Quacks, Hacks and Misinformation: How to Avoid Screwing up your health

Ok I’m pissed off today, in fact I’m livid. Lets look at what has made steam pour out of my ears.

‘Try eating white fish for a few weeks…just to see how you go’

‘Only eat 30g of greens per meal’

‘Don’t eat spinach – its too high in sodium’

‘expect to feel like shit’

look fairly innocuous so far doesn’t it?

well no.

It isn’t. Not in my book.

This is ‘advice’ that I’ve heard recently being given to people preparing for competition by ‘experts’ in a position of trust who have the responsibility of someones health in their hands. When you have someone else’s health in your hands it is your responsibility…no…it is your duty to have the best, the correct, the safest, the most ethical information at your disposal. It is your duty, to obtain your information from a number of credible sources so you have the most up to date, in depth understanding of how to apply that information and specifically tailor that information to your clients needs and progress so that you can do the right thing by your client. Competition Preparation is about your client being in the best health they can be when they hit stage not necessarily the number on the scales or the lowest % body fat.

When I was being prepared for competition, I was lucky enough to be in the safe hands of Melita Jagic (and Matt Nicholson).  Melita has a vast wealth of experience in preparing men and women for competition. She doens’t turn out girls who look like skinned rabbits, or lose their periods for months or even years afterwards. She doens’t turn out competitors who are anaemic, or sodium depleted or overly dehydrated, she doesn’t subscribe to complicated loading/depleting regimes for sodium/potassium/carbs.  There is no ‘try this’, ‘have a go at that’…just to see what it does…She knew exactlywhat would work specifically for my body, she knew exactly when to change things, she knew exactly when to keep things the same. At no point did I have to change from drinking tap water to filtered/bottles water to minimise my sodium intake. At no point did I have to load with potassium. At no point did I have to eat just one type of protein for 2 weeks. At no point did I specifically have to load or deplete carbs.

For the whole 10 weeks of comp prep, I think Melita only tweaked my diet 3 times, once to take out my afternoon apple, once to take out my brown rice at lunch and once to reduce my breakfast carbs from 100g to 50g. That was it. I was free to eat as much green veg as I liked and I was rather liberal with the flaxseed oil and I was putting salt on my meals right up to 2 days out from competition. Yep you heard that right, I was ADDING salt onto my salads and veggies – just for a little flavour! I was even poaching my chicken in stock on competition day and I still came in lean and hard…and won.

Balance at all times was the key, because it is when you make wholosesale changes or make rigids restrictions, that dietary balance goes out of the window and the body has to react more strongly to keep iteslf going. I think in the last 3 weeks of comp prep I did not change my diet at all. It wasn’t broken, so there was no need to fix it. I came in at a gradual perfectly tapered pace that at no point unduly stressed my body. I had energy to spare and I was doing PB’s in the gym 2 weeks out from comp.

ok, I’m just warming up here.

lets move onto statement number 2.

30g of greens at each meal?

WT!!! what else are you eating to add volume, to fill you up?

Green Veggies are so low in calories and high in fibre that your body has to work very hard to digest it. This increased digestive effort and associated thermogenic impact ultimately causes your body to burn fat faster – I’m not going to go into the more intricate details – thats a whole other thesis!

Why restrict something that actually AIDS the fat burning process? Do you know just how LITTLE an amount of food 30g is???

take a look at this image – each portion of each individual vegetable in the picture is 30g – not much to be re-fuelling your body with after a hard days exercising – sure you’re going to lose fat, but you’re sure as hell going to be losing your muscle as well, not to mention the ensuing deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function correctly

I eat 350g of green veg AT THE SAME MEAL and I eat that amount 4 TIMES A DAY!!

AND in the last 2 months I have lost 6kg….with no exercise!!

You don’t have to starve yourself to lose fat.

words fail me at this point.

right lets get on to too much sodium.

