Monthly Archives: August 2016

Ice lollies and sweat, sweat and more sweat

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I sweat so much, I look like I peed my pants. Luckily there’s frozen water to cool me down.

Just two and a half more weeks and it is an emotional roller coaster. I keep swinging between battle cries and going full on beast mode in the gym to bursting into tears wondering why I ever thought this would be a good idea. I knew it would be hard. I had not anticipated it being quite this hard.

Despite the damage done by my previous coach, my current one is such a wizard, he got me all caught up and I am now where I should be and no longer hanging behind. That is pretty good. But I can always be better. And so I now spend every cardio session in the gym instead of going to the park. I spend an hour in the morning, half an hour in the afternoon and another hour in the evening doing cardio on either the stair-master, cross-trainer or the treadmill doing a brisk uphill walk. Those machine are devices of pure evil, if you ask me. But every minute I am on those machine I am chiselling away at my body and as a friend keeps reminding me: “No matter how hard you work, there is always someone working harder than you!” And so I try to stay focused and make sure that I work as hard as I possibly can. When I step on that stage I want to have no regrets. No matter how much better other people may look, I will know that I have done the very best I could.

In addition to the cardio, I still have to do resistance training (weight) and of course half an hour of daily posing practice minimum. Plus whatever else I’d like to chuck in there (like an extra half an hour of cardio – although that has yet to happen…). Basically I am being drenched in my own sweat 3 times a day on most days. Spend an hour on the stair-master at the right speed and you too can have that sexy look of sweat dripping off your chin and running into your eyes (damn, that burns!).

So for the most part I am ploughing on, pushing myself as hard as I can while finding more and creative ways to battle my cravings and the hunger. For example I have a mould to make ice lollies with. Usually you would put juice in there, but of course they’d be high in sugar and are not allowed on my diet (of course…). But fill them with water and chuck in an orange flavoured Vitamin C tablet and let that dissolve before freezing and voila, a tasty treat that makes me feel like I am eating when I am really just sucking on frozen water. Amazing.

For the times when I wonder why on earth I am doing this to myself, I keep reminding myself: “Just two more weeks. Just two more weeks.” And I have worked too hard and come too far to only get this far 🙂

Whatever you are doing: Keep on keeping on 😀

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Shit is getting serious :-)

3 and a half weeks to go before I step on stage. It is getting serious now. My training has been increased, my food intake is being consistently decreased. What you see in the picture was part of my lunch – 20 grams of brown rice, which is about a tablespoon. Not filling, but it’ll be effective. It is about stripping the last ounces of fat off my body and get as lean as I possibly can to look good on stage.

Also incorporated into my regime now is half an hour of posing practice every day. Every day? Half an hour? Of just standing there? Erm, yes. As it turns out, posing is difficult and painful. I did my half an hour after my evening cardio about half an hour ago and I was just dripping with sweat. Not helped by the fact that it is so hot outside.

You may think of 3 and a half weeks as a lot of time. It’s nearly a month, after all. However, this time will fly by and with my food intake decreasing further the closer I get to the competition, my energy levels will possibly take a little dip. So I am busy trying to get all of my ducks in a row, such as sorting out my posing shoes, stage bikini and sparkly jewellery. What tan to get? And what am I doing about hair and make-up? Those who know me know that I rarely even wear make-up. So do I splash out on getting it done professionally? Lots to decide while also having to sort out transport to my competition, which is, unfortunately, in a land far, far away…

Well, in Leamington Spa that is. Or, as I call it, “Leamington Far”. See what I did there?

If you would like to see me on stage and support me on the day, here are some details are about the competition:

What: UKDFBA Heart of England (UK Championship Qualifier)

When: Sunday 18 September – doors open 12:30, show starts at 1pm

Where: The Assembly, Leamington Spa, CV31 3NF

Tickets: £15 in advance (here) or £20 on the door

 

Don’t forget to spread the word of Rosa UK and my #strongforgirls campaign. Keep those encouraging messages coming, they are really helping me to stay focused.

What’s with the Hashtag?

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Like any good campaign these days, I wanted to find a way to start a movement on social media. That’s how it’s done now, right? So I decided to start the hashtag: #strongforgirls.

You may notice it is also part of the URL for my fundraising page and it sums up exactly what I am doing and why. You see, we often think how women and girls have a hard time – in other countries or in days gone past. Yet women and girls still don’t quite enjoy the same privileges as men. Today. Right here. It starts with still existing gender expectations and ends with rape culture and violence.

