As someone training for their first ever Fitness Model Competition, I thought I would write a blog about what my journey has been like. Hopefully it clears up some misconceptions, hopefully it educates you a little bit, but most of all I hope it inspires you and makes you believe that anything you put your mind to you, YOU CAN DO!
Hi, I am Kristy, I am a sponsored Fitness Model with The Urban Fitness Blackburn Gym and this is my honest no sugar coating journey through competition prep for my first Fitness Model Competition.
I have had a lot of people ask me what led me to getting into the Body Building scene, why did I want to compete? Well to be truthful it was all because of Social Media. I have always been a fairly active person, going to the gym, playing basketball, martial arts, going for walks etc, but a couple of years ago, I got myself in to a severe rut. I was suffering from diagnosed depression and anxiety, having battled with depression and anxiety my whole life, this was nothing new but at this particular point in time in my life it was really affecting my energy levels and desire to exercise. There were days I couldn’t even summons up the energy to shower. Then Instagram hit. I was constantly seeing pictures of these strong, healthy fit girls in my feed, I started following more and more fitness (or fitspo account as is the buzz word now) and I was inspired. I knew I couldn’t get back into fitness on my own though so I decided my first step was to join a girls fitness program. Back then the Urban Fitness Club had not yet created their amazing Blackburn Fit Chicks Program so I joined another female fitness program. This gave me a slow and steady but consistent re-entry to exercising. There were milestones and targets and someone to assist you along the way to provide you with encouragement and help you maintain focus toward your goals, in very much the same way the Blackburn Fit Chicks Program operates.
I completed 12 weeks of the program and had my appetite for health and fitness back and was slowly reducing my anxiety and effects of depression. As I got my confident with my fitness, I started looking at these images on Instragram through a different lense. I was noticing that these amazing women (and men) were competing in body building. I will admit, I was completely ignorant of exactly what Body Building is, and I too like I know many people think, thought it was about becoming extremely muscualar and taking lots of illegal substances to grow your body to epic ‘The Incredible Hulk Proportions’ and fear turning green like the Hulk in the process. I soon learnt that Body Building is not about that – well let’s be honest for some people it is, I won’t pretend there are not people in the industry that completely abuse their bodies through use of substances in an effort to look like lifting their toothbrush is extremely difficult, but what I also learnt is that there are many people and the majority of the industry that compete naturally using good nutrition, training and an amazing amount of hard work and dedication. I also learnt that there are three main divisions for females. Bikini Division, Fitness Model or Sports Model and Figure our Physique.
In simple terms the difference is Bikini you look fit, but not with visibly defined muscles, nice and toned but you don’t require a six pack, Fitness Model is athletic, toned, defined muscles and a six pack. Physique is the amazingly defined, totally ripped look.
What I will tell you is all require immense amounts of hard work, focus, and preparation. I have always wanted a six pack and I found myself continually looking at the pics of these amazing women and focusing on their abs. So I said to myself, you don’t have goal, you need a goal, why don’t you aim to compete. So it was done, of course given I loved the six pack, I set my sights on the Fitness Model Category.
And so it began. What was my first step, well I decided I would hit the gym and hard, but I soon realised that I had no idea what I was doing and that this was really hard work and I needed a dedicated trainer to assist me. Having no idea what to look for in a coach etc, I approached a PT at my then local gym. Please note this was definitely not at PT at the Urban Fitness Club! I approached him and said, hey I want to compete, do you know anything about training someone to compete. No surprise his answer was yes of course, I have trained a girl before. I was so naïve, I didn’t ask any questions, I am actually despite my outwardly confident appearance quite a shy person, so I just went ok great. Handed over a lot of money and then go to work.
Nightmare number 1 and lesson number 1. Ask questions, ask for testimonials, sit down and make your PT explain the path they are going to put you on, also seek information on what their qualifications/experience is with providing nutrition plans. A big mistake I have found is a lot of PT’s think that they can prescribe nutrition plans. Of course they learnt the basics of this when they are undergoing their certification, but nutrition, especially nutrition when a person is competing is not a one size fits all. I ended up with a program full of cardio and with a diet that completely did not work for me and that I found out my ‘coach’ got from a friend of his that competed. Biggest lesson – just because it works for one person does not mean it works for everyone. That relationship ended when one day I got a text from my ‘coach’ saying hey sorry I have moved to Sydney. – A blessing in disguise as I was really not feeling it was working for me, so that was an easy way to get out of it. But still such a waste of time and money and so demotivating. What was I to do next?
Well I continued on with my training as best I knew how, and went on to a number of the Body Building Federation Websites. There were a number of coaching profiles on there, I made enquiries and spoke to a few coaches, but I did not feel any of them was right for me. Gut feeling is really important I have learnt. I have some particular health issues that meant I was going to need spot on nutrition advice and I felt that again whilst they sounded like they could train me, I needed a proper coach who could give me accurate tailored nutrition advice and teach me correct training techniques. One day a friend liked a body builders profile on FB. I went on to their page and saw they trained people and had a number of girls they were currently training for a competition. Photos were up and showed great results, so I thought ok, maybe this one is the one for me. I made some enquiries and made a time to go and meet with them.