Ok, here a list of some typical competition diet foods:

100g Chicken                                                                                     41mg

100g tuna                                                                                           240mg (tinned in springwater)

100g salmon                                                                                     280mg (tinned in springwater)

100g salmon fresh                                                                         42mg

100g tuna fresh                                                                               39mg

185g tin Sirena Tuna in Oil                                                770mg

100g white fish (raw)                                                                    72mg

100g beef                                                                                           56mg

100g kangaroo                                                                                47mg

100g spinach                                                                                70mg

100g Broccoli                                                                                  22mg

100g zucchini                                                                                  1mg

100g asparagus                                                                               2mg

100g snow peas                                                                              1mg

100g cucumber                                                                              21mg

100g rocket                                                                                     27mg

100g tomato                                                                                   8mg

100g oats                                                                                         7mg

100g Whey Protein Isolate                                                       212mg

100g Musashi ISO8                                                                       101mg

100g Venom WPI                                                                          196mg

Ok so of the typical green veggies people eat on a competition diet spinach does appear to have a lot of sodium. But lets get real here – look at how much sodium is in a tin of tuna or salmon even when its in springwater! look how much sodium is in your average protein shake. I was eating a 185 g tin of sirena tuna in oil everyday for 10 weeks and look how much sodium is in that! If I was really bothered about sodium I would NOT be picking on spinach as the culprit!

cutting out spinach is to cut out a ton of essential vitamins and minerals again – for example, 100g of spinach (spread it over 3 meals maybe??) contains:

48% of your daily folate (B9), 312% Vitamin A, 47% vitamin C, 402% Vitamin K (eesential for blod clotting and bone health - osteoporosis anyone?) , Calcium 10%, Iron 34%, Magnesium 20%

Another thing, when you make your salad its not ALL spinach, you mix it with carrots, tomatoes, rockets, cucumber…whatever you like..this will lower the OVERALL proportion of sodium in the meal. And think about it you’d p[robalby have about 30g of spinach in a typical salad which is roughly 25mg sodium? well the 100 – 150g of chicken you eat with the meal has more sodium in it

So you STILL think spinach should be cut out of a competition diet? Get real.

and lastly ‘expect to feel like shit’

now I’m all for setting peoples expectation to realistic levels, but when you’re dealing with people who are getting ready for their first competition or are at the stage where they’re thinking about it, but they’re not sure and its all a bit scary you don’t go and tell them that they’re going to feel like shit.

Sure tell them it will be hard – because it is. Tell them that they may experience emotional up and downs – because they will. Tell them that they will have days when they’re completely lacking in energy, motivation, willpower or they just want to sleep – because it will happen. Tell them that they may experience cravings – because they will – although if their diet is correctly balanced and nutritious they wont – I didn’t.

Set their expectations that it is not going to be a walk in the park, and that they are going to need support from their friends, family, trainer or communities of like minded people – they need to know that if it was easy then everybody would do it, they need to know that if they do this it will set them apart from everybody else, they need to know that it can be incredibly isolating, they need to know that it takes hard work, discipline, focus and determination but they also need to know that the rewards are worth it and that once they know they can do this then they will be able to do anything they set their mind to.

Tell them all this.

And they will go into their competition much more prepared mentally for whatever is about to come their way. To tell them to expect to feel like shit makes the mountain ten times higher in their heads than it needs to be and is likely to turn them off before they’ve even got started.

Get yourself the right information from the right people to get yourself up on stage in the best shape of  your life inside and out – not your worst.

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I think therefore I am…I write therefore it will be

I’ve been tucked up in bed all day Friday, yesterday and today – resting. Probably not how I’d usually spend Easter, but nevertheless I’m probably doing the right thing. A bit of quality down time with me, myself and I. It might … Continue reading

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punch drunk

Ok, you can stop now – joke has gone on waaay too long.

its not April 1st any more.

do I have a note stuck on my back that says ‘Kick me’?

had a discussion with the sports doc about my hip xrays…the words ‘keyhole surgery’ came up in the conversation. (insert expletive of choice…)

I don’t think its actually going to be neccessary but the fact that the doc felt it worthy of mentioning concerns me and was enough to start the rollercoaster again – I hate this.

really fucking fed up with this.

