“When your vision is powerful enough, everything else falls into place: how
you live your life, your workouts, what friends you choose to hang out with,
how you eat, what you do for fun. Vision is purpose, and when your purpose
is clear so are your life choices. Vision creates faith and faith creates
willpower. With faith there is no anxiety, no doubt – just absolute
confidence.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
The vicious circle of attaining that “perfect image” all began, for me, when I was in Primary School at age 12. I remember it clearly. Two girlfriends and I were talking about fitness and we all decided that I was the fattest since I did not participate in gymnastics and that was that. There was no way I was at all even fat and neither were they, but being judgmental as humans are, we point out that someone is always more beautiful, someone always has less body fat and we remind ourselves that we can always do better. Society will always be critical of this.
At that point I connected with another girl who was a fitness freak. (Yes, fitness freak at age 12 – go figure..) We went out and bought our first mini trampoline from the sports store (Rowe and Jarman – if you are from Adelaide you may remember this store…a very long time ago! lol), caught the bus home (do you realise that a mini tramp in a box is heavier and almost taller than a 12year old girl…so just take a second to imagine the commitment already!) and began bouncing away after dark and jogging or cycling during the day. We wrote out fitness plans and analysed each and every body part and limb then came the eating plans (unhealthy mind you) and calculated every calorie and ounce of fat consumed – having no idea that this was not the key to the ultimate strong womanly physique we desired.
Before long I thought stuff food, I’m over it, why eat at all if this is what makes you fat?! So I began throwing out my recess and lunch at school and skipping breakfast. I hated dinner time as we always sat down as a family and I had no choice but to eat or I would not be allowed to leave the dinner table. Where I could I would feed it to the dog or pretend to need to use the toilet, excuse myself, grab a mouthful and flush it away. At school I would eat an apple a day thinking that was overdoing it so after school I would do some tramp work, followed by a run and then sit ups and stretches.
”You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddah
My parents suspected something was bothering me and my mum tricked me into going to the doctors with her. I had the full height/weight check over and was found to be 14% below ideal body weight. To have anorexia you have to be 15% below body weight. I thought the doctor was lying and couldn’t believe my mum would assume such a thing and in denial stormed off wondering what all the fuss was about, after all, I was just trying to lose weight and attain the “perfect image posted across magazines.” The doctor explained I must eat from the five food groups. I thought this was a joke. On weekends my mum would make my lunch (one and a half sandwhiches to be exact) and I would insist on eating outside and either feed it to the dog or hurl it over the neighbours fence. I lost count how many bowls of cereal, salad sandwhiches and pork chops flew over there.
“When you look in the mirror, you have to see yourself as you are – and as
you want to be as well. You have to see in your mind’s eye the masses of
muscle you will be creating, the powerful physique that is in your future.
Focusing on such images gives your mind and body a clear-cut, a well-defined
goal to strive for.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
My turning point was a gruelling 7yrs later (age 18) when I met Duncan Maxwell, my very first personal trainer and gave kick boxing a go, loved it bought a 6ft bag, some gloves and figured I was on a home run….almost. (It was a great stress relief and I just imagined that the bag was the doctor who lied to my mum and caused all this!!!!) Soon I became a member at a gym near my house and started weight training with Duncan as my PT. I moved to Sydney a few months after that and met my next personal trainer John in 2000, a close friend to this day. He trained me hard and made me eat!! I even started taking protein powder! My biggest fear of taking protein powder was that I thought I was going to grow massive muscles, bulk up and turn into a man! Impossible. However, it is funny how now I take anything recommended or formulated specifically for men and still haven’t yet attained the muscle mass I would ultimately choose to have!
John made it clear to me not to waste his time and show my seriousness and pushed me to start reading about muscle growth and learn about eating to gain tone and shape. This meant eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. I finally found my release and discovered that weight training was going to help me to obtain the physique I had been chasing all these years. Duncan and then John who worked with me and still does encourage me had such an impact on me and I can’t thank them enough to this day. I continued on my new found fix and eight years later, January 2007, I was working on set a film in Sydney and met my next inspiration and personal trainer, IFFB judge and true legend, Nathan Page.
“Resolve to be thyself: and know, that he who finds himself, loses his misery.” – Matthew Arnold
Nathan suggested that I take my training to the next level and consider competing in figure. It is sometimes good to have a reason for or motivation to train. This option came to me at a time in my life after I had stopped training hard for months and had only begun dabbling in weights again with out worrying about diet, so I was not making any gains and lost a lot of muscle in fact. Training in 2006 had been irregular due to a trauma early that year that rocked me mentally, physically and emotionally. On a downward spiral praying that the only way was up, I saw training for figure as a new focus and a way to build up my confidence and create a strong body and strong mind again. My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t make enough gains to compete and that my trauma could interfere with my training. The complete opposite happened. I became stronger, harder, more determined to train harder and eat cleaner and never, never, never gave up. Through my brother (another fitness guru) I contacted Nick Jones and worked with the Gen-tec team at the fitness expo that year and flooded myself with information. I went as a spectator to the IFBB Australasian comps that year and met body building legend Chris Cormier who I trained with and discussed ‘the fosho lifestlye’ choice while he was in Sydney too. However it was Nathan Page who helped me at that point to eliminate fears and overcome insecurities about my training goals.
The style of training I learnt with Nathan Page was larger sets and higher repetitions and lower weight. That helped me at a time to produce sculpted muscles, not necessarily mass. I previously trained hard and heavy with the intention of gaining mass and still found it hard to make gains. During the time I trained with Nathan Page I made the most quality gains in all my training history. That year, 2007, I decided to enter in the INBA sports model competition in Sydney and won third place. Without Nathan’s encouragement and ongoing support during that time I would not have a lot of the knowledge and determination that I have today. For this I am for ever grateful.
