Vanessa Pagan - Bikini Competitor

Vanessa: Fitness has always been a huge part of my life since I was 12 years old when I started entering modeling contest. I knew staying in shape and keeping a consistent look was important, but I was just a skinny lean then. My father works as a police officer that had a hobby and love for bodybuilding. He entered his first NPC show when I was 13. I remember watching what he went through, how much self control, the transformation and then show day, when I got to see the Bikini division of women. I was in awe of what those women brought to the stage and at that very moment I knew that was on my bucket list of things to accomplish in life. After a few years of setbacks through a very abusive and controlling relationship where I would not be able to ever compete. I got the strength through fitness to leave, built self worth, self love and I entered my first NPC show at 26. Fitness has always been a part of my life, but little did I know it was going to be the part that saved me.

A photo posted by Vanessa Pag?n NPC Bikini ????/???? (@missvanessapagan) on

I'm always dieting but I don't like to call it dieting more of a lifestyle. I actually do macro nutrition and my own nutrition as of 5 months ago. So for me it's all about Protein, Carbs and Fat numbers. Off season I slowly reverse diet into 1600 calories. I'm 5'3 very tiny and as of now I have not been able to go much higher without looking 8 weeks out. Which is great for the everyday person, but I have to keep a consistent look of 2 to 4 weeks out at all times for modeling shoots that may come my way. I usually keep my numbers very consistent off season with one cheat a week followed by a deficit day so there is no weight gain. My energy source off season really depends on what I am going to enjoy more of. This will keep me lean and not binge on foods I may missed and craved throughout prep. So I sometimes do a high fat diet with moderate protein low carbs. Known as the keto diet or I do high carbs moderate protein low fat. There is so many ways to manipulate this off season.

For example if I'm going to a BBQ in the summer and I'm off season it's easier to eat high fats and take the carbs out when you're out. So if you switch the diet for the day from carbs to high fat but keep the calorie intake the same you're looking at little to no weight gain. So I live very freely but strict because I took the time to educate myself in nutrition. It's something I don't feel restricted on and don't have to carry Tupperware around off season. Going through every diet in the world with coaches and never coming in the way I wanted I started to learn how the system worked on my own and really started to listen to my body. The best prep diet that has worked for me is the following.

Deficit Day
This means high protein
18g of carbs at breakfast and 30g post work out
The rest of the day is high protein and greens keeping the fat low. Bring me to 1000 cals or just under

Deficit day

Deficit day

I up the carbs a small amount just enough to give me the energy to push through the next two deficit days
This increases the calories by 150 bring me around 1150 to 1200 calories

deficit day

decficit day

FINALLY ! This is refeed day. This is the day I replenish my body with high carbs low fat and moderate protein. Bring me to 1800 calories. This day is also one of the most important days of the week. Not just because it gives me the energy I need to work out but after I have this refeed the next day tells me what I will look like the following day and how many carbs my body can handle come the night before show day and show day.

A video posted by Vanessa Pag?n NPC Bikini ????/???? (@missvanessapagan) on

The diet plans that I have found ineffective as far as prep is moderate carb diets. My carbs have to be extremely low to shred weight at all. My body will literally hold on to any amount of food it can. This diet is great for me offseason though. I get to enjoy carbs and build muscle. It just doesn't give me the stage look I need come show day. I only eat carbs for energy and I have to burn them all that day or I over spill. My body general does not start shredding fat until I hit a very low calorie intake. (Keep in mind I'm Bikini not a body bodybuilder). With this said about my calorie intake I still have to make sure my protein levels are high and not low. I have found when I drop my protein lower or even just to body weight to keep the carbs higher. I don't look as tight, I then just look super skinny and can't get through my work outs. people tend to forget that protein runs as an energy source as well.

My training is built around my refeed days during prep. Refeed day is usually back day followed by a heavy leg day. these days I exert the most energy and need the fuel from the carbs. as far as HIIT cardio it is the only kind of cardio I do. I start off doing 15 mins the first few weeks of prep and depending how i'm looking I will increase this up to the max of 30 mins. I should never have to do more then that since my calorie intake is so low and adjustments to the diet are done the last few weeks.

When you have been on stage since you were 12 years old modeling there is no level of stress. I actually find show day and the stage the easiest day. I'm very relaxed and love to be on that stage. It's the greatest feeling in the world showing off the work you built.

Last show I did I was getting prepped all wrong by a coach. I was 4 weeks out with 10 pounds to shred. I took the diet over hit the Gym 3 times a day, hit goal weight and came in 4th place. If I'm working for something I will finish it no matter the work I have to put in. This show showed me that I can accomplish anything myself and that I need to trust myself more. I'm very proud of what I build this far and can not wait to see me get even better this next coming show. This time I'm well prepared.

Contact details:
Instagram: @missvanessapagan

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