Archives For Body Building

I have been published in Oxygen Magazine Australia providing a very honest and open account of what can go wrong with Body Building competitions. With the growing interest to compete in fitness modelling and body building I felt the need to share what I have experienced. I am by no means trying to deter anybody from competing, but rather I present challenges that are common, and some which presented themselves to me. I provide some advice on how to avoid some of these issues, and hope to help some who may be competing or considering competing for the first time.

Here you can see a sneak peek of the article.

To subscribe to the magazine, go to the Oxygen Magazine Australia website HERE or to follow their updates, check out their Facebook page HERE

 

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For the Art of it

April 1, 2014 — Leave a comment

Why is the statue of David one of the most iconic sculptures of all time? The symmetry, the proportions and all of the detail throughout sets it apart as a monument of beauty and highest art. I was having a chat with my coach on the weekend, and it was wonderfully rewarding to realise that this is the ultimate motivation behind my competing – art. I am a creative by nature, and this is just another form of expression, and one that also can lead to other art through improved movement.

Sometimes we push ahead with goals and don’t spend too much time really getting to the bottom of the compelling why. Many of my friends had brought this up before – I’m not particularly attached to my figure. I have had many different ones over the years, and have quite enjoyed every phase of it. It’s kind of the ability to be a chameleon that I have enjoyed the most at times in fact. But I find the process of creating a sculpted body incredibly rewarding, but not for the reason that many would expect.

I have a wicked back – I’m ok with saying that because I’m yet to meet somebody who will object to that statement. Similarly, the condition of my legs and butt are nowhere near the same league, and no I’m not digging for compliments, I am simply being frank because when you get up on stage to be assessed from head to toe, you need to be honest with yourself about where you really are at in every single part of your body. I am a normal woman and I have struggled with fat deposits and cellulite on those areas FOREVER.

A quick aside: I believe in being honest, because there is very little benefit you as a reader can get if you cannot relate to me. There is already enough “watch me be awesome on the Internet while you sit at home hating on your body because you can’t achieve this” floating around the Internet. Guess what – chances are that you are not getting the full story, so don’t go body-shaming on yourself. I am normal and real, and I understand how hard it can be sometimes to look at parts of you and not love them so much, but I also understand ways that you can overcome this, not only through physical improvement, but most importantly through cultivating self-love, but I digress…

You can imagine then how rewarding it is to see these areas transform, not to be their possible best yet – far from, and there’s always room for improvement – but the progress has been ENORMOUS in the last few months. To feel each new line appear in the same way as finding a musical ornament that creates an arresting moment, in the same way as sketching a detail that makes the eye pause with momentary wonder. All of this is so much more rewarding – and healthier for your mind – than craving abs/butt/etc. Happiness is not in the having a great body. Happiness is in the life that you choose to lead, and prioritising health of the mind and the body, and the light and free feeling that follows opens endless possibilities. You will be full of energy and crave what nurtures you, and goals that previously felt impossible go into progress.

 

I am currently 18 days away from setting foot on the stage for my next competition as a fitness model. Whenever a competition approaches, I am always asked many questions, and one that always comes up is whether bodybuilding is a healthy sport, to which I always ask “which sport are you comparing it to?”. I think that often people forget that while fitness is an element of health, fitness and health are not the same thing, so to be in the peak fitness is not always going to equate to being at the peak of health, but similarly, to do something that could be unhealthy if sustained for a prolonged period of time does not necessarily mean that it is unhealthy to achieve for a day competing in a sport.
I think that many people have a very vague definition of health, (I will be writing more about this in coming weeks). Health includes how you eat and whether, and how much, and how you keep active. It also includes whether you sleep enough, the quality of your sleep, your psychological well-being (which is quite complex alone), your gut health and so on and so forth. As you can see, health is quite complex. Fitness is only one of the elements of health, and even fitness contains many modalities within itself (which again I want to write about more in future posts).
Bodybuilding is currently receiving a lot of attention through the ‘fitsporation’ phenomenon running rampant through social media (which I have opinions about, but not for right now) with a larger than usual proportion of people wanting to have abs at any cost. It is the “at any cost” that I would like to point out here. For my sport, and for any sport, there are many ways to achieve results. Some people will choose more wisely for their health and others less so. I think that one of the reasons why bodybuilding is getting frowned at a lot lately is because of this whole fitsporation issue. Many people who are not athletes now aspire to look a certain way, and some make less than wise decisions to obtain results quickly, such as aggressive crash diets, which can have some pretty serious health implications.
Yes I diet hard in the lead-up to a show, and yes I push my body to its absolute limit every time that I train. However I also supplement my body and have a whole range of recovery techniques to ensure that my health is not suffering. I am an athlete – I am not supposed to have a normal life nor treat my body in the same way that most other people treat theirs. Similarly, people who are not nor do not intend to be athletes should not attempt some of the things that I do to myself, because they have not developed the work capacity, likely to do not fuel their body adequately, may not have the same muscular or ligament strength etc. etc.
Does this make bodybuilding unhealthy by definition? No it does not, but it does mean that it is not for everyone – specifically it is not for anyone who is not willing to put in the work over time to obtain the results. Is reaching the peak for stage intense? Absolutely. Would keeping that peak have serious health issues? Yes it would, but that’s why you’re not supposed to do that. If you can maintain your peak and not suffer for it, then you probably didn’t peak hard enough. That is the point of sport – to push to your absolute limit. This is not unique to bodybuilding – pro cyclists reach such an extreme level of cardiovascular fitness for their competitions that their heart rate is so slow that it would stop beating if they were to attempt to maintain their peak for prolonged periods of time. MMA fighters, power lifters and many other athletes diet and dehydrate to meet certain weight divisions in their spots, which can also be unhealthy if not done appropriately.
What would be the point of athletes if we did not actually do anything unusual? What we do is not supposed to be achievable to the average individual unless they make some pretty big changes, and that is why the word athlete exists.