Craig Leonard

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Weighing In With Coach Amber: Competition Check In – 8 Weeks Out

Amber DeLeal February 24, 2016
8 Weeks From Physique Competition

It was such a crazy Saturday I’m just now getting to posting about an exciting milestone I reached this weekend.

It’s hard to believe but Saturday marked the halfway point of my contest prep! Eight weeks down, eight more to go. Even though I have some pretty difficult moments of wanting to give in to that sweet tooth, the past eight weeks have gone by surprisingly fast.

Some days I wish I had more time, and by some days, I mean most days. I guess that’s the perfectionist and hard worker in me.

I’ve often joked about my weekly countdowns being more for my being able to finally eat some “sinful” foods, and not even about the contest. I’d say at this point in time it’s an even draw between the two. ūüôā

I thought it might help those of you who are unfamiliar with preparing for a physique competition to share my starting weight, body fat percentage and how my diet and workout plans have changed over the past eight weeks as I get closer to competition day.

I began my prep, on January 1, 2016.

After that point there has been no more cheat meals and no more heavy lifting.

We changed my diet a little bit a few weeks prior to the 1st of the year, and didn’t see much change, so we made a more drastic change on the first. We changed my protein intake for each meal from 6oz to 5oz, with 1 cup of veggies, and no carbs from non-veggie sources (so pretty much no carbs).

My weight training changed from lifting heavy weights for low reps, to light weight, high rep lifting, with little rest between sets and very high intensity.

My cardio also changed after the first of the year. Before that I was doing 20-minute intervals in the morning. After the first of the year I moved to doing 30 minutes of fasted interval cardio in the morning and 30 minutes of intervals at night.

I’ve since changed this structure to doing my full workout in the morning. I like to be able to come home, relax and write to relax after my long days instead of going to the gym.

My morning workout now consists of 30 minutes of cardio, followed by 30 minutes of high-rep resistance training, and then back to 30 minutes of cardio to complete my training for the day.

While all of these things were a HUGE change, they’re working very well.

I began to see and feel changes everywhere within a matter of days! After a few weeks, however, I went from losing 2 lbs a week to not losing any weight. As Craig always preaches, this wasn’t a time for panic. It simply let us know it was time to make another change.

So we dropped my protein intake to 4oz and upped my veggies to 1-1/2 cups. And I have been steadily losing two pounds a week since then. See the power of tracking nutrition, measuring progress, and using it to continue progressing?

I’m sure the results will soon slow again and further change will be required. The leaner I get as competition time closes in, the more strict I’ll have to be with limiting my nutrition.


January  2, 2016
February 21, 2016
Weight: 130 lbs
Weight: 121 lbs
Waist: 29 in
Waist: 26 in
Right Arm: 11-1/4 in
Right Arm: 10-1/2 in
Left Arm: 11-1/4 in
Left Arm: 10-1/2 in
Chest: 32-7/8 in
Chest: 30-1/4
Hips: 34 in
Hips: 32-1/2
Right Leg: 21-1/4 in
Right Leg: 20 in
Left Leg: 21-3/8 in
Left Leg: 20-1/4 in
Shoulders: 41 in
Shoulders: 39-1/4 in
Body Fat: 22.7%
Body Fat: 20%

IMG_4072 (1)
I want to apologize for the before picture on the left because it’s not from January 2nd. We haven’t been doing weekly pictures until recently. So, the “before” picture shown on the left is from May 31, 2015. I was approximately 127lbs. So I was just a tad bit bigger in January at my first check in than in this photo taken back in May. The picture on the right is accurate to the date of February 21st.


Every Friday I wake up and weigh myself. I then text or call my coach with my number and he lets me know if I need to do my measurements.

If I do, then the next day (Saturday) I get up early, and my husband takes my measurements with a measuring tape. We then get the kids ready and head over to Craig’s house where he checks my body fat percentage using calipers.

We do all of this before I eat or drink anything for the most accurate results. You want consistency in all of your measurements, all the time.

If you’re wondering why I have other people take my measurements¬†for me, I do it to insure that I get the most accurate measurements possible.

