Wow! Wow! WOW! what a difference a year makes!
This time last year I was just a fit looking chick who was starting to get comments from trainers at various gyms about what competition I was training for…I usually just gave them a blank look and told them that I wasn’t training for a competition and in fact after going to Fitx last year, my lasting impression was that it was all a bit over the top and freaky – huge muscly guys bursting out of too tight t shirts, stands flogging all sorts of crazy sounding stuff to get you pump, ripped, shredded, monster and cut – this whole other language I didn’t know about, then there was the fake hair, fake tans, fake nails, fake smiles and fake boobs on the competitors…not to mention the sparkly bikini and stripper heels! I thought it all to be so strange and even a bit intimidating that I specifically told Aiden at my next training session that if he ever suggested I enter a competition again I would slap him! :-p
hahahaha! how things change….not only have I entered into that ‘freaky’ world of fake hair, fake tans, fake nails…my smile is always real and I don’t have any boobs :-p (at least, not when I’m on stage!), but I’ve also done rather well at it and I love it! Now I understand just how much hard work goes into preparing yourself for that 5 minutes in the spotlight, that 5 minutes when you get a chance to show off the results of all of that (sometimes!) thankless training, rigid dieting, the discipline and determination that it takes to get up on stage.
And today I’ve had a completely AWESOME day at Fitx Melbourne 2012!
So many people there and so many familiar faces – friends, fellow competitors on stage and off, finally putting faces to names, literally bumping into people that I’ve been wanting to meet and get to know – its been like a big family reunion!
How and where to start explaining it all?
I decided to get there early, in time for when the doors opened and I was quite surprised that there was a massive queue already half way down Jeffs Shed! Last year, which was the first FitX there wasn’t nearly the same amount of people so early and I practically walked straight in – it was clear that word had well and truly got around and this year it was going to be BIG…
I’d just got my ticket when who should I bump into – the inimitable Bruce Hadfield :-p I only met Bruce a few weeks at at the ANB Get the Edge Workshop, and he also had us laughing as the posing bunny for Vicki Arief, so it was good to see him and catch up with how he was going whilst we shuffled our way into the expo.
Once in, the first thing I did was head straight over to the main stage area, I stupidly didn’t pick up a schedule and there were several people competing who I really wanted to watch but I didn’t know what time they would be on – so I figured it would be best just to get there, get a spot and then try and find Lauren Webb and Jodi Shief who I was supposed to be meeting. The sports models were on and it was already quite full, but I managed to find a spot only about 5 rows back. Trouble is I’d forgotten my proper zoom lens for my camera so I needed to get closer to the stage if I wanted to get some decent pictures. So leaving my bag where it was I went and sat in the aisle by the front row – perfect viewing area. There were a couple of girls I recognised up on stage – Jay Jay Mitchell looking in great condition as always and Andrea Gregoriou…
With the Sports models finished, I thought it was time to find out where Lauren was and as I stood up to go find my bag and of course who did I bump right into? Lauren and Jodi – beautiful!
Even better, they’d grabbed some seats in the VIP seating section…we’d have moved if someone had shown a vip ticket….really we would…! :-p
And then wouldn’t you know it, within about 5 minutes Amy Simon who I’d been on stage with last year but hadn’t really ‘met’ found us and shortly after that Charlotte Mary arrived as well – excellent! last years comp buddies were back together, catching up on how our training was going, what comps we were aiming for this year, how our diets were doing, how did we handle end of comp season – watch out Reno in November the Aussies are taking over!!!
All of us had come prepared for the day – food bags, drinks bottles, plenty of variations of chicken or tuna salad and broccoli, some people were well into comp prep for WNBF or INBA in about 9 weeks time
Next up on stage was the Figure Novice category, not a big group and there was definitely a standout – number 40 in the red bikini, sorry I dont know your name!
