Allison Moyer is a figure competitor and Crossfit athlete with a long list of credentials, as well as some unique approaches to both Crossfit and figure competition training. She sat down to answer some questions with us, check them out below:
1. Allison, thanks for taking the time to talk with us today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, as well as your sport?
Ah I’m so bad at the self talk J Let’s see I’m a 30 year old nationally ranked NPC Figure Athlete, published fitness model, crossfit athlete, weightlifter, and nutritionist and coach. I own Alli-Fitness Systems LLC which is my online fitness coaching company and I work fulltime as a trainer, coach and nutritionist.
I compete in crossfit and in figure. Crossfit, of course is a sport to me, but I don’t necessarily consider figure to be a sport. I consider it to be an art more so then anything else- the art of sculpting the body or shaping the body to fit a specific set of criteria.
I’ve been competing in figure since I was in college. I did my first show, a small local NABBA show was I was only 20, and by the age of 23 did my first NPC show, where I won my class and the figure overall. I’ve been competing at the national level on and off since 2008.
2. For those who don’t know the differences, can you explain the differences between figure, bikini, and bodybuilding competitions?
Female bodybuilding is really a dying arena of physique sports at this point- it’s mostly been replaced by women’s physique. And then of course there’s bikini and figure. The classes are differentiated by the judging criteria set forth by the NPC/IFBB standards. I compete in figure, which is judged based upon the overall symmetry, shape, conditioning and aesthetic flow of the athlete.
3. For you, what is the hardest part of being on stage? What sort of things to do you, in order to make prepping for the stage as simple as possible?
Posing, for me, is the hardest part of being on stage. It doesn’t come naturally to me, and probably the ONLY time I wear heels is when I’m on stage, so perfecting my comfort in heels, and in figure poses is something I try to work on in the weeks leading up to a contest. The more comfortable you can be flowing in and out of your figure poses and walking in your heels the more confident and effortless your stage presentation come contest time will be.
4. How does your diet change as you get closer to competition day? Do you believe in cheat meals, or do you follow a Macro approach instead?
I have Ulcerative Colitis so my diet is very strict and very structured. As it regards competing in figure, my diet can change daily if it needs to, or it doesn’t change much at all when it comes to being stage ready. I know that sounds vague, but honestly contest prep is all about making decisions based upon the responses of your body. So anything I do nutritionally in the weeks and days leading up to a show is going to be entirely dependent upon how my body is looking in that moment. It’s a very meticulous approach.
As far as cheat meals, it’s not something I find effective for me. I have a weekly re-feed which I find beneficial to both my body composition and my performance.
5. Fasted Cardio is a method that has vehement proponents and opponents on both sides. Do you use fasted cardio in your training?
I train twice a day most days, and usually one of those sessions is an early morning session, however I don’t go in “fasted” in the traditional sense. I usually have some coffee blended with MCT Oil and some protein powder prior to. I should also note that my sessions aren’t really cardio based- I don’t do traditional cardio anymore.
6. Based on your social media outlets, it seems like you continue to incorporate heavy and explosive compound lifts throughout your training cycles. How do you think this sets you apart from other competitors who may focus on mostly isolation movements?
I don’t “train for figure.” I train to become a better weightlifter, a stronger athlete and a more efficient crossfit competitor. Figure isn’t the focus of my training. I’ve found that mentally, for me, it was important to let go of training based on how I look. The last thing I think about when I’m training is whether this exercise or that exercise is going to make my shoulders bigger, or make my waist thicker or whatever. I’m focused on getting stronger, on squatting more weight, or increasing my pressing strength, or working towards a new snatch PR.
