Wanted to start by thanking each of 81 bikini girls who've completed my anonymous questionnaire about their preps! Thank you for your time and input on this. I'd love to do more anonymous questionnaires, as they allow for more transparency and shedding the light on what's really going on with our female bodies during prep! Comment below with any specific questions you'd like me to address in the future or send me a DM on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/anastasiaova/:)
NOW for the stats and observations! The anonymous idea came from the fact that most of our prep coaches don't allow to disclose the meal plans/macros. However, it looks like that the 'secret diet' is pretty much the same for all of us... It is how much we stick to it that makes all the difference. Plus your original body composition before the prep and your training experience, as well as your overall health/digestion system.
Yes, bikini preps' protocols differ but in a nutshell they're all about a calorie deficit, more cardio, more intense weight training. Shedding as much fat as possible while trying to save our hard-earned muscles in the right places!
I hope you enjoy checking out the below results!
The questionnaire had 10 simple questions:
1) How many weeks did your bikini prep last?
12-16 weeks was the most popular time frame - 62%
8-10 weeks - 15%
17-21 weeks - 20%
Over 24 up to 32 weeks - 3%
2) Did you have a prep coach?
3) Have you experienced any of the below side effects during your prep?
The last 'ANYTHING ELSE' part included following answers:
- General constipation from ibs, feeling cold and hunger “mood”
- Constant nausea and depression
- I stopped sweating when I trained and taught classes
- Insomnia from hiit exercises and being excited about my comp
- Dry skin
- Difficulty sleeping / staying asleep
- Joints pain
It was also interesting to note that the side effects had no correlation to the prep diet, whether the girl was on low fat or low carb diet. It looks like we all suffer the same symptoms from general calorie deficits and training intensity.
4) If known, what were your starting calories and macros?
Only 1 girl was on 3,000 calories
30% started off at 2,200 calories
50% at 1,800 calories
And 20% at 1,500 calories and under
Macros had 3 main splits:
- higher fats, lower or no carbs
- low fats, higher carbs
- carb cycling
Protein was kept high daily for all at around 110g-180g. I was pleasantly surprised that no one had their daily fat intake under 30g.
5) If known, what were your end calories and macros (before peak week)?
1,850 calories were the highest, 800 the lowest... While the majority ended up at 1,100-1,400 calories spectrum.
I was also surprised that 2 girls didn't count their macros or calories at all. Perhaps they've stuck to a meal plan from a coach without calories intake awareness? Or they're amazingly in tune with their bodies which is super impressive!
6) Did your coach officially allow any cheat meals or refeeds during the prep? If yes, how many?
35% were not allowed any cheat meals or refeeds.
20% were allowed 1 cheat meal / refeed a week
25% were allowed 4-6 cheat meals / refeeds for the whole prep's duration (every 3-4 weeks on average)
10% were allowed 2 cheat meals during the whole prep
10% had a flexible diet approach = IIFYM (if it fits your macros) and included treats on their own terms
7) What foods did you crave the most during prep?
This was my favourite part to read! 10% of girls who followed the flexible IIFYM approach said that they didn't have specific cravings but some just wanted bigger portions.
In total, 70% had the SUGAR cravings and the food in bold was mentioned more often:
Pizza, cereal, donuts, cheese, candy, burger, ice cream, peanut butter, cookies, red wine, crisps, chocolate, starchy food, butter, cake, bread, sandwiches, fruit, potatoes, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, any junk food, pancakes, fries, frozen yoghurt, bacon.
8) Did you cheat on your diet without your coach knowing? If yes, how many times?
70% of girls cheated on their diet at least once without telling their coach. 10% cheated and told the coach. The rest were fully compliant, mostly the girls who were originally allowed cheat meals / refeeds..
Which means that only 5% of all girls were not allowed cheat meals / refeeds and didn't cheat once. Bravo to the super strong 5%!
9) How much weight did you lose during your prep? Please specify in kgs or lbs
16kg or 35lbs was the highest weight loss (with a 20 week prep), while on an average 12-14 week preps they've dropped between 4kg/9lbs - 7kg/15lbs.
10) Were you satisfied with your physique on the show day?
What did I think of all these results? Definitely jealous of some girls on higher calories! Impressed with some people's willpower. I got hungry while reading the cravings part... BUT most importantly, I felt that I'm not alone with a few side effects and that bikini preps are never easy. Yet we are still keen on these physical and mental challenges.
Thank you all again for taking part! These results only display a glimpse of the whole 'bikini prep' picture, as the questionnaire didn't include any cardio/training splits, as well as how experienced the competitors are. So I'm excited to do more surveys and learn about us all! X