Rachel's Competition Journey

THE START

I believe in challenges and goals that you can work towards, it gives you focus and clarity. Yes, we all workout for health reasons, change body shape, build muscle, lose weight and so on. But to focus all your efforts on a specific goal, gives you direction in your pursue for a fit and healthy lifestyle.

My goal at this present time is to do another Body Building Bikini Competition on the 14th May in Dubai.

12392017_998328606890589_5641596996496309633_n

You ask why? Doing a competition challenges your body, dedication, discipline and mostly mental strength.

Training & Nutrition Plan – 

It will take me 10 weeks to get stage ready, whereby I will carry on my fitness regime of 40 mins -1 hour strength training and 20 – 40 mins of cardio daily. I have always done this type of training, so nothing will change. However, I will control, monitor and evaluate my nutrition daily. This is the most challenging part. However, it teaches you about food, how many calories it contains, the protein, carbohydrate and fat content and you can see how quickly the numbers add up. I will start eating 1,800 Kcals daily. My Base Metabolic Rate is 1,600 Kcals, therefore I will not reduce my calories any further, as my body needs this just to survive. Any lower than that and I will damage my metabolism and is quite unhealthy for the body. I will weigh and check myself weekly and adjust my calories accordingly. If I am losing weight then I will stick at 1,800 Kcal, if not then I will reduce.

This will be my 4th Bikini Competition, however the 1st in the UAE. I don’t necessary compete to win any prize but I do them to have a personal achievement. Nothing beats standing on stage, loving your body, feeling confident and strong. You work so hard for weeks, but the end result is priceless.

The Blog – 

I will be documenting my thoughts, feelings, changes in training and nutrition as well as giving your helpful hints and tips along the way. So stay tunes for a roller coast ride to the UMFF Middle East Fitness and Fashion Event 2016!

Rachel’s History – 

To give you a brief history of my body composition, these results are from 2nd June 2015 to 9th January 2016

MUSCLE MASS (kg)

BODY FAT MASS (kg)

2.6.2015

31.90

12.40

9.7.2015

33.10

11.00

9.8.2015

33.00

11.70

3.9.2015

32.50

11.10

10.10.2015

33.80

11.20

26.10.2015

33.00

10.70

8.11.2015

32.10

9.80

9.1.2016

34.80

9.20

DAY 1

9th January 2016

So far so good, not feeling hungry and training going well. I trained chest and biceps and ended the training with a medium 30 minute run on the treadmill. But slightly nervous about the challenge ahead. Thoughts running through my mind of whether this is the right time, do I have enough time and energy to pursue this through. What happens if I don’t lose weight or my body doesn’t respond to the changes, will I be able to maintain my training intensity?? So many doubts and questions, but there will never be a ‘right’ time, like with any diet or lifestyle change, you just have to jump, go for it and believe in yourself that you can do it!

Weighing and entering my foods into my myfitnesspal app is time consuming, but I know the more I do it the quicker it will become. Plus I will have a better understanding about which foods are low in calories and which foods I should avoid (high calorie foods).

DAY 2

10th January 2016

Woke up this morning hungry, but that’s normal, I’m usually hungry in the morning. However, I was feeling very lethargic and slow in my workout this morning. I trained back and triceps with 20 minutes on the Spinning bike. I usually tire quite easily doing back, as I try to hit it hard and it needs a lot of concentration and energy.

Once I got home I resisted the temptation to pick at my muesli, while cooking my breakfast. It’s surprising how these little nibbles here and there add up to your total calories. It’s a bad habit I picked up, whereby I justify myself by saying “well, its only a little’ but doing it all day it mounts up to a vast amount of extra calories.

But my lunch time I was struggling. My hunger really kicked in, I felt as if my stomach had been slit! I was grumpy and impatient. Lunch time came and I inhaled it all, thinking this is just the start. Hopefully my body will adjust to the calorie level and I will become less hungry. But it is surprising as before I started controlling my calories I must have been eating over 2,000 Kcal.

DAY 3

11th January 2016

I woke up feeling pretty good, like I accomplished something, taking a step nearer to my goal. So far I haven’t had any sugar cravings, although my workouts have been affected. I feel quite un-energised in my training, especially when it comes to the cardio at the end. I believe this is due to my body adjusting to the lack of carbohydrates. As these are the primary source for energy for the body. My body must learn to use fat as energy rather than stored glycogen in my body. This is what we call the ‘fat burning zone’.

I trained legs today then did 10 mins of HIIT running, whereby I run very fast for 45 seconds then break for 15 seconds. I find this method of training straight after my leg workouts really effective, it really slims down my legs. I have been doing this for 2 months now, and I have seen a dramatic change in my legs, not only are they slimmer but I can see more muscle definition.

Concerning my diet, I learnt from the previous day that I need to eat my lunch earlier rather than later. Therefore, I ate my lunch today at 12pm, even though I had eaten my breakfast 2.5 hours before, my workouts make me into an eating machine.

I ate an afternoon snack of eggs and veggies at 4pm, just before my energy slumps and I crave sweets things. The trick is to always keep yourself satisfied and full.

DAY 4

12th January 2016

Today I trained shoulders. I need to train shoulders hard, as it is my lagging body part. Having wider shoulders gives the elusion of a narrow waist, which is what the judges are looking for. Plus  I think toned shoulders on a women looks very appealing, especially in short sleeved tops.

My morning workouts are still a struggle, I can only last 1 hour, after that I get very hungry and my energy levels are low. But I still managed to run for 30 minutes. My body adapts very well to cardio. I have always done cardio, especially running, and can run on pretty much zero energy.

No diet changes as yet. I enjoy eating the same foods every day. My breakfast has been the same for over 6 years! In the following days I will share with you my secret recipe. Lunch is usually a large bowl of green salad, vegetables that I weigh and a lean protein source, which varies from chicken, fish to eggs. Again everything is weighed and measured, even down to my balsamic vinegar. I don’t add oil to my salads as 1 gram of oil is equivalent to 9 calories, whereas 1 gram of protein or carbohydrates is equivalent 4 calories. Therefore I can eat much more food.

DAY 5

13th January 2016

Before my workout I have a small meal (3 TBSP muesli, 1/2 scoop protein powder with water & coffee), it raises my blood sugar after fasting for 9 hours and gives me energy for my workout. I don’t like to take a pre-workout energy drink, as you don’t really know what’s inside them. Your body gets used to them as well, so you won’t feel the affect after a while. Perhaps nearer the competition I will need a pre-workout drink to give me more energy.

IMG_1523
Pre-workout breakfast

After my workout I truly can’t wait to eat my breakfast. I have eaten the same breakfast for many years, although I do change some elements at times the main ingredients stay the same. I put 25 grams of oat bran, 60 grams of wheat bran, 2 TBSP flaxseed and 1 scoop of MyoFusion Peanut Butter Chocolate flavour, in a bowl, let it sit for a few minutes then heat it up in the microwave for 2 minutes. I use oat bran instead of normal oats as it contains more soluble fibre and reduces low-density lipoprotein/bad cholesterol, it is also more filling. Wheat bran also fills me up with very few calories ( 60 grams of wheat bran is only 100 kcal) plus adds lots of fibre to keep you regular!

IMG_1525
Post-workout breakfast

 

IMG_1524

DAY 6

Thursday 14th January 2016

Today was a hard day, motivation was slow and just general life was getting me down. That is when it’s really hard to stick with the gym routine and strict eating habits. But this is where you grow as a person, you become stronger, more disciplined and builds upon your character. The good days are the easiest the hard days are where you need to dig deep inside and keep reminding yourself why you are doing this. Look for motivation quotes, look at fitness models you admire and expire to be. Do all what you can to keep positive thoughts running through your mind. I find at times it’s important to talk to friends at these times, people that support you. They will give you confidence and admire you for your dedication, which intern motivates you to carry on.

DAY 7

Friday 15th January 2016

I decided to train shoulders again this week, it’s my weakness part and it can be a short workout and I wanted to run for 30 mins after my strength training, so I wanted to save a little energy for that.

I started with a 4-set warm-up, which consisted of:

  • 10 repetitions with a barbell behind of head
  • 10 repetitions with a barbell infant of head
  • 10 repetitions barbell front raises
  • 10 repetitions barbell upright row

I felt good, so decided to do 6 sets. I don’t necessary do any set numbers and repetitions, but go on how I feel. If it feels good, then I will do more.

I then did a variation of dumbbells presses, smith machine presses, lateral raises, front raises then went to the cable machine and did a variety of cable shoulder exercise.

I ended my workout with 30 mins of a steady run on the treadmill.

DAY 8

Saturday 16th January 2016

RESULTS DAY –

9.1.2016                                 16.1.2016

IMG_1532IMG_1533

From the results we can see that although my weight has gone down from 70.9 kgs to 69 kgs, this is due to losing water, as the water was 45.2 to 43.8. This is normal at the start, the body doesn’t want to lose fat nor muscle, as the body is programmed to hold on to energy stores for when we go through stages of food deprivation.

As my body fat is quite low anyway 9.2kg, the body will use muscle and fat for energy, in my case muscle as I have more muscle than fat. But I expected this. I know I will lose a small amount of muscle when dieting down, although I don’t want this, I have to accept that, that is the bad side of dieting in my case.

But, I feel positive about the results. It has only been one week, I feel and look leaner and my strength hasn’t changed only my energy is lacking slightly in the gym.

IMG_1529

AB check, my side oblique popping out after my run. My stomach muscles are down to heavy squatting, lifting heavy and running, especially sprints.

DAY 9

Sunday 17th January 2016

I felt really good in the gym today, my training was energised and I even did sprints at a new personal record speed. I didn’t feel as hungry as normal and felt leaner. I feel my body has responded to the calorie restriction of 1,800 Kcals and is adapting. Hopefully my body will relax and start releasing and burning fat. Whenever one starts a calorie restricted diet, the body goes into shock and rebels, holding onto it’s reserves. Thus people feel dispondent and give up upon their new lifestyle or diet. One must pursue and have faith in what they are doing and carry on for weeks even months. Results just don’t happen over night.

For the past few months my legs were always sore after training, which is good, muscles are adapting and growing. However for the past two weeks, I have had little soreness. A sign whereby I need to change things up, whether it be different exercises, higher volume, different reputation etc. Therefore, I did a variety of squats, wide and narrow, and with little rest. Let’s see how they feel tomorrow.

DAY 10

Monday 18th January 2016

The variation in my leg training yesterday certainly did the trick, I have soreness and they felt very heavy this morning in the gym. Today I trained chest and biceps, which although many women don’t train, I feel chest exercises also hit the shoulders a lagging part in me. Plus it is always good to train all the muscles in the body. Again my energy levels were up, so my body appalling well.

Food wise, I tend to eat the same type of food every day. Breakfast is my oat and wheat bran with protein powder, lunch is a HUGE bowl of salad with different lean protein sources, chicken, fish, eggs, fat-free cheese, and tuna. Afternoon snack egg whites and vegetables and finally dinner a different lean protein source with a vast amount of veggies. The condiments I use are – mustard, balsamic vinegar, soya sauce herbs and spices.

DAY 11

Tuesday 19th January 2016

For the past couple of days I am not as hungry as I was last week. This is good, as I feel I’m not really on a ‘diet’. I am eating the same foods as I would normally eat. But I have to make a conscious effort with my ‘picking’. I am a nibbler whereby I pick nuts out of my muesli or try a cookie but don’t eat all of it. However, all these extra bites add up to a few hundred calories per day. So, this for me has been a challenge. If I keep myself busy it is easier, whether it be surfing the internet, talking with a friend on the phone or working, it all helps keep your mind off FOOD.

Training was great where I train back and triceps with 10 minutes of running sprints at the end. However I do find I have to halve the gym and go straight home, as the hunger levels are at their worse, my stomach is literally growling.

DAY 12

Wednesday 20th January 2016

I woke up this morning feeling and looking lean, so my motivation was on a high. It makes you feel good as all your hard work is paying off. However, the previous night I ate my dinner quite early, so my stored glycogen stores were low so my energy in the gym soon faded after 30 minutes. I trained legs incorporating lots of variations of squats, deadlifts, walking lunges and finishing off on the leg machines. I always train the compound exercises first for instance squats, presses and deadlifts, as the movements use more muscle, more energy, balance and coordination is needed. The machines are easier, so you can really fatigue the muscle at the end of your workout. I ended my workout with 1 minute sprints on the running machine only lasting 10 minutes. I have found doing running intervals after my legs workouts have really slimed and defined my legs.

The diet has been getting easier each and every day as I am becoming more aware of what 1,800 kcal looks like and how I can create my meals around this calorie intake. I eat relatively the same type of foods every day, but just change around the vegetables and protein.

DAY 13

Thursday 21st January 2016

My training is really going well lately, I am still lifting as heavy as I can. My rep range always stays below 12, sometimes if it is very heavy then even 6. To gain muscle you must tear the muscle down, by lifting heavy and with proper technique. I have no set program, but just go on how I feel. If an exercise feels good then I will do more, sometimes even 6 sets.

