Pre, Intra, and Post Workout Supplementation!

Taking the right supplements before, during, and after your workouts is one of the best ways to get the most out of your hard work. You are already doing the work, so you might as well make sure you’re taking advantage of the time in the gym by supporting it with high-quality supplements taken at the right time. If you get this part of the equation right, you will increase your strength and performance, speed up your recovery, and reach your goals quicker. I don’t know about you, but I want to achieve my gym goals like last week. So the faster I can get there, the better!

Pre-Workout

I won’t pretend that I know the science behind all of the ingredients and dosages. I don’t and to be honest, I don’t really care to. What I do know is that the Kaged Muscle team has put a lot of time, energy, and money into perfecting the Pre-Kaged formula. What I also know is that after using Pre-Kaged for more than one year now, it works FOR ME. Energy wise – it’s a clean and sustainable boost. I don’t feel jittery, but I definitely feel it “kick-in” and push my workouts to a new level. It helps me focus for the entire workout. I have noticed an increase in endurance during my workouts since I have been taking it consistently and it definitely helps with da’ pump.  My personal timing schedule is to eat a meal with about 25g of protein, 25g of carbs, and 5-8g of fat about one hour before my workout. This keeps my blood sugar stable and makes sure I have the energy to train and not get hungry while I’m training. I drink my Pre-Kaged about 15 minutes before I get to the gym. I usually warm-up for about 15 minutes; so in total I drink Pre-Kaged about 30 minutes before my first working set.

PRE-KAGED

Intra Workout

I’m a BIG FAN of our new formula, Amino Synergy. I have been using BCAAs forever during my workouts and cardio. That is until Amino Synergy came out! Amino Synergy is an Essential Amino Acid formula. Amino Acid 101 for you: there are 13 Essential Amino Acids (EAA’s). Three of those 13 are the Branch Chain Amino Acids. So when you take Amino Synergy, you are still getting your BCAAs but also an additional ten essential aminos. Why do you care? Because it helps your GAINS! BCAAs are proven to prevent muscle protein breakdown, which is good. You don’t want to lose your hard-earned muscle while you’re training hard or doing cardio. EAAs prevent muscle protein breakdown AND they aid in protein synthesis. So not only do you keep from losing muscle, but you’re getting a head start in the recovery process, which is what will lead to new muscle.

Amino Synergy

Post Workout

PROTEIN, BRO! Within 30 minutes after my training, I like to get in the highest quality protein available: Whey Protein Isolate! I use this both pre-contest and in my offseason. I take one scoop of the MicroPure Whey Protein Isolate and usually combine it with about 30g of carbohydrates.

MICROPURE Whey Protein Isolate

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! If you’re putting in the work, don’t skip making the most of your work with the right supplements around your workout. Make sure you use my discount code, Tawna15, at checkout when you order from KagedMuscle.Com!


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Get the Bikini Olympia Look!

Now I may not BE Ms. Bikini Olympia but I damn sure feel like it, girls! I have never been so happy with my complete show day look until this one. There really is just no feeling like stepping out on stage, much less the Superbowl, and feeling like a million bucks. Everything is on point, the audience is huge, stage lights are on, and you are there, ready to shine and show all that hard work off. Chills. There was no placing for me at this Olympia but I just couldn’t help but walk away feeling like a winner. Everything was just perfect.

Of course, competing in the NPC/IFBB Bikini division, it’s all about the physique. However, there is far more that goes into creating that “total package” look. I have competed over 100 times in eight years, seven years as a pro, four pro wins, and five Olympias…that’s a lot of looks! Ha-ha. I feel like I’m telling my age here too, which AH, makes me want to cry. Okay, moving on! That’s a lot of trial and error and trust me, that’s exactly what it took. Did you know that when I first started competing, I did my own makeup? YIKES! It wasn’t bad per se but it wasn’t the glam I get these days. It was also a major pain in the ass. I’ll never go back to that.