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Fixing It

So its been a bad week mentally and physically. I’ve put myself through the whole range of emotions – despair, hopelessness, doubt, frustration, anger, fear, grief and apathy – its exhausting and while you’re in that mindset all you can see is the problem and it magnifies into something that becomes all encompassing and can become so difficult to get out of, that you eventually lapse into whats known as depression. I know this because I’ve been there. But it doesn’t have to be that way – you notice that I’ve written ‘I put myself’ through this, because I did – these emotions don’t just happen to you, you have to choose them – I let myself become the victim this week and the problem with that, is that it cuts you off from clear thought and searching for a solution. In my case by Thursday when I reached apathy and exhaustion – numbness – that is the point when I finally began to let go of the problem and once I did that then I opened the door to acceptance. I accepted that my situation is what my situation is. I then decided to take responsibility for the situation. Once you do that then you can pave the way for alternative types of thinking – solution based thinking.

When you’re in a bad space, solution based thinking is where you need to get to – it is a much more relaxed, open way of thinking, it allows you to be more objective, take the emotion out of a situation, it allows you to analyse the reality of the situation – pros and cons, the idea is that you can come out of it with an idea of how you’re going to fix the situation and what steps you can take to work towards that solution, what resources or help you might need to seek out – it allows you to move forward rather than being stuck in the same spot.

Justine Switalla posted this on FB on Thursday night…it was the perfect thing at the perfect time – I was in apathy and exhaustion, I couldn’t think any more – the perfect time to drop in a ‘subtle’ subconscious suggestion about getting back on track…

:-p

so, now that I’m back in positive land, what is the upshot? Well part of my wallowing involved thoughts around the fact that all of this stuff that I’ve had done this week only addresses symptoms – sure the cortisone might take the pain away from my hips, sure the laser treatment might fix up my hammies, but as soon as I start training again, isn’t it all just going to come back and I’ll be back to square one? That is the frustration of this – I’m only addressing symptoms…what is the root cause of this cascading nightmare?

If I can get to the root cause, then I can find a fix and if I can find a fix then it won’t happen again. That is where I want to be.

The conclusion that I have reached is that whilst my exercise technique and form is perfect (Aiden makes sure of that), structually i.e from a musculoskeletal perspective, I obviously have flaws – weaknesses or areas of misalignment that lifting heavy weights has simply exacerbated. I know my shoulders are incorrectly aligned, due to the many years of issues I’ve had with them. I know I have hyperextendable joints – a result of many years of gymnastics as a kid. I know my legs are very quad dominant – gynmastics, cycling and trekking are the probable culprits here.  I have torn the ligaments of my left ankle and twisted or sprained it so many times thats its possible I over compensate with my right leg – who knows what that might do to my hips?

Imbalances.

Thats what I believe the root cause to be. Therefore I’ve decided I need to seek out expert advice on musculoskeletal re-alignment.

So I’ve booked myself an appointment with Lindy Olsen’s trainer Greg Dolman for a bit of Body Talk - holistic energy and muscle balancing. I have exercises to fix my shoulders, but what about my hips and hammies? At the moment I don’t have any corrective exercises for those and that is what I want to find out from Greg.

If it means going right back to basics and 3 months of corrective muscle strengthening then so be it.

I’ll just have to get off the Pity Train at the intersection of Suck It Up and Move on and stay a while at Quitchur Bitchin’

:-p

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The Week of the Long Needle

This week has been a difficult week. On Monday there was the double physio session and plenty of pain as Rosie worked into my biceps, forearm, shoulders and pecs trying to loosen them up a bit so that we can correct my upper arm position in my shoulder socket – this is what is still causing me pain and why even though I’m diligiently doing my rehab, my shoulders dont seem to be making much progress. The right shoulder joint where they took out the degraded bone is aching constantly, my range of movement has even decreased in the last 2 weeks and the rotator cuff rehab just feels crunchy and jammed. My hammies don’t appear to be making any progress despite massages, acupuncture and plenty of rest, sitting for long periods of time or walking up steps causes them to ache. On Monday I was going to write about being strong and the importance of maintaining a positive mental attitude…

On Tuesday I fell into the black hole of despair. Faced with the weeks events I got swallowed up in self pity, self doubt and hopelessness. What if I my shoulders don’t fix properly? What if the x rays  reveal arthritis? Am I going to have to have double hip surgery as well? Why aren’t my hammies healing? why is my elbow not healing? why are my hips suddenly degenerating?

