The following is a strength training program I put together using information from and other resources, including training phases I have completed in the past. I based my program around the 4 core lifts and I started it this past Monday (Oct.20). I hope to see and increase in my 1RM by the end of this phase, and I will likely repeat this over again for another 6 weeks, changing up the accessory exercises.


  • 4 days / week with an optional 5th day
  • Main lifts – Deadlift, Bench, Squat, Military Press
  • Duration – 6 weeks (maybe 7)

Monday- Deadlift
Tueday – Bench Press
Wednesday – OFF
Thursday – Squat
Friday – OFF (or 5th)
Saturday – Military Press
Sunday – OFF (or 5th)


                                                               Sets x Reps  
WK Core Accessory Total Reps
1 5 x 8 @ 65% 1RM 3 x 6,6,6* 100
2 5 x 7 @ 70% 1RM 3 x 6,6,8* 103
3 5 x 6 @ 75% 1RM 3 x 6,8,8* 104
4 5 x 5 @ 80% 1RM 3 x 8,8,8* 105
5 5 x 4@ 85% 1RM 3 x 8,8,10* 108
6 5 x 3 @ 90% 1RM 3 x 8,10,10* 109

*Last set is a dropset for the last exercise only; dropping the weight by 30% then performing the same number of reps.

Week 7 – 5 x 1 @ 105 % RM ?

Accessory Exercises – 2 compound (1 bilateral, 1 unilateral), 1 isolation / lift

Deadlift – Chin-ups, 1-Arm DB Rows, BB Stiff Legged Deadlifts, Push-ups**

Bench – Incline DB Press, Crush Press (Flat), Pullover, Hip Thrust**

Squat – Front Squat, Split Squat, Hip Adduction, DB Upright Row**

Military – Arnold Press, Lateral Raise (cable), Bent Rear Delt Rows (BB), Inverted Row**

**Last exercise; 1-2 sets; 8-12 reps; not coming close to failure, goal is to stimulate muscles for frequency value.

Optional 5th day: Arms, weak spots.

ABS: 3 exercises performed circuit style 2-3 times / week.



I participated in my second fitness competition this past August. During the 9 weeks leading up to my competition I followed a strict diet and continued to train my ass off. While preparing for that I continued to teach 7 group training classes / week where I work.

After my competition I found myself in need of a little break – a life no so structured and pre-determined, and some time to enjoy the company of friends and family over food and drinks, without stressing about every calorie I consumed.

I am back to it now, and the parties and late nights are very apparent during my weight training sessions. From past experience I knew this would happen; so instead of getting frustrated I will smile at those nights without regret and continue forward to become even better than before.

Here is the program I am following for one week only. I feel like it’s a great way to ease back into the gym and wake those muscles up prior to heading into my next training phase.


-Keep it simple

-Incorporate cardio

-Gradually increase intensity and volume

-Full-body workout


1. Decline Leg Press

1a. Dumbbell Bent-over Rows

2. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

2a. Dumbbell Chest Press (Flat bench)

3. Barbell Curls

3a. Triceps Push-downs (rope)

4. Knee-ups

4a. Briefcase walk

Day 1:

–          Start with 20 minutes of cardio.

Any type of cardio; my goal here is to work up a sweat to rid my body of toxins and mentally prepare to kill it this week. I usually go for the elliptical because I can put both my arms and legs into it.

–          Proceed to the weights; 2 sets of 10 reps.

Ya, my numbers are going to suffer – that’s what drinking and staying up late will do. Putting moderate-intense cardio first will also negatively impact my numbers, but for today it’s all good.

Complete the above exercises in superset fashion leaving no more than 1 minute rest between exercises. I choose a weight that will allow me to complete both sets of 10 reps with good form while leaving a couple reps “in the hole” (I could do a couple more, but not today). I’ll start with a warm-up set in most cases, especially if I am not certain of how much to lift.

Day 2:

–          10 minutes of cardio

I opt for incline walking, but any type will do. This is for both warm-up and cardio purposes.

–          Proceed to the weights; 3 sets of 10 reps.

I use the exact same exercises as day 1, again in superset fashion. This time I add a third set and try to increase my weights by 5-10lbs during my 2nd and 3rd sets of each exercise while still leaving 1-2 reps in the hole.

Day 3:

Active recovery; enjoy a long walk with my dog.

Day 4:

Same as day 2

Day 5:

–          5 minute warm-up and dynamic stretches.

Last workout before I head into my next phase.

–          Proceed to weights; 3 sets of 10 reps followed by 1 drop set to failure.

I continue to use the same exercises but add a fourth set to failure. I will perform 10 reps using the same weight as I did in set 3 and then continue to drop the weight and bang out reps until my form gets too sloppy or until I’m absolutely spent. This does not apply to the briefcase walk exercise.

Day 6: OFF


Side note: Everything in moderation folks! I do not recommened alcohol consumption and late nights on a regular basis; always keep your training goals in sight.

My First Fitness Competition

So I’ve decided to step on stage wearing next to nothing, and flex my stuff.

This March, I will be facing my fears and stepping out of my comfort zone. I made the decision to enter my first fitness competition about 3 months ago. I had played with the idea in the past, but I have always been shy when it comes to “showing off”. However, when I was told about the Fitness Star Model Search 2014 (happening not far from where I live), I filled out, paid, and submitted my registration before I had time to think twice. Luckily my boyfriend is doing it too, so I will not be going at it alone.

I have been lifting weights for the past 9 years. In this time I have accomplished many personal goals, but have also faced my share of struggles. Finding a healthy balance of weights, cardio, and proper nutrition is not easy; heck I’m still working at it! Over the past 6 months I have put on about 7lbs of muscle and I continue to work hard to increase my strength and improve my body composition.

As for the competition, I am either going to love the experience, or absolutely hate it. I don’t think there will be a middle ground here. I started my “competition diet” this past Monday, and will continue to stay dedicated to it for the next 5 weeks. My training hasn’t changed; I have just gotten smarter with my workout plans thanks to the help of my boyfriend. I used to do tons of cardio and my weight training was always focused on endurance, which I loved at the time. However I now periodize my training and lift for strength and hypertrophy. This has resulted in gaining much more lean muscle mass, which I enjoy more than what I was doing before.

I was thinking I would use my blog as a way to track my progress, and bitch about my struggles. So here is my first post. I now have to go walk around my house in clear stripper heels to get used them so I don’t look completely unnatural when I have to perform the “t-walk” in front of a crowd of people. Huurrraayyy!

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Anonymous

(That quote kicked my butt into giving this a try)

– Haley