Local 10 reporter preparing for physique competition in gym and kitchen

Tamika Bickham teams up with nutritionist to learn best ways to get in shape

SOUTH MIAMI, Fla. - Local 10's Tamika Bickham has just eight weeks to go before she takes the stage in a fitness challenge.

Over the last ten weeks she's learned that while the grueling two to three hour workouts each day are tough, having a disciplined diet is just as important.

In addition to her trainers at SoMi Fitness in South Miami, Tamika has help from nutrition coach Kristal Richardson, a former fitness competitor and model. 

Thanks to Richardson's background, she knows firsthand the right diet is the key to success on stage.

"There's really no way around it," she said. "The truth of the matter is contest prep is about 80 percent diet."

Tamika's Blog: Countdown to Competition

Richardson has helped Tamika to plan four to five meals a day of her low-carb, high protein diet, which she describes as a "real basic, protein, clean complex carb, veggie type plan."

Tamika eats all of those meals within eight hours and fasts the other 16, a trick that jumpstarts her metabolism and trims off the fat.

To make it work requires a lot of preparation, but Richardson's tips are some any one can learn from.

"Try to take two days out of the week where you just cook your massive amount of food, all of your chicken, your steak or your fish or whatever it is... and then you weigh them out, portion them out in tupperware."

With eight weeks left to go, Tamika has little room for error, but knows the combination of hard work at the gym and at home will pay off when she steps on the stage.

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