The bikini division is forever growing and evolving. It has changed drastically since I first started to compete in 2010 when the division was only a year old. Back in the day, we could wear suits from Target. Yeah, Amanda Latona Kuclo can vouch for me on that one. Not just the suits, the hairstyles, the makeup, the jewelry, the posing, and obviously the physiques. Just like anything though, right? It’s like when you are excited about a new outfit and your mom gets just as excited because “I wore that exact outfit back in my heyday.” (insert eye roll here) The bikini division is about bringing a complete total package and a look that’s unique for YOU! It’s tough trying to find your mojo though. It will take time and it will take some errors. That’s okay. Look at me; eight years competing and I finally found the perfect package and placed the worst! Who woulda thunk?! Ha-ha. You must learn to evolve with it and that’s what I’ve done and how I’ve been able to keep my longevity in this sport.

I want to take you through my complete show day look for this year’s Olympia. I’ve always wanted to do this and thought why not start with my favorite complete look to date? Plus, if it can be any help to you girls just starting out or who need some help nailing down that perfect show day glam, I’ll be a happy girl.

Here are all of my (not so) secrets!

THE SUIT:

Let’s just start with that because duh, it’s our favorite part. Ooo, sparkles. Women are like squirrels and nuts. We see sparkles and lose it. It seems like there are a million suit companies these days. What I do know is I’ve been using SWEET REVENGE BIKINI for over ten years. That’s two more years than I’ve been competing, though. Yeah, that’s right; I used to do bikini competitions before there was even the fitness kind, ha-ha, and she was making my suits for them. Ultimate Bling Bikinis before they were even a thing. I basically trust her with my life. Major sarcasm there but really, what I mean is when you are spending anywhere from $200-$600 on a suit, you’d better trust the designer. That’s exactly why I use Karen. She handmakes, cuts, sews, stones, and designs all of her suits with love. She only uses the best Swarovski crystals to make that suit bedazzled. I have always worn blue; it has become my signature color. Don’t fix what’s not broken, right? We have always stuck to blue but always change it up each year. For the most part, that has been going to a darker shade of blue. This year I wanted much darker and was even playing with the idea of navy or purple. GASP. I just knew I wanted it to be noticeably different but still in the blue-ish family. One of my posing clients came in one day and was wearing a suit with color changing stones. I had never seen them before and immediately sent Karen on the hunt!  My girl, never letting me down, found these new color changing Swarovski stones and we knew exactly what we wanted to create! Fast forward to me coming to pick the suit up and it was even more incredible than I had imagined. It was like a rainbow!! From one viewpoint it was blue, another angle it was purple, then yellow, pink, sometimes red. Altogether it looked like my classic “Tawna Blue” but with some sauce. There is a color fabric from Sweet Revenge named that now, by the way! Hands down, my favorite suit we’ve ever made. I always go with a single row connector, which looks best on my body because my hips are so big and upper body is smaller so the bigger the connector, the more it covers on me. I like to keep it simple with a small circle connector on the back and in the front on the top. With the rainbow effect, these color changing stones have, I had every color suit in one! It was perfect and I was happy. That’s what I tell girls when choosing a suit: do what makes you feel good because you are the only one rocking it, hunny.

THE JEWELRY:

I used to wear just whatever jewelry for the stage. I thought, why spend a lot on jewelry? That was until I started wearing ELIZABETH DWELLE. She handmakes with extra love, using sterling silver and real Swarovski Crystals! Speaking of “oo, sparkle.” Now, this jewelry really shines on stage, girls! My favorite part is that you can make it customized! How neat is that? You know me; I’m not a cookie cutter kind of girl. Anything to be different, I like! I sat down with Elizabeth and we designed the perfect stage set for me. We also made a matching ring. I like to have dangle earrings, with one bigger bracelet and one smaller bracelet, and then a ring. Nothing too crazy or too big because I have a small frame and don’t want them to be too distracting.

I know competing can be costly and you are wondering why spend a lot on something when no one will know how much it is? However, what I found was the cheap jewelry was good for about one show then I’d have to throw it away and buy more! You get what you pay for, right? The tan gets everywhere including the fake silver and stones, making it impossible to clean or look new. The silver WILL turn and not to mention makes my ears itchy! By the time I was done buying new jewelry for each show, I could have had this entire set just once! In the end, I was paying more and not to mention it was more of a hassle trying to find the same jewelry or new jewelry that I even liked. I’m completely obsessed with my TAWNA SET, the way it shines on stage, the uniqueness, and the quality!