I have to stop everything – even rehab for at least a month, because the blood injection in my elbow and the cortisone in my hips all require 3 weeks of rest. That what I’m finding hardest to deal with. It means April is now gone and what if this doesn’t work? Will I have to take May off as well? Is there really any point in trying any more? The tears were always bubbling just below the surface, thoughts of never being able to train again were ever present. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye because it would all have fallen apart.

On Tuesday night I had laser treatment for my hammies.

On Wednesday I had the second blood injection in my elbow and a double cortisone shot in my left hip because the ultrasound showed that the inflammation of the bursur was quite bad. And again, with an elbow immobilised by a golf ball sized lump on either side of the joint and a numb hip, once more the despair swallowed me up, the negativity and doubt took over, the endless noise of thoughts and on more than once I physically had to force the tears back.

On Thursday I couldn’t walk very well due to the stiffness in my hip and my elbow was causing me a lot of pain as I went and got my hip Xrays done. That was not pleasant, trying to maneuver myself on the trolley without using my arms, without bashing my bruised and puffy elbow, trying to get my stiff left leg bent to 90 degrees then flattened onto the trolley, then having to lie on my sore left hip so they could get a picture of my right hip. I was past caring by now, numb to the processes, numb to what it might mean, total apathy – can’t even be bothered to cry anymore.

On Thursday evening I had the chiropractor.

Today I had the cortisone injection in my right hip and walking has become something that I try to avoid, standing up for more than 5 minutes causes the ache to start and sitting for too long sets off my hammies…physically I’m not in a good space, but I’ve managed to get hold of the negativity and accept what needs to be done. With acceptance comes a degree of peace –  I’m just going to have to follow the process through and let my body do what it needs to.

I always say that I when I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it properly – total committment…well, now it looks like what I need to do is nothing…at all.

So, to that end, I am safely tucked up in bed…and here I am going to stay…for the whole weekend.

now if only I had someone to bring me breakfast in bed…

:-)

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Fitx, Fitx, Fitx!

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! :-)

Lauren Webb Jodi Shiff

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!

Bugger.

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 SternNicole 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 Pro Alicia Harris
IFBB Pro Alicia Harris

IFBB Pro Erin Stern
IFBB Pro Erin Stern
IFBB Pro Larissa Reis
IFBB Pro Larissa Reis
IFBB Pro Nicole Wlikins
IFBB Pro Nicole Wlikins
IFBB Pro top 5
IFBB Pro top 5

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!

:-)

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FitX II – Nicole Wilkins…the inside scoop!

Can I just start by saying what a privilege it was to meet the IFBB Figure Pro’s yesterday at FitX – I met Erin SternNicole Wilkins, Alicia Harris and Larissa Reis and had photos taken with all of them – of course!

Sarah Taylor Alicia HarrisSarah Taylor Erin SternSarah Taylor Larissa ReisSarah Taylor Nicole Wilkins

Every one of them without fail was humble, kind, a little shy almost in Alicia’s case, they’d all just got off stage, taken off their bikini’s and headed straight over to their sponsors stands to spend some time with the long queues of fans. You wouldn’t know that they’d been kept waiting more than 2 hours late before getting on stage, were probably hungry and thirsty and probably just wanted some down time to relax and focus on the finals later that night, they were all welcoming, engaging and patient – professional.