Today I trained shoulders and I was lifting heavy on the overhead presses, I felt strong so I did as much as I could. I am still trying to keep my cardio to a minimum, as if and when my weight begins to slow down, I will need to add more to increase the fat loss. At this present time things seem to be going well.

DAY 14

Friday 22nd January 2016

Last night I went out for dinner and ate lots of vegetables, meat and fish. I ate all the food without any sauce or oil, however it was hard to gauge the quantity, so I know I ate more than I should.  My lunch that day was only 250 kcal and I missed my afternoon snack, as I knew it would be hard to manage my calories in the evening.

When dieting you can eat in restaurants, you just have to choose your food wisely, eat as plain as possible and not give in to sweet temptation.

So this morning’s workout went so well, I had so much energy. I trained chest and biceps with a 30 minute easy run to finish with. I managed to lift really heavy, making some personal records. It’s surprising how food has an influence on your performance in the gym. But it was nice to have a fully energised ‘normal’ workout again.

DAY 15

Saturday 23rd January 2016

RESULTS DAY – 

16.1.2016                                              23.1.2016

IMG_1561

IMG_1560

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am really please with the results today, as my body fat has gone from 9.3kg to 7.2kg and I have gained muscle from 33.7kg to 34.4kg.

The body is very clever and once it realises that you are trying to lose fat it will try and resist you and burn muscle for energy to compensate. So, to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time is quite difficult. It proves my point that one must lift heavy while training, not on
ly to build muscle but  also to preserve muscle.

The first week my body was adjusting to the calorie restriction, thus fat loss was slow. But now my body has relaxed and I am burning fat for energy, great!

I also look and feel leaner. This really pushed me in the gym and really gives you a boost whilst dieting. You are working so hard and the results show it.

IMG_1544 IMG_1542

DAY 16

Sunday 24th January 2016

I believe you should always change your workout routine. Trainers advise you to change every four weeks, but I think it’s important to constantly shock your body, it adapts very well to exercises, rep ranges and order. I never do the same workout twice. Perhaps I will change the order, add a new exercise, make the rest break shorter and other techniques.

Therefore, today in my leg workout I added a bit of ‘spice’ – I incorporated heavy squats and box jumps, walking lunges with sledge runs and other isometric moves. All in all a tough workout.

Concerning my diet – yesterday I was tired both physically and mentally, I was craving chocolate and cake all day. It didn’t help that every advertisement on TV was advertising something sweet. But, I stayed strong and resisted and kept telling myself it’s a visual response not an emotional need. These difficult times make you stronger, build upon your character and give you mental strength.

DAY 17

Monday 25th January 2016

I am finding my diet quite easy to follow. I tend to eat the same foods but play around with protein sources and spices. This is what I ate yesterday:

 

Calories (kcals)

Carbs (grams)

Fat (grams)

Protein (grams)

Unsweetened Soya Milk 75 ml

24

1

2

Myofusion Protein Powder 2 Scoops

300

18

4

48

Skimmed Milk 1 cup

90

13

8

laban 225 ml

30

2

2

Muesli 0.3 cup

96

22

1

3

Wheat Bran 53 grams

94

11

2

7

Oat Bran 2 TBSP

28

18

4

5

Flaxseed 1.5 TBSP

82

5

6

3

LUNCH

Romaine Lettuce 8 cups

64

13

1

5

Chicken breast 150 grams

165

 

 

2

35

Raddish 20 pieces

20

3

1

Broccoli cooked 200 grams

70

14

1

4

Balsamic Vinegar 1 TBSP

40

8

4 PM SNACK

Egg Whites 4

68

1

14

Broccoli cooked 100 grams

35

7

3

85% Extra Dark chocolate 20 grams

115

8

9

3

DINNER

Chicken breast 150 grams

165

2

35

Cabbage 600 grams

150

36

6

Mushrooms 275 grams

88

7

1

9

Kabocha Squash 1 cup

30

7

1

9

Almonds 5 pieces

38

2

3

1

TOTAL

1,792

kcals

196

grams

37

grams

194

grams

(Breakfast – I split my food between pre-workout and post-workout. Pre-workout is muesli with protein powder and Laban.)

DAY 18

Tuesday 26th January 2016

I have been training for 15 years, but I know that many people who read this blog are new to health and fitness, so here are my top tips to help you start your fitness journey:

1.Have patience. Fitness, leanness and muscle is almost like a pregnancy, you can not rush to month 8, no matter how much you want to.

2. Stay away from products that promise you rapid weight loss or magic transformation in record time. They don’t work in the long run.

3. Avoid being discouraged by looking at how much weight others are using. They weren’t born that way, they worked on getting stronger every day for many years.

4. Don’t over-complicate food, use common sense. Learn about muscle promoting nutrition and how to use food to your advantage. But avoid digging so deep into nutritional philosophy and catch 22’s, by contradicting evidence on what’s healthy or not. You will only get confused and feel like no matter what you do, you won’t do it 100% right.

5. As a beginner you will have the luxury of gaining muscle easily compared to those with years of training. Take one step at a time.

7. Have faith that any jiggle and loose body part you have will tighten up with time. Muscle is like a wound. You need to peel off the skin that your body is trying to put on it to heel, in order to make a scar. The scar will thicken with time. The more your peel the thicker the scar (muscle).

8. Pick your priorities. Training for a leaner body, marathon, muscle growth and ballet at the same time will just be a hard command for your body to interpret. Your body will think: ” What does she mean? Hey, I thought you meant, oh wait a minute, ok, that is what you want? Now I’m confused, what do I do? More muscle, no, I cannot do it when you do all those other energy expending things, come on, give me a break!”

9. Don’t tell your body you hate it. Don’t zoom in on your flaws. It doesn’t make your body happy. Yes, you’re working on perfecting what you have got but allow positive reinforcements! So your belly is not 100% lean yet? Your thighs are a bit too big? Or your back is flat and has no definition? Flabby arms? See it this way: if you didn’t have things to work on, you would be bored.

DAY 19

Wednesday 27 th January 2016

My alarm has been going off at 5am every morning this week, due to work commitments, so my gym workouts have been tiring. But this is where dedication not motivation kicks in. Although on the plus side, the gym is empty, so I can really focus on my training and I don’t get disturbed. Therefore, my workouts have been short, sweet and intense. Today I trained legs, focusing on squats and lunges, as these movements really target my gluteus, a key body part for any bikini competitor. Plus we all like firm, round gluteus!

Foods that I find fill me up with very few calories include – raddish both white and red, baby spinach, romaine lettuce, and cucumber. So, I have been including these a lot into my lunch time salads. Dinner changes from chicken or fish with cauliflower, cabbage or broccoli, with plenty of mustard.

Day 20

Thursday 28th January 2016

Today’s workout was very poor, I trained back and triceps, lack of strength and energy. Although I slept really well and hit all my macronutrients yesterday, I had no power. Maybe the cause was 5 am starts all this week and a long busy week at work. But I tried my best, pushed through, did what I could. Not every workout can be fantastic, where you lift heavier and heavier, some workouts you just go through the motions – today was one of these sessions.

Day 21

Friday 29th January 2016

RESULTS DAY

21.1.2016                                                     29.1.2016

IMG_1590IMG_1591

I knew the changes this week were not going to be as well as last week, I just felt and saw no real difference in my physique. However, my numbers are quite confusing. Weight has gone up by 0.6kg, water is the same, muscle lost is 0.6kg and fat gained 1kg.

Of course I am disappointed and slightly unsure about what is happening. I have stuck to my diet, in fact some days I have gone under 1,800 kcal and ate 1,600 kcal. Perhaps this is the reason, my body has rebelled and decided it doesn’t want to lose any more fat.

I have to accept the numbers, as these don’t lie and trust my knowledge and body, that it will cooperate and lose fat in the following weeks. Times like these are difficult as one feels cheated, angry and annoyed, all the hard work and for what! But I have to shock the body, change something so it feels relaxed and uses fat for energy.

My plan is to have a high carbohydrate meal, where I use my calories from protein and eat carbohydrates instead. This tricks the body into thinking “ wow energy calories, I’ll give more power because I am not in fat loss mode”. It also gives one’s metabolism a boost and increases hormone secretion. I will also do a mid-week weigh in just to check if this has worked or not.

Day 22 

Saturday 30th January 2016

Yesterday I decided to have my ‘re-feed day’, and boy did I enjoy it. I went to a restaurant here in Kuwait called Zaartar Zeit and I ate a Falafel Wrap and whole wheat bread with herbs, plain green salad with dressing on the side. I am not used to eating such complex carbohydrates, so the energy given by these foods gave me lots of energy and a satisfaction of ‘fullness’. Then in the evening I had roasted Kobocha pumpkin with salad. I love this pumpkin, it is expensive as it comes from Asia but it is delicious.

Kabocha has an exceptional naturally sweet flavour, even sweeter in taste than butternut squash. It is similar in texture and flavour to a pumpkin and a sweet potato combined. Some kabocha can taste like Russet potatoes. The rind of a kabocha is edible, although, some cooks may peel it to speed up the cooking process, or, to suit their personal taste preferences. Kabocha is commonly utilized in side dishes and soups, or, as a substitute for potato or other squash varieties.

IMG_1582Kabocha

So as you can imagine my workout this morning was amazing. I trained back, triceps and did a fast 20 minute run. It was so nice to get my ‘training mojo back’. I had lots of energy and really pushed my workout, I left feeling amazing. 

I look even leaner as well today, due to the carbohydrates being shuffled into my muscles. After dieting for a period of time it is nice to give your body a boost, shack things up, shock it into thinking “I’m not hungry and dieting, therefore I will use fat for energy”

IMG_1586

Saturday morning after my workout and after the pervious day’s re-feed.

Day 23

Sunday 31st January 2016

My body is very temperamental, some days it looks very lean others I look like a ballon. I suffer at times with IBS, whereby I am bloated, constipated and experience cramps. Today I felt and looked very bloated. I don’t know whether it is from my food, stress, excess salt or hormones. In my experience as a Personal Trainer I have also seen this in many of my clients, especially women. Our bodies like to hold onto water, this can make you weigh up to 1 or 2 kgs more. On those days, try to exercise, dink plenty of water to flush out the toxins and try to avoid fibre rich foods.

Day 24

Monday 1st February 2016

Thankfully my body has gone back to normal, no more bloating. Usually we don’t know what causes this bloating, but one must not stress about it and trust the body will regain it’s normal balance with time. 

I did wake up this morning with a sore throat and a stuffy nose, the common winter cold has hit. But no feeling sorry for myself, I have a competition to train for, so I must stick with my normal routine – gym. Doctors have said that if your cold symptoms are below the neck then take a day of rest, if not one can still train. 

I trained chest and biceps, but didn’t do any cardio 1. I wasn’t feeling very well, 2. my calories were only 1,650 kcal yesterday, so I didn’t have the energy. I find chest very easy to train, as you don’t have to concentrate too much, just push the weight from A to B. Most women don’t train chest very hard, whereas men love to train their chests. I believe to get an overall good shape and appearance to your body you must train ALL body parts equally. A lagging body baby one can train twice a week, to build and gain strength. 

Day 25

Tuesday 2nd February 2016

Although I woke up feeling still unwell, I had an amazing workout, I trained back, triceps and did a medium fast 30 minute run. I took some medicine before I trained, so I think that gave me an added boost. I was lifting heavy and needed very little rest inbetween sets, my run was also good where I felt I could run longer, but time was limited.

Concerning my diet and body, I feel leaner and people have commented, but my weight is still the same, in fact I have gained muscle; which seems crazy as I am dieting, so my body should be fighting to keep going let alone build muscle at the same time. But I am happy with that, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest, so it’s a great investment to increase your metabolism. 

I plan to start to reduce my calories now to 1,750 kcal per day, see if that gives my fat lost an added boost.

Day 26

Wednesday 3rd February 2016

When one is dieting down and is truly focused your whole day is occupied with food, what are you going to cook, eat and shop for. Yesterday I wanted to eat chicken, a whole chicken ( yes I can eat a whole chicken at one time!), so to enable me to do that and stay within my calorie restriction, I only had a small green salad. Therefore, my carbohydrates were very low, but my protein was up, so I didn’t feel hungry. This is not a problem, but the problem is the next day during my workout and throughout the day. After my training, I felt very light headed and was unable to concentrate. Your brain mainly is fuelled by carbohydrates, thus when these are reduced it can be hard to concentrate. Lesson learned – balance all your macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein & fat). your body needs an equal amount of each to function effectively.

Today I trained legs, focusing on hamstrings, so my workout included lots of deadlifts and wide stationary lunges. These 2 exercises really target your hamstrings. Afterwards I did a fast 10 minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) run, whereby I sprinted for 45 seconds and rested for 15 seconds. The song I listened to whilst running was by One Direction Steal My Girl, I know a little ‘cheesy’, but that song really pushed me to go even faster. My usual music varies from Kings of Leon, Coldplay or any fast techno dance music.