THE TAN:

The tan can be such a sketchy ordeal. I’ve had some horrible experiences and seen some horrible experiences. What I know is that the tan will be different for everyone. I have found that LIQUID SUN RAYZ is THE best for my skin. My skin takes the color well. I do follow all of the skin prep instructions to a T, which is always helpful. The color is by far the best for stage. Other tans I have had before were either too red or orange…and sometimes pulled a green tone. Which, yes, it’s very possible to turn green. LSR has the darkest and gives that rich golden-brown tone. What you think of when you think TAN. Off stage, the tan can feel like overkill and too dark. However, put that same body on a stage and it can be not dark enough, which can be to your detriment! This has happened to me before and my physique just didn’t have the same pop or definition. It’s incredible how much the tan really matters. I have been using LSR since I turned pro at Team Universe in 2011! Once I used them, I never looked back. Not only is the product amazing but the team, the family, is even more amazing. Everyone knows everyone and treats everybody the same. The LSR family is so accommodating and always wants the competitor to look and feel their best.

THE HAIR AND MAKEUP:

When I first started to compete, I would do my own hair and makeup for the shows. I had always done beauty pageants growing up and always practiced doing my own makeup so I felt comfortable enough to do it. I also was trying to save a few extra dollars where I could. That was until I had my makeup done for the first time at a show and from then on, I promised myself I would never do my own again. First and foremost, it was so amazing to just wake up and have someone else basically pamper me. There is so much going on that day, the last thing I want to worry about is nailing my makeup. Which brings me to my next point. Just because I was good at doing my own makeup doesn’t mean that I knew professional stage makeup. What’s the difference? EVERYTHING! The color matching to the tan, a Smokey eye without being too much, a little color on the lip but not too nude. The list goes on and again too much for this prep brain to think about on game day. After looking at pictures on stage from when I did it myself or had it professionally done, it was clear as day! I’ve worked with many makeup artists for my shows. What I have found is that you need to be sure and do your research. Don’t always just go with who “everyone” is using. See who they are using. Example being: I am light skinned, blue-eyed, with blonde hair. If I went to someone who has great makeup work but works a lot with girls who are dark complected, dark features, brown eyes, etc. they may not look the best on me. Not to say they don’t do amazing work but, it just wouldn’t look the same on me. Also, testing out with someone is super important, if that’s possible. You can play with colors and ideas so you both are on the same page for the special day. My favorite artists I have worked with are AMY PETERS and NANCY J. AND KRYSTAL MELTON from Tan Masters. In the past, Nancy has always done my makeup. However, this Olympia she was booked up in a flash. That’s what happens when you’re the best in the biz. She suggested I use Krystal. I had never used her before and at first, I was hesitant, but I knew if Nancy was recommending her, she’d be great. Well, turns out this was my favorite makeup look to date…sorry Nancy, you’re still my girl. Ha-ha! Krystal matched my suit perfectly with a little copper/gold tones and purple to bring out the colors in my eyes. I wanted glam but not a heavy smoke, I wanted pop on the lip but not bubblegum pink, I wanted glitter but not to look like a stripper. She nailed it because when I looked in the mirror I said, “Okurrrr, I’m feelin’ myself, girl!”

I saved the hair for last. I feel like for as long as I can remember, you girls have been always asking me about my hair! I do and have always done it myself. Styling that is. Blondes tend to have a hard time on the stage. Not because we’re bimbos, but because that bright white hair with those harsh lights tends to just wash you out. You end up looking like a cotton ball up there! I’ve always been platinum blonde. In the most recent years, I went on trend and did a more rooty blonde. I’ve been seeing balayage specialist VIVIANA DEAN at Peachy Keen Studio to create this look. This year, I wanted to tone down the blonde on the top and bring a brighter blonde out on the ends. Of course, the queen worked her magic and it turned out perfect. I do wear clip-in extensions for more length and volume for stage and she helped me color match to get that flawless look. Back to the “Tawna Hair,” as I’ve heard it called. Ha-ha. I am not claiming these curls but have been styling my hair like this for years now. This time I added a little spice to it. I feel like I always look like the cute bubbly one on stage and I wanted a little edge. I did a hard part so that I could tuck one side behind the ear and give the bangs some heavy volume. Keeping my classic light loose waves, it was just so perfect for all of my transitions and staying out of my face and getting that little bit of sex appeal to it that I wanted.

