No Excuses Please: How I Balance Family and Figure

By: Kerry Tighe
No Nonsense Newsletter Volume 12 #2

Iím often approached with the very same question when someone learns that I compete in Figure. ďHow do you do it? Isnít it like a full-time job?Ē These questions are usually followed up with countless excuses and reasons why the person asking isnít in shape or eating right. Iíve heard them all. Funny thing is, the answer isnít some elusive trick or magic pill. There is no secret workout and when I tell them this, they almost seem disappointed. What they donít want to hear, and what Iím going to tell you right now is simple: ďHard Work and Self-DisciplineĒ. Now, there are some strategies that can make the process more effective and Iím excited to share them with you. The bottom line is that you make the decision to change, and you follow through with your actions to see that decision through.

Kerry Tighe contest ready Before
Iíve got my own list of excuses; however I set some goals, made a plan, and got organized. My life is just as hectic as the next personís. Iíve been married for five years to Lucas, who has been in the ARMY for ten years. Weíve been through six deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan combined since 2001. I spent countless months separated with little communication, worrying about his safety, all the while raising our two small daughters. Thatís right moms; I gained and lost those 30+ pregnancy pounds twice. It can be done. And donít use your kids as an excuse either! So while Iím at it, Iíll let you know that I also went back to school and became a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine and started my own business as well. Ok, so I covered the top three excuses: spouse, family, and work... still with me? Great!

Consistency over time produces results!

I strive to be consistent in all aspects of my everyday life. From my schedule, to my nutrition/supplements, to my training, everything is planned in advanced. I awake at 6:30am, put on my workout clothes, and if itís contest time, get started so that I can check cardio off my list. I have two preschool age daughters. Iíll usually have a cup of coffee while I make my two preschool daughters a quick morning snack. I then get an activity out for them to do while I sweat it out on the elliptical -- coloring books, games. Sometimes Iíll just watch cartoons with them while I get in my 30 minutes. Itís worth the few minutes it takes to make sure they are all set before I start my cardio. That way I minimize circumstances that might cause me to interrupt my cardio session.

During the early stages of contest prep, Iíll wear a heart rate monitor to make sure Iím working hard enough and knocking out enough calories. As the contest gets closer, I donít stress about my heart rate and numbers as much. I listen to my body and know at this point what I need to do to get the job done. For the most part I do 75% of my cardio on my elliptical. Itís convenient and there is no excuse for not getting it done when itís right there in the house. I try to do the other 25% of my cardio outside. Iíll take along our dog and the kids in their stroller and head outside to do walking, running and lunging intervals on the hills in my neighborhood. Itís a great, fast way to knock out 250 calories in no time.

On the weekends if my husband is home with the kids, Iíll head to the local high school stadium with my friend Karina. If the kids are with me, Iíll throw some soccer balls or their bikes in the back of the truck, pack the cooler with snacks and water, and they get some exercise in right there on the track while Karina and I climb the stadium steps for a super intense workout. We donít stick to any particular workout here; we walk some, run some, and do some basic plyometric jumps. We often mix it up by doing sprints on the track between stair climbs. Be careful with the stadium steps. It totally smokes your legs but donít do it too often. It can be hard on your joints.

After cardio, Iíll have my first and favorite meal of the day. The figure staples - old fashioned oatmeal and egg whites with some chicken or turkey breast. Once again, being prepared is key. It makes cooking stress free and makes sure my girls and I are out the door on time to keep to our schedule. I keep a one-half cup scoop right in my canister of oats, crack and drop my egg whites on the double griddle while the oatmeal is in the microwave. I keep up to a monthís worth of pre-portioned, cleaned and labeled chicken and turkey breast in zipper bags in my freezer. Itís as easy as taking a few bags out the night before to defrost, then I just grill up the chicken on the griddle right along with my egg whites, and breakfast is done in five minutes. My girls love milk, oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, fruit, Kashi cereal, and protein pancakes/waffles with sugar free syrup, (I make double batches on the weekends and freeze extras to re-heat quickly during the week) so I always have these staples on hand as well.