Day 27

Thursday 4th February 2016

Sleep – so important, not only to get adequate rest but it determines your how day goes and your workout. I didn’t sleep well last night and woke up at 4:30am; an hour later I was in the gym. But my workout suffered, I managed to train shoulders, but didn’t have enough energy for any cardio. I tried to run but after 10 minutes I gave up and that’s not like me,  I love running even when I have no energy.

A small study conducted by the Stanford University Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory followed a group of athletes over a three-week period. They did nothing different but increase their sleep and saw marked improvements in performance, including faster sprint times, longer endurance, lower heart rate and an overall better workout.

Moreover, rest is critical to the recovery process because while you’re resting, your body is building muscle. This happens most efficiently during sleep, and without enough quality sleep, your body cannot fully recover from exercise.

Finally, a lack of sleep can affect diet and eating habits. Sleep loss has been found interfere with hunger hormones increasing appetite during the day and bringing on cravings.

But the end result was I went and I did a workout, it may not have been the best workout, but it was a lot better than staying in bed.

Good news is I’m looking and feeling leaner, happy Rachel!

IMG_1603IMG_1602

Shoulder pump                                Bikini Shape coming

Day 28

Friday 5th February 2016

Time for a re-feed, I woke up absolutely starving, very hungry and weak. I ate my usual pre-workout snack of muesli with protein powder and went to the gym. Training was hard, I was weak, I needed energy. I trained shoulders and did a medium intensity 20 minute run. As I said before I can do cardio on very little energy. I have trained my body to run very effectively in the past on little energy, I used to get up in the morning and go running, then come home and eat my breakfast. So, the only part of my training that suffers is the strength part.

Therefore, today was a well deserved and much needed re-feed day. A re-feed day means replacing most of your protein with carbohydrates. This gives the body an added boost, instance energy, shocks the body into thinking ‘ wow…calories that can be used for instant power’. The body relaxes and thinks it’s not in dieting mood, hence will burn more fat. The body is very clever and soon slows down your metabolism and fat lost, when dieting for a long period of time. It doesn’t want to lose fat, it may need it for future hard times, like in our ancestry days.

My re-feed foods I chose were – white bread, pumpkin and popcorn (without oil). I limit oil and protein.

IMG_1611

Time for a re-feed, looking lean.

Day 29

Saturday 6th February 2016

I woke up feeling not hungry (for a change!) and a little bloated. When you eat more carbohydrates than normal your body shuffles glycogen from carbohydrates with water to the muscles, therefore you can feel bloated and have a ‘pumped’ feeling. This is normal and many people panic because they are not used to the feeling, however, it’s perfectly normal and your body will go back to normal.

So, with all these extra glucose stored in my muscles, my morning leg workout was full of energy and enthusiasm, my body enjoyed the extra calories and I left the gym feeling amazing. I even ended with 10 minutes of sprint (45 seconds on 15 seconds off) at a new personal record, speed 17. My legs were like jelly at the end.

Day 30

Sunday 7th February 2016

Today I trained chest and biceps. Every workout I try and change it up, different exercises, exercise order, rep range, something or other. So, today I timed my rest periods and only gave myself 30 seconds rest between sets.

I have been training now for many years, so for me I need to constantly challenge by body and muscles. They adapt very well and quickly, so I must constantly shock them, throw something new at them so they develop and get stronger. Many women have the perception that if they lift weights they will grow huge muscles and look like a man. That is not the case, women only have 10% of the testosterone of men, so it is very, very difficult for us to grow muscles let alone become big.

There are many benefits to lifting weights:

  • Live longer – the more muscle we have the less likely we are to die prematurely
  • Sleep better
  • Your progress is more noticeable
  • Protect your bones
  • Helps your balance
  • Makes you happier – from reduced anxiety and depression
  • Look better in clothes – muscle takes up less space than fat
  • You burn more calories – the more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest
  • Have a good workout in under 30 minutes
  • You don’t have to go to the gym to do it – body weight movements
  • Helps your heart – lower’s blood pressure

Day 31

Monday 8th February 2016

REULTS DAY – 

2.2.2016                                   8.2.2016

IMG_1614IMG_1615

I took my results today instead of Saturday, because I thought I would have a better reading. My diet seems to be giving me a lot of constipation, due to the lack of oil, vitamin C and potassium.

The results from the previous week were not as good, putting on body fat and feeling not as lean as I would have liked. However, this week is another step in the right direction, weight down from 69.9 to 68.5, body fat from 12% to 11.6% and maintaining my muscle mass at 34.2 kg. I am afraid of losing muscle, as I trained so hard to build it, I don’t want my body to use muscle for energy, which the body will do once it’s used all it’s fat reserves.

I am looking leaner every week, which I didn’t experience in my other competitions. I have more muscle now than I every did, muscle needs energy. It is like having a faster engine in your car, the car will go fast and so by having more muscles in your body, your body will burn more calories due to the increased metabolism. So, the moral of the story – build muscle!

Day 32 

Tuesday 9th February 2016

My body and mind are fighting. Your brain survives mostly on carbohydrates for energy, therefore having lack of these, makes you tired, grumpy, unmotivated and at times unable to concentrate. This is a phase, where you have to be even more mentally strong. You need discipline, a routine whereby you just go through the motions – train, eat, work, eat, cook, sleep….. You feel you have no social life, you are bored with your food and training isn’t as fun any more. But, there will be that day when you step on stage and feel that all the hard work has paid off and you have accomplished your dream. Then, every part of that ‘treat’ meal and social life will mean so much more.

Day 33

Wednesday 10th February 2016

Today my plan was to train legs. Leg training is hard, you need lots of energy, so I need to be in the ‘right’ mood. When I woke up this morning, I didn’t feel like training my legs, so once I arrived at the gym I started training shoulder. But then all of a sudden, I got the energy and motivation, so I did one exercise for shoulder, then carried on training legs. Sometimes you need the first 10 minutes in the gym to get into the right frame of mind, get the blood flowing, feel the energy from the other people. Plus, I would of had a guilty conscious, as I’m the type of person that when I have a plan, I do it, no matter how I feel or what circumstances change, I still get it done. Now I feel good, I accomplished my goal today, no slacking, 100% committed.

Day 34

Thursday 11th February 2016

Today I found out that the Bikini Competition in Dubai which I planned to do on the 26th March has now changed to 14th May, 6 weeks later. Although this gives me more time, it has actually created many problems. I have planned out my diet for 10 weeks, it is very hard to diet down and to prolong this process is very difficult, both for the body and mentally. A 16 week diet program for me is too long. I am quite lean anyway, at the start my body fat was 14.6%. For a beginner who hasn’t done a competition before 16 weeks would perhaps be better.

Therefore, I am considering my options. I don’t want to give up as I have worked so hard already. I am mentally focused and in the zone, the diet and training is easy for me now, I am in a routine. So, I am thinking about what to do:
Take a break for 2-3 weeks, but then I am afraid I won’t be able to start again.
Carry on and diet down for another 6 weeks.
Look for another competition.

Whatever I decide to do, I feel very disappointed and a little annoyed. I am still eating my ‘diet food’, but I am not weighing out my foods, just going on eye-balling the quantities.

Day 35

Friday 12th February 2016

At the moment I am getting quite bored with my food. I am eating the same food day-in day-out. So, I need to find alternatives. I love cauliflower and it is a staple vegetable for me.

With only 25 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates in 1 cup, it’s a fibre-filling food. It has plenty of vitamin C which can lower cholesterol and improve blood flow to help control blood sugar. It’s also a good source of vitamin K, which strengthens bones and clots your blood, has adequate folate, B vitamins with antioxidants.

Cauliflower is inexpensive, easy too cook and so versatile. I eat cauliflower in many different ways:

  • Boiled in water and pureed to make ‘mash potatoe’, used to thicken sauces and soups, add chocolate protein powder and stevia for a chocolate pudding. Try adding garlic and spices for an alternative side dish to any grilled meat or fish.
  • Finely chopped in a food processor until it resembles a grain and can be used instead of couscous or rice. I make egg fried rice by cooking it in a pan, add peppers, onions, cooked chicken, soya sauce and an egg.
  • Make a pizza crust by using cooked cauliflower ‘grain’, squeeze out the excess water, mix with egg whites and a little low-fat cheese, spread out on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until golden brown. Add your desired pizza topping.
  • Cooked and blended with fat-free milk to make a low-calorie pasta sauce that’s rich and creamy.

Tonight I made a cauliflower pizza crust (recipe & instructions as follows):
1 head of cauliflower, finely grated, cooked in the microwave for 8 minutes. Once cooled I mixed it with 4 egg whites, and half a packet of fat-free cheese with garlic seasoning, salt & pepper. Flattened it out on a lined baking sheet and baked in the oven until golden brown. I ate half as a pizza and the other half I used the next day as a type of bread.

IMG_1618 IMG_1619 IMG_1620

Day 36

Saturday 13th February 2016

RESULTS DAY

8.2.2016                                          13.2.2016

IMG_1628IMG_1629

After a few up and down days I thought my results were not going to be as good, however my body is responding well to my diet. In just 5 days my numbers have changed:

Weight 68.5 kgs – 68 kgs
Muscle 34.2 kgs – 34.2 kgs
Body Fat 7.9 kgs – 7.4 kgs

For me to reduce my weight my even half a kilo is quite significant, the leaner you get the harder it is to lose weight. An obese person can lose up to 2 kgs in 1 week, just by moving more and eating less. Whereas trained, lean individuals it takes much more work.
I want to keep hold of as much muscle as possible, so staying at 34.2 kgs is great news. Body fat reduced, perfect, I couldn’t be happier. The diet I am eating and the amount and intensity of my training is working effectively. This give me encouragement and confidence knowing that what I am doing is working.

Day 37

Sunday 14th February 2016

On Friday I bought my usual protein powder and received a free gift Creatine. I have never tried creatine but I have tried other supplements in the past ( BCAA, Glutamine, Pre-workout energy drinks), but I found they worked only for a short period of time but my body got used to them, so I didn’t get the same effect, plus they are very expensive and I really saw no benefit.

As I am dieting I have found my workouts suffering due to the lack of calories, so I thought why not, give it a try.

Some facts about Creatine:
– It is a legal supplement by the sports governing bodies.
– It is a compound that is found naturally in meat and fish.
– Usually there is a 5-10% improvement in performance without creating any harmful effects.

Benefits :
increase strength & power
improves repetitive exercises i.e squatting, chest press etc.
improves muscular strength and for short bursts of energy
= therefore you can create a greater muscle overload = train harder and for longer
recover faster, as it delays muscle fatigue, your muscles can tolerate higher levels of lactic acid.
increase lean muscle, by increasing protein hypertrophy ( greater muscle turnover)

What I have found – WOW…. I can lift heavier, in fact today I managed to reach a personal record on my bench press, 55kg, 4 repetitions, 2 sets. I didn’t fatigue so easily, I can push harder and for longer. Now, whether this is a placebo, whereby I know I am taking a supplement therefore mentally I think I am stronger, or the creatine is really helping, I don’t know. I like to think I am strong and have the determination to push myself every time in the gym. But, if it helps and doesn’t harm me, then why not!

Day 38

Monday 15th February 2016

Today I feel a little bloated and heavy, I think due to water retention. A side effect of taking creatine is water retention due to the muscles increasing their volume of absorbing more water, this give you the extra power when lifting and makes you look ‘fuller’. This is only short term and once you stop taking the supplement your body goes back to normal, but you will have gained hopefully more muscle.

As I mentioned before, this is only short term and I want to try it. To be a good Trainer and Competitor I believe you have to try new things, be like a ‘guinne pig”, be the experiment. Then, I can advise clients knowing the facts.
It will be interesting to see on Saturday my results, whether I have retained extra water or not.

My diet is going well, although I am starting to get quite bored with it. Problems that I have occurred is when I’m busy and can’t eat my lunch till 2pm or even later. I get so hungry my lunch doesn’t satisfy me and I’m looking for other goodies. Moral of the story, try not to get to the stage where you are ‘starving’, your blood sugar has dropped and you choose bad options to satisfy you. Eat when you are hungry, but try not to go past that stage.

Day 39

Tuesday 16th February 2016

Every day I am learning about new techniques and how my body works, one must always be willing to gain new knowledge, this is how we get better and stronger. For the past few days I have been starting my workouts with a 5-10 minute steady run. I admit I have always been lazy with my warm-up routine, although I know it’s very important to warm-up, get the blood flowing and to make sure the muscles are prepared to lift weights, I haven’t really bothered. But since taking the creatine, the idea being that it would circulate around my body ready to be used once I start lifting. But also to get me in the right mood, get the endorphins rushing and to get ‘pumped-up’. And it has been working; usually it would have taken me 2 or 3 exercises to get mentally and physically into my workout, but now I am full-blast.