CLOSING:

There was no placing for me at this year’s Olympia. It was the worst I’ve ever placed at a show. However, this is by far the happiest I have ever walked away from a show. You could say it’s age, maturing, and being in this sport for such a long time, you get used to how things go. I think it was finally being truly, deeply in my heart, proud of what I brought to the stage altogether. The best physique I’ve ever had and absolutely loving my entire glam equals all the feels. Meh, who am I kidding? Being there at the Olympia regardless is an honor and I no doubt was on a high from that! I’m sharing this for you girls in hopes that it helps you remember the FUN in competing. Remember why you started. It is so easy to get caught up in the competition part and lose sight of well, everything. I did once. I promised myself I’d come back and come back stronger. Maybe not in placings but as a person and athlete…and that’s exactly what I did.

A special thank you to my entire team for making show day possible. For putting the time and effort into making me look and feel my best. I truly felt like a million bucks and I appreciate you all more than you know!

Three Part Approach to Burning Lower Belly Fat

Battling lower belly fat? You’re not alone. This is one of the most common trouble spots for both men and women. It’s naturally the first place many people accumulate fat and often the last place it comes off of when you’re leaning up. Lower belly fat is particularly tricky because there isn’t a lot of muscle mass in the lower abdomen to help make the area look firm and it’s also one of the places most affected by the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to adding fat directly to your lower abdomen. To get rid of the extra flub that has decided to camp beneath your belly button, you don’t just need to try to out-work it; you need to out-smart it. Here are three things that you can do to outsmart the bulge and get rid of it for good.

1. Add direct lower abdominal exercises to your workout routine.

One of the best ways to make an area look and feel more firm is to strengthen the lean muscle in the area. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t be spot reducing the fat; that’s unfortunately not possible. But you will be adding firm lean muscle mass to the area, which will help the area appear tighter. Add these three movements to your workout plan today. I suggest performing all three, three times per week for four weeks, to have noticeable results.

  1. Weighted Leg Lifts – three sets of 12
  2. Flutter Kicks – three rounds of 30-60 seconds
  3. Reverse Crunch – three rounds of 10-30 reps

2. Sleep Seven to Eight Hours per night

Doesn’t get much easier than that! Yes, you need to sleep at night; your trainer said so. Cortisol is one of the biggest factors for stubborn lower belly fat. Getting enough sleep at night is one of the best things you can do to get your cortisol levels under control. Other ways you can get your cortisol levels down are by taking walks outside, laughing more, reducing stress in your lifestyle or workplace, and consuming healthy cortisol fighting fats like olive oil, raw almonds, avocado, and coconut oil.

Interval Cardio

Nothing burns more fat in less time than High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This can be done on your favorite piece of cardio equipment, though I personally recommend the spin bike because it’s the safest for sprinting. Warm up for five minutes, then repeat the following pattern four to eight times: 15 second all-out sprint, followed by a 45 second cruise. That will take a whopping four to eight minutes and will have your metabolism boosted for the next 48 hours. If you don’t like interval cardio then steady state cardio or endurance cardio is also effective at burning fat and lowering cortisol levels, but just more time-consuming. Bottom line: sometimes you just need to move more!