One thing I noticed and maybe this is an IFBB thing, is that the women all looked a bit fuller – none of them had legs! My legs were what got me as far as I did because they were so ripped and defined – maybe the INBA go for the more shredded look than IFBB – there was a fair bit of discussion amongst our group about this – some felt that INBA and WNBF went more for the ripped look and IFBB for the fuller look and some didn’t. Its an interesting point to note though, I’m aiming to compete in different federations so if they reward different looks then thats something I need to be aware of. If I do an INBA show one week and have to be shredded, will that mean I’ll look too hard if say I did an ANB or NABBA or WNBF show the following week? This is the problem I came up against with doing figure International category and Figure category last year – my Figure results were quite consistent in comparison with my fellow competitors yet my Figure International results were all over the place. For example I came 3rd in Fig Intl at the Vic Titles behind Donna McInnes Irons and Nicki Croft, yet at the Aussie Titles where I came 3rd in Fig Intl – Donna and Nicki didn’t even place! then at the Universe Titles I came 5th to Donna’s 3rd…go figure! :-p
the feedback I got when I asked Michael Buna was that I was too hard for Fig Intl and whilst I was hard enough for figure I wasn’t big enough in the end – no surprises there really as I’d only been bodybuilding for a total of 15 weeks at the time! Very confusing – but something that is probably worth investigating…
Anyway back to Fitx!
so – no legs..interesting…but having said that, the winner did have the best legs…
Next up was the Figure Masters – I was cheering for Helen Longmuir, who I had the pleasure of being on stage with at the Universe Titles last year – she looked good and came 3rd – good work Helen!
One of the other competitors in the figure masters was Terri Anne Freeman – of team Perzonator! Yep, Perry was there in full voice cheering on Terri – you could tell that she could hear everything he was calling out because most of the time she was desperately trying not to laugh! Then again I think the whole expo could have heard Perry calling out – it certainly got a whole lot quieter in the crowd when he went backstage to prep for his grand entrance!
Even Tony (Doherty the MC) pointed it out when Perry came up on stage, much to the amusement of everyone…including Perry!
Next up was the Figure Open category - what a big lineup – about 20 competitors I think, they almost didn’t fit on the stage. These ladies looked much leaner and more defined in general in the upper body, much more to what my understanding of a figure competitor should look like, but they still had this fullness in their legs except for one or two. Skye Cushaway was in the lineup and she was wearing a beautiful Jo Rogers bikini
Watching everyone one stage, I realized just how much I wanted to be up there with them – somehow it didn’t feel right sitting watching them when it could be me up there – especially as I can’t train at all at the moment and I’ve got no idea when I am going to be able to start training, its so frustrating watching the year slip away knowing what I want to be doing but not being able to do it, knowing that my chances of even making it on stage this year are looking more remote by the week.
Must stay positive.
ok, back to FitX
Another thing I’d noticed, is that the judges did lots of callouts – each group must have been on stage for about 20 minutes, I don’t know how much time was allotted in the schedule but it seemed to take ages to get through each lineup – and then another thing that struck me as odd was that after all the compulsory poses every body left the stage then the next category came on, did their bit, left the stage then the next group came on stage, did their compulsories and left. No winners got announced at the time – very odd. After several categories had been on, the top 3 of each category then got called back and presented with their trophies. Strange… why not announce the winners whilst they’re all up on stage? Would save a bit of time maybe…? I think I’d be a bag of nerves backstage waiting to find out if I’d made the top 3 – you wouldn’t know whether to pack your bags and head home or what
Anyway, so the figure open was won by Katrina the Russian – which meant she was through to the Pro Qualifier…and its only her 2nd show!!! She stepped on stage for the 1st time last week in Perth and won, and now she was through to a Pro Qualifier! How good is that??
I’m going to give Nikki Smith a gratuitous plug here….because I can!
Nikki made Katrina’s bikni, so if you’re in Melbourne and you need a bikini – talk to Nikki!
So Katrina the Russian was through to the Pro Qualifier and she didn’t even need to walk off stage, because next on was the Pro Qualifiers. It was a small group Katie Morris was in the lineup
I wish I’d written down peoples names! The winner again was by far the biggest in the group – big shoulders, big back, big glutes definitely not the leanest but in really good overall condition.
I had no idea what the time was by now, but it seemed like I’d been there for hours and I was starving – time to raid the supplies – chicken meatballs, broccoli and a nice rocket salad with red capsicum, tomato and cucumber – only trouble was I’d forgotten a fork and I thought I’d been so thorough in getting everything ready today!
Lauren to the rescue! Fork issue solved, starvation averted it was back into the fray…
Mens Masters….Perry Venakis!
Unfortunately I don’t have a decent photo – Perry did a better job than I did and came second.