Let me take a minute to talk about how I plan my familyís meals, because it is an integral part too, not only to my success as an athlete, but to our family as a whole. Most competitors know that itís your nutrition that makes or breaks your success. I think most of the stress and anxiety about competing begins in the kitchen. I think of nutrition as one of the tools I need to succeed. As most women do, I have spent way too much time worrying about what I was eating, calories, and dieting. I do not want my daughters to do the same. Iíve worked hard to change how I think about food and nutrition, and everyday, contest or no contest; I try to set a positive example for my daughters. When Iím getting ready for a show it would be easy to clear out the pantry of anything tempting, but Iím still a mom and my family is not getting on stage, I am. Instead, I keep good quality snacks and food choices in the house for the family including treats for special occasions and occasional rewards for my kids. This is how we do it year-round to keep them healthy and growing strong.

I work to keep regular balance

We eat our meals together. I rarely cook two different meals for dinner. I make the same basics and just change it up a bit. If Iím having chicken breast, weíre all having chicken breast. Mine may be with a salad and extra veggies, while theirs is with some whole grain pasta or a baked potato with low fat cheese and broccoli. The same goes for steak, salmon and turkey breast, theyíre all family favorites. I make an extra portion of everything so my husband has a healthy lunch for the next day. If we are going to have an exceptionally busy week or if my husband is on night schedule, Iíll make a few dinners ahead of time on a weekend and stock the fridge, so a quality meal is ready to go. Grilled lean meat and fresh fruit are always in the fridge while brown rice and tuna fish can always be found in the pantry. There are no excuses for a poor diet when a quality meal can be made in less than two minutes! I appreciate and Iím proud that my family embraces eating right and making better food choices in general.

We consider Beverly protein powder as part of our food staples. We use Muscle Provider, Ultra Size and Ultimate Muscle Protein everyday for all sorts of protein packed versions of family favorites: Protein pancakes and waffles, Ultra Size oatmeal cookies and muffins, even UMP brown rice pudding with raisins. I enjoy all these healthy meals with my family, and then when it gets close to show time, I become more regimented through portion control, but I continue making them for my family.

Back to my schedule, itís 8am, and time to head to the gym to train. Having a regular routine is great for my daughters as well as myself, but my time is still limited so I have to make every minute count. I take my oldest daughter to preschool and my youngest will play at the gym daycare while I train. I give myself exactly 60 minutes to get the job done. No time to chat or figure out what exercise is next. I plan out my training the night before so I know exactly what exercises Iím doing, how much weight Iím going to use, and how long my rest will be between sets. Iím focused, disciplined, and get it done in one hour, I have no other choice.

Training is my favorite time of the day.

I have one hour just for me, so Iím super focused on the job at hand. Year round I train progressively, continually trying to improve my personal best. You need to train hard to make big changes, 3lb weights and the ab/adductor machines that are addictive to most women, are not going to get the job done. In the ďoff-seasonĒ I stick with the basics: squats, leg press, dead-lifts, incline bench, rows, push-ups and pull-ups. You donít need fancy moves. Perform the basics correctly with proper protocols and youíll build lean, solid muscle that sticks around when you prepare for competition. Off season for me itís tons of 6x6 sets and just enough cardio during the week for good health, 2-3 moderate sessions max.

Kerry Tighe dumbell curls I add more exercises to refine my shape as the contest approaches. I increase my reps to 8-10 and reduce my rest periods. I start with 60-90 seconds rest between sets during the first few weeks. Closing in on show time, Iím super setting, resting less than 60 seconds, and even throwing abdominal work in between sets. Iíll add push-ups, pull-ups and hanging leg raises throughout every workout, all week long. I take 2 scoops of Glutamine Select plus BCAAs every time I train. I mix it up in my water bottle and drink it throughout my workout.

I add more exercises to refine my shape as the contest approaches. I increase my reps to 8-10 and reduce my rest periods. I start with 60-90 seconds rest between sets during the first few weeks. Closing in on show time, Iím super setting, resting less than 60 seconds, and even throwing abdominal work in between sets. Iíll add push-ups, pull-ups and hanging leg raises throughout every workout, all week long. I take 2 scoops of Glutamine Select plus BCAAs every time I train. I mix it up in my water bottle and drink it throughout my workout.