“In each of us are places where we have never gone. Only by pressing the limits do you ever find them.” – Dr. Joyce Brothers
A good trainer is not only motivating and encouraging but educating. Your trainer should listen to what it is you want to improve on and put together a program targeting those areas. On commencing any body transformation, you will have to make some sacrifices and today I am at a time again to get serious. My motivation is for overall mental and physical strength. Some personal downfalls in the last couple of years were my excuse for my training distraction, but in acknowledging that, this was the push I needed to get back on track.
Late last year I had the pleasure of another body formation with Duncan Maxwell (my dear friend from the beginning and very first ever personal trainer, yes, the original sin) at his private and massive gym in a very cool and modern environment called The Energy Clinic. Here, I trained 6 times a week and hard. Training is for life, it IS a “lifestyle” choice and I am still not where I believe my ultimate is but definitely on the right road.
I was blessed to have such an inspiring trainer in Duncan who believed in my training goals and pushed me positively to achieve them week after week.
He taught me, all over again and that was OK to start over at what seemed the beginning, again. It was the fact that I was in the gym daily, picking up weights and eating the right foods, resting and obtaining results. What I have noticed yet again was that consistency is the key. Duncan constantly pushed me and listened to my concerns and worked on me, with me.
“The Law of Belief says that you do not necessarily believe what you see, but you see what you have already decided to believe.”
Every period of my training history over the years with different trainers has been different and tailored to suit my body at that time. My point in sharing all this is so that you understand that you need to be open to change, try new things and see what works for you as we are all different and our bodies change through the years as we age too, so never get stuck in your comfort zone, thinking that doing the same thing year in and out will do, because it won’t.
Whilst in Sydney I used to train 4 days a week with weights and do 20min of high intensity interval training or a soft sand jog from Dee Why Beach to Long Reef and back followed by a swim on other days. I kept cardio to the minimum because due to my body type it turns catabolic if I as much look at a treadmill let alone get on one!! I have long limbs and it has taken consistency, discipline and stuck to a very strict diet of 6-7 meals a day to achieve my goals.
My nutritionist is, has and always will be my brother Bradley. (Also a personal trainer, on the side to his usual day job and non-competitive body builder and professional cyclist) He has also been my long distance trainer for years and has helped me to achieve a solid foundation and understanding of muscle building. He has a wealth of knowledge also, from reading, trying and testing, as is the only way to discover what works for you. What works for one may not work for another. There is no quick fix.
“Discipline comes from the joy of looking forward to achieving the goal you have learned to picture so clearly in your mind and consistently hammering
away, rep by rep, set by set, workout by workout.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Firstly I would like to point out that I hate the word ‘diet’, it makes me cringe. It is a nasty word which makes me think of all the fads out there that mislead me on a dangerous and disastrous path of self hate. I like to replace the word ‘diet’ with meal planning. Over the years I had tried the zone diet, the high carb diet, the atkins diet, the liver cleansing diet, fruit and veg diets and many more I made up myself.
One of my favourite “diets” I tried and tested a few years back was advised from Bradley, at a time I was looking for something different, sick of everything and food in general. The anabolic, which is a high fat, high protein, low carb diet. This went against the grain of everything I had learnt so it was mentally challenging to unleash and let go (most body builders struggle with the fact that they do not know it all and are unteachable – if it was easy, everyone would be doing it I guess!) to make progress with a new concept. I thought eating fat would make me fat. However, after reading the book “The ANABOLIC diet” written by Mauro DiPasquale, I understood this was not the case and had all relevant health checks prior to commencement.
The idea of the anabolic diet is to use fat for energy instead of carbs whilst building muscle. The Anabolic Diet maximises the production and utilization of the Big 3 growth producers – testosterone, growth hormone and insulin, naturally. Realising after a while that I was needing a little more bulk for energy I decided to refine my diet a little more. I started to eat 3 high carb/high protein meals in the first half of the day and the last 3 meals were high fat/high protein. High fats as in nuts, olive oil, fish oil.
“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning
desire to possess it.” – Napoleon Hill
Bradley introduced me to a computer program , which to this day is about as important as oxygen is to me, called “Calorie King.” This helps me configure targets so that I have all my calories calculated each meal each day and know exactly what I am consuming at every meal to build muscle. It pays to note down what you eat so you can look back and change things around if you are not reaching your goals. Organisation is the key to eating correctly too. Every Monday do 1week worth of shopping – meat, tuna, veg, cottage cheese, nuts, oils, eggs, rice, oats, frozen berries etc. It then takes me an hour and a half to prepare the following weeks meals. The only things I pre-cook are: 2kg of chicken – boiled and I pan fry 1kg of lean beef. Once cool I cut and weigh the meat into 100g portions, put in freezer bags and put it in the freezer. I then boil brown rice, white rice, and 2 dozen eggs. This leaves the rest of the weeks preparation minimal and easy. Each night I take out three portions of meat make up meals for the next day.
Weight training has taken me to another level mentally, physically and spiritually. I understand the equal importance of training efficiently in the gym, organised meal planning, and rest to gain results. Advice to women out there fearing bulking up. It is impossible unless you take drugs. You will be able to sculpt and retain your femininity if you choose to. Find yourself a good trainer and be consistent. Discipline and consistency is the key…
What keeps me going is that I know every time I walk into the gym and train followed by eating and resting correctly I will only look and feel better week to week.
The rhythm of the body
The melody of the mind
Creates the harmony of the soul.