Today I trained legs, focusing more on lunges. Sometimes I do workouts focusing on squats, deadlifts or lunges and then do a variety of different exercises, always making sure I change the order, repetition and exercises. I didn’t do my normal sprints at the end, but an easy 20 minute run.

Day 40

Wednesday 17th February 2016

My energy levels have been getting pretty low, but not during my workout, but in the afternoon between 3-6pm. I have always suffered from tiredness espically in the afternoon and this could be due to many reasons:
– under-active thyroid ( which I have)
– vitamin D deficiency
– iron deficiency
– poor diet
– stress levels
– lack of sleep
– emotional state – feeling depressed

So, although my workouts haven’t suffered, my work and mood in the afternoon have. By the time I get home at night I am exhausted. I eat every 3-4 hours, so it can’t be low blood sugar, but a combination of mineral deficiency, working, training and general life can make one tired at times. Moments like these it is a good idea to have a routine, whereby you go through the motions. Don’t waste your energy on creating different foods, stick to what you know, stay with your workout routine, it will make you feel good and get plenty of rest and sleep.

Day 41 

Thursday 18th February 2016

RESULTS DAY

13.2.2016                                         18.2.2016

IMG_1634 IMG_1635

Another great week where I lost body fat and gained muscle. The results are as follows:
Weight – the same 68 kgs
Water slightly more 0.3 kgs
Muscle – gained 0.5 kgs
Fat – lost 0.3 kgs

Most people just look at the scales and panic when they don’t see the numbers change. I have the advantage of using an Inbody machine that provides me with water, muscle and body fat details, so I can see actually how the diet and training affects my body. With weight loss and doing any competition, it is better to lose body fat slowly and steadily. It is easier to maintain and doesn’t affect your metabolism as much. Your metabolism adjusts to the calorie deficient diet and doesn’t panic and hold onto it’s fat stores; but relaxes and uses the fat for energy whilst building muscle, a perfect combination.

Day 42

Friday 19th February 2016
I have looked for other Bikini Competitions in Europe and the UAE, but can’t find anything that fits my schedule. So, I have 2 choices 1. give up 2. take a break and relax my diet a little and do the completion in Dubai on the 14th May 2016. I have chosen option 2.

I feel a little apprehensive as I am in the zone at the moment with my diet, focused upon the task. I have found a routine and eat foods I enjoy. I have enough energy for my workouts, losing fat and still gaining muscle, so everything is quite easy. Once I lose focus and relax my diet I am afraid I won’t be able to get back on the bang-wagon and be so strict. It’s a scary situation, the same situation you get once you finished a competition, the question arises how to I find a balance where you don’t put on all the weight you lost, and to find a lifestyle which you can maintain and still have a great body.

Day 43

Saturday 20th February 2016

As I have another 12 weeks to go before the competition in Dubai I need to relax a little with my diet. If I keep dieting down until then I will lose too much weight and muscle. So my plan is to indulge a little more on Friday’s my ‘off day’. Although this is a tricky situation, as I believe once you become flexible with your diet it is hard to stay focused and a little bit here and there soon adds up, and you are back to square one. In fact this phase is even harder than being on a strict diet, as you need to find a balance, enjoy your foods but not too over-eat.
Yesterday I ate like a king !
Breakfast – my normal foods
Lunch – Grilled meat platter, salad made with olive oil, 3 white pita breads, garlic dip
Snack – a few cashew nuts
Dinner – 250 gram Beef tenderloin Steak with a salad, dressing on the side but with fried carrots strips on top.

I was stuffed, I enjoyed every single bite. When I treat myself with food, I like to have real food, not fast food or junk, but food that serves a purpose. For example the olive oil and nuts provide me with healthy omega 3 & 6 oils, the steak rich in iron and the white bread carbohydrates to fuel my workouts.

My gym workout this morning was good, although I did feel bloated it was good to have energy again. I trained back, triceps and did a 30 minute medium tempo run.

Day 44

Sunday 21st February 2016

Today I trained shoulders and I wanted to shake things up a little. As I said before it is always important to change your training technique and style to constantly challenge your body. So, today I trained my shoulders using a technique called ‘negatives’. This is where you slowly lower the weight on the decentric movement. For example, dumbbell shoulder press, you lift the weight overhead then on a count of 5-6 reps you slowly lower the weight. Of course you have to significantly reduce the amount of weight you normally do for this body part. This technique puts the muscle under more time under tension, leading to greater muscle growth. As the muscle undergoes more work you also feel more lactic acid building up in the muscle, which means more burning, so a strong mental attitude is necessary.

This was my workout:
– Seated Dumbbell overhead press – 10 repetitions, 4 sets
– Standing Dumbbell lateral raises – 10 repetitions, 6 sets ( it felt good so I did more than usual)
– Seated Barbell overhead press – 10 repetitions, 4 sets
– Rear Delt cable flye & Rear delt machine – superset – 15 repetitions, 4 sets
– Standing inverted dumbbell overhead press – 8-10 repetitions, 3 sets
– Standing cable front raises – 12 repetitions, 3 sets

Then I ended my workout with 10 minutes of HIIT sprint runs on the treadmill, 45 seconds sprint, 15 second rest. I managed to run at speed 17.2, but only 3 times.

Day 45

Monday 22nd February 2016

I think we all get stuck-in-a-rut, where we go through the motions believing what we are doing is right and will bring results. This is especially true in terms of health and fitness, but we are all unique and must try and find what works best for YOU, no plan or program fits everyone.

I thought I knew what was best in terms of my diet for the competition, until I spoke with a bodybuilder/trainer in the gym today, who has many years of experience under his belt. He told me that I need a lot more muscle and that my diet isn’t the best. Of course I was taken aback by this, as I thought I was doing wonderfully with my diet. He advised me to eat every 2 hours and to increase my protein and the worst part of all – cut out my protein powder !! The chocolate peanut butter protein powder I take is my lifesaver, I LOVE it, it kicks my sweet sugary craving and I look forward to it everyday. So, I need to re-evaluate my food a little, add more meat escpially turkey and egg whites. Also add eggs to my breakfast instead of the protein powder. Let’s see how it goes, it will be interesting to see how much muscle I can grow in this time.

One piece of good news though, he said I was one of the hardest women he has seen training in the gym. My training style and intensity outshines anyone else. Which is true, I always give 110% to my training, every single workout. I never go to the gym and do a ‘light’ workout, I would rather stay at home if I did that.

Day 46

 Tuesday 23rd February 2016

It is always good to challenge yourself and to set targets in terms of both fitness and nutrition. I am very competitive escpcially with myself, so now and again I like to do challenges. So, today I decided to do a run test. You run for 12 minutes non-stop, take note of your distance on the machine and compare the results in the table below within your age bracket:

Excellent

Above Average

Average

Below Average

Poor

Female 20-29 yrs

2700 meters

2700-2200 meters

2199-1800 meters

1799-1500 meters

less than 1500 meters

Female 30-39 yrs

2500 meters

2500-2000 meters

1999-1700 meters

1699-1400 meters

less than 1400 meters

Female 40-49 yrs

2300 meters

1900-2300 meters

1899-1500 meters

1499-1200 meters

less than 1200 meters

Female 50 +

2200 meters

2200-1700 meters

1699-1400 meters

1399-1100 meters

less than 1100 meters

After I trained shoulders I did the test and my result was 2760 meters, which puts me in the excellent bracket considering I am 36 yrs. I really pushed myself to the point where I couldn’t run anymore. However, now I know my bench-mark I am sure I can beat that distance next time. I will do the challenge again in 1 month and see if I get a better result.

Day 47

Wednesday 24th February 2016
RESULTS DAY

18.2.2016                                      24.2.2016

IMG_1642IMG_1643

I was a little apprehensive today about taking my measurements, as I know I haven’t been on-spot with my diet after being indecisive about the change of date of the competition. I have been weighing out my protein, staying with 160 grams of chicken or 400 grams of fish for either lunch and dinner. But vegetables I have just been going on how full I feel. Although I haven’t cheated in-terms of sweets, nuts and other goodies.

I knew my weight was going to be more (68.1kg – 68.9 kg), I feel quite bloated, carrying extra water (44.7 kg – 45.3 kg) and I can see that in my body, I don’t have that hard dry look. But it’s alright, I know I will lose that water retention eventually.

Happy as always to find my muscle mass has increased ( 34.7 kg – 35 kg), although only slightly in one week, that is adequate. Body fat is the same as last week, good knowing my Friday treats were enjoyed. A good maintenance week.

Day 48 & 49

Thursday 25th and Friday 26th February 2016

IMG_0231

Kuwait has a Public Holiday, so I flew to Dubai to spend some time with a friend. I decided not to train on these two days, as I feel sometimes it is good to give your body a rest, especially the strength training, although cardio can be done daily. The 2nd day I woke up, very stiff. I find when I don’t exercise my body becomes stiff and rigid. So, to avoid this I do some sort of cardio exercise, normally I go for a run, which I did. Blood flow is increased around the body and delivers oxygen and other vital nutritionist to the muscles; this helps the muscles recover to become stronger for when you start training again.

My diet, was good on the 1st day, I took plenty of protein sources ( egg whites & chicken) with me to snack on, then throughout the day I ate healthily with salads and vegetables.
The 2nd day I admit I have a delicious, well-made good quality burger, no fries with salad dressing on the side. That is one thing you really do appreciate when you don’t normally eat such food, the taste is like an explosion in your mouth. You savour every mouth full and really enjoy the tastes and textures. Whereas, if you ate this type of food regular, I believe you wouldn’t appreciate its true taste. However, when I am back in Kuwait, it’s back to business !!

Day 50

Saturday 27th February 2016

I woke up feeling bloated and heavy, a combination of eating different foods and travelling. But, I know after a few days my body will get back to normal and I will feel good again.
I find it hard to go back to the gym again after having 2 days off, I feel sluggish and unmotivated. However, I know this feeling will only last a day or two.
I trained legs, staying quite light, as I wasn’t really feeling it. But after 30 minutes the energy came back and I started to feel my normal self again. When you feel like this, it is always good to say to yourself, “just train 10 minutes, do a light workout”, but then you get the ‘fitness mojo’ back and you end up having a great workout.
I ended my leg training with 10 minutes of running sprints (45 seconds sprinting, 15 seconds rest). Rachel is back !!

Day 51

Sunday 28th February 2016

For the past 2 days I have changed my breakfast, instead of having my normal 1.5 scoops of protein powdering in my oatmeal after the workout, I have 7 egg whites instead. The macronutrients change are as follows:

Calories

Carbohydrates

Protein

Fat

1.5 scoop Protein Powder

225

14

36

3

7 Egg Whites

119

1

25

1

 

Although I am saving on calories, carbohydrates and eating less protein, I am feeling a lot better. After my workout I am normally very hungry, so eat a large portion but feel quite full, heavy and bloated. However, after changing my protein source from the powder to egg whites I am feeling less bloated and less hungry. The egg whites seem to hold my hunger a lot longer. I think this is due to:
the powder has artificial sweeteners which can cause you to feel bloated
the sugars rise my insulin levels considerably but then I have a sudden drop, which is why I feel hungry 2 hours later.
eggs have be known to reduce hunger and people feel more satisfied compared to when they eat sugary cereals.

However, I still eat 1/2 scoop of protein powder before my workout.
The reduced protein consumption will be made up during the course of the day. I will try this out for 1 week and see on my results whether it has changed my muscle mass and body fat. It is a case of trial and error, see what works for you.

Day 52

Monday 29th February 2016

Many people think it is easy to be lean and have muscles, but they don’t realise it takes many years, determination and discipline to build muscles and stay fit.

Here are some pros and cons to this kind of lifestyle, that many people don’t realise:
Cons:
– You tend to lose weight first in your face, making you look older and more wrinkly.
– Skinny jeans seem to be too tight around the calves.
– Food bills are higher because you don’t eat fast or frozen food.
– You must endure everyone’s question – “what’s your secret?”
– You worry about your muscles disappearing if you miss a workout.
– It’s hard to explain that you DON’T miss junk food.
– You feel colder than most people, because you don’t have the same amount of body fat.
– You can’t self medicate yourself with ice-cream or chocolate when you are sad, bored or stressed.
– When you watch food programs and commercials you start to think about how your cholesterol would be affected if you ate it.
– On bad days your muscles look small and soft.
– When you have fat days you look fatter compared to others, as you have more water retention.
– Your body is always asking for more..more..more, in terms of training, stretching, foam rolling and massage.

Pros:
– No matter how bad your day is, you will always love your body.
– You don’t have to worry about cholesterol, clogged arteries or inflammation in the body caused by obesity.
– You can wear almost anything and look good.
– You don’t have to panic about events where you have to wear skimpy outfits, no crash diets are needed.
– You are the master at self control.
– You can carry and lift almost anything on a day-to-day basis.
– You will always have something to do, whether it is training, stretching or foam rolling. – Your body always needs some TLC.
– You might not be rich or have a lot of power, but you do have a great physique, that no money, influence or power can buy.

