So you’re already in good shape, but you want to get to the next level but don’t know where to start….listen up!
Competing in a natural bodyshaping event may just be the motivation you need to take the next step. If you are not afraid of hard work, total commitment and achieving something most people wouldn’t DREAM of doing, let alone be able to cope with never ending challenges along the way….then you may have just found what you’ve been looking for.
I have had the privilege to compete on many stages around the globe and meet so many passionate and supportive people who continue to inspire me along the way. For me, being able to continue to do what I love, while showing others how they can achieve whatever they desire by making a few small adjustments….(and I DO MEAN SMALL)…. is the greatest reward for all the blood, sweat and tears that seem to accompany each competition cycle. The longer I compete the harder it gets as your body starts to remember what you are doing and fights you the whole way! No matter how smart you think you are, your body knows what you’re doing long before you do!
So what does it really take to get up on stage and where do you start…
For me, it all started with wanting to feel better about myself and my life. I couldn’t remember the last time I really liked the way I looked and exercising for the first time in what seemed like an eternity was where I first felt the rush of those unforgettable “endorphins” you experience once you start training regularly. I soon learned that all it takes is a consistent effort (and it will be an effort if you are not used to it) for approximately 4-6 weeks and after that, you’ll be well on your way to making it part of your life…for good!
Unfortunately we don’t get any younger and for most of us, getting older is just something that happens and our metabolism begins to slow down, but not our love for yummy foods and alcoholic pleasures. Not a good combination, in fact it’s lethal if you want to compete! I used to get caught up in every day life and exercise always took a back seat to a nice comfy place on the couch watching the television. It all has to do with challenging yourself and getting out of your comfort zone!
When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?
I get asked constantly what I eat, how often I work out, do I lift weights, and how do I find the time. There is no simple solution. No magic potion or pill to take that makes it all happen. I work hard to stay fit and healthy and I sacrifice a lot….but at the end of the day it’s worth it and my health and energy levels will never be the same again.
The secret is to make sure it becomes part of your routine rather than making excuses as to why you don’t have the time to fit it into your already hectic schedule.
So... If getting up at 5.30am every morning and getting to bed feeling absolutely exhausted by whatever takes up your day sounds like something you are prepared to do, then hold on and enjoy the ride!
As far as fitting everything into my day, during a competition cycle, every single thing I do is scheduled so that I am able to fit it all into the hours I am awake. Right down to what time I need to take my vitamins. The more your body gets into a routine, the better you become at overcoming obstacles that come your way! Competing takes commitment, focus and discipline but has been the best thing I have ever done both for my self worth and confidence. Remember though, it does get hard during the last few weeks of your competition cycle, however it does not have to be all doom and gloom! I do have to work hard, but nothing truly worthwhile is ever EASY now is it!
Cardio for competition…
Doing cardio is essential but need not be as tedious as you may think. First of all, you do not need to perform hours and hours of cardio each and every day like a lot of people I see at my gym. I have to do about thirty-40 minutes, four or five days each week, which usually does the trick. Depending on your results, you may want to increase this closer to comp day. I always do my cardio sessions first thing in the morning on an empty stomach (or later in the evening after not eating for a few hours) to maximize the fat burning results. I also make sure I religiously take 1tsp of my Musashi L-Carnitine and Disperse Fat Metaboliser and include at least 1 SLM Protein shake between meals, to speed up my progress, this is something I simply never miss if I am trying to get lean. The SLM shakes taste sensational, especially the chocolate one.
Doing my cardio also boosts my metabolism post-exercise (increasing calorie expenditure significantly) and turns my body into a fat-burning machine! Essential if you want to compete successfully.
Strength training for competition…
Weight training is the easiest and most enjoyable part of my whole program. Whenever I start my comp prep, I get excited about feeling the burning sensation as I visualise the fat literally burning away from my muscle. By doing strength training, many people don’t realise that you will not “bulk up” if you decide to lift weights. If it was that easy, I’d be HUGE by now! Simply put, all you are doing is firming the muscle underneath the fat by increasing the tension you place upon it. The more tension you apply, the more the muscle is under “load” and the more the fibres break apart. When you recover, your muscle grows back stronger to cope with the stress you are placing upon it. Remember, muscle is the fat burning "furnace" of the body. Basically, the more muscle you have, the faster and more efficiently you will burn fat and develop the body you really want.
Strength training gives our muscles shape and contour and is essential if you want to compete. Below is my actual split routine so you can see it for yourself… Consult a qualified trainer if you are unsure of correct form on any of the following exercises.
Day One (legs / lower body)
Leg extensions - 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Leg curls - 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Lunges - 3 sets of as many repetitions a side as you can! If you can perform 20 reps then increase the resistance by holding dumbbells. Start with 10 pounds in each hand and add more as the exercise becomes easier.
Leg press - 3 sets of 20 reps (Try different foot positions of this to target different areas – toes pointed in, pointed out and straight forward.)
Glute / Butt kickbacks - 3 sets of 15-20 reps - Concentrate on squeezing at the top of the motion (contraction) by keeping a consistent speed throughout the whole range of motion.
Day Two (back, biceps and abdominals)
Seated row - 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Lat pulldown - 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Back extensions - 3 sets of as many as you can do - extend through the whole range of motion and squeeze the glutes and hams together to get a nice round rear!
Seated biceps curls - 3 set of 12-15 reps
Hammer curls - 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Crunches - 3 sets of 25 reps
Decline reverse crunches - 3 sets of 25
Day Three (shoulders, chest and triceps)
Push ups - 3 sets of as many as you can do - and not the knee-on-floor style!
Shoulder press (Dumbbells or machine) - 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Lateral raises - 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Front raises - 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Single bench dips - 3 sets of as many as you can do!
Rope pulldowns (or with a straight bar) - 3 sets of 12-15 reps
The key to comp prep is to challenge yourself right to the end.
The only sure fire way to make any progress is if you challenge yourself! If you don't, you're never going to see the kind of results you want. My general rule of thumb is, when you feel like you can't do any more reps, do two more!
So what are you waiting for? Stop making excuses as to why you can't do it and write down your plan of action so that you CAN. Remember that your time in the gym is YOUR time and it’s the one time during the day that I give solely to me. It is as much a priority as going to work or to school. There are so many benefits to exercise other than getting into shape, that depriving yourself of this journey would be nothing short of a crime!
Life throws many obstacles which we must overcome in general and training for a bodyshaping competition will only add to the pile. I'm not going to lie; it isn't easy. You must be strong and stay disciplined and 100% focused on your goals. Sticking to your goals and following through with the plan has its merits, and the benefits far outweigh all the minor hiccups along the way.
I know when I first stepped on stage in front of all those people, there was no better feeling in the world than the fact that I HAD MADE IT, I HAD ACTUALLY REACHED MY GOAL for the first time EVER! Funny thing happened, I made more goals... Then I made more goals and the rest is history…
So become a goal setting GURU and stop saying one day and DECIDE if you’re up for the ride of your life. The only advice I can offer is to HOLD ON TIGHT, it’s worth every second!
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