Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Getting Judges Feedback

by Kris Pitcher

You trained hard, worked for a long time, dieted like no other...before you knew it you were on stage! Suddenly, your 12, 16, or 20 weeks of prep was over in a flash, your class was compared, you went through compulsory rounds and maybe were even moved around a little.

Judging was over in a few minutes. Now what? After finals you find out your placing. The top 5 are pretty obvious, but we don't all go home with a trophy. You will hopefully be given your score sheet, and you'll be able to see where each judge placed you.

Throw out the high and the low score, add up the rest and fall in line. There you go. Knowing your placing is one thing, but now you want to know how to improve. Getting feedback from the judges is a valuable thing.

Here's the best way to do it. You are welcome to go up to them after finals and ask them questions. But I honestly don't recommend that. They may or may not remember, recognize you, or have anything constructive to say at that moment.

You're dressed, they can't see your physique, and there's no one standing next to you. As a judge, I take notes on every competitor during the night show. So if you come up to me after a show, I will be able to make some comments. But there is an even better way.

Following the show, once the professional pictures are up on line, pull a front and back shot and email that along with your competitor number, class, placing, and full name to the promoter. Her or she will email that to the judging panel...then you wait. Patiently.

NPC judges have real jobs, busy lives, and families. And after spending 3 days at a show, need to get back to work, catch up on email, do their own food prep and laundry after traveling back home. Be patient for them to send you some feedback.

You might get feedback from one person, or 5 judges. Keep in mind it is subjective, some of us are good at choosing positive ways to say difficult things, and others less so. Have a thick skin. Take criticism in a constructive way.

If you are 5' 8" and in the middle weight class, you probably have room to fill out your frame. If you placed 7th in your bikini class you likely need to tighten your back side. If you are stuck in 1998 and are still using dream tan, I will tell you it's more difficult to see your conditioning through that paste. If the cut of your suit isn't right for your figure, I might tell you to consider a higher end suit...but make sure you have the right physique to show it off.

If your hair is crazy, I might suggest you polish your presentation as not to distract from your overall look. If you think you're're not smiling. You look scared. If you walk like the "keep on truckin" guy in your heels, I'm going to suggest you work with a posing coach to refine your presentation. I'm going to gently tell you the person who placed in front of you had more classic structure. I'm going to suggest you work on your shoulder caps, and stop doing oblique work.

I'm going to remind you to remove...all the hair from your body. I'll tell you if you need to be fuller, if you depleted too much water, or look flat. I might suggest a different division. I'm going to encourage you to keep training, take more time to prep, have a focused off season. There's lots of good feedback you'll get.

Ask for judges feedback. Now you know how to do it. Whether your placing is good, bad, or otherwise, constructive criticism will help you move forward in this sport. Always be respectful, take what you get and move forward. It's the only direction that makes sense for you to go.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Humble Beginnings, Where Will You Go?

by Kris Pitcher

Social media is a buzz with competitors in the final stages of preparation for spring shows. Some are in the throws of peak week. Others are a week or two out. Regardless, I have some wisdom do share and words of advice.

As I was driving from work to the gym last night I counted the years. I've been competing for 6 years. Many by some, few by others. Most of those years I competed in two shows, some three, there was even an epic year of 4 shows. Whether it's been 12, 18 or 20 thing is for certain.

Every time I step on stage, I lead with humble beginnings. The only guarantee I can provide myself is I've come in with a better package than I brought the time before. If I've done my work, that is all I have.

Without fail, when the promoter sends the competitor list it takes my breath away. For a split second, I am taken aback that there will actually be other people there. That moment passes as quickly as it comes. I walk with humility.

And when you take the step to compete at a higher level you will have absolutely no idea who is showing up, or how many people might be in your class. It doesn't matter. You control you.

Everyone begins somewhere. In any given show, there will be beginners, and there will be career recreational local competitors. Those athletes who show up every time at every show. If it's your first time, get out there. Then just keep showing up.

Find your place in your humble beginnings whether you're stepping on stage for your first time, your fifth or 20th. Your physique and conditioning speak for you. You shouldn't need to make a bunch of noise about showing up. Just show up.

Keep showing up. When I started competing I had no idea what was going to happen. There were times when I won. Times when I was the only one who showed up. Times when I lost to people who I'd rather not have lost to. And even times when I couldn't believe I beat someone who was fantastic. Humility, always.

Hold your head high. Be a good sport. Celebrate your fellow competitors. Without them, there is no contest. If you win that's great. Someone else might be better than you. They might have been doing this longer.

We all begin somewhere. Each time we step on stage it is not the end, it truly is the beginning. If you are in the best shape of your life, if you've done your work and brought your best...that is your humble beginning.