Day 53

Tuesday 1st March 2016
The last couple of days I have been feeling really good, my workouts have been full of energy and I am even lifting heavier and heavier every week. I believe this is a combination of sleeping between 7-8 hours solidly every night, eating all my meals, reducing my sugar intake from the protein powder, so I don’t get a sudden energy crash and drinking lots of water (3-4 litres a day).
There are 4 main components to a healthily lifestyle:
– sleep
– food
– water
– rest
When you get adequate amounts of these things, your body functions well to it’s optimum. You don’t get any cravings, energy slumps or mood swings.

Today I trained legs, focusing mainly on depth in my squats. I try and go as low as I can, even trying to go below parallel. Many fitness gurus say that you shouldn’t go below parallel as it can damage the knee. But I disagree, of course everyone is different and their body mechanics are different, so you must do what feels comfortable for you. The main principle I believe is to go as heavy as you can with proper technique.

Day 54

Wednesday 2nd March 2016

IMG_0235

I need to take a mental note today – make sure I eat enough vegetables and food every night, as my workout the next day in the morning is really affected. I ate plenty of protein last night in terms of chicken, but only a little broccoli. This morning in the gym I have NO power. I was supposed to run for 30 minutes but only managed 20 minutes and my weight training was very poor.

However, I am looking and feeling leaner. I have realised that although I do love my chocolate peanut butter protein powder, it makes me feel very bloated and causes my insulin levels to really raise and fall. The exchange from the protein powder to egg whites is making me feel more satisfied for longer in the morning. Although I am going through lots and lots of eggs, I’m always in the supermarket.

My legs are very sore from yesterday’s leg training. I started off by doing heavy olympic bar squats, lunges then box squats, which I find always kill my legs. Box squats are really good for developing your regular squats, it forces you to go lower, therefore targeting more muscle fibres.

Day 55

Thursday 3rd March 2016

After yesterday’s non-power workout I made sure that I ate plenty of food last night, so my back and tricep workout was really good today. I train back twice a week for many reasons:
I find it hard to concentrate and squeeze my back muscles. I’m a ‘push’ person, therefore training chest is easier for me.
– I train both chest and shoulders weekly, both push movements. Therefore to have good symmetry I believe I need to have 2 pull days ( back exercises)
– We can’t see our back muscles from behind, so tend not to train these muscles we don’t see as much as the ones we do see.

Concerning my diet, today was a challenging day. I had lots of stress at work and was very tempted to buy all sorts of goodies, primarily chocolate cake and biscuits. But, I always tell ask myself “ Rachel, eating this type of food, will it make you feel better or worse?” And of course the answer is worse. Perhaps it will fill an emotional state for a short period of time, but the guilt afterwards would out-do any sudden positive satisfaction. So, always ask yourself, ‘will this treat really make me feel better, will it help me reach my goal and will it be there when I finish dieting?’ If the answer is YES, then leave it.

Day 56

Friday 4th March 2016

Yesterday I bought a whole turkey, skinned it and cooked it in the oven. It tasted delicious, so I ate plenty. Hence, I woke up this morning rather full and had a powerful workout in the gym. I trained shoulder again, as I felt my shoulder workout on Wednesday wasn’t sufficient.

I also ran at the end of my workout, but felt it was boring just running aimlessly for 30 minutes, so I tried something different. I ran for 1 minute at a fast speed, level 13, then walked for 30 seconds to recover. I did this for 20 minutes, and the time flew-by. It is always good to run different programs, fast, slow, incline, walking, play with the speed and intensity, it makes the time go by so much faster.

Today is re-feed, where I reduce my protein intake and eat slightly more carbohydrate, this shocks by body into thinking it’s not dieting. My preferred carbohydrates sources are bread, especially hot fresh bread, pumpkin, oats and other cereals. Therefore today I will give my body a well deserved energy boost.

Day 57

Saturday 5th March 2016

Today I trained legs. I usually train upper body 2 days then do a leg day, 2 days upper and again legs, and keep rolling over week by week. It works for me, I used to take 1 day off from the gym per week, which is what most people do. But I prefer to carry on, it’s what you get used to, everyone is different and you must listen to your body.

These are the exercises I did:
– Olympic Barbell Squat – 5 sets, 5-10 reps
– Olympic Barbell Reverse Lung – 4 sets, 10 reps on each leg
– Olympic Barbell Box Squats – 4 sets, 7-10 reps
– Olympic Barbell Stationary Lung – 4 sets, 10 reps on each leg
– Olympic Barbell Wide Squats ( toes pointing outwards) – 4 sets 10-12 reps
– Olympic Barbell Deadlifts – 4 sets, 10 reps
– 1 Legged Squats, sitting on a bench
– Leg Press Machine – 4 sets 10-15 reps
– Quad Extension – 4 sets, 8-10 reps

I always start with a heavy squat as I am my strongest at the start of the training. I lift as heavy and as low as I can, while maintaining good posture and technique. Depending on how I feel determines how many sets I do, but no less than 4 sets.
Lung, I vary with frontwards, backwards and stationary.
Box squats are fantastic for building your strength in normal squats. Try to drive through the heels, keeping your back as straight as possible, don’t swing forward as this makes the movement much easier.
Wide Squats target the inner thigh and gluteus, but you must squeeze your gluten especially at the top.
I perform free weights at the start then end with machines, as machines are easier so you don’t need a lot of balance or coordination.

As you can see I love performing my leg exercises with the olympic bar. I can’t hold as much weight whilst carrying dumbbells, but with the barbell I can lift more weight. Plus my gym doesn’t have many machines or facilities for leg training, so I am limited, however I make the most of what I’ve got and always do a great session.

Day 58

Sunday 6th March 2016

Today I had a very early start, 4am to be precise, therefore I officially name myself a ‘gym addict’!! I read an article recently about 13 things every gym addict secretly does, and I can say I 100% agree (taken with a sense of humour!!)
– Having your favourite treadmill and stretching spot.
– Spraying perfume and fabric spray on slightly smelly workout clothes.
– Lifting weights always comes before having a social life.
– Pretending to feel bad about being late meeting friends after a workout, but really you’re not.
– You stopped pursing someone because you found out they don’t workout.
– You have cancelled dates due to the fact you would rather workout.
– All your disposable income goes on workout clothes and food. Having nice workout gear makes you super excited.
– Sometimes you look at yourself in the mirror and can’t believe how great you look.
– You social media feeds are mostly gym related.
– You thrive off daily motivational quotes.
– After 1 day rest you feel the withdrawal symptoms about not going to the gym.
– If you end up with my plans for a Friday night, you might just make a second trip to the gym.
– The gym is also known as your second home.

8

Day 59

Monday 7th March 2016

Over the last couple of weeks I have made some changes to my diet. I think everyone gets stuck in a rut, where we think we know what’s best and stay with the same eating principles, this is especially true with me ( I have eaten the same breakfast for over 6 years!!). But it is good to try new things, new ways of doing things, not only does this add variety to your diet but also does some good to your body, by adding more or different nutrients and at times gives your body a little shake-up.

Here are the changes I have adopted:
– Changed protein powder for egg whites in my oatmeal.
– Take creatine before my workouts
– Take a glutamine supplement after my workout
– Eat protein every 2 hours.

After speaking with my bodybuilding friend, he suggested eating protein every 2 hours to give my muscles a constant supple of amino acids, to build muscle and it will also keep me full and satisfied.
Therefore I have reduced my protein in my breakfast and lunch slightly, but eat it between my meals. I have felt quite a big difference, in terms of I don’t get that energy slump 2 hours after my workout and during the afternoon. I have more energy and feel more alert. I’m also finding that I am less hungry at meal times. Before these changes I used to be very…very hungry just before my lunch at 12pm, where I could eat everything and anything. Lets see how these changes alter my muscle and fat when I check my body measurements.

Day 60

Tuesday 8th March 2016

Today is one of those hard days, all my muscles are aching from top to toe. I don’t think the egg whites after my workout are giving me enough protein to rebuild. The main benefit of protein powder is that it provides the muscles with essential amino acids, these are the building blocks of protein. They get shuffled quickly when digested to the muscle for fast absorption.
My body isn’t recovering very well after my workouts. It doesn’t help that I am standing on my feet all day, working long hours and have stress at work. Although I am sleeping adequately, my body needs rest and relaxation. But, life goes on, work must be done and I have a Bikini Competition to prepare for, I mustn’t feel sorry for myself.

That said I did my body measurements today. The results so far are as follows:

MUSCLE MASS (kg)

BODY FAT MASS (kg)

WEIGHT

WATER

2.6.2015

31.90

12.40

9.7.2015

33.10

11.00

9.8.2015

33.00

11.70

3.9.2015

32.50

11.10

10.10.2015

33.80

11.20

26.10.2015

33.00

10.70

8.11.2015

32.10

9.80

9.1.2016

34.80

9.20

70.90

45.20

16.1.2016

33.70

9.30

69.00

43.80

21.1.2016

34.40

7.20

67.60

44.30

28.1.2016

33.80

8.20

68.20

44.00

2.2.2016

34.60

8.40

69.90

45.00

8.2.2016

34.20

7.90

68.50

44.40

10.2.2016

33.40

8.60

67.90

43.50

13.2.2016

34.20

7.40

68.00

44.40

18.2.2016

34.70

7.10

68.10

44.70

24.2.2016

35.00

7.10

68.90

45.30

1.3.2016

33.60

8.10

67.80

43.80

8.3.2016

33.40

8.60

67.90

43.40

Day 61

Wednesday 9th March 2016

Today I feel better, less tired and a little more positive, however I still feel bloated and out-of-shape. There could be a number of reasons:
I have my menstrual cycle, so I’m holding water and my hormones are fluctuating.
I cut my salt intake a little – which is causing my body to do the opposite and hold water.
I’m having a lot of stress at work. I have in the past suffered from IBS and can occur when I get stressed.
It could also possibly be, that I am eating too many calories, therefore gaining fat!!

IMG_1663

5.41 am PEAK GYM Training Legs, heavy squats 85 kgs

I’m trying to stay strong and concentrate on my goal. However, at times I am considering whether doing this competition is worth it. I ask myself questions “ why am I putting myself through this, live life, eat junk, be happy”. But I am a very determined person and when I say I DO something I DO IT, no matter what!

Day 62

Thursday 10th March 2016
RESULTS DAYS
1.3.2016                                 8.3.2016                                     10.3.2016

IMG_1668 IMG_1669 IMG_1670

As you can see from these results my body has changed so much over the past 10 days.
Weight –       67.8 kg           67.9 kg          68.8 kg
Water –        43.8 kg            43.4kg           44.8 kg
Muscle –      33.6 kg            33.4 kg          34.5 kg
Fat –             8.1 kg                 8.6 kg            7.5 kg

It is crazy to think how a women’s body can change so much over a 10 day period. A rule of thumb, when you feel bloated, fat, out-of-shape and generally miserable, think it’s just a FEELING. Trust your body, it will go back to normal once it has figured out what’s it doing. Lots of factors can affect a person’s body. Times like these you have to be extra strong and stick with the program. It is hard and you will crave chocolate, sweets, bad things even friendship and companionship. But these moments will make you even stronger.

Day 63

Friday 11th March 2016

Photo comparison, the 1st picture was taken on 5th February and the 2nd picture was today.

IMG_1609IMG_1673

Slight changes, but I still have 8 weeks to go. I am happy with the progress as I have been dieting very slowly this time, knowing that half way through my program the date of the competition changed.
I am becoming more defined in my arms and abs. I am eating protein more frequently throughout the day, to persevere muscle but to also build. I am intrigued to see how much muscle I can build during this dieting period.
However, the down side of dieting is that you will lose water and fat in places where you less desire – my face – showing all my wrinkles and lines.

Day 64

Saturday 12th March 2016

I read an interesting article today about how training at different times of the day affects your workout performance.

Researchers in the field of chronobiology study how time affects our biological rhythms, says Michael Deschenes, Ph.D., FACSM.
Your body’s temperature is lowest early in the morning and rises throughout the day until early evening, when it begins to drop. On the other hand, levels of hormones like insulin and cortisol are high in the morning and decrease during the day.
Research has shown that these fluctuations can influence your workout.
Your best time to add muscle is in the morning, while you may be able to lift heavier weight, be strongest (and fastest) in the afternoon.

• If you must work out in the morning: Perform an extensive warm-up before lifting weights. Raising your body temperature will help you train harder.
• If you usually work out in the afternoon: Recognise that you’re naturally stronger in the afternoon, so you may feel weaker during a morning session.
• If you usually work out in the morning: Push yourself a little harder if you opt for an afternoon or evening session to take advantage of your increase in strength.
• If you’re pursuing a personal record in an event: Train at the same time as your event for at least three or four weeks beforehand for better results.
• If you’re doing cardio: Time of day has less of an impact on moderate-impact cardio workouts, though you’ll probably be able to do more high-intensity cardio later in the day.