Although I do still compete in figure, I don’t train in the same manner that traditional figure athletes do, or even with the focus most figure athletes have, and I know this makes me a bit of a pariah in the bodybuilding world. But I’m okay with it, because I very STRONGLY believe that the way I have been training has positively influenced my mind and my body. Even though I don’t train for aesthetics, my physique has changed for the better. Training for strength has made a huge impact on who I am as a coach, as an athlete, and as a woman. I eat more now than I ever have in my life and yet I carry less bodyfat then I ever have. I also carry more lean muscle. I’m stronger. I’m healthier- both mentally and physically and I believe that training the body as a whole (i.e squatting rather than doing leg extensions) has allowed for a more streamlined and athletic look then can be found in athletes who train the body in terms of pure isometrics.
7. Since you don’t train primarily for aesthetics, can you give us some examples of what your training looks like?
I train two sessions a day. My morning session is usually 100% conditioning related like a metcon or perhaps aerobic related- running, rowing, or Airdyne work.
I have a coach who helps with my programming- which is usually structured (somewhat) as follows:
My second session is my main session and involves some light aerobic work to get my body warm, then a good 20-30 minutes of a dynamic warm up, followed by my weighlifting which would be snatch, clean, and clean and jerk including their variations. Right now I’m on a cycle which is emphasizing pushing and pulling strength so there’s a lot of push press, clean and snatch pulls, etc.
After my weightlifting I usually wind up doing some form of squat or other strength based movement. Occasionally there’s a strict OH press or bench press, but since I’m focused on my Olympic lifting I don’t bench much. Sometimes there’s a deadlift. Mostly rows or rowing variations, pullups (weighted or in a weighted vest), weighted pistols, etc. It varies.
The remainder of my training could be gymnastics or skill practice, some accessory work on my weaker points (hams/glutes and shoulders) and then a metcon or some interval work. I like to work a lot with sled drags, prowler pushes, tire flips, sandbag carries or run, etc.
Currently I train 3 days on (mon/tues/weds) then one day off (thurs) then two days on (fri/sat) and then Sunday off. Thursday I usually do something monostructural and low intensity in the morning (restorative aerobically) and then some technique work or gymnastics skill practice in the afternoon. Sunday’s I always do a long run in the morning with my German Shepherd, usually 4-6 miles and then take a hot yoga. 8. Where do you see yourself in the sport in the next 3-5 years?
I’m not sure- honestly. I’d love to say that one day I’ll be blessed to receive my IFBB Figure Pro card, but in all honesty that’s only one facet of fitness I enjoy. I love weightlifting and would love to compete someday and see where I can take that. I also love competing in crossfit, in mud runs and adventure races, and of course figure. I don’t label myself as one form of athlete or another now, and I doubt I will in the future either.
9. Do you have any pieces of sage advice for women who may be interested in joining an aesthetic competition, but still want to continue lifting heavy?
My advice would be don’t focus on aesthetics. Allow them to be the byproduct or the nice side effect of your training. Instead focus on strength, focus on performance, focus on eating well and fueling your workouts, and I think you’ll find your body will wind up looking exactly as it needs to.
Five things you may not know about me:
1. I have what can only be described as a very strange obsession with Wonder Woman.
2. I dislike eating off regular spoons. I only eat off of soup spoons.
3. I weigh and measure EVERYTHING I eat. Even lettuce. My fiancée is constantly chastising me for it.
4. I eat all my food cold. I hate hot and warm food.
5. I’m up at 4am every day. Even on the weekends. I can’t ever sleep in.
Born and raised in rural PA, Allison has been a well known and respected face in the fitness industry since early 2007. A national level NPC figure athlete, competitive Crossfit athlete, professional fitness model and published author, she has currently worked with nearly 300 clients both in and out of the U.S since she launched her online fitness coaching company, Alli-Fitness Systems LLC in mid 2008.
She has been voted “Best of Central PA’s” Fitness Trainer five years in a row and is a well renowned trainer, competitor, athlete, model, author and motivational personality, writing for magazines like Paleo Living, and critically acclaimed websites, The Athletic Build, and BreakingMuscle. She currently features an athlete journal on breakingmuscle.com.