If you have different people doing your measurements each time, there’s a good chance that they’ll do it slightly differently than someone else.

For example, I could have Scott (my hubs) do my measurements one week, and the next week have Craig do them. Craig might measure my legs an inch above or below where Scott measured, and my measurements would not even be close to the same.

We actually had this happen when we first started measuring every few weeks. Trial and error is a great teacher.


My biggest challenge so far has to be fighting off my crazy food cravings. I crave things I don’t even normally like. For example: peanut butter! Eew!

I know. Who doesn’t like peanut butter, right? Well, I don’t. But I bet if you put some in front of my face right now I’d wish I could¬†shove a spoon full of it into my mouth!

My cravings weren’t even this bad when I was pregnant!

What makes the challenge of resisting food even more difficult is having 3 young children. This may come as a surprise to you, but my kids don’t eat chicken and veggies for every meal. But my daughter does like to imitate my poses:

Chloe - Kid Physique Poses

We do keep the yummy basics in our house. Waffles, cereal, Toaster Strudels, mac and cheese, popcorn, chips, and the list could go on and on. Seeing these things every time I open the pantry isn’t easy, but I’m able to resist.

If you have a hard time resisting food cravings, here are a few tips to help you reverse them.

How Do I Resist Temptation?

Resisting temptation is the hardest thing; Especially when all I want to do is eat!

I don’t want you to get the wrong impression, though. I’m honestly not even that hungry between meals. I just want to eat.

I do take a fat burner to help curb my appetite, which has helped tremendously! It also helps pick me up when I’m tired.

No carbs for 8 weeks is a tough thing to do.

I also try to keep myself busy. If I’m at home I focus on house work, my family and writing. When you’re busy you don’t have time to think about eating. This is a good thing when limiting calories to lose body fat.

A crazy outlet I’ve found that helps is cooking for my family. I know how crazy this sounds! You would think cooking food would only increase my hunger, but it doesn’t.

While they’re eating the meals I make for them, I do my meal prep for the week. It’s a WIN-WIN!

Mostly though, I just have to tell myself “no.” I will admit that I’ve slipped up on a few occasions. Never a whole meal, but a small snack in between meals here and there.

I honestly think giving in messes me up mentally more than physically. And it definitely isn’t worth it.

I’ve also gotten sick a few times, which threw my diet off for a few days. Setbacks will happen. It’s par for the course. The important thing is how you deal with them and that you stay on track.

Another thing that helps me say “no” to my temptations is knowing that at the end of the week I have to talk to my coach. No, he isn’t mean. In fact, he’s usually more satisfied with my progress than I am!

I’m in a constant state of being held accountable, which is powerful.

It’s also a reassuring feeling to know that if my numbers didn’t change at the end of the week, I did everything I could and we simply know it’s time to change my diet.

Something cool that has come out of wanting food all the time is that I’m already motivated and excited looking forward to my “off-season” when I’ll work on dem muscle gainz.

I also have an idea of a different approach to my cheat meals in 8 weeks when I can have them again. During my last off-season, on weekends I often gave in more than I should have. Mostly because we are always out and about on weekends or had parties to go to.

I will still enjoy these moments. However, I plan to be more picky about how often I let myself have a slice of cake at a birthday party. Or maybe I’ll still eat the cake but skip the pizza. (What am I thinking? Like I could ever resist pizza!)


As you can see from my progress,¬†diets do work. And I believe in tracking your progress, even if your goal isn’t to get up on stage in a bikini to be examined by judges. I’m truly shocked at the difference in my measurements! I honestly hadn’t compared them until seeing them side-by-side as I wrote this.

Also, the before and after pictures help me because I can look at them and see what I need to work on. By the way, posing is no joke! I can see about a million things wrong with my recent picture. But, like I said earlier, trial and error is a great teacher.

I also want to thank many of you reading this for the outpouring of love and support! It helps me more than you know when I’m struggling the most.

I’m excited to keep you up to date and will be sure to post another “check in” with updated measurements in the near future.

I can’t wait to see what I accomplish in the next 8 weeks – and to share it with you, my Craig Leonard Fitness family!

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