“Don’t use sodium, but if you need to, you can only use this specific type of salt….You can have as much sodium as you want in the beginning…Make sure you only drink water and definitely no diet soda…You can drink diet soda, just don’t drink calories…Use fresh fruits as a carb source…Don’t eat fruit…You have to do typical bodybuilding training…You can do whatever training you want. After all, that’s what helped build your muscle in the first place. The cardio and diet is what will get you cut…Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!”

My brain was spinning and throbbing from all the new information I was given. When you mention to someone that you’re interested in doing a show, the whole world wants to help and give you advice. That’s great and all, I want as much advice as I can get and I love it when people want to help, but this was getting out of hand.

Say Know-it-All 1 offers some advice, then Know-it-All 2 tells me the exact opposite of what Know-it-All 1 said. Then Know-it-All 1 learns what Know-it-All 2 said. Know-it-All 1 tells me not to listen to Know-it-All 2 and claims everything he/she said is “stupid” and “believe me, you don’t want to do it that way.” I’m sure this happens to anyone who is new to a sport, job, etc. It’s deterring and almost made me too frustrated to even want to compete in a figure show because I was so afraid I’d do it the “wrong” way.

Obviously there are many different ways to prep for a figure or bodybuilding show, and no one way is absolutely correct. But with so many do’s and don’ts, it’s hard to decide which ones to implement - especially if you’re trying to do it on your own.

So, how is anyone supposed to know what to do their first time out? I was so confused! How do you know what is complete bullshit and what’s fact?

No matter how much research I performed, I kept coming up with conflicting answers! Ugh! I asked Dave what I should do and he suggested I talk to some of the bodybuilding/figure masterminds on the site.

After a couple of emails back and forth, there was one person, who to me, made a lot of sense. It wasn’t that the others were wrong, but some of their strict diets and training styles just weren’t for me. If I couldn’t be happy with what I was doing, I guarantee you I would’ve had an awful experience and would never want to compete again - if I even lasted THAT long.

What I had to consider was what was important to me. What would motivate me, and what would I need during this whole experience? It came down to these things: diet soda, sugar free energy drinks, Splenda, staying on my current training plan and being able to chose my food. I wanted options - fun training that I looked forward to every day, and not the same exact meals in the same exact order every day. I tried that already, it doesn’t work for me.

After speaking with Shelby Starnes, he seemed like someone I would enjoy working with. I’m allowed as much Diet Dr. Pepper as I want. I wasn’t given a specific diet to follow - just grams of proteins, carbs and fats for each meal. And I could continue my current training – Shelby would just add cardio when needed.

As far as my current training, I’ve come a long way since the “gloves” incident and enjoy working out with Jim and the gang here. They push and motivate me as well as offering advice on form and technique. I realized I wouldn’t be happy without trying to get my numbers up on lifts – yes, I still do boring accessory work, but Jim implemented it into my training in a fun, challenging way. I know closer to my competition things will need to change in the training department, but right now I’ve never been more excited to train and cut at the same time.