The Valerie Waugaman Project

It was Thursday the 28th of December. I was on Christmas
break and was just casually checking my email when a new name popped up in my
It was Valerie Waugaman. Now, although I’d like to say that I knew exactly who Val was,
that’d be a lie. The truth is, despite Val’s relative stardom in the figure world, I’d never
heard of her. And not knowing who she was, I was fairly unmoved by her email:
Hi John Berardi and Team,
My name is Valerie Waugaman and I am extremely interested in hiring you as a coach… I’m an IFBB Professional Figure competitor… I hear you’re the best… I’d
love it if you’d consider taking me on as a client… blah, blah,
Of course, her mail was eloquently written and I’m just kidding around with
the blah, blah, blah stuff. Yet the truth is, my coaching team has been booked
solid for 2 years straight. That’s right, we rarely ever take on new clients —
and that’s because we have very little client turnover. When a spot does come
available on our roster, the hoops folks have to jump through are pretty
incredible. Thus I had no idea if we could bring Val on as a client, nor if
she’d make the cut during our application and interview process.
Yet, like any healthy, red-blooded, heterosexual male, I began to wonder what
this Valerie Waugaman looked like. Heck, at this point you’re probably wondering
too. Well, behold the power of Google images:

All right, I’ll fess up. After seeing some of these images, I was officially
moved. So I decided to dig deeper. And in the process I discovered that not only
is Val a hottie and a rising figure superstar, she’s also a successful
businessperson, motivator, fitness educator, and more.
Shortly after, I scheduled a phone meeting with my coaching staff and you bet
your bottom we made room for Val. In fact, me and my head training and nutrition
coach, Carter Schoffer, decided that in helping Val prep for the Arnold Classic,
a tag-team approach would be best. Oh, get your mind out of the gutter — I meant
a tag-team coaching approach! After all, we’re professionals, damn it!
So we contacted Val and we started planning our attack.
About Val
It didn’t take long for us to learn that
Valerie Waugaman is one of the hottest names on the figure circuit. With her
gorgeous face, sexy walk, and sculpted physique, people stop and stare when Val
walks into the room. And whenever she steps on the competitive stage, she might
just walk away with the overall title. In fact, Val won the NPC National Figure
championships in 2005 and the prestigious Colorado Pro figure event in 2006.
Of course, when most folks look at Val they immediately think she must have
been born the near picture of perfection she is today; tall, graceful, charming,
and oh so lean. However, many are surprised to learn that there was a time when
Val had body composition issues of her own.
You see, although Val came from an intense sports background, after her
competitive days were over, Val found it very difficult to maintain her
physique. So in late 2003 Val found herself out of shape for the first time in
her life.
“As a small business owner, I was putting all my energy into the business and really let my body go in the process… I decided to commit to taking care of my body and transforming my life… What truly motivated me through the hard training and nutritional adjustments was my desire to be a positive example of
health & fitness to as many people as possible.”
Ten weeks later, with the help of her first figure coach Mike Davies; Val
entered the Body Rock competition, taking 4th in her class.

Today it’s nearly 4 years later and Val has emerged as a figure superstar.
After her win at the Colorado Pro show last June, Val’s future success seemed
all shored up. Yet a disappointing showing at the Olympia just 4 months later
brought out the critics. Wanting to put it all on the line at the Arnold
Classic, Val contacted us for support and coaching.
“This year’s Arnold competition is a very big deal to me. It’s a
significant turning point in my career and I want to stand on stage that day
knowing that I did my very best to bring the best Valerie Waugaman ever! I
visualize shaking Arnold’s hand as the Figure International Champion. I believe
in you and your program and I believe in myself. It’s time to BRING IT

Val’s Off-Season
At this point, it’s important to know
that Val is a study in commitment and discipline. In fact, she makes most of the
men around T-Nation look like fickle little school-girls, both in the gym and
out. Her intensity is mind-blowing; her focus is laser-like. And her attention
to her training and nutrition plan are inspiring.
Val eats clean and works incredibly hard year-round, knowing that not only
does she have to look good on the stage — she also has to be ready at a moment’s
notice for photo/video shoots, appearances, and the fitness camps that she
leads. To see what I mean, check out this image, taken during week 1 of our
contest prep:

That’s right — Val looks this good all year round.
Now, most of you are probably wondering how she stays this fit even during
the off-season. Well, like I said — discipline and commitment. Below is an
example of what her weekly execise schedule looks like — and no, she doesn’t get
“too busy” to get to the gym.
1 hour total
Plyometrics, Low Intensity Cardio**
1 hour total
Resistance Training, Intervals*
1.5 hours total
Resistance Training, Intervals*, Plyometrics
1 hour total
Resistance Training, Intervals*
1.5 hours total
Resistance Training, Low Intensity Cardio**
1.5 hours total
Low Intensity Cardio**
* Interval exercise includes indoor or outdoor running and/or bike sprints,
rowing sprits, or stepper/elliptical sprints.
** Low intensity exercise includes indoor or outdoor conventional “cardio”,
swimming, yoga, posing, etc.
In addition to this intense year-round training plan, Val’s diet is also very
clean. To begin with, she shops at health food stores and organic markets, buys
mostly organic produce, and eats meats that are antibiotic and hormone-free.
Further, she only ever eats out 1-2 times per week and never eats fast food.
Finally, she eats at least 1-2 servings of veggies with every single meal.
In fact, as Val was introduced to us through our Precision Nutrition program,
her diet pretty much follows the PN program perfectly. And like I said, to this end she makes some of the guys
around here look like rank beginners when it comes to sticking to a plan.
The Arnold Classic Plan
Even with this great off-season plan and awesome off-season level of conditioning, it’s important to understand
that doing what it takes to look good in the off-season and doing what it takes
to step onto the Arnold Classic stage at your absolute best are two very
different things. According to Val:
“I definitely came to the table with a solid background and 2 years of show experience, but after I decided to work on my own for a year, it was too much for me… I wanted to find an expert who could take me to the next level as well as provide some accountability/support.”
Now, going into her contest preparation, we had two major challenges. First,
Val was already quite lean and had a pretty high weekly exercise volume. This
meant that we could only increase exercise volume so much before she’d start to
feel run down, experience CNS fatigue, and begin to feel the effects of
overreaching. It also meant that her body would fight fat loss every step of the
Second, Val is proud to admit that she’s never taken any steroids, thyroid
hormones, or illegal stimulants when prepping for shows. (For those of you
wondering, these are fairly commonplace in physique competition — even at the
figure level).
As a result of these two challenges discussed above, we devised a cyclic
nutrition and training plan that would prevent Val’s body from adapting to the
calorie intake or work loads too quickly, slowing her progress.
When it came to nutrition, Val’s plan started with 5 different menus that Val
rotated through as follows:

35% protein, 40% carbs, 25% fat

45% protein, 25% carbs, 25% fat

45% protein, 15% carbs, 40% fat

40% protein, 20% carbs, 40% fat

45% protein, 25% carbs, 25% fat

40% protein, 30% carbs, 30% fat

45% protein, 15% carbs, 40%
The whole idea behind this system is to cycle calories and macronutrient
ratios so that Val’s body stayed out of starvation mode. You see, both very low
carb intakes as well as very low calorie intakes can signal starvation. Yet
they’re often necessary for getting ready for the competitive stage. Therefore,
to keep Val out of trouble, we cycled between low carb, low calorie, higher
carb, and higher calorie days.
Also, throughout Val’s 8-week preparation period, Carter and I changed her
training program every 2-4 weeks. Here’s what one of her training blocks looked
Morning 1h
lower body resistance training w/quad and hamstring focus followed by 10min
interval bike sprints
30min posing
Morning 1h
upper body resistance training w/chest & back focus
1h upper body resistance training w/shoulder & core focus
followed by 20min interval rowing
45min lower body resistance training w/glute focus followed by 30min yoga
20min interval bike sprints
60min medium intensity cardio
20min interval bike sprints followed by 20min swimming
45min lower body resistance training w/quad focus
60min medium intensity cardio
60min upper body resistance training w/back & shoulder focus
20min upper body resistance training w/chest & back focus
followed by 20min interval rowing
Of course, as the contest prep period wore on, we altered the calorie intake
and training based on her response. Specifically, if she wasn’t leaner from one
week to the next, we dropped calories by about 100-150 each day.
Further, we also changed her training based on which body parts were coming
in the best. As you can see in the phase above, we were working mostly chest,
back, and legs as these areas needed the most work early on in her prep. As
these areas came in, we switched the program up, placing more emphasis on arms,
shoulders, and glutes — the last areas that seemed to need special
Beyond The Training and Nutrition Plan
As you can see, Val’s program was very demanding, requiring 1-2 workouts
every day. And as you’d imagine, Val needed to dig deep to find her
Vision boards and frequent positive reminders played a big role. In her home
gym, she posted a photo of herself shaking Arnold’s hand and winning the Arnold
Classic title. She also had a visual motivation board in which she placed her
core values and a number of motivational messages. Further, she kept a daily
planner full of positive messages to keep her spirits up when things got
“When it comes down to the final weeks preparing for a figure
competition, my mind starts asking me, ‘Valerie, this is hard… Why are you doing
this?’ At that point the only thing that keeps me focused is connecting with my
core personal values and moving towards my ultimate vision in life. I remind
myself that it is not really about me winning a contest; it’s about a greater
purpose. The stage is really an avenue to serve others… a challenge… an
opportunity for personal growth. Now that gets me FIRED
In addition to Val’s vision boards and motivational strategies, we did our
part by helping Val schedule her 8-week pre-contest period. As we do with all
our clients, we have them break out a calendar and commit 10 minutes every day
to reflect on their “daily wins” (progress) and to fill out a progress report
which gives us some objective and subjective feedback as to how their bodies are
changing and how they’re tolerating the plan.
Also, we had Val commit to taking photos and body comp measures every Sunday
morning. Coupled with her daily progress reports, Val would fire these off to us
every Sunday evening so that we could review her progress and make the necessary
NOTE: In preparing for the Arnold Classic, we decided that 8 weeks would be
enough of a pre-contest period as Val was coming into her prep period very lean
and had previously only taken a mere 5 weeks to prepare for shows. However, for
those figure girls with less show experience and a higher starting body fat %,
the contest prep should be longer. In fact, with amateur figure girls starting
at 18% bodyfat or higher, we typically will begin contest preparations 16 weeks
out from a show.

The Last Week
For the 8 weeks leading up to her competition, Val was pushed like she’d
never been pushed before. Working, eating, training, supplementing, posing,
sleeping, and doing it all over again the next day, Val’s body changed on a
daily basis.
We monitored these changes with weekly records of Val’s body weight, skinfold
measurements, body fat %, weight-room performances, subjective feelings of
recovery, and more. Further, every week we kept up on Val’s appearance with the
weekly photos she sent.
Our entire contest prep period was sailing along smoothly – until we hit a
hiccup. (Cue suspenseful music.) During the last week before most physique
competitions, it’s customary to follow a glycogen depletion/reloading protocol
designed to “fill out” the competitor’s muscles so they look full and round on
Well, since things were going so well and we knew Val could really come in
lean, dry, and full, we decided to also employ a sodium/water load and
depletion strategy. Here’s how we planned this strategy out for the Friday
Carb Depletion/Loading*
Sunday, Monday,

Low carb intake (around 50g carbs total for the day)
diet but add 100g dry carbs from sodium-free rice cakes and home-made banana
chips (150g carbs total for the day)
Thursday and

Same diet but add another 100g dry carbs from sodium-free
rice cakes and home-made banana chips (250g carbs total for the
Water and Sodium Loading/Depletion*
Sunday, Monday,

Begin salting all meals (1tsp salt with each meal) and
drink 2 gallons of water
Dandelion Leaf or Root Extract 500mg 3x per day**, drop all salt, reduce water
intake to 1 gallon
Thursday and