It looks like an easy job just standing around smiling and having your photo taken, and answering the same questions over and over again – week after week in different towns and cities or timezones but its not really – after 10 hours or so on a stand it gets very boring, tiring and dull and the endless travelling is also not as glamorous as it appears – I know, I’ve done it!  I also caught up with Lindy Olsen on the Oxygen stand, the more I see of Lindy, the more I feel that she epitomises everything a successful ambassador should be. She is an absolute professional, a seemingly tireless promoter for Oxygen Magazine, and the health industry in general, who always puts you first even when she probably really just wants to sit down for 5 minutes in a quiet place by herself. Awesome.

Hats off to all of them – they all deserve their hard earned success!

So this morning, I was excited to be going to a seminar with Nicole Wilkins and her trainer – after having learnt so much from Lindy and Greg at the ANB Workshop, I wanted to know more about what it takes to be a champion. To me, the relationship between trainer and athlete is the key to this success, you already know my opinion of my trainer and during our interview when he said that not only did he think I could take bodybuilding anywhere, but also that he was prepared to go there with me – I’ll admit that I was left speechless. I didn’t truly know that up until that point and to have someone have that level of belief in you is humbling, as well as a huge responsibility…and it motivates me even more.

ok so back to the seminar :-)

IFBB Pro Nicole Wilkins

It turned out that there wasn’t a fixed format, very relaxed and informal, just a Q and A session – I wish I could remember all the questions but I can’t there were so many, we went waay over the hour allotted!

we went though Nicoles diet – eat clean at all times, schedule in a cheat so that when you have that piece of cake you can not only enjoy it but you don’t beat yourself up with guilt afterwards! Lots of veggies and protein of course. Tweak things here and there during comp prep because if you do something extreme, your body being the super adapting machine that it is will do something extreme to adapt – and that is when you mess up your hormones – and whilst we were on hormones, Kim advised getting a full blood plan done after every comp.

Re-introduce foods gradually after comp, have an off season eating plan – be aware of how sugar, sodium and dairy affect your body – particularly after comp diet – your body becomes super sensitive to foods after the total cleanness of comp diet so go gently on it.

Drink tons of water!

Kim advocates eating real food whenever possible – sounds sensible doesn’t it? he prefers real food over a shake in the post workout window, and it all comes down to preparation. Nicole also said preparation is the key – she only cooks twice a week if she can.

We went through Nicoles training – generally cardio twice a day during comp prep, mix up high intensity and endurance. Nicole trains her upper body according to bodybuilding style but she trains her legs in a more plyometric style – lots of sprints, steps, squat jumps because her legs ‘puff’ just by Kim looking at them. She said how she loves to work hard and doesn’t need to be yelled at because she just wants to work. Nicole said she often works with a training partner, but when she trains by herself, if she’s doing heavy weights she likes to use the machines – so she doesn’t drop a dumbbell on her head or anything stupid like that :-)

Nicole trains about 4 days a week and tries to keep the sessions shorter less than an hour and she tends to do cardio in the morning, then answer emails from her online clients, then trains her one on one clients, then fits in a weight session before more online client support and maybe another cardio session at night. She’s one busy lady!

Kim was saying how genetically gifted Nicole is for USA Figure and he saw her potential immediately when she came to him to start training. Nicole searched out Kim because she realised she’d got as far as she could go on her own – she was winning at local level, but not at national level.

We went through comp prep, Kim says he does something different every time, every prep is unique because each time Nicoles body is different – they may start further out from a comp and bring her in slowly and before the Olympia Nicole stays at Kims house for the whole week before so he can monitor her every day and tweak things accordingly.

If she flies to a comp then she makes sure she drinks lots of water on the plane to minimise puffiness and makes sure she eats every 3 hours regardless of the timezone.

Nicole is the only person to not only hold IFBB Pro Fitness and IFBB Pro Figure cards at the same time, but she also won them on the same night.

Phew! it was a lot of information – I’m sure I’ve missed a lot out here, but it was a very informative, worthwhile session and however amazing Nicole might look up on stage, she is such a normal down to earth person, who loves doing what she’s doing.

and then she was happy to pose for photos at the end..

:-)

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