A few months ago, we had a delightful little pocket rocket join our team as Showpo’s Office Assistant. On Sally’s very first day I; a) asked her to source 50 costumes for our Halloween vid (nothing like throwing someone in the deep end), and b) asked her why TF she had such orange hands.
You see, it transpired that Sal had competed in one of those fitness comps the day prior, and a prerequisite for getting on stage is about 20 coats of fake tan as it makes your muscles easier to see.
I’ve never met a Real Life Fitness Model who competes on-stage in those shiny swimsuits, so I was really excited to ask her ALL THE QUESTIONS. It turns out I wasn’t the only one who was interested in her ‘journey’, so I sent her a bunch of questions and now we can all know a little bit more about what being a fitness model entails and why TF she decided to do it.
Why, WHY did you decide to enter a fitness comp?
I really don’t have a direct answer for this (apart from that I am not a normal human being haha) but I was curious to see the physical limitations I could push my body too. Although, little did I know it was FAR from the physicality! I learnt quickly that bodybuilding or any type of preparation for a fitness competition is all about the mentality… and let me tell you after I completed my 2 bodybuilding competitions, I felt like I could fly! I was quite confident in myself though, I had an attitude of ‘pft easy peasy, I’m quite strong headed anyway- I can do this!’ But then I ended up living off a diet that I could count the amounts of food on one hand… Now THAT is testing!
I set a goal on the 1st of May 2017 to compete, and placed in top 4 of my first competition that was in September – this was something that really made me proud of what I could, and had, achieved. ☺️
What are the ‘rules’ for entering?
For entering a bodybuilding competition, there are various categories that depend on your body type. They range from Swimsuit Model, Bikini Model, Fitness Model, Figure and Physique. This depends on the future competitor’s body shape eg. proportion of your body, symmetry, and muscle definition. For me, I knew I would slide into the Fitness Model category, not only because of genetics – but having a background of playing sports and dancing, I was already quite glute and quad dominant! Although, this meant I had to work on my back, shoulders and arms to make my body look proportioned to my lower body. While the rest of the world was skipping leg day, I was skipping chest day!☺️
Walk me through your training program in the lead-up.
Before any delusional idea sparked my mind to compete, I trained heavy and hard. Lifting as heavy as I possibly could, deadlifting 100kg, squatting 100kg, bench pressing 60kg. However, this is when the mentality of the preparation started. Being on a calorie deficit diet (burning off more than what I was putting in) I lost the mental state of lifting heavy and became quite fatigued, which of course played with my mind. From deadlifting 100kg, I didn’t deadlift at all and started squatting 40kg max, I was like ‘wtf I’m weeaaak’!?
Then the day came, from being all ‘hard-headed’ and ‘tough’ thinking this bodybuilding thing is a breeze, I was bench pressing 40kg, and started feeling very fatigued, nek minnit – I felt tears rolling down my face! And this, my friends, was when I realised – I am 6 weeks out from my first comp… isn’t this going to be an interesting rollercoaster.(Meanwhile my boyfie is rocking in a corner knowing that he has to put up with my sooky ass for the next few months). After this episode, my workouts then turned into conditioning my body, which means just maintaining the muscle mass that I already had, and relying on my cardio to #shred me.
What did you eat in a day?
As I said earlier, I could count the foods I was having on one hand. Sweet potato, fish, chicken, green vegetables and salad. #shredcity.
What is the comp prep like in the days leading up to the comp?
We call this ‘peak week’ which is the pinnacle point of bodybuilding – you can tweak your body by the foods you intake! Constantly keeping my coach updated on my body image and weight, these are the days where you hit the lightest weight before you hit the stage! Let’s just say I weighed lighter than my 14-year-old sister… and I’m 21 years old. The only word that replayed in my head was cardio,cardio cardio! I shredded down as much as I could, 2 hours of cardio a day – I know .. people struggle 5 minutes on the stepper! But I was determined and reminded myself that the date of the comp was not going to change for me, so I had to be ready.
On the actual day of the comp, my coach forced me to have a shot of vodka at 4am and then another at 10am (that was breakfast). The vodka dehydrates you and tightens your body, making you run leaner on the day.
We also have to eat something the night before that makes us, um well poo, so we clear out our entire systems. Then on the day, no food or water – just vodka!
What’s the hardest thing about this sort of training?
The hardest part was definitely trying to lift any type of weight. First of all, you want to prevent any type of injury, so I didn’t run to the weights and start lifting like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I paced myself and when I came to terms that I wasn’t as strong as what I was previously, I just jumped on the treadmill and ran as if I was running towards a tub of Nutella.
Another really hard part is going out for dinner with someone and they’re sitting in front of you eating fish and chips and all you have is plain chicken and veggies in a container… it’s not easy!
Do you get cheat meals? If so, what are your faves?
Yeah, I had cheat meals – IN MY BODYBUILDING DREAMS! No cheat meals for this chicky. Even if I did have a ‘cheat meal’ it would be called a ‘refeed meal’. Which I didn’t even get, lol. My coach said ‘You have to earn a refeed’ even though I was slaving my eating 5 foods ass off, I couldn’t afford to sacrifice any potential set back of my body psychic, a.k.a looking like a whale on stage.
What was your friends and families thoughts/opinions about competing?
Well, when I told my family I was bodybuilding, they instantly thought I would look like a monster, especially my dad, haha. My Mum knew that I would be determined all the way to the end, but it meant that I couldn’t have one of her homemade cooked dinners for 5 months! And my little sister wanted to compete with me, so when she gets older – watch out, there may be two sisters killing it in the bodybuilding world.
When I told my boyfriend, his response was ‘here we go’, and slowly packed his pockets with stones to walk into a river – lol jokes! 😝
How did you feel on the day, on stage?
I felt extremely proud of myself when I was on stage. It’s a sense of achievement! While I was backstage, all the girls I was up against were too busy comparing each other’s bodies – and by that time it’s too late.. so I just flaunted what I had and thought of all the food I could devour after the comp!
What did you eat straight after?
I went to a burger place and ordered the biggest burger on the menu!
What did you find were the most effective ways of cutting fat fast?
Definitely fasted cardio, it’s the ‘secret’ to effective fat loss. However, no one is bothered to get up early enough to do cardio, as it seems that we all love our sleep! As for food, just clean, wholesome food, no need to get all technical! I never ever starved myself, in fact, I ate more than what I have ever had. I allowed my body to trust my food intake every few hours so it would digest quickly, which results in a faster burning metabolism.
What supps are you into?
Pre-workout, BCAA’s, Protein, Creatine and L- Glutamine.
What motivates you?
What motivated me the most was my old self. The whole bodybuilding competition is about your body being compared to other competitors, however I was comparing myself to the person I was looking at in the mirror… I was always so uncomfortable in my own skin before I started this journey and now I am finally at peace with my appearance! (even though I’m bulking now). From the hard nights of training, early morning cardio, restricted dieting and the sexy orange tan – it is all well worth it! Next year, I’ll be doing it all over again .. so stay tuned! ☺️