Soft Tissue Therapy & Active Stretching a Staple for Fitness Pro Bethany Cisternino

One of the leading ladies in the IFBB Pro Fitness divisions, Bethany Cisternino checks in with and update on how she trains and what she implements to avoid pain. She says, “there is no secret or magic diet that works for everyone” and no we couldn’t agree more. Bethany is under 5 weeks out from the Fitness International in Columbus, Ohio.


Bethany Cisternino – 2013 Fitness International Contender
What’s up hardbodies?! I hope you had a productive week. I am within 5 weeks of Fitness International and it’s time to step it up a notch. Weight training and routine training definitely get more intense and there is no room for self – doubt or excuses.

There is no secret or magic diet that works for everyone. After years of competing and manipulating my diet and training regimen I believe I have a good grip on what works and does not work for me. What works for me might not work for anyone else. I do a 12 week prep slowly incorporating cardio, then I add in routine training 6 weeks out, and I weight train hard and heavy all the way through my diet up until the week of my show.

After 18 years of gymnastics, and in my 7th year of fitness, my body cannot handle too much routine training. As I get older my muscles get sore faster, my joints ache more, so I cannot train like I used to. At most I practice my routine 3-4 times a week, most of my conditioning comes from weight training and traditional cardio. While I have learned to train “smarter”, I have also learned there are people that specialize in muscle and joint management who can also help me. I want to be able to walk when I’m 50!

Soft tissue therapy and active stretching have become a staple in my training. Soft tissue therapy is considered a neuromuscular therapy. Soft tissue therapy (STM) techniques are designed to influence musculature, connective tissues, and the nervous system. STM has many benefits (relaxation is one) but for athletes who are constantly stressing their tissues, muscles, and metabolism, STM could be a great path for your body. STM can help muscle function and balance by releasing tension allowing the muscles to relax and regain their strength so muscle pairs work in harmony. STM can also increase blood flow to an area which increases the rate of supply of nutrients and removal of waste and possibly the substances that cause pain.

If you have any questions about soft tissue manipulation, tweet or direct message @Meridian_sports or @Shulim25. David at Meridian Sports has been a huge part of my training and every day health!

Have a “hardbody” week! Message me on twitter @Bfitness80 and help me decide what body part to talk about next week!
For more information on the Arnold Sports Festival visit and use #ASF2013 in all your tweets.

A “Typical” Day with Fitness Pro Bethany Cisternino – The Balancing Act

Bethany Cisternino has one of the top physiques in the Pro Fitness ranks and as her routines continue to improve so do her placings. She’s coming off a runner-up finish at the Ft. Lauderdale Cup at the end of 2012 and has positioned herself as a leading lady heading into the 2013 Fitness International. She joins us on her Hardbody Road to the Arnold and shares what a “typical day” is like. As you can see her day is anything but “typical” to most but she gets it done!



Bethany Cisternino – 2013 Fitness International Contender

Balancing Act
Hello Hardbodies! Happy New Year!
I can’t believe it is a short 7 weeks until I step on stage at the 25th Anniversary of the Arnold Classic! This will be my fourth appearance and it is still a huge honor and blessing to represent IFBB Pro Fitness. I remember competing in my first Fitness International feeling so lost and overwhelmed. It was so nerve racking to be up against the best and being judged by the best. To top it off (no pun intended) I had a costume malfunction and didn’t get to finish my routine! Needless to say I have improved in my performance at the Arnold and I have learned to focus that nervous energy into a fierce focus that has helped me in the gym and on the stage!

In 2012 I competed in five shows! I ended my season placing 6th at the Olympia and 2nd at the Fort Lauderdale Cup in October. In fitness the two-piece round counts for 1/3 and the routine round counts for 2/3 of the total score. My goal in the two-piece round this year is maintaining a fuller look and keeping the same conditioning I have in the past. Therefore, after my last competition I took a 6 week hiatus from the gym to let my mind and muscles recover. My goal in the routine round is to bring a faster more explosive routine that the audience can get into.  Sometimes the audience is so quiet during our routines; I hope I have picked a theme and songs the crowd will like!

Every year my biggest challenge is finding time to fit in all my training without becoming mean, short-tempered, emotional, and overly tired (I’m sure the list could go on). The Arnold is always the first week of March, which means I am teaching and full into coaching indoor track. Time is precious so I stick the same routine every day.

A typical Weekday (7 weeks out)

6:15am – alarm
7:00am – walk my dog Roxy
7:10am – leave for work
7:35am – school starts (I teach high school Biology, Anatomy, and Biomedical Science)
9:00am – meal 1
1:00pm – meal 2
3:00pm – track practice begins
5:15pm – home / meal 3
6:15pm – train and 55 min cardio
8:30pm – meal 4
9-11:30 – shower, lesson plans, grading, emails, tweet, instagram, laundry, prep meals, etc
11:30 – meal 5
12:00 – bed

Each week I look forward to sharing with you news about my training, my diet, and how I am achieving my goals for this year. Stay tuned for my experiences with massage therapy and ART as I incorporate those into my training!

Follow Bethany on twitter at @BFitness80. Check out her competition photos on For more information on the Arnold Sports Festival visit and use #ASF2013 in all your tweets.

Disclaimer: Reader discretion advised, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.