Sydney Lich - Bikini Competitor

I started competing at the age of 17! I was just graduated from high school when one of my coworkers came up to me and asked me if I knew what competing was. The bikini division had just been discovered a few years prior so I googled some competitors and I loved how they looked! I was very thin and ran half marathons at the time. I had always been in the gym lifting for volleyball, so I thought, now that I am done with sports, why not have another reason to push towards a goal. So I quickly made the decision to compete in a bodybuilding show. I learned all I could about training, dieting, posing... the whole bit. And months of hard work later, I took place at my first show in Missoula, Montana (Big Sky Championships). Since then, I have competed in 4 regional bodybuilding shows, and 1 National Show. I have taken 2 first place finishes as well as 1 overall finish. I am a college student finishing my last semester of school, so I cannot wait to compete when I am not enrolled in classes, juggling homework, jobs, and training!

Diet and Training

As far as diet goes, I have used many methods; however, iifym or flexible dieting is now my ride or die dieting approach. Off season versus pre-contest is very similar besides the amount of calories I eat. Everyone is very different and requires different caloric intake, so I will not be sharing my personal macronutrient/caloric rages. During off season I am very focused on muscle building, requiring me to raise my calories as high as I possibly can! I almost always keep my protein consistent (regardless of pre show or off season training). Usually the big change is the amount of carbohydrates I consume. During off-season the goal is to eat as many carbs as my body can take to fuel my workout/build my metabolism back up without loading on excess fat.

During competition prep, I slowly take away calories (usually my fats and carbs) according to my progress on a weekly basis. I did not have a coach until my most recent contest and this changed everything for me. Landon Horst is who I worked with for my Nationals prep and it was by far my best package due to his insane knowledge and constant progress check ins. Instagram handle: @landonhorstfitpro. Anyways, I love the foods I eat so I eat them year round and just change the proportions and amounts to fit my macros at that certain time. I stick to protein waffles/shakes, oatmeal, egg whites, zucchini noodles, any veggies, blueberries, chicken, salmon, yams, apples, peanut butter, things like that.

My first 2 competitions I followed a strict meal clean eating meal plan. I would restrict all week, binge eat on the weekends because I felt so deprived, then would lose most of my progress for the week, I would have to restrict the next week for messing up all weekend and binge again... it was a vicious cycle (if I wasn't 17 at the time, been naturally thin, and had a great metabolism, I never would have won those shows). After finding iffym I realized you could eat anything you wanted with no restrictions and still see progress. The key is moderation and consistency when it comes to dieting, not restriction.

Last workout of 2016 ?? Back and abs accomplished before 5:30am- sticking to a lot of protein and water today so that I can enjoy some ?? and ??with some friends later today. I hope everyone had the best 2016 and 2017 brings even more joy for you! Thank you to anyone who has given me support or reached out to me this year, I'm so truly grateful- I'm so blessed to have so many incredible and giving people in my life- 2017 is going to be quite an exciting year?

A photo posted by Sydney Lich (@sydneylich) on

Off season cardio is very minimal if any. I lift as heavy as I can and fuel my body with good wholesome food (and a few treats that fit my macros). During competition prep I still lift as heavy as possible but usually raise the intensity by lowering rest times or increasing sets/reps. Cardio gets added in as needed. I usually do LISS on the stair stepper because I get lethargic on prep easily and do not have a ton of energy to do high intensity cardio. I'll try to throw in a HIIT session on the bike once or twice a week. It changes according to how my body is responding each week. I balance my diet and cardio. For example, cardio is a tool, it should not be a punishment for eating foods; instead, use it to increase your weekly caloric deficit from your diet (eating below maintenance calories).

