Zen Planner Sr. Software Systems Analyst & Scrum Master, Cody McDonald, recently won her WBFF Fitness Diva pro card and we couldn’t wait to share her story. Learn all about this unique competition, how she prepared and her advice for pro card hopefuls!
What competition did you compete in?
I competed in The WBFF (World Beauty Fitness Fashion, Inc.) Denver Show in June in Fitness Diva and Fitness Diva 35+.
Why did you choose WBFF?
Last summer I competed in two NPC (National Physique Committee) shows in the bikini category. NPC is more traditional bodybuilding, but I found that the WBFF focuses more on beauty and fashion, like a fitness pageant. I liked competing in WBFF because it is not so strict on certain muscular aesthetics, which is good because I seem to fall right in between the NPC bikini category and the NPC figure category. In the WBFF you can bring your own beauty without having to fit a “muscle mold”, so you can be yourself!
How does competing in WBFF help an athlete’s career?
The WBFF helps athletes by granting them a Pro status, with which they can promote themselves or their own business and attain sponsorships. The WBFF also chooses some competitors to be apart of other projects including the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.) and appear on TV.
If athletes place high enough at the Pro level The WBFF helps them through granting cash prizes that allow them to follow their dreams – for example opening their own gym or online personal training business. I am a perfect example of this. With the attention and visibility I have gotten from my recent win, my husband and I are starting our own online fitness consultation and training business (Altitude Performance). One leg of it will be devoted to all the aspects involved with prepping for a WBFF competition (CodyMac Fitness). I chose this avenue because there is not a lot of information out there concerning the specifics about the WBFF and I want to support the federation and help create more successful competitors in the Denver area.
What category did you compete in?
I chose to compete in the Fitness Diva category, which consisted of two rounds: bikini and theme wear. For the theme wear round, competitors wear a glamorous costume (think Victoria’s Secret runway show or Vegas Show Girl costume) and are judged on creativity and fashion. My theme was homemade – I was a gypsy with lots of coin jewelry and a sheer fabric cape/train.
What criteria were you judged on?
We were judged on five categories:
- Fitness/body tone
- Fashion/style including class, femininity and taste
- Stage presence including poise and confidence
What was your favorite part?
Winning (of course) and getting to know the girls were the highlights for me. I attended the WBFF Denver posing clinics and where I enjoyed getting to know the other competitors. I have kept in touch with a few and look forward to seeing them at the Worlds competition in Las Vegas this August. Overall, the WBFF operates like a big family, so you can really connect with the competitors and people running the show.
Did your coach have you do any mental exercises prior to your show?
Some coaches do that, yes. But I prefer a hands-off coach, so mine did not do that for me. I like self-motivation and prefer to be in control of my own progress. My coach would give me information, but would not TELL me what to do.
How long did you train prior to the event?
16 weeks. My preps are all natural and I don’t deprive myself of calories or do hours of cardio. I have competed enough to know that this type of prep takes me 16 weeks to peak.
How often did you train and what did your training look like?
My training changed throughout – always got to keep that body guessing! But generally I would go to the gym six days per week and three or four of those days were two-a-days. Not everyone does that, but I loved it.It really helped that my boss at Zen Planner let me go to the gym during my lunch break and also let me show up at 9am so I could workout in the morning before work. My evenings were then devoted to my husband, dogs and food prep (and a spinning class here and there).
- Glute activation
- Ab activation
- Cardio – I would do interval training and mixed it up often. A few examples are: stair stepper, sprints, inclines on the treadmill and plyometrics.
Afternoon: Lifting or Spinning
- 2 days legs/glutes
- 1 day back
- 1 day shoulders and triceps
- 1-2 days spinning
- Would incorporate a heavy ab workout one time per week
What changes, if any, were made to your training program and why?
There are always changes. If your coach does not change things up fairly often, they’re not doing it right. If you don’t change things up your body plateaus. You have to constantly be pushing your muscles and cardiovascular system, and keeping that metabolism going.I had two main changes: dial back my upper body lifting and tweak my nutrition as the competition approached. My coach pulled some carbs about a month out – but even then because of my workout regimen I was still getting more carbs than most competitors.
How often would you work with your coach?
My coach gave me suggestions but I was in control of what I would do at the gym. She would tell me things like, “Your upper body is getting too big and you’re holding fat in your thighs.” So I would decrease resistance and increase reps and add cardio. Some coaches lay it all out for you and tell you when to workout and what exactly to do, and what to eat and when – and more power to them, as that’s what they are getting paid for!
What was your diet like?
Every competitor is different, but overall you have to eat specific amounts of protein, low glycemic whole carbs (brown rice, sweet potatoes, oats or quinoa) and veggies/greens every meal, and I ate six meals a day. I also took recommended supplementation (multivitamin, CLA, L-Glutamine, pure whey protein) and healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, salmon, almond butter, avocados). You also MUST have a cheat meal once a week. That is SO important! It keeps your metabolism on point.
Has your trainer done any similar competitions?
She is an IFBB Figure Pro (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness).
What training materials did you or your trainer use?
I would log everything. My coach was only interested in my meals and workouts, but I would also log my weight, body fat percentage, water intake, even my hours of sleep sometimes if I was feeling low energy.
If someone were going to start competing, what advice would you give them?
I have three things.
First: If it is your first competition get a coach and start training at least four months out. It takes some time to get used to the dedication of eating specific things, in specific amounts, EVERY 2-3 hours, no exceptions! Working professionals need time to incorporate that into their workday. Depending on the type of prep you decide to do, a lot of times you CANNOT miss a meal. It doesn’t matter if you have an important meeting, an escalation, an impromptu visit from the RVP, run into traffic… CANNOT miss a meal.
Second: Do a reality check on how much you’re willing to sacrifice and how much dedication you have, because it is a lifestyle change. You will spend countless hours chopping vegetables, cooking, grocery shopping, portioning out food, eating 6+ meals every day, working out, coordinating beauty things (hair, makeup, swimsuit, posing, tan, photographer, meeting with your coach, etc.).
Third: Do research on expenses. It is not just paying for registration. There is SO much more that goes into it, including things like:
- Fitness/nutrition coach
- Posing coach
- Groceries (will double)
- Hair /makeup
There is so much extra cost that people are unaware of. Heck, even parking ran my husband and I over $50 for my show downtown!
We are so proud of Cody, and hope you enjoyed learning more about her journey. Cody will be competing in The WBFF Worlds competition in Las Vegas on August 15th, so stay tuned to our blog to find out how she does. The Zen Planner team will be rooting for you, Cody!