Tosca Reno


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bustin' Up the Diet - Tosca & Rita Check In

Photo Credit: Paul Buceta

From Tosca:
Hi everyone!  This week has been mostly about well, raw vegetables, more raw vegetables, protein and a bathtub of water.  I am floating over here in the amount of water I have to drink!  But that is the commitment I have made to my prep for contest.  There will be no way that I am the weakest link.  No way!

So how am I feeling?  Well I am "hangry" a lot.  That means a lot hungry and a bit angry about being hungry.  It often feels to me that I have just eaten a meal and it is only 30 minutes later and I am starving.  How is this possible?  My metabolism is "through the roof"  Rita says.  It becomes a mental battle of considering how badly I want good physique results compared to the taste of, oh let's say for instance, a bite of dark chocolate.  Grrr!  But I have Woman Power so I can do it.

Along with the hangry feeling comes spaciness.  I am in the depletion phase this week, in advance of my Oxygen cover try.  I must be very disciplined for this piece as it doesn't feel wonderful.  As I Tweeted the other day, my brain feels like poo.  It is mushy and dark up there in my melon, making it difficult to have perfectly clear thought.  Oh well.  This is short lived.  Please understand as I undergo these preparations, that I am taking good care of myself and that I understand this is not a lifestyle way of eating.  A lifestyle diet like the Eat-Clean Diet is for life while a contest diet is for a contest.  I will do this this week and then again one week before I jump on stage.  Don't worry I am fine and energized around my desire to compete in honour of my sweetheart, Bob.  Soon I will be gorging on carbs.  Look out!

Interestingly I am always a warm person meaning I am never the one who is cold.  But now I am cold all the time.  I need sweaters and scarves in my office because my body is in that phase where it must pull resources from what already exists in the body.  I have to bundle up or bathe, do yoga or even a sauna to push past that icky feeling.  So this is what all the cold people feel like!

I love my caffeine.  I just bought some fun beans from Halifax called Boat Bustin' Beans.  I was looking forward to my espresso shot tonight before my workout but Rita says no.  So I will have a Bean Bustin' espresso tomorrow morning and then that is it for a bit.  You know how much I love my coffee don't you.  This too is a tough sacrifice to make.  Again it won't define my efforts.  I am bringing everything to this game.

Well if I can't eat,  I can't drink coffee and I all I can do is train I had better get plenty of sleep.  So tonight I am heading to the gym for a circuit session and then bed!

See you on the other side of hangry.


P.S.  The body is responding surprisingly well and I couldn't be happier.  I think this is going to be my best shape yet.  Abs and butt are tight and defined already.


Contest prep is not for the weak at heart - it is definitely sacrificing and very, very difficult.  Tosca has been on the ball and following every instruction to a tee - hence the outcome. I think she switched her body with her 20 year old daughter?? Amazing!

I can’t help but feel a little bad when I get a text from Tosca telling me how her brain feels like mush or how “hangry” she is - that is the human side of me. But then the coach side kicks in, and because I have done this so many times myself, I know the outcome will be worth it, and as Tosca mentioned, this is a very short-lived process with a means to an end - not a lifestyle.

We started depleting on Monday - and by the time you are all reading this, Tosca will probably be eating some well-deserved carbs and SUGAR!! Sugar?? The “legal cocaine?”- well not exactly…let me explain.

When getting ready for a show, and wanting to show as much muscle/fullness/definition as possible, competitors put themselves through a short-lived depletion stage (this is different for everyone - some people’s may last a day, others weeks) consisting of slowly taking away things like carbs, sugars (natural sugars like fruit), even vegetables close to show time.  The depletion stage is followed by a “loading” stage where the same things that were taken out, are usually put back in.  It is a finicky process that produces different outcomes for different people, and may need to be tweaked each preparation, as athlete’s bodies change so often.  It is trial and error, and daily pictures received by Tosca help me know how her body is reacting to the depletion. So far, right on the money.

Back to the white stuff—

Part of the loading phase usually consists of a dry carbohydrate source and a driver to quickly help absorb the carb to the muscle belly - the driver is our good old friend SUGAR.  I have seen a lot of athletes “load” up with Duncan Heinz icing, chocolate, candies etc.  Although it may produce the desired results, the sugar crash won’t be as fun. This is not the way to go. Also, weeks and years (for some) of a lifestyle of Eating Clean and fresh, whole foods don’t really encompass this idea.  I have tried myself in the past to go the sugar route, but now opt for natural sources of sugar like raisins, dates, organic, unpasteurized honey or organic maple syrup.  I find these natural foods to be very sweet and satisfying, and I know Tosca will too as her palette is heightened due to the lack of glucose in her diet at present.  The other great thing about the natural sources is that they don’t produce the same “spacey” sugar crash as other processed, refined foods, and they produce the same results.

I am really excited to see how Tosca’s body responds to the loading phase - and as I mentioned before, her body is like I have never seen it before.  As I sip on my Rioja, I am smitten with the results of my client.  Hold on tight Tosca, the brain mush will subside soon with a little honey!

Signing off from Spain,
Coach Catolino


  1. I have enjoyed following along on this journey. I have been learning so much about contest prep and the sacrifice it takes. I often wonder if I have what it takes and I guess it comes to how badly you want it.

    Tosca, you are an inspiration! Congrats as it seems your hard work and determination are paying off in leaps and bounds. Great job! Hope that mushy brain of your subsides quickly. I remember what "pregnancy brain" was like so can only imagine what this must be like for you.

    Coach Catolino, I can only hope to one day work with a coach as amazing as you are. Thanks for sharing the information about the depletion and loading phases. Like I said I am learning a lot.

  2. Fabulous post. So interesting, reading about this journey, and particularly at this crucial time of dialing it in and the sacrifices that go with that stage. Fascinating. I'm cheering you on, because I know you're gonna rock that stage, woman. Go, go, go, Tosca. That's Tosca. She's ALL THAT.

    Would love to know "why not the espresso.." ? What the harm of that would be.

    Coach Rita, you are an amazing friend/coach and your wisdom and experience shines. Rioja? YES. My number one favorite wine of all wines. Enjoy Spain and be safe.

  3. "Hangry"! Haha! What a great word! But not the best feeling, eh? Congratulations, Tosca, on all the hard work and discipline you've put in to this- you're an incredible inspiration! Keep it up- you're amazing!

  4. We are all reading and watching your journey through your blog & the pics, like so many I personally have never met you but read your blog like im reading a great story, and then I see your pics and WOW AMAZING...truly inspiring

  5. I'm wonder about the purpose of this depletion-followed-by-carbs stage is, exactly. I'm assuming, based on some of Tosca's comments that the idea of depletion is to force the body to use up whatever fat stores still remain - is that correct? Then what is the carb loading for, exactly? When athletes carb load, I always thought it was for the added energy for a sporting contest, but I don't see where it would help for a physique contest?


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