 

Day 65

Sunday 13th March 2016

I have been training shoulders twice a week for many months now, trying to build muscle and to make this body part stronger, as it is my weakest area. Today I finally felt a difference, not only am I stronger where I can lift more weight, but I also have more endurance, where I can train my shoulders with more intensity and for longer.

Diet wise – over the last 2 days I have eaten a little more than I should have. I have tried to stay away from the carbohydrates and stick with more protein. The meat had been cooked in more oil and butter than I am used to, in fact since I have been on my diet I don’t use any oil.
These extra calories from the oil have given me more energy in the gym, which I gladly use. But I also find that I am fuller for longer. Any type of fat when eaten with a meal slows down the digestion process, so it takes longer for your body to digest the meal, thus making you feel fuller.

However, it’s back to normal today with lots of salad, turkey breast, egg whites and cauliflower.

Day 66

Monday 14th March 2016

I normally train back and triceps together, but today I switched things up and trained back and biceps. Whenever you do any pulling action (back exercises) you use your biceps, therefor I have always separated these two muscle groups.
But it was quite surprising how quickly my biceps fatigued today. I couldn’t pull as heavy in my back exercises and my biceps soon became tired doing bicep curls.
But as I have always said it is good to change your program now and again to shock your body. Although I will stay with my normal program of back & triceps and chest & biceps.

Day 67

Tuesday 15th March 2016

Music for me is very important when I am training. When I feel tired, unmotivated and stressed, if I have the right uplifting, upbeat music is transforms me into a beast, I go from 0-100 in an instance. Today was one of those days, I woke up tired and unmotivated, but as soon as I switched on my music in my great Beat headphones (which by the way are AMAZING) I was instantly engaged and ready to hit legs hard.

I have a friend who has introduced me to some new music, it’s DJ music not not the head-banging type, but really takes you on a journey. These two tracks are especially good:
– BLACK COFFEE spiritual DJ set @ Mixmag Live, London.
– MK House DJ set The Lab LA(2015)

Day 68 

Wednesday 16th March 2016

Today I trained shoulders, here are my exercises:

  • Standing Olympic Bar Overhead Press – 6 sets, increasing the weight every time, between 6-10 reps.
    – Seated DB Press – 4 sets, 14 kgs, 7-8 reps
    – Seated DB Lateral Raises – 5 sets, 6 kgs, 10 reps
    – 1 Arm KB Overhead Press – 4 sets, 14 kgs, 8 reps
    – 1 Arm Landlines – 4 sets, 12.5 kgs, 10 reps
    – Standing Lateral Raises – 3 sets, 4 kgs, 15 reps & Superset Standing DB Overhead – Neutral Grip Press, 3 sets, 10kgs, 10 reps

I start my training using compound movements and heavy weights. As the training goes by I use lighter weights depending on how I feel. At the end I always try to do a ‘finisher’ exercise, this time it was standing lateral raises, 15 reps, to really burn out my shoulders.

As I was training in Peak I did a cardio circuit at the end, running over hurdles, step ups, jumping jacks and other fun stuff.

Day 69

Thursday 17th March 2016
RESULTS DAY

Progress picture:

IMG_1689

My results were as follows:

Weight – 67.2 kgs 68.7 kgs
Water – 43.3 kgs 44.8 kgs
Fat – 8.1 kgs 7.5 kgs
Muscle – 33.3. kgs 34.5 kgs

Yes, my weight has gone down, but the loss is from water and muscle. Not ideal, but I am dieting and so my body is pulling energy from all it’s reserves. Some times it is best not to look at the numbers on the scale but to go on how you feel and look. I feel good and I look good, so I’m happy.

Compared to when I first started doing these competitions I have gained a lot of muscle and see a huge difference, so I’m happy. That’s my goal – to be the best I can. This is not dictated by the numbers on the scale or the other women on stage, but I want to have the best body I can achieve.

I have seen the most development in my arms and shoulders, which is where I need the muscle. I have always had strong legs, and my ABS have come from lifting heavy and running. I lacked upper body shape, and now it’s coming along nicely.

Day 70

Friday 18th March 2016

This morning I trained legs and of course spiced it up a little by adding super-sets ( 2 exercises performed back-to-back) and plyometrics ( exercises that involve jumping).

My program was;
– Olympic Bar Squats & Leg Press Machine
– Barbell Stationary Lunges & Box Step Ups
– Jump Squats on a bench & Box Step Ups
– Quad Extension Machine
– Hamstring Machine
– Adductor & Abductor Machine

Friday is my day off from work so I had plenty of time to enjoy and take my time in my workout. So, after my leg training I went for a long power walk along the ocean front. It was so nice, the sun was out, a breeze on my face and a nice time to enjoy the outdoors.

Day 71

Saturday 19th March 2016

Yesterday was the last time I will eat a ‘treat meal’ until the competition. I have only 8 weeks to go, so I have to really knuckle down and concentrate on my diet. The training will stay the same, perhaps I will add cardio towards the end, depending on my body.

So,yesterday I enjoyed a lovely Indian meal, with all the works – rice, bread, oily and greasy sauces. I was stuffed, but throughly enjoyed it. However, when I eat a meal like that, it takes my digestive system a long time to digest the foods. I feel very uncomfortable, bloated and rather lethargic where I just want to lie down and rest. This is caused by a rush in insulin and serotine which is a relaxation hormone secreted by your body when eating a heavy meal.
The oils also slow down the digestion process, so I was full until the next day. I balanced my macronutrients by just eating a very small piece of chicken later on in the evening, so I didn’t go over my calories consumption.

Day 72

Sunday 20th March 2016

Saturday evenings I usually cook some of my foods for the week. One night I will cook protein and another night vegetables, as cooking all these foods in one night, is too much.

So, last night I cooked :
– 8 chicken breasts
– 6 fillets of fish
– 18 hard boiled eggs
– 1 head of cauliflower
– Plus I prepared my salad for today

It took me 1.5 hours, but I feel much better when I am organised and prepared, it takes away a lot of stress.
This may only last me a few days, as in 1 day I would eat:
– 1.5 chicken breast for lunch in my salad
– 0.5 chicken breast & 4 hard boiled egg whites for my 4pm snack
– 2 fillets of fish for dinner & vegetables

 

Day 73

Monday 21st March 2016

I have just under 8 weeks to go before the competition so I have to really knuckle down with my nutrition. The training is the easy part, it’s the diet which is the hardest. I haven’t been weighing my foods, just going by eye and I have been picking at foods, for example a few nuts here and there, an extra chocolate after dinner and so on. I have to try and make a conscious effort to stop. Sometimes you don’t even realise you are eating these things, but at the end of the day they all add up, to maybe even a few hundred calories.

My mini goal this week is to :
– weight my foods
– stop picking at foods in-between my meals

I will still keep eating my chocolate, which I do every day, without that I would go crazy. I have found these new chocolates which are coffee beans covered in a light layer of dark chocolate. They really do fix my chocolate cravings after my meal and with my coffee.

Day 74

Tuesday 22nd March 2016

Yesterday was a successful day – no little treats. It is good to set small achievable targets every week or even every day, not only is it easy to manage but you get a sense of accomplishment. You can go to bed knowing you are a further step towards your BIG goal.
Although it wasn’t easy, I had to make a conscious effort not to pick at nuts in work or little bits of biscuits here and there. But when you take time to step back and think, ‘Am I hungry, do I need this?’, then the answer probably is no.

Energy wise is still very good, I am lifting heavy and getting in my cardio.

Food wise, still eating my egg whites for breakfast and if I am very hungry then I add an additional egg white. I am still feeling full for longer.
In the afternoon I have my 4pm snack of egg whites, fish or chicken. Even if I am not hungry I still eat the snack, as I know later I will be very hungry and my goal is also to build muscle, which needs a constant supply of protein to build.

Day 75

Wednesday 23rd March 2016

Sleep is very important, not only for the body to recover but it gives you so much more energy for your gym, work, stress levels and every part of daily life. Last night I went to bed at 9pm and slept until 5am. I woke up feeling energised and ready to attack the day. My workout was amazing, I trained back, biceps and did a good 30 minute run. I even came home and cleaned the whole apartment, cooked my meals and felt energised in work.

I was intrigued by my body measurements as I looked leaner in the gym. The results were quite good:
Weight – 67.2 kg
Muscle – 33.3 kg
Fat – 8.1kg

I started at:
Weight – 70.9 kg
Muscle – 34.8 kg
Fat – 9.2 kg

Also considering for the past 3 weeks I have been slightly relaxed with my diet, where I haven’t been weighing my foods and having 1 cheat meal per week.
But now there is some serious work to be done.

Sunday 27th March 2016

I have decided to carry on writing the blog, but not so frequently, because things haven’t and won’t change that much for the next 3 weeks. My diet will stay the same, although training will alter.

After speaking to my bodybuilder friend, he has told me that in my last competitions my muscles became long and stringy, there wasn’t any bulk or volume to them. So, he suggested I changed my training for the next 2 weeks, to see what changes I can make. So my workout split will be:
– Back & Triceps
– Chest & Biceps
– Legs & Shoulders
– Back & Triceps
– Chest & Biceps
– Legs & Shoulders
…… keep carrying this over.

The reason for this change is that I get to hit my muscles more frequently, especially shoulders and legs, a key area to bikini competitions.
The intensity of training will also be different. Normally I train chest and bicep by superseding the 2 body parts, I perform a chest exercise then followed directly with a bicep exercise and so on. I feel I can fit more exercises into my training that way before I get tired. That is my main problem when you are dieting down, limited energy. I would love to train for hours doing lots of exercises, but my energy soon runs out. So, I have to make the time spent training as effective and time efficient as possible.

Today I trained legs and shoulders. I have never trained these 2 muscle groups together, so I was a little apprehensive of how it was going to go. But, it was good, I had lots of power and energy and enjoyed the variation. This is what I did:
Legs –
Olympic Bar Wide Squat – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Olympic Bar Reverse Lung – 4 sets, 10 reps
Olympic Bar Narrow Squat – 4 sets,10 reps
Olympic Bar Walking Lunges – 4 sets, 8-10reps
Dumbbell Step Ups on a Box – 4 sets, 10 reps

Shoulder –
Seated Dumbbell Press – 4-10 reps ( as heavy as I can go), 6 sets
Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raises – 4 sets, 10-12 reps
Standing 1 Arm Land-mines – 4 sets, 10 reps
Standing Olympic Bar Overhead Press – 4 sets, 8-10 reps
Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raises – 4 sets, 10-12 reps
Rear Deltoids Bands – 4 sets, 15 reps.

Cardio –
1 minute Warm Up
45 seconds sprint, 15 seconds recovery – 10 times.

Sunday 3rd April 2016

After speaking again with my bodybuilder friend, I have changed my workout routine. I find training legs and shoulder together very taxing and exhausting, as I am still doing the same amount of volume. So, now I will only do 4-5 exercises for each, lasting 20 minutes for each body part. But still going as heavy as I can for between 6-10 repetitions.

He also commented that judges look at legs, ABS and then go up the body, when judging bikini competitors. So my quads have to ‘pop’ and my ABS have to look amazing.
I don’t train ABS separately, as I believe the core muscles are constantly being trained when lifting heavy weights. But I need more definition, my side obliques are good, from both running and good genetics. However, my ‘6 pack’ is greatly lacking. So, now I’m training ABS every other day. It is my least favourite body part, as I find training ABS boring and many other body parts assist too much, taking the focus away from the ABS – hip flexors and back, plus the burn is intense.

So here is my AB Program:

– 30 times side to side bends, focusing on the forward bend
– 30 times side to side bends, focusing on the backward bend

30/30/30 (3 of each exercise, 3 times)
– V Ups holding onto bench
– Static crunch whilst extending legs (on bench)
– Lie on bench, hold wide grip, pull legs up & down
– Seated Crunch holding a 10kg Plate – 30 focusing on the downward motion, 30 focusing on the upward motion.

– 30 times side to side bends, focusing on the forward bend
– 30 times side to side bends, focusing on the backward bend

This takes me about 20 minutes. I will try and do it after my normal workout, if not, I will do it during the day.

Nutrition
Still the same, egg whites in the morning with my oatmeal, but I am finding easier and quicker ways of cooking it. Put it all together and cook in the microwave for 3-5 minutes – perfect !!

Eating protein ( chicken, turkey & egg whites) every 2-3 hours, even if it is a few pieces.

Salad at lunch time with either fish, chicken or turkey.

Evening meal either chicken, turkey or fish with cauliflower, broccoli or cabbage.

Seasoning vary from dried herbs, poultry seasoning, soya sauce, balsamic and apple cider vinegar and lots of mustard. But not the honey kind, the french grainy dijon mustard.

Saturday 16th April 2016

Training
I am doing the same split as before –
Chest & Biceps
Back & Triceps
Legs & Shoulder

But now I am including ABS every other day and a special leg exercise for my quads. Bikini Competition judges, judge you from the bottom up, so legs and ABS are very important. I need more definition in my thighs (quads), so I am doing a ti-set, 50 repetitions feet together squats, 50 repetitions feet wide and 50 repetitions toes pointing outwards. This combination 3 times. My legs are burning after this, but it will help with the muscle definition. I am not used to this type of high repetition training, so it is really taking a lot of energy from me. But as they say a change is always good.