My cardio sessions increase during contest prep. With that said, if you spend your off-season eating the right foods and not consuming too many empty calories then you should not have to become slave to a cardio machine. If you eat right in the off-season, then cardio can be a tool that gradually helps you get stage ready. Iíve traveled both roads and having to do half the cardio to get ready is wonderful. Youíll have more energy, better sleep and more time for your friends and family.

After training, Iíll have my favorite Beverly recipe, most days Iíll make it at home the night before and toss is in the cooler with my kidsí snacks. I absolutely could not live without my Ultimate Muscle Protein pudding with almond butter. One scoop Cookies & CrŤme UMP, one scoop Chocolate UMP, 1 tablespoon raw almond butter mixed with just enough water to make a super thick pudding, sprinkled with some cinnamon. I like to make mine the night before and let it set up in the fridge to thicken to a cookie dough consistency. Again, being prepared, having your meals ready to go makes life so much easier.

The rest of my afternoon is busy, running errands, answering e-mails or scheduling appointments with clients, as well as fun activities with my girls. Iíll make and eat my afternoon meals every 2-3 hours. Again, Iíve prepared or defrosted my lean meat, so it just takes minutes to prepare and is no sweat. I almost always have a sweet potato for my complex carbohydrate at lunch. Every week or two, Iíll bake a dozen sweet potatoes, skin them and mash them with pumpkin pie spice and Splenda. I fill half-cup plastic containers with this mixture and load up my freezer and refrigerator. I love this sweet potato mixture reheated, cold or even frozen like sorbet with my lunch meal.

At dinner things start winding down

My whole family eats together, then we read books or watch a movie. Once the kids are off to bed, I prepare all my supplements for the next day and take out the lean meat portions from the deep freeze to defrost for tomorrowís meals. Iíll sit down with a cup of tea and my final meal of the day. Itís almost always one of the following: 6-8 egg whites, an UMP shake or a Chocolate Muscle Provider ďbrownieĒ. I take a few minutes to write up my schedule and workout for the next day. If itís contest prep time, then I may practice posing for 15-20 minutes while I watch television with my husband. I start this with 2-3 times a week, then pick it up to four times per week as the show nears. I strive to keep everything balanced. If Iím worn out, I go to bed earlier. If Iím hungry, Iíll eat more, but only the right things Ė maybe a few extra egg whites or an extra scoop of protein. Itís not perfection, but I know that consistently performing right actions is what produces the best results.

I hope that more women, particularly mothers, who are stressed out and put themselves last will be inspired by my story and get moving. You have the time! Set a goal, get organized, create a plan and youíll find the time. Walking onstage to compete in a figure or bodybuilding show may not be your ultimate goal, but you can look fantastic and feel awesome about yourself if you make the decision to change and follow thorough with your actions. Take time to take care of yourself and your entire family will be better off. Stop criticizing yourself and do something about it. Yes, it will take hard work and discipline, but a happier, healthier you is waiting to be revealed!

Personal Profile: Kerry Tighe

Age: 28 Education: National Academy of Sports Medicine-Certified Personal Trainer Florida State University-BS in Education (Summa Cum Laude) Family: Married 5 1/2 years to husband Lucas, two daughters Olivia 4 and Deirdra 3 Current Residence: Clarksville, TN but the ARMY has us on the move soon! Where do you train: E-Step Wellness Center, Ft. Campbell, KY; US ARMY Height: 5'6'' Off Season Weight: 140-145 Contest Weight: 131 Favorite Cheat Food: #1 Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream #2 a HUGE bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: #1 oatmeal and egg whites #2 Ultimate Muscle Protein "cookie dough" (1 scoop chocolate UMP+ 1 scoop cookies & crŤme UMP, 1 tbsp almond butter mixed with just enough water to make a dough consistency. This is killer during contest prep!) Most Inspiring Athlete or role model: Every military spouse who can keep it all together when the going gets tough. In your MP3 player: Working Out: Metallica,Red Hot Chili Peppers, ACDC, anything to keep the motivation going Chillin Out: Jack Johnson, Bob Marley, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Most Inspiring Book: "Oh, The Places You'll Go!"- Dr. Seuss Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Everything and anything about Hawaii... paradise on earth! My husband and I are taking our second trip to Kauai this summer. We are ocean kayaking 17miles along the Napali Coast and you bet I'll have a new Ultra Size recipe with me along for the ride!
Words to live by: Make the decision to change then follow through with all your actions!

