Episode #168: “Practical Solutions for Aesthetics Goals” with Peter Fitschen, PhD

If you are a female who is wanting to better understand dieting, caloric restriction, tapering for competition or a photo shoot, and you are ready to stop hitting plateaus, this is the podcast episode for you.

Kristy Jo interviews Peter Fitschen, PhD, to discuss the practical side of reaching Aesthetics goals in a world where many women are desiring to reach a lean, chiseled, carved look. Is it realistic? Is it maintainable? What about female hormones?

In this conversation, you will learn:

  • how long it takes for hormones to reset after a competition, and how long you should wait before competing again
  • when you shouldn’t begin to prep for a show or photo shoot
  • steady, maintainable rates of body fat loss per week
  • where treats fit into competition prep vs. a healthy lifestyle
  • What the difference is between “stage lean” and “gym lean”
  • Whether or not you should test your body fat percentage
  • . . . and other dialogue that will increase your critical thinking when it comes to body composition shifting

If you are a female who is wanting to better understand dieting, caloric restriction, tapering for competition or a photo shoot, and you are ready to stop hitting plateaus, this is the podcast episode for you.

Click here to listen to the full interview! But.  . . you can also enjoy some CLIFFS NOTES from the podcast episode below.

Are you in the perpetual cutting/shredding cycle where you’re wanting to be cut all the time?

Perhaps this applies to you if you’re a competitor, but maybe you’re not a competitor. What is important to recognize is that it can be very dangerous to constantly be in a caloric deficit and trying to keep your body fat low.

It takes a minimum of six months for your hormones to regulate after cutting and being in a deficit to prepare for a show or photo shoot. Before a person even goes down the road to dieting for a competition, it is critical a woman be completely healthy in her relationship with food and her body. If she is starting prep with a poor body image and relationship with food, it’s only going to get worse as she prepares for competition. This is a good time to start doing work with a therapist or body image coach. If things begin to spiral downward when getting closer to a show, it’s important to discuss the

Post-show, it’s important to get the weight back up a bit. But if things spiral out of control, Pete recommend getting treatment from a professional. He finds that with his clients, this is best avoided.

What about the female who wants to get ripped for the first time in her life? She wants to see veins, she eats clean and has a sedentary desk job. Where would we start?

The first thing to understand is how many calories she is eating each day. Once this is understood, start by pulling back around 300 calories/day. Figure out if that is enough to sustain slow, steady body fat loss. For normal body composition, she should not see more than 1% body fat loss per week.

On the cardio, it’s the same thought process. She firstly should be incorporating resistance training workouts in addition to ensuring she is on a high protein diet. Otherwise, she can diet her muscle away and lose weight, but not actually improve her body composition.

How do treats fit into competition prep vs. normal healthy lifestyle? What works well?

I don’t restrict foods or food groups. When I give someone macro numbers who is dieting for a show, it’s the caveat that 80-90% should come from nutrient-dense foods, while leaving flexibility for things that might keep you going.

Sure, at the beginning when numbers are high, you might be able to incorporate that small amount of ice cream, but as the macros get lower, those types of foods take care of themselves as people eat for volume and aren’t willing to be hungry. They want fiber-filled real food instead of the quick sugar fix.

During the off-season, some clients switch to calorie-range protein-minimum which gives more flexibility, but still under the caveat that 80-90% of foods should be nutrient dense. It’s important to know where you’re at what time of the year with your goals.

When dieting for a show, you have to be in a place mentally to say “I’m ready to do whatever I need to do.” Coming out of a show, I don’t want to think about going back into a deficit for at least 8 months!

Can you be lean and strong?

Are you strong when you’re stage lean? No. But when you’re gym lean, you can be strong.

What’s right for each person? It depends from person to person. Most people will not get actually stage lean–they realize just how much leaner they actually have to get (very common for first-timers).

For some people it’s 10 lb. over stage weight, for others it’s 20-30 lb. over stage weight. It has to be where they feel good.

Should you test your body fat?

Pete doesn’t have his clients measure their body fat percentage.

Pete has his clients pay attention to a combination of visually what is happening, what the scale is doing, and what their performance is in the gym. If you’re looking leaner, the scale is dropping, and you’re getting stronger in the gym, you’re in a good place.



Find Peter Fitschen Online:  


Instagram: www.instagram.com/fitbodyphysique


About Peter Fitschen:

Peter has a PhD in Nutritional Science from the University of Illinois. He also has a Masters in Biology with a Physiology Concentration and Bachelors in Biochemistry with a Nutrition Minor from the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse.  During this time, he co-authored 17 peer-reviewed publications related to nutrition and exercise.

In addition, Peter is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).  Peter has been a competitive natural bodybuilder since 2004 and won his natural pro card in 2012.  More recently he won the pro class at the 2016 NGA North East Ohio Bodybuilding Championships.

Professionally, Peter is an online fitness coach through his company FitBody and Physique LLC where he works with a wide variety of clientele from those just beginning their fitness journeys to competitive bodybuilders and powerlifters.  He has also written for a variety of fitness websites and traveled for a number of invited talks on topics related to nutrition, fitness, and bodybuilding.



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