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My take on the BNBF Finals

19 Sep

I made the long trip to Manchester this year for the BNBF Finals. I say ‘long’ trip because, it’s much easier for me to fly to Glasgow than to get to Manchester! We drove up on Saturday, thanks to Fi  who drove us all there and back. The journey took a good 6.5 hours, plus the 1.5 hours it took me to get to Fi’s house to start the journey! Note to self, if I ever compete there, I will most definitely fly up, not sure I could cope with that many wee breaks.

We stayed at the Laystall Apartments, and I think they were great. It was a bit like being back at school with competitors in a lot of the apartments, but it was great for the competitor we were sharing with to be able to cook her food and keep it cool (a common problem for competing far from home). The apartments were spacious and nicely decked out, I hope the BNBF decides to use them again next year.

Sunday morning I was woken early with a tanning request (opting to be part of the crew and having the regular star tanner staying elsewhere comes with the territory) and so I was tanning non-stop from 7-10am before we left for the venue!

I’ve never been to the venue for the finals, the Royal Northern College of Music was a spot on choice. Backstage there was plenty of room (for once!) and the front of house area gave sponsors a great opportunity to sell their merchandise. The stage itself was big and lighting was spot on.

So, down to the show itself. For pre judging I only caught Figure, Masters Figure, Physique, Lightweights, 2 rounds of the Middleweights and the Heavyweights as I was backstage the rest of the time. In the Evening Show, I helped the girls get ready nice and early so I could watch most of the show.

In Figure, my initial favourite, Emma Sills from the Centrals unfortunately looked a little softer than her qualifer. She didn’t ‘own’ the stage until the evening show when she did a fabulous t-walk. I preferred the look of Kerri Stewart (2nd) to Julia Hubbard (1st) – it’s completely subjective but Kerri had a little more muscle, I think however Kerri’s presentation let her down a little whereas Julia was extremely polished.

In Masters Figure it was a 2-horse race from Northern girls Jo Peruzza (1st) and Angela Wilkinson (2nd). I was so pleased for Jo, there isn’t a single thing I dislike about her Figure, and it’s certainly one I aspire to. It was the one time I actually shed a tear, as did half of backstage when I went back there! It was nice to see Tracy Austin come 4th and also showed that you can have a more lithe Figure and do well. Jo Peruzza also won the Overall, which just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what age you are Open or Masters – you can still do well!

In Physique, Mary Anderson is the biggest Physique lady I’ve seen in a long time! She doesn’t have the most aesthetic of physiques but I would 100% swop a smaller, more aesthetic physique for hers anytime! She was hard with amazing condition and also won Best Wheels. I was also told that from her qualifer to the finals, she came in 6kgs heavier and looked even better for it! That’s what switching to a high-carb diet strategy does for you eh? I thought Kelly Freeman in 2nd place looked great, she was just unlucky to be beaten that day by a genetically-huge monster, I hope she still goes on to Miami and tears it up there.

I got the results of the Lightweight class completely wrong! I don’t know how, but Plamen, for some reason, wasn’t in my top 3. I felt Darren Loxton was unlucky with 3rd place – he was the most conditioned competitor in the class and won the symmetry round for me, but just became unstuck in muscularity as he was smaller than others in the class.

In the Middleweights, Andrew Chappell (1st) had crazy vascularity (how many Niacin did you take this year???) and made a great start to his first year in the Mr’s classes. Shane Raymond has some serious-sized Quads but has a high origin point for his calves which for me, throws his physique off a little. He also didn’t have Andrew’s conditioning but should be pleased with 2nd. I love how he’s always smiling onstage, makes it really easy to watch him.

In the Heavyweights, Sotonye came out fighting with a teeny tiny waist and never-ending back, but was pushed by Gordon Adams who has such a big frame he just looks immense. I love his physique and he’d rally brought his conditioning. Nigel St Lewis took 3rd convincingly and one of the things I was most pleased about the Heavyweight class, was that it was the best conditioned Heavyweight finals I’ve seen since I started 5 years ago!

In the Overall, I thought Andrew had it over Nate but I was sitting side stage and to be fair, could see Andrew a lot better than I could Nate. Nate has cartoon proportions (again another member of the tiny waist club) and will be a great addition to the Pro Ranks. First ever Junior to win an Overall Pro Card – is this a sign of things to come?

My only gripe about the whole show was that unfortunately, one competitor decided to use Dream Tan at the venue. It shows complete and utter disrespect to your fellow competitors to do that and is a real shame. On a positive note, everyone’s tans seemed to look spot on, so well done – the extra effort worked.

Where the show left me in terms of my future, I’m not sure yet. But I had a ball, came away very motivated and was very glad to have been part of it. Bring on 2013!

What did you think of the finals? Were you there? Did you compete?