ABS I am combining a variety of exercises, finding ones that I can do effectively. At times my hip flexors which are very strong from running, take over. Therefore I try different versions to target only my abdominal muscles.
But I feel like a beginner, as training ABS for me is hard, I don’t normally train ABS, so it’s hard and painful. However, it must be done for a great set of ABS!

Nutrition
I have reduced my carbohydrates significantly, from my pre-workout meal, so now it’s just 2 TBSP protein powder and Leban and no muesli.
Lunch time I eat a big bowl of lettuce with 160 grams of chicken, turkey or fish with balsamic vinegar.
At 4pm I have my afternoon snack of 4 egg whites and 80 grams of chicken, turkey of fish.
In the evening I eat broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage with 160 grams of chicken, turkey or fish.

Although to some this may seem boring, I find it easy if I eat the same foods on a daily bases. Shopping, cooking and weighing is much easier. Keep it simple as it is more time effective and easy. Then of course on a Friday, where I have a re-feed or cheat meal, I really do enjoy the foods and savour all the different flavours.

Energy
Energy can be low at times, especially at the end of my workouts and during the afternoon. I am feeling tired at times, from training, working and dieting. I can not wait for when I can start increasing my calories and get back to full-power in the gym.
Feelings are pretty stable, I am excited about the competition and the celebrating afterwards. Of course it is scary being on stage and doing the cat-walk pose, but this is only a small part of the whole process. I enjoy the preparation, training and dieting phase and not necessarily the posing on stage. In fact I don’t like being on stage, but it’s all part of the process.

The only bad part about this journey is when energy levels are low, and I am feeling tired my friends, colleagues and clients do get the bad-end-of-the-stick, a grumpy impatient Rachel.

Sunday 17th April 2016

I eat every 3-4 hours, if I go longer than that I get extremely hungry whereby nothing fills me up. So, even if I am not hungry at 6pm, I still eat my dinner. Last night I worked late, so not only did I
take my lunch and snack to work but also my dinner. The trick is to constantly keep you blood sugars stable to prevent being overly hungry.

I wake up tired, lack of food and energy, but I know once I get to the gym, this will change. I love training, it’s the best part of the process. Don’t reply on motivation as it comes and go, but if you have a goal it’s a MUST.

Because my training is longer now – 5 parts in total – (back, triceps, quad ti-set, cardio, abs) I have reduced the amount of exercises I do.

Saturday 23rd April 2016

I haven’t been able to do any body measurements as the machine is broken, however I am monitoring my progress through general observation. My legs are definitely becoming slimmer, ABS are showing and my muscles are looking fuller. I am really liking the way my body has responded to the diet and training I have been doing. Since my last competition over 2 years ago, I have gained muscle and definition in my shoulders, back and chest, which is where I needed it.
I am in such a good place with my body at the moment, all the sacrifices, dedication, hard workouts have been well worth it. The best thing about exercise and fitness is that you can’t buy it, inherit it or simply go with the flow. It needs hard work every single day, but the results are so worth it. To actually say you LOVE your body, nobody can take that feeling away.

Sunday 24th April 2016

My diet at the moment is very restricted and monotonous, I eat the same foods, just rotate them. It makes life so much easier, you buy the same foods, cook, portion it out and know what to take to work, it just makes the dieting process so much easier. But I listen to my body, when I crave some red meat, I will eat a steak or lamb, when I crave carbohydrates I will introduce a re-feed day. Your body will tell you what it needs.

Since I only have 3 weeks to go, I am still reducing my calories slightly, but instead of crunching the numbers, I simply reduce my portions. So, instead of 2 TBSP of protein powder pre-workout I now eat only 1 TBSP. Therefore workouts have suffered a little, but I am still drinking my BCAAs during my workouts. BCAAs are amino acids (building blocks of protein). When you do strength training you break down the muscle, drinking BCAAs allows the muscles to have instant fuel to help recover and build. They also allow you to train harder, by giving you an extra caffein and sugar rush.

My hunger levels fluctuate from moderate to feeling not hungry at all. My body has got used to the calorie level and functions well. To be honest and I know this sounds very abnormal, but I am not hungry, I don’t get cravings and can eat the same food day-in-day-out. I know the diet will end and I will be able to eat other foods. This is only temporary, I find it easy. I like the foods I eat, to me it’s a lifestyle that I can will-hold.

Monday 25th April 2016

Training has intensified and is longer, due to the added exercises I am doing. I still need to focus on my quadriceps and ABS, so after my regular workout I am doing quad extensions and various AB exercises. Therefore my workouts are lasting between 1hr – 1.5hrs.

I really need to focus on my quadriceps, as when I do my posing routine, my front leg definition is really lacking, whereas my hamstrings and gluteus are good. I have always focused more on my posterior muscles in my legs, as women tend to like nice, firm gluteus! So, now I am killing my thighs. Let’s see how they develop over the next 3 weeks.

Thankfully I don’t need to increase my cardio. I am looking lean, so don’t necessarily need to lose any more body fat. In my previous competitions I have always looked a little ‘stringy’, Bikini judges are looking for a more fuller, sexier look.
My cardio workouts at the moment vary from steady, easy 30 minutes running to 10 minutes hard, interval sprints. It all depends on my energy and mood.

Tuesday 26th April 2016

Since I am trying to make my quadriceps more fuller, I have changed my leg workouts. This is what I do:
– 50 Body Weight Squats.
– Walking lunges, 20 on each leg, 2 rounds.
– Leg press : feet high, toes pointed outwards, 15 reps, 5 times (slow & steady).
– Leg press : feet lower, toes pointed outwards, 15 reps, 5 times ( slow & steady).
– Split stance squats, 15 reps, 4 sets.
– Walking lunges with weighted plate overhead, 15 reps on each leg, 4 sets & superset with Olympic narrow, feet together squats, 20 reps, 4 sets.
– Leg extensions 15 reps, 5 sets.

I am truly finished after this workout. I am not used to doing high volume 15 repetitions sets, so my muscles are really burning at the end. It takes a lot more energy, thus I am feeling fatigued towards the end of the workout. But I must also train shoulder then and at the end do my cardio. Today I only managed 6 minutes of sprints, due to time and lack of energy.

Wednesday 27th April 2016

Things are getting hard now, just over 2 weeks to go. Energy is low, motivation is depleted, emotional, impatient, extremely tired and the list goes on. The last few weeks and days are the hardest of all, as you just want the diet to be over and get back to your normal routine. You want your energy to be back in the gym, so you can have fun again. My workouts at the moment are long as I am trying to fit everything in, so you are constantly rushing and stressed to get back home, eat breakfast and get ready for work.

By the afternoon you are so tired and have no energy, you just want to lie down and sleep, but you know you have to go home, cook, prepare your foods for the next day and do daily chores.

You are feel nervous and anxious, questions you ask yourself – will I be ready? Some days you look good, others you think no way can I step on stage.

You feel stressed as there is so much to organise – book flights and hotel, plan your tanning sessions, nails, waxing, hair appointments, morning and evening daily exfoliating and scrubbing to prepare your skin for the tanning. The list is quite endless.

But, after all these stresses and low times, I know once I step on stage and know that I have given 100% to be there, it is all worth it.

IMG_1807

Definition is starting to come in my ABS.

Thursday 28th April 2016

The stage walk routine or posing is a great worry of mine. I am not a natural model, don’t really like being centre of stage and generally feel quite stiff on stage. Even practising is torture for me. But I know this is the main part, this is where you get to show off all your hard work, diet and training.
So, I am making a conscious effort to pose as often as I can. I try and spend 20 minutes a few times a week, walking in my shoes and focusing on the poses. These include a sexy T-Walk, centre pose, side walk and rear pose. All the time flexing, looking relax, being sexy and smiling. A hard task. It needs practise and my mission is to get better and better.

Friday 29th April 2016

This morning I practised my posing, trying to feel more comfortable and relaxed, whilst being ‘sexy’. But I will also have to practise not infront of the mirrow, as on stage I won’t be infront of a mirror but infront of many people.

Today I felt really exhausted, although it was my re-feed day, this should have given me extra energy. But I think a combination of dieting, working and getting lean, my body is physically tired. So, I took a well earned rest, and chilled on the sofa all afternoon and evening. I got an early night and slept well.

My re-feed was delicious, oh how I savour the different tastes and textures. My breakfast is the same, but lunch involves hot flat bread (6 pieces) with salad. I can’t resist hot bread from the oven. In the evening I had Kobacha pumpkin which I roasted in the oven with vegetables I don’t get to normal enjoy – beetroot, peas, sweetcorn, tomatoes, a true veggies feast. I sprinkle the roasted pumpkin with cinnamon and stevia, it is truly delicious.

Saturday 30th April 2016

I slept so well, so felt good when I woke up, although my gym workout was torture. I trained legs, focusing on my quads and shoulder. My legs were so heavy, I don’t understand why, as I should of had loads of energy from my re-feed and rest. The lactic acid build-up was unbearable, so I didn’t manage to push out 15 repetitions for each exercise, sometimes only 10-12 repetitions.

My workouts now are really a chore, I’m not really enjoying them. I don’t have the energy or enthusiasm, but what pushes me is my goal, being on stage in my best physique I can give. This is where dedication not motivation helps you reach your gaol. We are not always motivated, it comes and goes.

Sunday 1st May 2016

Every day is different, some days I am extremely tired, others I feel ‘normal’. Yesterday was a normal day, perhaps it was because I rested well on Friday, or had a re-feed day, so the extra calories provided me with energy.

I slept very well last night, in fact it was the first time in many weeks I needed my alarm to wake me up. Although, the extra sleep made me very lethargic, so when I went to the gym, energy was low. An instant boost, is to do a little cardio before hitting the weights, so I ran for 5 minutes. I could have run for longer, but I didn’t want to waste my energy on cardio. Strength training, building muscle is my priority.

Depending on your goal you should proprieties your training, for example if you are training for a 5km race or marathon, then putting the miles in and endurance should be your priority, therefore doing cardio before strength training. However, if like me you want to build muscle, then strength train first, when you have plenty of energy; then whatever energy is left, use it for cardio.

Today I trained back, triceps, did my quadricep exercises, then I knew I wouldn’t have time for my ABS, so I promised myself I would do ABS later in the day. I finish my workout with 15 minutes fast running, to completely empty of glycogen levels.

Monday 2nd May 2016

Today is a good day, I don’t know why or how, but my workout this morning in the gym was amazing. I had my old ‘mojo’ back, full of energy and enthusiasm. I had so much energy I decided to train legs and shoulders, my schedule was to train chest and biceps, but I know that leg workouts can be hard, so I didn’t want to waste this extra energy; although I trained legs only on Saturday. It is best to give your body (i.e legs) 24 hours recovery period, this enables your muscles to fully recover and restore glycogen levels.

My leg workout was:
Legs:
– Heavy Olympic Bar Squats – 6 sets, between 12- 6 reps
– Olympic Bar Reverse Lung – 4 sets, 10 reps
– 1 Legged Squats, holding a dumbbell – 3 sets, 10 reps on each leg
– Smith Machine heavy feet together Squats – 5 sets, 10 reps
– Quad Extension machine – 5 sets, between 12-8 reps
– Olympic Bar Box Squats – 3 sets, 10 reps

Shoulder :
– Standing DB Overhead Press – 4 sets, 10-12 reps
– Seated DB Lateral Raises – 4 sets, 10-12 reps
– Standing DB Lateral raises – 2 sets, 12 reps
– Smith Machine standing Overhead Press – 4 sets, 10 reps
– Cable Upright Row – 4 sets, 10 reps
– Pec Deck Reverse Flye ( Read Delts) – 3 sets, 15 reps

Cardio:
– 1 minute warm-up
– 9 times – 45 seconds sprints, 15 seconds rest.

ABS
– Crunch Machine – 3 sets, 20 reps
– Seated Crunch, holding DB – 3 sets, 10 reps
– Isolated Crunch, side-to-side twists – 3 sets, 10 reps

Tuesday 3rd May 2016

Each day is like black and white, 1 day is good and I have loads of energy like yesterday and others like today, I have 0%, the tank was empty!

I trained chest, biceps, quads, ABS and cardio. I just pushed through, even if it is not a great workout, I tried to do as much as I can.

Preparations for the competition are starting to take a lot of my time. I need to book my tanning, eyelashes extensions, nails, waxing and hair cut. I have to buy the tanning solution, jewelry, equipment to apply the top-up tan, like plastic gloves, sponges and old clothes. Then there is the food I will take, as I do a re-feed the day before and as I am travelling I need to take all my foods with me.
Gathering my thoughts about how I should have my hair and make-up, practising my posing routine. All these things are taking up a lot of time and energy. It is like a military operation – operation bikini competition.