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Three Reasons I like Three Day Training Splits

Okay guys; I get a lot of questions anytime I talk about only training three days per week. For those of you, who much like me, are used to being in the gym six to seven days per week and sometimes even multiple times per day, that sounds ridiculous! How can I build a great physique in just three days per week? Well, I had all of the same reservations the first time my coach Bret Contreras had me do this. It freaked me OUT. It took a lot of mental discipline to commit to the program, but I can say that I learned a lot from it, I made some great changes to my physique, and it’s something I recommend to a lot of people now after trying it. Here are my three favorite things about a three-day split:

Less Gym Time

This is definitely the most obvious reason. When I originally tried a three day split for the first time, it was after I had competed in a string of IFBB Bikini Competitions and I was quite frankly just sick of the gym. I still wanted to make improvements to my physique and continue working towards my goals, but I was so tired of the routine of going to the gym. When your motivation starts to fade, you need to recognize it and make adjustments, unless you’re preparing for a contest that’s coming up. Then you need to listen to your body and mind. If you’re normally on-fire for the gym, it used to be the highlight of your day, and now it’s just another box to check, you probably need to take a break or at least back down on your training frequency.  When I switched to the three-day split, I felt like someone added an extra two days to my week. I had more time for fun, relaxing, spending time with people I care about, and even just taking care of those little odds and ends you tend to skip when you’re tired from training every day.

Total Body Workouts

My husband was my first trainer and he’s a competitive bodybuilder. So naturally, we would go to the gym together and he would also write my workout plans divided up by body parts. Now it was tailored toward my goals but it was still body part routine. On the three days per week training plan, I started training my entire body every workout. This was VERY STRANGE at first. Each workout I felt like I wasn’t doing enough for each body part and I constantly needed to be reminded that it was okay because I would be hitting that same body part again in two days and again two days after that! After a while, I started to really enjoy training my whole body at once. A total body workout leaves you feeling great; tired, but great in a way that is different from finishing up just a shoulder day or just a leg day.

Strength Improvements

The biggest upside from training three days per week in a total body routine, which eventually caused the biggest changes to my physique, were the strength gains I made. A good three-day routine has a lot of compound movements in it and should be geared towards gaining strength. I became very strong in this routine and my physique felt and looked more athletic. The real gains came, though, once I took the strength I added during my three days per week phase and added some more training volume to it.  A stronger muscle doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bigger muscle, but a stronger muscle does have more POTENTIAL to be a bigger muscle.

For those of you interested in trying a three day per week routine, you should try my 16-week bikini body training program! The first four weeks consist of a three day per week training routine, plus one day of HIIT cardio to get your metabolism jacked for the next three months. Following the three days per week phase, the volume jumps up to four days per week for eight weeks, and then there are a final four weeks with an added fifth day of glute volume. This is much like the program I followed when preparing for the bikini Olympia; adding volume as the show got closer. Whether you’re getting ready for a contest, or a wedding, or a beach trip, I know you’ll love the results!


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Three Common Questions from my Online Training Clients

Hey There! All of the lovely ladies enrolled in my online training programs are getting great results and having fun trying new fitness routines. The app I’m using, powered by Trainerize, is simply awesome. You pop the app open when you get to the gym, have your workout right in your hand, easily access instructional videos if you don’t recognize the name of an exercise, and track your reps and weights. If you’re on the fence or even if you’re already enrolled, I wanted to share three common questions I get from my online personal training clients.

 

 

1. How long until I see results?

I get it; you wanted the body of your dreams yesterday. LOL. We are going to put you on a fast track to results, and most importantly, LASTING results. I never coach shortcuts. You might lose weight really fast on a starvation diet or extreme exercise programs, but it’s proven that 99% of the time, those diets leave their followers in worse shape than when they started within six weeks after the program ends.  You will FEEL a difference first in as little as one to two weeks and I’m not just talking about soreness (though you will probably feel that too!). You should start to feel hungrier, you should sleep better, and have more energy throughout the day. This initial process is your metabolism getting revved up and your body going through the transformation of switching to a state that’s pro lean muscle and anti-fat storage. But remember: “a watched pot never boils.” Don’t look in the mirror every day and ask yourself, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” Give it time. Follow your program and live your life. The results will come. If you follow this training program and use the diet guidelines provided for eight, 12, or 16 weeks, you will have MAJOR changes.