On Stage

I may be one of the most self-conscious people you will ever meet. Especially at 17 when I first started competing. To this day, I hardly wear a swimming suit unless I'm stepping on stage or forced to swim with my friends. I like to be covered up most of the time (most people who don't know I compete will see a picture of me and come up to me at the gym and be like "I saw your pictures! I never would have guessed you look like that under those clothes"). When it comes to the stage it is like I'm a different person. The day of the show, you are in the best shape of your life and you're surrounded by people wearing and looking exactly the same way you do so, I don't even realize I am wearing a "hardly-there" bikini. I never get too nervous on stage because I know I have already done all of the hard work and now it is just time to showcase it. Being onstage is so thrilling the second you step off stage you want to get right back out there and do it all over again. You get to show everyone the hard work you have been putting into your body not only in the last 12-16 weeks but the last 5-6 years (or however long you have been lifting). Just stepping on stage and beating your last best self is an accomplishment alone.

2013 the day before I started seriously lifting, running an hour a day and hardly eating 1200 calories (118lbs) -> 2017 yesterday, competition off season (searching for my abs after NYE drinks and pizza) lifting 6 times per week, one weekly session of cardio, and eating 2300 calories (155lbs)- FYI: I am 5'9"... I was so self conscious and never happy with my body, I thought I was fat and was always striving to loose weight, so I started running hours a day... I was in the gym since the age of 7 when my Dad taught me to lift... Then one day I saw a picture of a bikini competitor and said "I wanna look like that" and the next day I started lifting, limited running and researched how to achieve the body I wanted...little did I know that I would not only achieve the body I wanted, but so much more. I'm mentally, physically, and emotionally much more happy than I've ever been, and am so blessed to have found something I'm so passionate about. I started fitness for all the wrong reasons, but the reason I keep going is to help inspire, educate, and motivate others to achieve whatever goals they may have, as well as push myself to get better every single day. If anyone ever has ANY questions about the health or life in general, please feel free to call me, beep me, if you wanna reach me (Kim Possible reference) and I would love to help in any way I can???? #gainingweightiscool #rememberwhyyoustarted

A photo posted by Sydney Lich (@sydneylich) on

One of my favorite moments from competing was when I won the Overall Title at my 3rd show. Placing is not everything as this sport is extremely subjective, but this is still one of my favorite moments. Being on stage with 50 other girls that worked so hard and look fabulous on up there is an honor in itself. When I was chosen out of all of them and my name was called for the overall title, I was so shocked and truly honored. To be the girl that the judges decide represents what a bikini athlete should look like is unreal. I have never felt such joy and a sense of accomplishment. All of those hours of cardio, early lifting sessions, months of dieting and resisting ice cream with friends, sitting in class with my meals in Tupperware, hardly sleeping, all of the gallons of water, and sacrifices to step on stage and they chose ME to represent the bikini division....SPEECHLESS. That was by far the most motivating moment of my life. I want to feel that again next time I step on stage and that is what I am working towards, to relive that most memorable moment.

Right now I am taking my first off season (as I have never let my body recover fully after a show) and I am working my butt off to build some solid muscle for my next show. Tentatively, I am planning on a year off-season and possibly starting to cut in January of 2018. I miss the stage though and who knows if I will wait that long, things are very up in the air. I just want to graduate college before I compete again because competing is expensive. But no worries, you will see me up there on stage again. So for now I am lifting, eating, online training, college-ing (is that a word), and enjoying some extra meals with friends and family when I want!

Please reach out to me with any questions, I love helping people in any way I can (even if you just want to complain about having to do a cardio session or are sick of eating your tilapia).

You can reach me by email with questions or comments at (also email me here for any Coaching/Training/Dieting/Posing/Modeling questions).
Instagram: @sydneylich (find me and comment that you found me from this interview so we can be friends)
Snapchat: sydney.lich
Twitter: @LichSydney

Love you all, thanks for reading about my life!

Sydney Lich

Competition Prep e-Books

The day of my show when I barely had a waist ?? Competition lean is not realistic to maintain all year around. I store a lot of my weight in my waist and glutes in the off season (you can't choose where you store your fat nor can you spot reduce fat) So while it is fun to lean out those areas when it comes closer to a show, (with extreme diet and exercise) remember that it is extreme leanness, and not safe for extended amounts of time. But it's still fun to look back at pictures and remind yourself how lean you can really get ??

A photo posted by Sydney Lich (@sydneylich) on