By now I think I’d been taking photos for about 5 days – I was busting!
hmm…too much information maybe…
By now I think I’d been taking photos for about 5 days and I needed to go walkabout – hammies were playing up from sitting on the hard floor for so long :-p
I wanted to check out the rest of Fitx, see what was going on, what was on offer…what freebies I could find…!
And I was getting hungry again so the Redback stand just happened to be the first stand we came across and they had bowls full of small chunks of protein bars and low carb bars chocolate with caramel and all sorts of things which just had to be tried…for research purposes of course!
and as any good scientist knows you can’t draw a realistic conclusion based on a sample size of one…
I concluded that these bars were…YUM.
and then the Bulk Nutrition stand was desperately wanting to rehome 8000 packets of whey protein samples..well naturally being the good citizen that I am, I helped out as best I could….
And Horleys, they seemed to have a flood problem…flooded with more whey protein samples than they could hold back with mere buckets…I helped to clear up some of the mess – in the interests of public safety of course :-p
won’t need to buy whey protein for a few months now
Lauren was the key here – she seems to know EVERYONE from EVERY gym in Melbourne! Its amazing – I don’t think there was a single stand we walked past without someone calling her and then she’d get talking to whoever was on the stand and they’d just sort of give us stuff…awesome. Not going to say no!
So we wandered around for a while, soaked up the atmosphere – it was buzzing, people on the stands pitching their stuff – supplements, clothes, massage, training courses, interesting and whacky looking exercise gadgets it was all there. Over at the other stage there was the Strongman competition which attracted a big crowd, then the Crossfit games – man that looks hard – I am really keen to give crossfit a go at some point, it looks insane and I’m rather fond of insane!
I popped over to the Iron Man Magazine stand to see if I could catch up with Vance Ang, but he wasn’t there – I knew he was due to interview Larissa Reis and Rich Gaspari at some point. Next I wandered over to the Activewear Online stand to catch up with Clare Ross and share hamstring rehab stories :-p
After chatting with Clare, I decided to head back to the main stage and tag team Charlotte who’d been minding the bags – I also didn’t want to miss the Figure Pro Prejudging - Erin Stern, Nicole Wilkins, Lariss Reis, Alicia Harris in the lineup?
Nooo not going to miss out here!
back at the main stage, it was the big men on – Over 80 Kgs….
and then the Pro Qualifiers – Seriously BIG guys!
interestingly, after the mens Pro Qualifiers the seating areas started to empty out – I thought this was a bit odd given that it was the Figure Pro’s up next in a lineup that included the top 5 in the world! I was pretty happy about that as it meant that I could sneak into the centre aisle where the real photographers were and get a great position to take plenty of photos and I’d just into position behind a guy in a black t shirt with a logo design that looked strangely familiar…it took me a while to work out where I’d seen that logo…and then I got it - Lactic Acid Web Design - they’re the guys building MY website – that must be the owner Rob! I’d been talking to Rob over skyp the previous week and he said he’d be at fitx and we should try and actually meet up for the first time…and now there he was…literally staring me in the face!
So I introduced myself and we had a 30second chat before the 1st of the Pros came up on stage – Summer Bernard from Australia, who won her IFBB Pro card last year at FitX!
I went totally click happy, much to the annoyance of one of the press photographers who growled at me to turn my flash off, which I did and carried on regardless :-)
sooo many photos of the ladies, all looking amazing.
IFBB figure is so different from the figure category that I’ve done – they really just stand there looking good. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way being derogatory of them – you can see that an immense amount of hard work has gone into their physiques. I think I just prefer the Australian version of Figure where by getting so lean you can really show off your physique to its best and the posing both highlights your strengths and your weaknesses, so to be a true figure champion in Australia you really do have to be an all round athlete because there is no place to hide! And besides, I love my legs being lean – they’re so hard, they really do look amazing when I flex everything – if I did this sort of figure, all that lovely definition would have to be hidden under a layer of fat so they looked soft enough…
Again we didn’t get to find out the result – that would be reserved for the Pro show in the evening, which unfortunately I couldn’t go to. So once the figure girls were finished, I was pretty much done for the day as well – I was due back on Sunday for Nicole Wilkins seminar with her trainer which I was really looking forward to.
Another world champion telling us her secrets, like Lindy Olsen did at the ANB Workshop? Where do I sign! you can never learn too much and if you want to be the best, it certainly pays to listen and learn from the best – in my humble opinion… :-p
Stay tuned for FitX part 2…Nicole Wilkins – the Inside Scoop!