2. With all of this heavy lifting, won’t I get bulky?

Muscle is very hard to gain for most women. Even for most men. Some of you that respond very well to resistance training may have to be more careful than others, but that’s a very small percentage of women. Chances are YOU do not have to worry about getting bulky. Especially if you’re following a clean diet. If you train smart, eat smart, and do your cardiovascular work, you should tighten, tone, and look leaner. For those girls wanting to add muscle, you will have to EAT your way to those muscle gains. Muscle grows when you’re in a calorie surplus. For those looking to make a transformation or get leaner, you will not be in a calorie surplus very often, if at all.  It doesn’t happen by accident and you won’t wake up one day wondering where all the extra muscle came from. I PROMISE!

 

3. How many calories should I be eating?

I get this question a lot. I know the diet piece of the equation is the most difficult to stick to AND to figure out. I only wish I had the time and skills to provide each of you with a custom diet, but I have to pass the responsibility back to you for this. Think of this as an opportunity to learn your body, as opposed to taking the easy road and just being told what to do. I recommend tracking your food, even when you stray from the diet, so you know what’s going in. Only when you know what you’re eating can you make a proper assessment. Here’s a formula I like to use though, just to give you some extra guidance.

Multiply your bodyweight by ten. Then Multiply your bodyweight by 14. This should give you a range of calories. Depending on your body type and your goals, you will likely need to stay in this range. Many of you trying to get lean and make a transformation will want to be closer to the ten number.

Ex)

130 lbs. x 10 = 1300 Calories

130lbs x 14 = 1820 Calories

In this example, this 130 lb. individual should consume somewhere between 1300 and 1820 calories per day.

I hope that helps! If you haven’t gotten started on a training program yet, what are you waiting for? You can sign up today right HERE.

Tawna 3 common questions


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Dallas Posing Workshop Recap

Hey LADIES!!

Wow; what a great time we had at my last Posing Workshop! For those that missed it, I sincerely hope you can join me in the future. We had just over 30 ladies join me at Dana’s Studio of Dance and we had an absolute blast. Check out the video!

We went over every detail you need to know to be show day ready from individual posing routines, down to your bikini suit choice, and even what the NPC judges are looking for. Here’s a little breakdown!

  • Overall Stage presentation:
    Individual Posing Routines
    Call-Outs
    Walking
    Timing
    Standing in V Lines
  • Call-Outs:
    Facing the Front and Back Bikini Poses
    Switching Spots on Stage
    Walking to the Front and Back
    Toes on the Line Pose

  • Overall Bikini Look:
    NPC Judging and Rules
    Suit Choice
    Jewelry Choice
    Hair Choice
    Tanning

  • Production of Show:
    Backstage Details
    Timing / Schedule
    Athlete’s Check-in and Meetings

 

Here’s what a few of the ladies had to say:

“The clinic was phenomenal! It was a great mock trial, or experience of what it would be like to be on stage with other girls. She’s been doing this for so long so it made me feel more confident that she would know what looks best for me.”
Sarah Forsythe (Detroit, MI)
@saforsythe

“I won the hotel giveaway! Everyone was really down to earth and I had a great time. I learned a lot, especially entering and exiting the stage.”
Annie Tinnin (Alvin, Tx)
@annietinnin

“Coming to the clinic, I was able to build on my confidence and help my routine flow. Tawna is awesome, she’s super bubbly and super encouraging.”
Laynie Thomas (Durant, OK)
@layniet._

“It was a little bit out of my comfort zone, but I decided to go for it and everyone was very accepting. I would definitely come to another one.”
Kendie Bryant (Durant, OK)
@kendkaye

“I’m one of Tawna’s long time one on one clients. I’m 29 weeks pregnant; so obviously I can’t compete right now! But I wanted to come in here and polish up my posing. I lack a little confidence on stage and I get really nervous. I came to Tawna because I really like the way she poses and she’s super sassy. I had none of that when I came to her class! I love working with her because she’s always positive, she tells you what you need to work on, and is very straightforward.”
Patty Cisneros (Dallas, Tx)
@patty_fit7

I need to give a shout out to all of my AWESOME event partners as well. These companies are so generous and hooked up all of my girls with a ton of free stuff.

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