This time I did my research, I grilled him on nutrition, I asked about their training methods and so forth. The PT was also a competitor and had won numerous competitions themselves, so I was feeling pretty confident about it. So I forked out an inordinate amount of money and started training with them. I became part of a group of girls training for a competition and I really enjoyed the group comraderie that came with that. Training for a competition requires so much discipline and focus that many that have not competed, do not understand, so it really does help if you have someone that you can talk to about what you are going through. Unfortunately this ‘coach’ turned out to not only be a bully but also a very good sales person. They spoke the talk but again had no idea of nutrition. I was going 5-10 days without a bowel movement. I was in so much pain and so depressed and my coach would continually respond with take a laxative, I know what I am doing, have you competed before. I would fight back, I know my body, this is not right. He would yell, swear and generally demean me and tell me that I didn’t know what I was talking about. It was terrible. The final straw was in my attempt to seek answers to why my body was responding how it was, on the advice on my now long term boyfriend, I went to see a nutritional specialist. She ran a battery of tests to determine what my body was lacking in, how I responded to different things and gave me recommendations of supplements I should take. I advised my coach that I had done this, thinking he would be proud. Wrong, he lost the plot and screamed, yelled and swore at me, basically saying that I insulted him by going to someone else and that he knew what he was doing. Let’s be clear, I went to see someone that has studied nutrition, tried and tested their methods and did this for a living. They were not a PT but a dedicated Nutritional Expert, my coach, had his Certificate IV in Fitness which allowed him to be a PT – his education on Nutrition – what worked for HIM in his competition. He had not at this stage, put anyone through a full comp season. Needless to say that relationship ended rather quickly. It was around this time I started training at the Urban Fitness Club and realised not only was my nutrition wrong, my techniques were not great. The PT’s at Urban did not try to advise me on nutrition, they gave general advice, but they did not try to dictate they knew was right for me, simply general guidelines. What they did do though was really assist me in how to use the equipment to get the most out of my body and how to use it correctly. I also found another coach. Someone that has qualifications in Biosignature, who has done extensive courses in training the female competitor, has taken numerous girls to competition and is actually not a competitor themselves. As such their knowledge is based on science and experience. My program is tailored specific to me, my nutrition is specific to me and is adjusted fortnightly depending on what my results come back with. No chicken and broccoli for me, I have carbs, protein and fats at every meal, because that is what my body type needs.
So now that I have a great coach, I have a great gym with excellent PT’s I am well on my way to my journey. It has been seriously hard, going out for dinner and not being able to eat anything on the menu. Getting up at 6am to go to the gym when all I want to do is sleep! Setting my alarm to ensure I am continually eating – that’s another myth – you starve when you are competing, maybe with my other coaches, but coaches that know what they are doing will not starve you. The more I eat, the more I gain in muscle and lose in fat. I won’t lie, it is one of the hardest things I have been through, I am emotional, I get frustrated, I am extremely self-critical and I am human so I slip up. There are days, I look in the mirror and think I am never going to make this, then my amazing supportive partner, tells me to pull my head out of my behind and take a good look. Tells me I won’t see any change because I look at myself daily. I know this is true, I also know that women in particular are so critical of themselves and what we see in the mirror is so often distorted by our own thoughts. So I take photos, I take selfies, I take lots, I am not ashamed, no I am proud. My body has changed so much, I look at the photos and go wow, look at the muscles. I am my own motivation to keep going and become stronger.
Competition prep is hard, but it is not too hard, it requires preparation, I spend around 3 hours per week prepping my food, weighing it and sorting it. If I didn’t I would no doubt slip and go buy something that is not going to benefit me. It requires energy, there are times at the end of the work day, and I have an office job, where all I want to do is crawl home, but I don’t, I tell myself I have a goal and I am going to stick to it.
I will also let you in on a secret. My body was in pretty bad shape when I first started. I thought I would never make it, I had fat everywhere, there was no tone and it was all a bit of a nightmare. I am sure people looked at me with disbelief when I told them I was going to compete. But that is what I have learnt, don’t rely on others to be your supporters, be your own supporter, nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. I have been fortunate to have the most understanding, patient and wonderful partner, who trains with me, sticks to the meal plan with me and helps keep me focused, but I know I could do it by myself as well. I am 6 weeks out from my first competition, and I know that no matter what, I will get up on stage with the best version of myself, if I manage to get a six pack and/or a trophy is yet to be determined, but making it to compete and getting up on stage, will be a massive achievement in itself.
If you are looking to compete, believe in yourself and go after it. Do your research and make sure you are paying someone that is willing to be specific to your needs, not apply a cookie cutter approach, and above all enjoy the ride, I have absolutely loved this journey so far, watching my body change, feeling the muscles grow (and my fitness apparel collection grow too – I am sure I am propping up Lululemon’s profit margins!!).
I will keep you informed of my progress as I get closer! But for now, that’s a little bit of a raw insight to my journey! Hope to see you all down at the club soon!
Thank you so much Kristy for sharing your journey to this point with all of our members here at The Urban Fitness Blackburn Gym its great to hear and see you evolving and we can’t wait to get behind you in your first competition.