Brankica U.

Sort of a personal blog.
Mix of my fitness addiction, pit bull obsession, personal silliness and tiny bit of business!
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Happy girl… I buy so many books I can’t afford them. Now I found Thrift Books and can finally get more of them for less :) These 4 were about $20. I LOOOVE BOOKS

I’ve mentioned several times how much I like Dr Layne Norton’s training and nutrition philosophy and how much has his advice helped me over the last year. From realizing my contest prep coach was not a good choice to learning how to optimize my nutrition for best results. If you don’t know who he is, it would be best to check out his site at BioLayne. He started to debunk some of the fitness industry myths, after seeing what some coaches prescribe to their clients, in form of workout plans, bad nutrition advice as well as use of banned substances.


  After my, not so glorious experience with one of my coaches, learning about the industry for awhile now, as well as growing my knowledge about training and nutrition, I figured, I should try and help as much as I can to spread the word about what you should run away from when you are hiring a coach. Note that this doesn’t apply only to competition prep but any type of program you are paying for.

Your coach is starving you

How many times have you heard of girls being on sub 1.000 calorie diets? Well, that is too low for majority of women. Now, imagine a coach that keeps you on low calorie diet for an extended amount of time and your metabolism gets so screwed up that you can’t lose weight not matter how little you eat. For a starting estimate on how many calories you should eat, and how low you should never go, you can use this daily caloric needs calculator. Not even in the last few weeks of prep should a 5’5” woman be on 800 calorie diet.

Your coach is over training you

Rest is one of the most important factors for health and improving your physique. If your off season training plan has you on 1 hour of cardio, 6 days a week, what will your “on season” plan be like? 2 hours of cardio in a day? Yes, I’ve seen it before - 3 training sessions in one single day (2 hrs of cardio split into two training and then 1 hour of weight lifting). Who the heck has time for that?

"Cookie cutter" programs

You are paying a lot of money for your plans, you want them to be created for you, having your goals and body type in mind. This has to be one of my biggest pet peeves. To make a point, I’ve received plans from a coach, that are exactly the same as girls’ who were 30+ lbs over their ideal weight and those who were complete beginners to the gym workouts (I was intermediate lifter so to say and at lower than ideal weight). How in the world can we workout following the same plans?

Your coach acts like you work for him

Let’s make this very clear. Even though you are the one seeking help, you are also the one paying for it. At no time should your coach act like you are the one working for them. Sure, trying to motivate you and push you forward is a part of the job, but being mean to you, calling you names, threatening to drop you as a client or any other kind of intimidation tactics are not what coach-client relationship should be like.

Special sign up fees

While I can understand that some coaches have a large amount of clients, and have to make sure that those clients who are not too serious don’t take away their time, having high additional “sign up” fees is probably a red light. When I signed up with one of the teams that has probably thousands of girls, my initial sign up fee was almost $600. At the time, I really didn’t know any better, so I went ahead and paid for it. I sure learned my lesson. The interesting thing is that a friend I met after I left the team said she never paid the sign up fee (she was in the same team a few years before me). The easy explanation, based on what I’ve learned after, is that the team has so many girls dropping, they make sure they get enough money at the very beginning. The reason I can say this, is that the initial fee is explained by the fact that as a new team member you will need extra support at the beginning. However, I am yet to understand what the initial support was, since I never got any. My emails were not answered with any priority, nor have I received any additional package of information compared to any of the following months.

Coach in denial

This one is actually dangerous. I’ve read a blog post by an IFBB Bikini Pro, who opened up and said how she has an eating disorder and goes on to say how she only blames herself because she lived by “follow the plan” rules. She didn’t use the plan as guideline but absolute necessity. The sad part is that her coach told her, her bulimia was a poor stress response to the feeling of required perfection. Interesting considering that the coach is the one that makes the plan and insists on you following it to the letter. So what is a girl to do - not follow the plan and be ostracized or follow the plan and develop an eating disorder? Any coach that denies conditions such as metabolic adaptation (or damage as some call it) and eating disorders, is not a coach you need to work with. On top of that, if they blame everything on you, that may be another red flag.

Blame it on others

So I mention blame. Yes, there are many clients that do not follow the plans provided. However, if those clients are sabotaging their progress, simply don’t work with them. That, to me, is much more professional than continuing to take their money and at the same time, blame them for lack of progress. You see, when your diet is not including several major groups, like dairy and fruits, almost year long (see Dr Layne’s tweet above), you can not expect people not to want to step away from the diet. Add at least 2 hours of working out every day and you have a disaster waiting to happen. There are very few people who can live like that year long. That is why there is an off-season. Time to rest and recover from dieting and hours upon hours of training. However, some trainers say there is no off season.

You ate one shrimp too many

If your coach tells you that stepping away from your diet in any possible way will pretty much delete what you have done in the weeks before, you need to fire your coach. Unless you are in full contest prep mode, one meal off plan won’t ruin all your efforts. I am not saying you should cheat on your diet, but if you are 8 months out from your competition, I am pretty sure eating an extra egg or adding an extra shrimp to your meal will not delay your weight loss!

Marketing at its best

If you are told that you are joining a team with limited availability and you have to pay your dues in next X amount of days or you have to re-apply, stay away. You are hiring a coach, for God’s sake, not joining a secret cult. Your potential coach either has a spot for you or he does not. If they tell you that you need to decide fast, because he has a few more people waiting and he is swamped with work, I can understand that. However, those are not very common situations. After your initial contact, the coach should tell you if he has a spot for you or not. They don’t need to make it a special event where they only have a spot for you if you sign up right away. We all know what scarcity in marketing is, and you should not fall for it.