Dandelion Leaf or Root Extract 500mg 3x per day**, no
salt, drink only 8oz total water for the day — taking small sips with
* As you can see, when the carbs are low, the sodium and water intake are
high. And as the carbs go up, the sodium and water intake drops. If this is done
right, the competitor will show up at their contest with full muscles and very
little sub-cutaneous water.
** Dandelion acts as a safe, mild diuretic.
Now, although this is a common strategy that works quite well in physique
athletes, it’s important to know two things. First, it doesn’t work well for
everyone. If there are a bunch of physique drugs or other X-factors in the mix,
this strategy could backfire. So it’s best to do a trial run with the strategy
during the preparation period — something we didn’t do this time around.
Secondly, during the 3 day carb depletion/water and sodium loading phase, the
competitor will likely look bloated. Of course, this is transient and as the
water and salt intake is dropped, the body will harden right up. Yet this can be
quite disconcerting for competitors as they literally feel like they’re getting
smoother by the minute.
Val must have felt this as well, as evidenced by the email she sent us
Tuesday night.
“I’m not sure what to think of this whole salt loading thing. I feel like
a figure competitor trapped in the body of a salt water whale. I’m up 6 lbs and
I’ve even taken pictures to show you what I mean. Is this normal or are we in
After seeing the pictures, we knew this was normal and we weren’t in trouble.
Although she was looking pretty smooth during the sodium load. Check it out.

NOTE: Of course, the lighting is different between shots but
you can still see a big difference between the pre-salt shots and the “salty”
shots. Heck, she gained 6 lbs during the sodium/water load.
Two days later I got an email from Val telling
me that she “looked better by the minute” and “was as ripped as she’d ever
been.” We were pleased.
One day later, on March 2nd, Val stepped onto the Arnold Classic Stage with
style, beauty, and poise. And, after duking it out with the best of the best,
the top 15 figure athletes in the world, Val brought home the 5th place
Always positive and grateful, Val was very pleased with her success as she
brought the very best Val Waugaman to the competitive stage. Of course, winning
the title would have been nice. And, according to many, including Flex
, Val should have won the title.:
“As far as the Figure International, (Mary) Lado’s victory was not
unexpected, as she does bring a lean and beautiful physique to the stage – she
had improved on her 2006 Olympia condition (she was fifth), but wasn’t quite as
strong as her 2006 International win. But all in all, for a sport still
struggling for an identity and consistent judging criteria, it’s hard to fathom
rhyme or reason why one competitor edges another.

“Case in point: Valerie Waugaman, who finished fifth despite what
probably was the strongest total package onstage. However, until a steady and
repeatable criteria emerges, it’ll be hard to decipher the results of figure
Yet, for Val, a motivator, businesswoman, and role model, her involvement in
figure competition isn’t just about winning. It’s also about health, personal
pride, personal growth, and inspiring others.

In the end, the Val Waugaman/Precision Nutrition Team accomplished what we
set out to do — bring the best Val Waugaman ever to the competitive stage. And
we’re not letting up anytime soon. Val will be returning to the competitive
stage at the Colorado Pro Show in June. And she’s going to be hard to

About dkpilates

Pilates Instructor, Yoga Instructor, Personnel trainer and Group Fitness Instructor. Don teaches Contemporary and the Authentic forms of Pilates, in the later 90's, Don began his study of Yoga. His study of Yoga includes the Hatha, Iyengar, Bikram, and Astanga disciplines. His other areas of interest in fitness include Martial Arts, Spin, Boot Camp Training, and Weight Training. Don has extensive training and certifications from AFFA, IDEA, MadDog, B-Fit and Polestar. Don Continues his of Pilates education with Michelle Larson in Santa Fe New Mexico. His personal philosophy related to fitness is to aid students in a personalized balance of strength, stamina and flexibility. He is dedicated to design a program specifically for his students independent of the season of their life to create functional movement and help them reach their fitness goals.
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2 Responses to The Valerie Waugaman Project

  1. 13/01/2012 are you still around?

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