Play hard, train harder,


Post-prep analysis – why it’s important

6 Sep

A really important thing about preparing for a competition is analysing what you did afterwards. If you don’t know what you did, how will you be able to make positive changes for the future? While you’re dieting, it’s hard to think objectively about a) what you’re doing and b) how you look. If you leave it too long, you’ll completely forget all the minute details. So, with that in mind, I did my own photo comparisons along with having a look at my diet at each stage. I made the comparisons from 7 weeks out (because prior to that it was quite hard to see anything as I was still carrying a lot of bodyfat).

Always try to take photos in the same light/bikini. This is the hardest thing of all to do. The seasons obviously change, and so lighting at the same point in the day weeks apart can look completely different. You can see below my photos suffer from the ‘lighting’ effect.

2012 comparison Front

As a female, the tell-tale comparison pics are always from the back. This isn’t the same for every woman, but I carry my fat on my butt so if I keep an eye on that, I’ll know if I’m making progress. Also, always try to stand the same! See below for an example of how NOT to do this:

2012 Back comparison

At 7 weeks out, my hips were noticeably wider from the front, and from the back my butt was small, but soft. My back had started to show leanness.
At 5 weeks out my hips were narrower, my Sartorius had started to come through, my hips weren’t quite so pointy and my butt had more shape but was still soft.
At 3 weeks out (I’d had a big slip-up between weeks 5 and 3 to the point where I wanted to pull out of the show), from the front I look softer and smaller, from the back I found some Hamstring but added some size onto my butt (note this could be the slightly different camera angle – we were having lighting problems that day).
At 1 week out I was happier from the front, but the lower carbs and diet slip had taken their toll from the back and my legs and butt were softer.

Looking into the future, if I competed again, I’d go back and look at my diet from the 5 week mark and see what I’d changed and compare this to the photos and decide what to do moving forwards. I learnt a few things from my prep:

  • I have to be really stable in work to be able to prep properly. I was working two jobs this year and doing a lot of travelling locally and I found it really tough.
  • Whilst I stayed high carb throughout my diet, and it allowed me to train more intensely and gave me bags of energy; I was perhaps a little too enthusiastic with this and need to accept that there does come a time where I do need to drop my carbs to make further progress with leanness.
  • Even though I prefer to train first thing in the morning, this isn’t feasible to get enough cardio in. For me, 20mins wasn’t really cutting it and I needed to give myself time to do more.
  • Cheat meals do not work wonders for the metabolism if you have them week in week out. This is the first year I’ve had a weekly cheat, and although it pains me to say it because I like my food, but I’ll never do this again.

I hope some of my thoughts have helped you think about how analysing your prep can help you for the future. There’s one thing about bodybuilding and that’s that it’s always a learning curve!

Play hard, train harder,

The week is done, comp day is here!

24 Jun

Well that’s it, 24 weeks of dieting, a lot of workouts later and here I am, ready for my show. How do I feel? Nervous yet strangely calm. Today marks my return after a year’s rest hence the nerves, and the calm? I’ve no idea where that comes from!

I’m most looking forward to being able to tell my clients on Tuesday and my circuits group that I’ve achieved something.

So today, spare a little positive thought for me in rainy Bognor Regis and I’m sure it’ll help me massively [:)]

1 week to go

16 Jun

I have been extremely quiet on the blogging front this past month, for which, I can only apologise.
I blame my competition prep as it has left me on most days, with a complete inability to articulate normal sentences. I open my mouth and nothing comes out, or incomprehensible waffle that I didn’t want to subject your good selves to. How am I feeling at the moment? Revved up. Excited. Nervous. Ready. Not ready. Every emotion and all in between 🙂

The good news is, I’m 1 week away from my competition, the BNBF Southern Bodybuilding Championships held

I often get asked, what happens in your last week? For me, my week next week looks pretty much like this:

Monday: Exfoliate, get haircut, do 2x CV and an upper body workout using 12-15 reps and as heavy as I can go within this rep range. Construct a routine. Low carbs.

Tuesday:  Do 2x CV, 1 upper body workout, train clients, take Circuits on Hove Lawns. Practise routine. Low carbs.

Wednesday: Do 1x CV, 1 upper body workout, go to office job. Low carbs. Fall asleep on massage couch. NO MORE TRAINING OR CV!

Thursday: Eat carbs, eat some more carbs, drink my bodyweight in water (not literally). Attempt to work in office job with frequent pee breaks. Practise Routine. Exfoliate.

Friday: See above but with less carbs and slightly less water. Get hair dyed (if necessary). Contemplate mass hair removal on body. Exfoliate. Practise Routine. Go to salon and get a ‘double-dip’ of standard salon tan.

