The general idea of ‘you need to do cardio to be skinny’ hooked me in high school, and I spent a few years in gyms bouncing between the bike, treadmill and stepper to get my ‘minutes’ in, and going for walks around the block. This, combined with (what the internet told me was) a ‘healthy’ diet, meant i stayed relatively slim through the alcohol, clubbing and limited sleep thats inevitable in high school and university.
Eventually i was drawn to the weights at the gym, and while i initially saw some results in terms of body composition, i cringe to think back at what i was doing (and often wonder how i never hurt myself!). My training was still purely motivated by the pressure to be as skinny and as small as possible, yet generally ended with a meal from Nando’s or a bowl of low-fat ice-cream once i was home, or an full-blown food binge every week or so.
I crossed paths with coach Tyler in university, and this is where the foundations of my knowledge of weight training, nutrition and lifestyle approaches began. I would steal as much information as i could from him to create my own workouts, and eventually began personal training sessions with him in 2014. My love of lifting all the heavy things was born!
Fast forward to the end of 2017, having been weight training for a few years, id started to lose my motivation and effort at the gym. Tuesdays session began pushing out to Thursday, and my jeans were gradually getting uncomfortably tight. The food binges were back and my self-confidence was dropping rapidly. I was half-heartedly trying out all the latest ‘get lean quick’ approaches – low carb, keto, intermittent fasting, vegetable cleanses – all of which have merit, but i was using them with the wrong intent. The ‘get as skinny and small as possible’ mindset was back.
I’d obviously seen other girls compete in Fitness Competitions, but i knew for sure that with a history of food binging, super low self-confidence and a current lack of motivation to train at all, that i’d never be able to do it myself. I have no idea what the tipping point was, but in a split second on January 2nd 2018 i made the decision to compete. Somehow, despite every other effort i’d made, this decision stuck. While there was always an underlying hint of doubt throughout my prep, subconsciously i must have finally been frustrated enough to make a change.
The motto throughout my entire prep was to transform my body ‘from a pushbike to a V8’ engine. I’d heard horror stories before, and knew that if i was going to compete, it would be in a sustainable, healthy way; ensuring my mental health, metabolism, hormonal health and everything in between was always priority number one.
So working with coach Tyler at 22 weeks out, we began by looking at my current food intake to get an idea of my baseline calories. And then we went up. And up. And up! We needed to fuel that V8 engine, which at one point had me on 2500 calories a day, 60% from carbs. I’d agonise each night planning my meals for the next day trying to sneak even more carbs in! From about 15 weeks out, we began strategically bringing total energy consumption down week by week and adding in more training, cardio, and energy expenditure. All the while still ensuring I was healthy and happy.
I was almost waiting for the time that my past eating habits and mindset would rear its ugly head. I was waiting for the binge. Or the urge to just ‘be skinny’ instead of muscular. And I can confidently say that, given the healthy approach to this competition, the 6 month prep was the most at-ease and relaxed i have felt with food and mindset my whole life. Transforming my mindset to recognise that food is purely the fuel for my V8 engine, and taking all the emotion away from it, was an unintended but amazing outcome from this whole process.
We tracked skin folds and took progress shots weekly, consistently hitting an average weight loss of 0.5kg per week, which is exactly what we were aiming for. I wasn’t intending the scales to move so much, but i started at 63kg and was 54kg on stage.
I assumed the final hurdle mentally for me would be on competition day. Despite my posing coaching, i feared the low self-confidence would return to dampen the whole experience. Boy was i wrong. The morning of the competition i was relaxed and calm, even more so having the Enterprise team backstage with me with their support and love. The moment i was on stage i felt nothing but joy and happiness, and it was honestly just SO. MUCH. FUN!
As soon as i stepped off for my first division, i couldn’t wait to get back up there, in front of the cheering crowd. Hearing your friends cheering your name, nailing the posing you’ve been practicing for months on end in the bikini you hand picked – nothing will ever compare. I never needed to have any doubt going into this process as it ended up being the most rewarding 6 months of my life. I can’t thank coach Tyler and Team Enterprise enough!