MARIE ALLEGRO - "You Are Stronger Than You Think"
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Competition Perspective…Under your control or not so much? Pt 3
How to get perky glutes!
Competition Perspective…Under your control or not so much? Pt 2 Why are you competing?
Competition Perspective…Under your control or not so much?
Congratulations…You just did your 1st fitness/figure/bikini/physique competition…Now what? Pt 5


bikini competitions
Body Image Dysmorphia
Bodybuilding competition
Figure competition
fitness competition
Glute exercises
mental state during competition
Post competitive phase
Pre contest prep
why compete?


May 2013
April 2013
March 2013

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Stronger Than You Think

Competition Perspective…Under your control or not so much? Pt 3

How committed are you?

Before you start putting your competition prep plans into action, you REALLY should take a moment to figure out WHY you are competing.  Whether it is part of your bucket list/pushing yourself to the next level/seeking notoriety…your reason will determine how committed you are and which path you will take to reach your goals.

Truth be told, no matter what your reasons are for competing, there will be many sacrifices needed to be taken to reach your goals.  Time, food, friends/family and sleep are usually the main factors in your life that will be sacrificed.  How may you ask?  Here’s how:

·Time – Be prepared to spend plenty of time in the gym.  Whether it is doing cardio, weight training, posing or practicing your routine (fitness/physique/bodybuilding), you will be spending much time in the gym to prepare for your competition.  Cardio= 45-60 minutes, weight training= 45-60 minutes, posing= 60 minutes, routine= 60 minutes (physique/bodybuilding), routine= 2hrs (fitness).  Now if you add all this up, it turns out to be a lot of time doesn’t it?  If you compete, it turns out to be a part time job. You should really sit back and think if this will be all worth it. 
·Food- Be prepared to give up all the yummy delicacies and desserts that you normally enjoy.  This is not your Zone, South Beach or Atkins Diet.  At least these diets permit some foods with flavor or fats.  Dieting for a competition will require 8- 16 weeks of restrictive/non flavor filled diets. 

·Friends/family – If we had 26 hour days and 9 days in a week, we probably would not have to sacrifice time with our friends and family.  When you tally up the time needed to prepare for a competition, it will not leave much time with loved ones.  You would probably have enough time to see your family or friends every other week.
· Sleep- Speaking from experience, a good portion of my fitness competition years, I probably averaged 4-5 hours of sleep a night during the week days.  During a majority of this time, I didn’t have a regular full time job.  I was a free lance trainer and group fitness instructor.  If I didn’t teach/train, I didn’t get paid.  Therefore, I had to teach/train during peak times. (before work, lunchtime, after work)  So I had to get up at 5 am to get to work to teach or train.  Meanwhile, for a good period of time, I was going Monday- Thursday to train my fitness routine from 8:30 pm – 10:30pm.  I would not get home until 11:30pm.  After cleaning up from the day and preparing for the next day, I would go to sleep at 12am.  Long day?  Not enough sleep you say?  Please keep in mind, this was during my fitness competition years.  When I switched to figure and physique, I did get a few more hours sleep, but not by that much.

I was very fortunate enough to have a husband who is very supportive. He helped cook and prepare all my meals.  That saved me quite a few hours a week.  I know NOT everyone is as lucky and have to do everything themselves.  As I stated before, you really need to sit down and think very carefully if you are ready to make this sacrifice.  You know the saying, “Behind every successful man is a successful woman”.  Well, this also applies to a successful competitor.  Let me just say, “Behind every successful competitor, is a SUPPORTIVE team (family/friends)”. This post is part 3 of the Competition Perspective series.  If you missed the previous post, you can check here.  Please check back for my next post… How far will you go to compete?  If you have any questions in regards to this topic or general fitness, you can reach me at  Looking forward to hearing from you.

How to get perky glutes!

If I could get a dollar for every time someone said they wanted glutes like mine, I would be able to buy a nice new car.  Coming from a family of ladies with flat glutes, I have to say I am proud of how far my glutes have come.  It just took one judge at Team Universe to say to me, “You have a nice physique but your glutes could be a little bigger.”  Now 17 years later, I am still so focused on making sure my glutes are so firm you can bounce a quarter off of it (well almost). 

If you follow the below two exercises in a superset fashion, you will see your glutes rise and become perkier than you can imagine.  Do 15 repetitions of the first exercise and move onto the next (without rest) for 15 repetitions as wells.  Do three sets of these exercises twice a week and you will see results.

1) Split lunges – Start standing with your feet together.  Take a step back with your right foot and place it on a step, bench, platform or TRX system.  Make sure that your feet a far enough so when you lunge down that your left knee stays at 90*.  Inhale when you bend your left knee.  Exhale and push through your left heel as you stand up.  You should feel your left glute doing most of the work.  Adding hand held weights, kettle bells or any extra resistance will add more lift to your glute.  As soon as you finish your set of 15 reps, repeat on the right leg.   Once you finish the second leg move onto the exercise below.

2) Reverse hip extensions – Lie face down on a bench.  Rest your hip flexors on the edge of the bench as you hug it.  Start with your knees bent towards the floor.  Inhale to prepare.  Exhale as you lift your legs straight up and out in a V shape.  You should feel your glutes and abductors doing most of the work.  Do 15 reps and go back to the above exercise with very little rest in between.  Just like the exercise above, added ankle weights will lift your glutes. 