Saturday: Some more carbs, a little less water, stopping drinking around 7/8pm. Rinse off salon tan and begin application of creosote otherwise known as bodybuilding tan x 2 coats. Not be able to sleep all night through excitement. Watch Euro 2012 Final to keep self occupied and a lot of bodybuilding DVD’s. Pack bag for Sunday. Practice routine.

Sunday: Wake up after only a few hours sleep no doubt. Still carbs. Another coat of tan. Get train on my lonesome to Bognor (supporters are coming over later) – complete with a lot of wierd looks from train travellers, marvelling at my orangeness. Check-in at venue. Begin the mammooth task of doing my make-up (which I’m rubbish at). Pace around and get nervous as my class is last one (they’re saving the best until last doncha know) and watch some of my buddies onstage shrieking WOOP WOOP at the top of my voice in support. Then go on, shine, wow the judges and wait and see where my hard work gets me!

So, if I’m incommunicado, or not functioning fully on all cylinders next week, I hope this explains why…

Play hard, train harder,

This coming week

10 Apr

A bit of a mesh of blog posts this week.

Firstly, I wanted to give you my god-send culinary tip of the week. Marinade your Chicken in 1tsp of Mustard and 2 tbs balsamic vinegar, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Secondly, the time has finally come, my client Tracey McCarthy will be running the Brighton Marathon on Sunday. She is running in aid of The L Project, you can find details here.

If the project strikes a chord with you, you might want to show your support to Tracey by sponsoring her here.

Finally, I’m off to my second BNBF Bodybuilding Club of the year! This is held Sunday April 15th at midday at Monster Gym, Cheshunt. If you want to learn how to pose, or ask questions about bodybuilding competitions, this is the place to do it. We’ll have Pro Natural Bodybuilders in attendance, as well as some fantastic volunteers to show you the ropes! You can always ask any questions about BNBF Clubs on the blog and I’ll get back to you!

Play hard, train harder,

Quick me update WITH PICS!

12 Mar

Many of you are asking me how I’m getting on with my own prep. Well, I’m 15-weeks out from my first qualifier, the BNBF Southern on June 24th.

This year is all new to me, because I’m doing my own prep, and doing things pretty differently in terms of my nutrition.

All is heading in the right direction, I’m losing slowly and steadily, week on week out, whilst still getting strength increases. In terms of how I’m looking, I’ve been taking photos every 3-4 weeks and this weekend was the first real time I could see a real difference (even though everyone else could before that). My bikini almost fits me! Speaking of which, do you like my new top? New T-Shirt
T-Shirt close up








As I don’t yet know what category I’ll be doing I’ve been practising my Figure work like crazy. I’m confident in my Physique posing; but those shoes for Figure are a challenge! One I’m determined to master and look lady-like and amazing all at once!

My next big challenges ahead are “the walk” and to pick a song to walk/pose to! Physique-wise, I need to focus on my Shoulders and the fat around my glutes/hips (don’t we all!) I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Lesson Learnt when it comes to food

8 Sep

Even when we think we know a lot, we can always learn more, and practice what we preach to a greater extent.

How’s this for a funny story, from a Nutritionist – and lesson learned!

This year, in my bodybuilding calendar, I’m what is known as off-season. My goals in particular have been to grow some more muscle, particularly in the fronts of my legs (which don’t have much shape), and in my Shoulders (which are generally the most stubborn of all of my bodyparts to respond.

So, after discussion with a friend, then debate with several others who know infinitely more than I do when it comes to bodybuilding, I decided to increase my food intake. I’m your typical woman in that I worry about my weight – even when (irrationally) I want to grow some new, beautiful muscle. I braved it and since last Saturday/Sunday, I’ve increased my calorie intake in include an extra:

25g carbs, 23g protein in my post-workout shake (was originally only consuming 25g carbs and 25g protein alone!)
30g carbs, 20g protein in the meal after my post-workout shake.
That’s an extra 392 calories a day.

I weigh myself weekly, and this week, for the first week in ages…

… I’ve lost 1lb in weight this week! However, more importantly, my appetite has really increased. I’ve started to become hungry like I used to be when contest prepping, a sure sign my metabolism is on the increase.

I OBVIOUSLY wasn’t eating enough at all was I?!

I am slightly perplexed that I’ve in essence ‘wasted’ 9 months worrying what I’ve been eating when I wanted to grow, but I’ll definitely be taking a ‘more is more’ attitude when it comes to my food in future.

How religious are you when it comes to food intake? Do you count calories? Do you have a balanced diet? Are you consuming enough nutrients after a workout?

Play hard and train harder,

Flick x

P.S. I’ve been quoted in September’s edition of BodyFit magazine on whether you should do cardio before or after weights! Check it out!

You can also check out the journalist who wrote the article’s blog here (also a fellow bodybuilder):