Wait list

OK, this one is related to the previous one. I am not saying you should not trust a coach with waiting lists, I know there are few good ones with actual waiting lists, however, there are some using this as a marketing tactics. One guy has a waiting list you can pay to get on and then you can pay to get ahead of someone who has been waiting longer than you. The most annoying thing is that I personally contacted him awhile ago and he told me my wait time would be more than 4 months. At the same time, a friend of mine contacted him and he started working with her right away. The difference between us - I wasn’t sure if I wanted to compete while she was already a national level athlete.

What ever it takes

Honestly, this kind of mentality worries me. I am all for pursuing your dreams. I myself dug really hard to make some of my dreams come true. However, taking the what ever it takes mindset is often not going to bring anything good. There should always be a limit to what you are willing to do for something. No dream is worth damaging your health for. No dream is worth doing something you will regret after a few months or years. No dream is worth ruining the life of those around you and possibly losing your friends’ and family’s support. When you come to a coach and they tell you their philosophy is “do everything it takes” understand that you don’t have to have the same philosophy. You are paying them to help you with training and nutrition. Maybe posing or make-up or entire presentation at a show. However, you should not let anyone decide what your goals should be nor how far you should go to reach them.

Limiting organizations

Note that some coaches are limiting the organizations they are willing to train the competitors for. I know of two teams that are limited to NPC/IFBB only and one that will only train for WBFF. Those are their personal preferences but make sure you are clear if you want to be limited. For example, my first experience was with a coach that was only working with NPC. I had no clue what any of the organizations were at that time. Once I started training and learning more and more about organizations, I realized that I may not necessarily want to compete in NPC. But being with that coach meant I had to! The thing is, even if I ever do compete, I have no goals in the sport, I don’t care for chasing the pro card, nor do I hope to make it in the fitness model industry :) So either I was going to fire the coach or try NPC. I ended up leaving the coach (for more than this reason, though) and now I am looking into competing in a natural organization that is much better suited for me - more local shows and natural competitors.

Banned/controlled substances

Let’s make one thing clear. This is a sport of bodybuilding we are talking about here and some people use banned substances to help them build the body they want. Some coaches will pretend they are not seeing what you are doing, some will even offer the drugs to you and provide them. This would not be so scary if we were talking about division of bodybuilding, where you really have to have some serious mass to be competitive. No, it has spread everywhere so now you have bikini competitors using these substances. Which is sad because with just a bit stricter diet and a proper training plan, you can step on the bikini stage in some reasonable time. But no, some girls what it all and want it fast. And some coaches help with that. Here is an example of a potential bikini competitor being told to take T3 and anavar to prep for her bikini competition - read here! So there you have it, 13 reasons to fire your coach before it is too late. Although I am sure there are more. So here are two things you can do for all the girls out there:

  • leave a comment adding reasons why someone should think twice about hiring someone
  • send this post to a friend of yours that may be about to hire a wrong coach or may already be working with one.

Merry (early) Christmas to myself. #dexter #darkpassanger #ilovedexter #ipod #apple

This has to be the best Tumblr blog ever, piles of photos of men and cats in same poses. LOVE IT!!!

🐥 chicken tacos 🐥

👉 whole wheat tortilla
👉 chicken made with chicken taco seasoning
👉 fat free plain greek yogurt
👉 guacamole
👉 tomato
👉 salad

Three 🐶🐶🐶 to share it with

#eatclean #recipe #tacos #iifym #protein #getinmybelly #cooking #bodybuilding #cleanrecipes #healthy ##fitfam #instagramfood #foodporn (at kitchen)

Because of my biceps flexors being currently screwed up I am not allowed to do any flexing work. But I can do a lot of other things and be creative with my workouts. so no shoulder presses but I sure can think of a bunch of different ways to get those shoulders growing. Two variations of side raises. This was the end of my workout today so I used lighter weights and burned those delts to the ground ;) #fitchickcafe (at Gym)

Yay, I did it! My first ever grilled food! I thought I will have to give up the yummy grilled stuff cause hubby had to leave for work but I managed to do it. The steak wasn’t as perfect as he makes it, but it was really yummy. Side is grilled bell pepper cut into strips and mixed with jasmine rice. A great meal for a girl that had a leg day today :D … So happy that I didn’t burn the back deck where the grill is, break something on the grill or any of the stuff that normally happens to a jinx like me :) (at kitchen)

So I’ve been having problems with my right elbow, looks like golfer’s elbow and it is really painful. I am trying to stay off of that arm but it is pretty hard, considering you simply can not NOT use it.

And I don’t want to stop working out, now that I am on a roll.

I read about this cool tape and decided to try it, it is called Rock Tape and it is supposed to make you hurt less and heal faster. My favorite thing is actually that it comes in cool colors ;)

I got mine from Amazon here.

So I took 4 days off from workouts as an extended weekend and today put the tape on and finally did a back workout. Really needed it :) Had to go a bit lighter but better than nothing…

Three kinds of pulldowns and two kinds of rows. 4 to 5 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Gotta keep moving ;)

Few pushups from today. Working step by step towards my handstand pushups. Did mostly #crossfit type workout and made a PR on bench press at 135lbs which is my bodyweight. #operationifpapro (at Gym)

light leg day. doing legs twice a week right now. monday was really heavy leg day with a lot of PRs so I took it easy today. #quads are coming along awesome. love this growth process #operationifpapro #figurecompetitor #ocb #nanbf #georgia #gymunicorn #bodybuilding #fitness #crossfit #jump #reebok #serbian #fitchickoftheday