If you are about to step on stage I hope you are thinking about this point in your prep as a starting point rather than an ending point. I also hope you'll consider the perspective you take with you to the stage. It's a time to celebrate where you've come from, and where you see yourself going.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Hair Removal For Stage

by Kris Pitcher

Ladies please! Let's just dispel an old wive's tale. Shaving the hair on your arms will not make it grow back black, double, thick or anything else. Shave, wax, use cream - what ever method you want it's not going to come back like a big black pelt of hair.

When you're on stage you are lit up like an angel. A tan, oiled angel. Every tiny hair on your body will also be lit a halo all around you making you glow like a fuzzy baby chick.

Hair removal is an important process in preparation for the stage. It is a detail critical to your tan looking good. We want the tan to stick to our skin, not our hair. All those little hairs, everywhere, must go.

This goes for guys too, but you are less conflicted by this old wive's tale of regrowth. Do everyone a favor and practice every yoga move you ever learned and get rid of all that hair. Phone a friend, enlist a helper, call in a favor. Get a leg up. Get. Rid. Of. All. That. Hair.

I hope that's a clear message. It's a detail which sets you apart from the novice. The girl with hairy arms, low back, hamstrings, etc. looks like she didn't get the memo. She'll glow like a baby chick up there. A halo of hair. Don't be that girl. Public service message here.

I'm glad we had this talk. I wouldn't steer you wrong, and you don't see me walking around with big black pelts of hair on my you? No, no you don't because that myth is not true. I promise. Now get in the shower and get started you're on your way to the stage!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How to Make Chicken Taste Good

by Kris Pitcher

Th age old question is, "How do you make chicken taste good?" People ask me all the time how I cook chicken and make it palatable. When you eat as much chicken as we all do, it's a fair question.

Those of you who know me, know I'm a utilitarian cook. And frankly, I've become a utilitarian eater. I don't have special recipes, methods, or secrets. My secret is - eat your chicken.

If it's dry, you're cooking it too long at too high a temperature. I bake our chicken without any seasoning. This works for me because I season each meal differently throughout the day. Ten o'clock, cinnamon, 12 pm curry powder, and 3 pm chili powder. What can I say, I'm easy.

Using the crock-pot is a good method, except my husband won't eat it that way. It keeps it nice and moist and you can cook it while you're sleeping. How smart is that? We cook in bulk every few days. It's a system that works in our household.

Some people cook fresh for every meal. Go for it. But I actually have a JOB and must work. Life is not like a bodybuilding lifestyle video, and I don't have people for that. I'm no Jay Cutler. Bulk cooking is smart.

However, I don't want 6 pounds of ground beef that is all flavored the same way. So, adding the spices after works for me. That is my recipe for success when it comes to variety. Depending on your plan, there are some really good low caloric ways to add life to your protein.

Salsa is a favorite, especially salsa verde. Hot sauce, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce...but only if those things are in your plan. Salt is never a problem. If your coach has you limiting salt any time except for the week before your show, you need a new coach.

Look for spice blends, and just cruise the herbs and spices in the grocery store to see what you've been missing. I have my favorites. I am a creature of habit and don't mind eating the same thing day after day (utilitarian). Cinnamon, chili powder, curry powder, smoked paprika...are some of my favorites.

Ultimately, eat your food. Get your entertainment somewhere else. Food is about fuel. Fuel for your goals. Eat it. Eat it cold in the car. Eat it out of a baggie in a bathroom stall. Eat it out of your purse in the movie theater. Eat it. Eat it. Eat it. Eat your food. If you hate it, this sport isn't for you. Eat your food. *smile

Monday, April 7, 2014

Panic to the Stage

by Kris Pitcher

You're four weeks out and you're close enough to your show it's time to panic. It sets in without warning. Creeps in really. It's more of a wave rising over starts on the backs of your thighs and moves quickly to your butt.

Will I be ready?!!! Calm down. You won't be ready RIGHT NOW. You'll be ready in four weeks. And a lot can, and will, happen in that time frame. There may be the reality you didn't start your prep soon enough. Or, and don't get mad at me for this, but you may have gotten way too fat off season.

Sorry, but it happens when you're not focused. But let's say you started with ample time, and were in a good place when you started your prep, you'll be ready. This is the point when everyone begins the panic to the stage.

Relax. It's time to trust the process. If you're ready 4 weeks out, it's going to be really hard to hold you condition. Mental exhaustion will set in before your contest comes. You do your work week by week and in time, by'll be ready.

Worst case, if you are not ready to step on stage, you don't. Big deal. There is always another contest right around the corner. If you need another 2, or 4 weeks. Take them. Get ready and then step on stage. The pressure you feel is all created by you.

Don't let the panic set in is my point. There is no need for it. Trust your coach, your advisers, yourself. Trust the prep process. Take the pressure off. Let the process be fluid, not absolute. The wave won't overtake you as long as you are confident in the process. No need to panic here, you've got this!