energy, ambition and strength soared.

I also realized two huge mistakes I did on a daily basis, something most women are guilty of- Not eating frequently and enough and not drinking enough water. Just simple moves like eating small meals every 2-3 hours and carrying a water bottle around made a HUGE difference. Now with a solid understanding and focus on my nutrition the sky seems limitless. My body is very responsive which allows my nutrition to be a key factor to how my body is sculpted. On or off season a healthy nutrition can never be neglected. The primary difference between the two is carb cycling. Off-season my goal is to gain lean mass this is easily done with a consistent higher carb diet. What work best for me for contest prep, is 3 day carb cycling, high carbs on leg days, lower carbs on off days, and medium carbs on all other muscle groups.

My training is performance based and corresponds to my carb intake, it focuses on explosive training, minimizing eccentric stress and focusing on hard contractions. My program minimizes muscle fatigue, keeps my body fueled and allows me get MORE work in and recover quicker! My intense and engaging program both workouts and diet lead to better progression and prevents boredom and inefficiency. When you have drive, intent and order to your workouts you are able to sculpt your body to you goals. It is your daily routines, workouts and nutrition that build from one on to the other, a sequence that each day matters.

My workouts and diets are ever changing and I love it! It’s able being creative and keeping things fresh both to keep things exciting and to keep the mind and body guessing. I am on a cycling 4 week program that evolves each week. It is important to keep balance with your workouts simultaneously focusing on exercises that stimulate growth in your “problem” areas. My workouts are efficient by making sure I have understanding on my work out before walking into the weight room. My diet is efficient by making sure I have everything prepped ahead of time. Every morning before the gym I pack all meals for the day, I take a moment to recognize how I will progress in sets and reps specifically to how I feel that day, I review mechanics and tools to be used, and I acknowledge the expected contractions and training result. I believe you must take control of your workout in combination with your nutrition in order to be your own ‘artist’ to sculpt the body you want.

Outline Workout Schedule:

Monday -- Shoulders/Overhead Pattern
Tuesday -- Legs-Squat Dominant – 20 min HIIT training
Wednesday -- Back and Rear Delts
Thursday -- Chest/Horizontal Pattern
Friday -- Legs-Hip Dominant – 20 min HIIT Training
Saturday -- Back Thickness
Sunday – REST – Off day from the gym - Yoga

What aspect challenged me the most: My personal experience with my bilateral Hip dysplasia ; it is a condition I continue to overcome every day. In my specific case my diagnosis was actetabular dysplasia the acetabulum (my hip socket) is too shallow to receive my femur correctly. The center-edge angle aka the angle at which they connect (called Wiberg) is not a normal angle. Basically my condition is where my femur head connects at a too narrow angle to the shaft, I am 15 degrees difference from normal. I know jumble jumble right? I thought that too when I first learned about this at the ripe age of 25. I found out that this is a genetic condition that I have lived with my whole life; I do recall having minor discomfort as early as junior high, just about when I started sports.

Growing up I was very active little girl - I built forts, climbed trees, rode my bike all over the neighborhood, and even took dance lessons but it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I really started to notice the pain and constraints. I began to experience a sharp pain and locking sensations in both hips around my groin area, which became more and more acute and frequent as time went on. When it started to restrain everyday tasks of my daily life I knew I needed to do something about it. I went and got diagnose and was told that surgery may be in my future if the pain continue to worsen. I remember walking out the door of the doctor office thinking to myself, I may be aging but what other factors may have caused this perpetual condition worsen?

To prevent the ‘enviable’ hip replacement as doctors would state; I took the first step ‘GETTING ACTIVE’ and transformed my lifestyle! My active weight lifting lifestyle is one of the reasons my pain has gotten manageable. I aimed at strengthening my muscles around my hips in order to help balance and regulate my movements. I can feel that my stronger muscles ‘cushions’ my joints more, I don’t feel like my joints are take a pounding. Not only that but the obvious is that exercise helped lose my extra pounds and has decreased the daily stress for my hips.

The diet I will not do again is the cutting carbs fast, hard and to almost none at all as you approach show time; especially in combination of a lot of cardio. I lost a lot of hard earned muscle mass and I was miserable. I had low energy and really didn’t get to experience the positive changes in my body and more importantly the great experience of being on stage. A contest prep diet should never feel like your depriving yourself. Due to this mentally after my first show I rebounded back with binge eating and got the typical weight gain female competitors find themselves with. My lesson here was to try to make my on and off season very similar in what I ate and keep my sanity with some cheats here and there but always keeping it clean. Of course closer to the show it requires stricter diets but is less of an impact when you’re off season isn’t off track.

I keep my healthy fats in my diet year round, this helps keep my weight manageable. Come show time I take fat burners in 8 week prior to my show. I have used BSN Hypershed, and Cellucor Super HD have had great results and little side effects typical of Ft burners. I also have used Body Fuse’s Lean stack with great results!

Ultimately, I want to continue to show other females that it is indeed possible to be sexy and gain muscle. I want to be a leader demonstrating that dedication, hard work and passion can get you amazing results even with hurdles life throws at you! Each day I strive to keep my balance with a positive attitude and enthusiasm in all aspects of my life. :) I have learned good health, muscles and smiles are contagious, and I am on a mission to spread the fitness bug through my blogs, video logs and hopefully a partnered sponsorship and pro card!

Instagram and Twitter @cheezziitt

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