Wednesday 4th May 2016

This is a sample my diet :

Calories (kcals)

Carbs (grams)

Fat (grams)

Protein (grams)

Myofusion Protein Powder 1 Tbsp

28

1

5

Skimmed Milk 1 cup

90

13

8

Laban 225 ml

30

2

2

Wheat Bran 63 grams

110

14

3

8

Oat Bran 1 TBSP

14

9

2

3

Flaxseed 1.5 TBSP

82

5

6

3

7 Egg Whites

119

1

1

25

LUNCH
Iceburg Lettuce 10 cups

100

20

10

Chicken breast 160 grams

188

2

38

Balsamic Vinegar 1 TBSP

40

8

4 PM SNACK
Egg Whites 4

68

1

14

Chicken Breast 80 grams

96

1

20

85% Extra Dark chocolate 13 grams

77

5

6

2

DINNER
Chicken Breast 160 grams

183

2

38

1/2 Cauliflower head

131

28

1

11

TOTAL

1,400 kcals

108

grams

24 grams

187

grams

Carbohydrates – 31%
Protein – 54%
Fat – 15%

I have reduced my calories to 1,400 Kcals, but this is only for the last 2 weeks. I do not recommend ‘normal’ dieters go so low on their calories, but this is a temporary measure so I can lose the last bit of body fat. As soon as the competition is over I will slowly add more calories to my diet.
This is called reverse dieting. The trick is to slowly add more calories perhaps 100 kcal each week to your diet. If you eat 300-500 kcal all of a sudden, your body will get excited and store these extra calories as fat. However, if you gradually add more calories over a longer period of time, your body will use these extra calories for energy and to build muscle, without turning it to fat.

My base metabolic rate at present is 1,600 Kcals, which means by body needs this amount of calories each day to function. Once I go below this level my body and metabolism both slow down. This is where you feel tired, cold, lack energy, it’s difficult to concentrate and generally feel quite weak. This is why for the past week, I have been extremely tired. But as I said before this is only for the last 2 weeks and once I introduce more calories to my diet, I will get my energy back.

Thursday 5th May 2016

               25.4.2016                                             5.5.2016

IMG_1860 IMG_1861

Weight – 67.7kg 64.6kg
Muscle – 34.2kg 34.2kg
Fat – 7.2kg 4.2kg
Water – 44.4kg 44.3kg

The weight loss is pure fat, as my muscle is the same and water is the same.

I am so proud of myself as it is very difficult to lose fat while still maintaining muscle. Once you drop your calories to below your metabolic rate your body will try and use fat and muscle to provide the energy needed. I have created a lifestyle and eating routine that enables by body to preserve the hard earned muscle and use fat for energy. These routines include:

– Lifting as heavy as I can in the gym.
– Drinking Amino Acids during my workout.
– Keeping cardio to a minimum.
– Concentrating on short high intensity cardio training, i.e sprints.
– Eating most of my calories post-workout.
– Eating protein every 3 hours.
– Keeping my protein intake high, 50% of my diet is lean protein ( chicken, turkey, fish, egg whites).
– Keeping my carbohydrates to a minimum, 30% of my diet.
– Avoiding starchy carbohydrates ( rice, pasta, bread).
– Once a week having a re-feed day, to trick my body.

Friday 6th May 2016

This time next week I will be tanning and packing my bags to leave for Dubai. I’m getting excited but also nervous. Eighteen weeks of dieting and preparing for a single moment on stage, so a lot is riding on this moment.

Today I trained back, triceps, quads, ABS and even did a 30 minute run. I felt good today, energy was up, I think from having the confidence that my body is responding well to the diet and training and I am ready. Now, is the process of just getting as much rest as I can, which I did last night. I slept for a good 9 hours, it really makes a difference to the quality of your workout.

This week, I will keep the same calorie level of 1,400 kcals, train as normal and do the last minute preparations – nails, eyelashes and tanning.

Saturday 7th May 2016

This morning I trained chest, biceps, quads, ABS and ran for 20 minutes. I don’t know whether it was my re-feed on Friday, a different pre-workout amino drink or that I slept 9 hours two nights in a row, but I had loads of energy in the gym. I was lifting heavy again, did loads of exercises and felt I could run longer than 20 minutes, but I had to rush to work. I think sleeping well really made a difference. It was so nice to lift heavy again, I am looking forward to getting my strength back after the competition. It will be a time to build muscle and get even stronger.

My workout was:

Chest
– Incline Olympic Bar Chest Press – 6 sets, 5 – 10 reps
– Flat Bench Olympic Bar Chest Press – 5 sets, 6 – 10 reps
– DB Incline Bench Press – 5 sets, 8 -10 reps
– DB Flat Bench – 4 sets, 10 reps
– Incline Bench Flye & Superset Incline Push Ups – 4 sets, 10 reps

Biceps
– Standing EZ Bar Curl – 3 sets, 10 reps
– Seated Straight Bar Curl – 3 sets, 10 reps
– Incline Bench DB Curl – 3 sets, 10 reps

– Quad Extensions, feet pointing outwards – 4 sets, 10 -12 reps

ABS
– High cable kneeling crunch – 4 sets, 30 reps
– Hanging leg raises – 4 sets, 10 reps
– Side Obliques Bends – 4 sets, 30 reps

Sunday 8th May 2016

I’m counting down my workouts, today I trained legs. I rotate my legs workouts one focusing on squats, lunges, deadlifts, heavy compound lifts and the other a quad dominant workout. The later workout is a hard workout, it involves high repetitions which really tires the legs. So, thankfully today was the last day. As I said before I will go back to having fun with my workouts after the competition, so I won’t be doing this workout again !

Energy was low, so I hurried through the training, trying to finish quickly, so I can go home eat, rest a little and get ready for work.

Luckily my work schedule for this week is quite easy, so I can get plenty of rest before the competition. Not only to get things organised for example, nails, eyelashes and tanning, but as my calories are low, I have little energy espically in the afternoon.
I try and get many of my jobs done in the morning while I am ‘fresh’, as I know when I get home in the evening I just want to eat, get my things ready for the next day, portion out my breakfast then crash on the sofa.

Monday 9th May 2016

My body is like a clock, it tells me preciously at 12pm, 4pm and 6pm that I need food. At times the period between my lunch and snack seems endless, sometimes I get hungry at 2:30 – 3pm. So, I eat my snack then, then try to keep busy to take my mind off the hunger. Coffee, tea and hot drinks help. Coffee suppresses your appetite and for me, gives me an hour till I get hungry again.

I miss that feeling of being full, really full, where you want to lie down on the sofa. It is hard in the evening once I eat my evening meal to stop eating. By 6pm I am extremely hungry, so in the evening I try to keep myself busy by watching movies, TV, anything that takes my mind off food.

However, the plus point is, my stomach will get accustomed to the amount of food and will shrink slightly. Your body gets used to the amount of food and calories you are eating very well and adjust it’s hungry levels and your metabolism. Therefore, I know it will get easier.

Tuesday 10th May 2016

For some reason I was very hungry at around 10am. I had eaten my normal pre-workout and breakfast, but that obviously didn’t stay in my system long. However, this is a good sign, it means that after my workout my metabolism is very high and is like a machine, burning lots of calories.
If there was a time that you wanted to eat a high calorie meal, not that I encourage ‘cheat meals’, but after your workout would be an ideal time to do so. As your body will use the extra calories to build and repair your muscles, rather than storing it as fat.
This is the final week and I am cutting my calories, so an indication that my metabolism is high, getting hungry, means I haven’t slow down my metabolic rate.

So, I changed things around and ate my afternoon snack at 10am instead of 4pm, ate my lunch at 1pm and dinner at 6pm. I was quite surprised I wasn’t hungry at 4pm, I drank a coffee and that seemed to work.

The moral of the story – listen to your body, if you are hungry, then eat, but make sure it’s healthy and includes protein.

Wednesday 11th May 2016

This morning I woke up at 4am, wide awake. I tried to go back to sleep but it wasn’t working. I think it’s a combination of issues at work that is keeping my mind occupied and getting nervous about the competition. There are many things still to do. Although I have booked all my beauty sessions, there’s packing, cooking my food to take with me, reducing my water and salt and many other minor issues.

Hopefully after the competition I will be able to relax and enjoy my time in Dubai. I am looking forward to seeing friends, going out for dinner and enjoying a little party. At least doing the competition in another city allows me to have a little mim-break.

I am practising my posing every morning after my workout. I am watching Youtube videos for some helpful tips. But there is so much to think about when posing, keep your chest high, flex your muscles, keep your legs straight and flexed, smile, keep your ABS tight and all while being ‘sexy’. This is the part where I certainly don’t excel. I am not a natural model and sexy isn’t really in my vocabulary. But I will try my best, have fun and look forward to showing the judges and the audience all my hard efforts.

IMG_1884IMG_1887

Posing practise in my competition shoes ( excuse the face, its was early !!)

Thursday 12th May 2016

One more day and then I’m on the home-run. The last two weeks have gone by so fast, yes I am happy to finish the diet but also nervous as the time gets closer to stepping on stage. More nervous about how things will plan out, for example my hair, make-up, tanning and how my body will respond to the lack of water and salt.
I am a typical women whereby some days I look super lean and other days I get very bloated. I don’t know the reason, as it could be many things from hormones to what I ate. I am hoping that on Saturday my body is in ‘lean mode’. As the 18 weeks of preparation boils down to just 1 day and 10 minutes on stage, a lot is riding on this moment.

I am not sleeping very well and wake up at 4am, so head to the gym early. My workout today was back, triceps, a little ABS and cardio. However, it was hard, really hard, no energy or focus and generally a lack of interested and motivation for the gym. But I like the way lifting weights makes me feel, it stretches my muscles, gets the blood circulating round my body and is a great way to start my day.
So, the workout was very basic, not lifting heavy but generally just going through the motions.

Today I will apply my false eyelashes and get my nails and feet done. The eyelashes I hope will feel light and I can manage to blink !! And hopefully I will be able to pick up things with my long nails. But I am excited see the results.

Friday 13th May 2016

Today I will gradually reduce my water intake. For the past 2 weeks I have been drinking between 7-9 litres, which may seem a lot, but for me is quite easy as I have always drank a lot of water.
The reason for this is that when you are on stage you want your muscles to show, and between your skin and muscle is water. The less water you have under your skin the more muscle will show.
As you reduce your water and salt right before the show there will be some delay in the action in your body and you will keep on excreting water and salt for a while. This leads to more water loss and a dryer look on stage. Crazy right ?? And of course not the most healthiest part of the process, but it is just for 2 days.
Saturday I will drink no more than is necessary.

This is the hardest part for me, as it means reducing my tea and coffee which I love and it is difficult for me to eat without drinking. In my previous shows, Friday is the hardest day of all the days. Luckily I will be travelling so it will keep me preoccupied and is generally difficult to drink while flying anyway.

Today is also carb-loading, where I eat more carbohydrates than protein. This enable the muscles to become full rather than flat and stringy, another bonus point while of stage is to have a fuller look, espically in Bikini. They don’t look for the lean muscle bulging bodies, but rather fuller, curver, sexy look.

The Competition

IMG_1901 IMG_1905 IMG_1915

In my eyes the competition was a success, although I didn’t place, I was happy. I had a great time I enjoyed the moment and gave it my all.
The only mistake I did was not carb-load or eat enough the last few days before the competition. You get nervous, you want to look your best, so you diet down even more, reduce your calories as you don’t want to look bloated on stage. Therefore my muscles weren’t as full as they should have been. I didn’t realise that on the day, but after some good food and drinks on Saturday night, my muscles absorbed the extra calories and my physique on Sunday was much better, full and firm. I should have had that look Saturday, but it’s all a learning process. Each competition you do, you learn something new.

The other ladies on stage were beautiful, the hair, make-up, stage presence, bikini, everything was truly amazing. They deserved to win. As I said before I don’t do these competitions to win, I do them so I have a goal to diet for, something to train for.

Looking at the pictures from my previous competitions I am a little disappointed in the amount of muscle I have gained, very little in 3 years. But again I know my mistake – not eating enough. I like my leanness, I like my body to be tall and slim, I don’t like the ‘chunky’ look . That is a personal choice of mine, and as long as we love our bodies, then each to their own.
However, I am happy about my AB and quad definition, greatly due to the last few weeks, I have trained these body parts even more.
My shoulders are still very small and weak. Therefore that is my next goal, to enhance and build upon them. This gives an illusion of your waist being smaller and balances out my wide hips.

              2013                                                                                         2013                                                                                    2014

IMG_0935IMG_0950                                                IMG_0948

The best part of all the journey was the dieting and seeing how your body changes, muscle definition and leaness. To wake up and see new changes and truly appreciate and love your body, no trophy or competition can make you feel that way. And of course the after-party experience, eating foods that were off-limit, enjoying the different tastes and textures. You start to enjoy and savour every new taste and really get to enjoy foods.

IMG_1929 IMG_1926