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Winter Blues

7 Dec

Tonight, I’m sad. No tissues, hugs or sympathy please. I’m telling you this because I want to share with you my strategy for pulling myself out of this.
I’m not sure what’s the matter, realistically it’s probably nothing, nothing more than winter blues and a little tiredness. BUT I don’t want to feel like this tomorrow so here’s what I did to pull myself out of this.

  • I had a nap. Not very pro-active you might say but I needed a rest. I woke with just enough energy to do the other things that will make me cheer up.
  • I ate some wholesome, nutritious food. Sound straight-forward right? Well if you can say you always eat well that’s amazing and have a huge pat on the back. I knew after eating some broccolli with my chicken and rice and tsp horseradish that the latter would be my little gift to me and that the broccolli is one of my saintly foods that I always feel proud I’ve eaten. So a meal down and already I’m feeling better.
  • I made a forward plan. As I said, no looking back, what could I do moving forwards?

I set myself some mini goals for next week as these things have slipped a little and I want to be in control of giving myself the healthiest life I can:

  1. I will set alarms on my Outlook at work, to make sure I’m eating exactly when I should. The odd extra half hour creeps in here and there and I don’t want it to.
  2. I will drink 1 bottle of water before my lunch break and then an additional one between post-lunch and leaving work.
  3. I will open my rice cakes and take out what’s needed then put the packet away. I tend to eat my rice cakes at work one by one from the packet and if I get side-tracked I forget how many I’ve had. This isn’t really good enough.
  4. I will get in 3 solid workouts next week – whatever the circumstances.

That’s it for now but I KNOW I’m going to look back at this blog post next Friday, and pat myself on the back. Small babysteps forward add up to the big changes.

So, that’s my ‘Get Happy’ plan! Know what will make you feel better and make a plan to put it into action!

 

On other news, I can pat myself on the back for completing the Muscletalk 12 week Shape Up Challenge! You can see my results on their website
http://www.muscletalk.co.uk/MT-ShapeUp-September-2012-WOMENS-JUDGING-FINAL-m4926125.aspx

 

What positive changes will you make this week ahead? Why wait til New Year?

Play hard, train harder,
Flick x

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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,
Flick
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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,
Flick

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 http://www.alexandratheatre.co.uk.proofdomain.co.uk/content.php?TSID=30018

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,
Flick
x

Bodypower 2012

23 May

This weekend just gone was one of the big fitness festivals of the year, Bodypower Expo. I went to the first one (maybe in 2009?) and haven’t been back since, mainly due to the fact it’s in Birmingham and I don’t drive.

On a spur of the moment idea, and a bid to keep on-track; I managed to hatch a plan to get friend and DFAC Pro Natural Bodybuilder Lawrence King to come with me. We went on the Sunday and set off from mine at 7am and are awesome travelling companions, both have to eat every 2-3 hours, both stink out the car with broccolli, and both understand the need for numerous loo stops whilst dieting!

Bodypower has everything – Nutritional stands, supplements, MMA, Boxing, fitness stands, motivational speakers and a bodybuilding competition. If you’re into fitness and you didn’t go, you missed out.

The main reason I wanted to go (behind numero uno of catching up with my buddies from all corners of the UK), was to watch the ladies Powerlifting. I’m getting a little obsessed with my own 1-rep maxes as of late and wanted to look to Powerlifting to see if it might be a viable competing option for the future.

Powerlifting has 3 lifts – Bench, Deadlift and Squat. You get 3 nominated lifts, where you pick the weight you push for. Once you go up a weight, you can’t go back down so you have to be strategic with your choices. The Powerlifting community is a really friendly one. Most of the female competitors know each other and have helped each other out from time to time. When they’re not ‘in the zone’ there’s lots of laughter and moments shared between them.

On Sunday, I got to see 3 heroines of mine lift. Tania George ran a seminar when I first started Bodybuilding which massively helped me and other women access the sport; and has since set up her own PT company based in Eccles called NoDumbelles which encourages women to lift. Her motto is “Strong is the new skinny” and I love her enthusiasm for iron. On Sunday I watched her do a 130kg Bench (and just about hold in the tears) and then pull a 200kg Deadlift. Watching her get so psyched up then the elation really got me buzzing.

Speaking of being psyched up, that leads me nicely onto Emma James. Emma runs Iron Psyche and is a former bodybuilder turned Strongwoman turned Powerlifter – she spoke at the seminar Tania ran years ago and was very motivational for me. She runs an NLP Practice (although it’s a little more than that!) focusing on sports performance in lifting sports. On Sunday I watched her attempt a 200kg Bench; she had to settle for 192.5kgs which was a new British record! (Ladies if I’ve got any of my figures wrong, please correct me). Lawrence, who was watching with me was amazed  and said she benches more than he does!

Finally, I got see give some big woop woop’s to my friend Hanne Bingle. I’ve known Hanne the longest as I used to compete against her in Strongwoman in 2008. She was a really great help back in those days and encouraged me endlessly, giving me hints and tips. She now only does Powerlifting, but hasn’t competed in a while so Bodypower was her first comp back. She competed in the 75kgs category and got 2 PB’s of 125kg Bench and 150kg Deadlift. Well done! I spoke to her after the Bench competition and her passion for powerlifting totally awed me and made me want to have a crack.

For most people; I think Bodypower was about meeting their heroes and to quote a friend “stand and have their photo taken with them without many clothes on”! Only 2 months after the Arnold Classic and I didn’t feel the need to do that side of things. I did get to catch up with some lovely friends – Dawn and Dave, Anita Albrecht, Pete Chown, Scott Galton, Nick Openshaw, Mick Bell and a load more I’m sure I’ve omitted here! Plus I got to spend the day with the ultimate motivator in Mr King. I can talk to him about anything bodybuilding and get a really good, honest opinion. Prep wouldn’t be the same without him. It turned out the Powerlifting was an excellent motivator for me – I left Bodypower feeling revved up, revitalised and ready to lift! Thanks ladies!

What was your Bodypower highlight? Who did you meet? What did/didn’t you like?

Play hard, train harder,
Flick
x

Reblog: Why I do what I do

10 May

Sorry I’ve been off the radar, sometimes it’s hard to be inspirational when you feel a little down in yourself. I’m nearly 6 weeks out from my BNBF qualifier but just having a hard time with it at the moment – I’m not really sure why, but I’ll figure it out.

In my morning motivation hunt, I came across this blog by NPC Bodybuilder Gail Auerbach, I had to re-post it as I love the last paragraph and I wanted to share it with you all:

“My dad used to always tell me that the most broken drum beats the loudest…. So I ask you…..are you the broken drum or the person who displays quiet confidence?”

You can read the full blog here, it’s just a short one but there’s lots of inspiration!
http://gailauerbach.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/why-do-i-do-this.html

Play hard, train harder,
Flick
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