Favorite Training Program:

My secret weapon actually comes out in the off-season. Getting lean comes down to simple math but gaining muscle is a little more tricky. I have a love/hate relationship with the off-season, but if you put the work in then you can make huge improvements. The 6x6 Coat Rack workout emphasizes all the areas that I need to achieve an ideal figure shape. The plan includes 6 sets of 6 reps for each of these basic exercises: incline bench, flat DB bench, pull downs, barbell rows, squats, hack squats, leg press and dead lifts. Couple these basics with a progressive approach, increasing your weights 5-10% each week and in 6 weeks you will have gotten some serious results. I also do tons of pull-ups and push ups with varied hand positions every time I train year-round.
Most effective pre-contest diet:
My best lose body fat, increase lean muscle, no hunger plan!
Meal 1: 1/2c oatmeal, 4 egg whites, 1 whole egg and 4 oz chicken or turkey
Meal 2: 2 scoops UMP or Ultra Size + 1 tbsp almond butter
Meal 3: 6oz tuna fish or chicken breast, 4oz sweet potato and 2c green veggie salad with homemade Italian vinegar and olive oil dressing
Meal 4: 2 scoops Chocolate Muscle Provider made into a microwave cake
(sometimes I use left over black coffee instead of water to mix it - Yummy!)
Meal 5: 6-8oz chicken, salmon or lean beef, 2-3c green veggies with homemade Italian vinegar and olive oil dressing)
Meal 6: 6-8 egg whites sprinkled with cinnamon and Splenda; or with 1/2c onions and mushrooms.

Favorite supplements:

#1- Glutamine Select plus BCAAs, every time I train, year-round. I bump it up to 2 scoops during contest time. I put it into my gallon jug of water and sip it all day long. I work hard for every pound of muscle I gain, I want to keep it around so I use Glutamine Select, 'nuff said!

#2- UMP, Ultra Size and Muscle Provider. Plain and simple, they are fast, easy to make meals that taste outstanding and are effective in maintaining proper nutrition during contest time or not. Shakes, pudding and microwave cakes, I have them all.

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before?
Ultimate Muscle Protein, Muscle Provider and Ultra Size. Proper nutrition is the make or break factor in getting rid of body fat and gaining muscle. Beverly's proteins taste awesome and can be made in so many ways. Bottom line, they get the job of eating properly, done right every time. I have my husband, kids, friends, clients and even my retired parents using Beverly's proteins.

Pancakes, Waffles, Muffins and Cookies

Base Recipe: For each serving combine:
1/2c oatmeal
1scoop Ultra Size vanilla
3-4 egg whites, you can use 1 whole egg if you like, the little bit of fat helps
the batter from sticking
1-2 tbsp Splenda
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
Sprinkle of cinnamon or pie spices to taste

For pancakes and waffles I add water slowly while stirring with a fork until I reach
pancake batter consistency. Then I cook them exactly as I would regular pancakes.

If I want to make cookies or muffins I follow the base recipe and add 1 tablespoon of
almond or peanut butter.  I use less water than for pancakes so the mixture stays firm
like dough.  I drop spoonfuls on a cookie sheet for cookies or a few spoonfuls into
each cup of a muffin pan. Bake at 350 until they "puff up" (about 8 minutes).  I like
to eat them warm from the oven while they are "puffy". They do have a tendency to go
flat and get chewy the longer they sit.  My husband and I will split a batch and each
have a 1 scoop Vanilla UMP shake for the "cookies and milk" effect. Sometimes we put
a touch of almond butter on the muffin while it's warm.  I don't think Iíve ever made
them exactly the same twice in a row. Sometimes Chocolate Ultra Size, sometimes Vanilla,
I've even used 1/2c of mashed sweet potatoes instead of oatmeal for the muffins. My
kids are traditionalists when it comes to pancakes so I sometimes use whole wheat
flour instead of oatmeal when I make their pancakes.

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