I would love to hear from you.  If you have any questions or request for exercises for certain body parts, please email me at  Thanks for stopping by! Come back and visit soon!

Competition Perspective…Under your control or not so much? Pt 2 Why are you competing?

Competition Perspective…Under your control or not so much?  Pt 2

Why are you competing?

This is the question you should ask yourself before you take your first step towards competition preparation.  Are you competing because:

·You want to push your fitness to the next level
·You want to use this as a marketing tool for your business
·You want to get your face into fitness modeling
·You want to cross it off your bucket list
·You want to attain “pro” status

Whatever your reason to compete is…keep in mind that it is all about you!  From my experience, I have seen many competitors (myself included) get wrapped up with the supposed stardom from competing.  If you are clear on your reasons why you are competing, nobody will be able to detour your goals or make you do things that you DO NOT want to do. 

If you have read my website you know:

·That my competition career started out as a way to push myself to the next level.  At first, I started as a bodybuilder just to see how far my body can go. 
·Then fitness competitions came on the scene.  I knew as a bodybuilder I could not go anywhere because I was too small.  I started to think if I am successful as a fitness competitor, I can better market myself as a trainer. 
·As I competed in a few smaller competitions, I realized I would love to get a fitness modeling career going.  All I had to do is to place well in nationals or better yet turn “pro” as a fitness competitor. 
·At my first NPC Fitness Nationals, not only did I placed 5 out of 50 competitors, I earned my “pro” status.  Not too shabby? 

Once I turned “Pro” with the IFBB, I thought it was going to be easy to get sponsorship, fitness modeling and/or spokes model  jobs.  Boy was I wrong…It seems “Pro” status isn’t what it cracked up to be.  It seems that you don’t have to be a “Pro” to get the work.  As time went on, I had come to realize that if you have a few connections, a good marketable look and persistence, you may have a chance. 

Just remember, if you do not get the jobs or attention that you were hoping for, please do not think you are worthless.  You have no idea, how many competitors I have seen go down the dark road of inadequacies.  Don’t forget, you did something that about 80% of the population would not even do. Get on stage in a skimpy little bathing suit that barely covers your body. 

At the end, if you can remember why you wanted to compete, 90% of the time from my experience, is you want to push yourself to the next level.  You are winner…you are worth plenty…nobody should make you feel otherwise…..

This is the second post of “Competition Perspective…Under your control or not so much?” series.  If you missed the previous post, please check here.  If you have any questions in regards to contest prep or post competition schedule, please contact me at   I am also available for everyday fitness/wellness questions.  Check back soon and thanks for visiting.    

Competition Perspective…Under your control or not so much?

Competition Perspective…Under your control or not so much?

45 years on the planet…21 years of them involved in competition, in some form or another.  Whether competing, coaching competitors or both,  I have experienced in varying degrees,  situations where I lost perspective to why I was competing. More sense of self.

In this series, I will discuss several aspects of events that may occur, before, during and after competition.  The topics that I will discuss are as follows:

·Why are you competing?
·How committed are you?
·How far will you go to compete?
·How important is your placing?
·The big picture….

My goal in this series is to assist you with making the correct decisions that will not make you lose your sense of self, integrity and self worth.  In my experience, I cannot express how many times I questioned myself as a wife, competitor, trainer and coach.  If I can prevent that series of events happening to you, then all of it, will have been well worth it. 

Come back soon for more tips and information about this topic.  Thanks for stopping by...

Congratulations…You just did your 1st fitness/figure/bikini/physique competition…Now what? Pt 5

Congratulations…You just did your 1st fitness/figure/bikini/physique competition…Now what? Pt 5
Rekindling relationships 
As the weeks go on after your competition, take your time getting back together with your friends.  If you try to make up time too quickly, you can burn yourself out fast.   Remember... you just went through 16 weeks(more or less) of intense dieting and training. Now it is time for you to enjoy and savor the time with your friends and family. 
It would be no surprise after all the weeks of dieting and secluding yourself away from your friends and family, so you would not make anyone uncomfortable…You find it a challenge to work yourself back to meeting with them.
I remember when I was preparing for my competitions, one of my best friends, Linda said to me two months before my shows, “Give me a call after your show so we can hang out like regular people”.  Believe or not, I was not offended…if anything, I understood her. I appreciated that she gave me my space to do what I had to do and not make me feel guilty for choosing to compete.  
I even had to stay away from my family a month prior to the competition.  During the preparation phase you need to surround yourself with positive reinforcement.  Though I know my family loves me and wants me to do well, they may not have understood the whole dieting phase.  You know how some cultures see plumpness as being healthy. 
With my family, it was easy to get back to our usual gatherings.  The Monday after my competition, my mom would make my favorite two dishes…and she made it with love and a big smile.  She wouldn’t show it but I could tell she enjoyed every moment as I inhaled dinner. 
During my years of competition, I have learned who my true friends are.  As I mentioned above, my best friend Linda gave me the space that was needed for me to prep for my competition.  She didn’t give me any guilt trips for not spending time with her.  To come to think about it…I was blessed that most of my friends understood and gave me space. 
This is the final post in the series “Now What?”  If you missed my previous posts, check it out here.  If you have any questions on this topic or any other questions, please contact me at  There is more to come. Check back soon.  Thanksfor stopping by…… 
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