Let me give you a couple of current examples:

  • Sex education is no longer mandatory. This is bad news for everyone, really. But it certainly disadvantages girls even more. Because let’s face it, teenagers are going to get at it whether they learn about it or not. But the one that falls pregnant and as a result misses out on a decent education will be the girl. Another fact we have to face is that pornography is freely available online and is swiftly replacing sexual education. But guess what, there is one MAJOR element missing from pornography that differentiates real life sex from the fantasy world that is porn – CONSENT. Boys and girls don’t learn how to ask for it or how to give it.
  • Women are still paid less. Don’t tell me it isn’t so – I earned #5k less than my male pears when I worked in IT.

I am using the hashtag #strongforgirls because my journey onto the bodybuilding stage will benefit Rosa UK, who will be able to fund vital work across their four pillars:

  • Leadership and Representation
  • Safety
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Economic Justice

My journey is literally one of strength. Having gone from bedridden to bodybuilding, building strength and muscle is now my objective. But there are so many ways we can be strong for women and girls and I hope that my hashtag will catch on.

How can you help?

For the hashtag to gain popularity, it needs to be shared and used far and wide. Use it every time you see a post or article on someone standing up or doing something for women’s rights. For example Khloe Thompson that sews bags and fills them with hygiene products for homeless women. Or the letter from Jared Mauldin highlighting the inequality as he sees it in the engineering industry. And all those people that work tirelessly to support women across the many rape centres we luckily have in this country.

If you see a similar story, why not share it using #strongforgirls?

Did you miss me on the Radio?

You can still catch the show on Healthy Wandsworth here.

Victim or Survivor?

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Today I had my radio interview with the beautiful Nicolette at Wandsworth Radio on their HealthyWandsworth hour. It was so much fun and I feel so blessed that I was able to share my story and mission for charity.

I was able to talk about one thing that I feel very strongly about: Are we victims or survivors? If you have been reading my previous posts, you may think that of course, I should think of myself as a survivor. After all, I have always picked myself back up, no matter what. But you see, here is the problem with that: you may survive an accident or survive cancer. In both cases you just got very unlucky to endure it and very lucky to survive it. When it comes to physical attacks and rape, there is a perpetrator. Another person who decided to do you harm. That makes you a victim.

Why is that important? Think about it: If there is no victim, there is no crime and so a simple word has the power to perpetuate a culture in which rape and violence is such common place.

 

But back to my bodybuilding journey and fundraising efforts.

Nicolette kindly gave me the space to also ask, on air, for what I need and I wanted to extend that to you guys. Because there are so many ways in which you can help me spread the word and actively support my efforts. One of the most valuable resources we have are the people we know. I experience that every day with my fantastic support system of a coach, a PT, a clinical nutritionist, my friends, family and you lot rooting for me. So here is a great way to help me:

Who do you know?

What resources do you have sitting in your networks that would love to get involved in a worthwhile cause and could really make a difference?

Here are some examples:

  • Social Media experts – someone who could help me manage a campaign properly online. I do try, but spreading myself very thinly
  • Event managers – someone who can help me think up and organise fundraising events. I already have lots of ideas, but not enough time to implement them all.
  • Media Contacts – do you know any journalists, someone in print, TV or radio you could introduce me to? Or maybe a PR agency that would like to take on a charity case as part of their CSR efforts?
  • Venues – Venues are the highest cost factor for any event. Is there anyone you know of who could hook me up with a free venue for fundraising events?

 

With only 5 and a half weeks left to go, things are starting to get very exciting indeed. The diet and training regime are getting stricter and I have started to look at the kind of blinged up and bedazzled bikinis the competitors usually wear to the stage. There is so much still to sort out such as my hair and make up, stage tan, how to get to the venue and possible accommodation… The list seems endless right now and I will need to get organised sooner rather than later. A friend told me that he had even his food prepared and in the freezer 2 months before his show that he did not have to worry about it closer to the show. The sooner I have everything sorted the better. And time seems to be in a hurry… Tik tok, I am off to bed and up early tomorrow for more fasted cardio.

Good night folks 😀

 

I will be on the RADIO!

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Oooh, I am ever so excited. I have been invited back to be on Wandsworth Radio’s HealthyWandsworth show with the gorgeous and talented Nicolette Wilson to talk about my journey from bedridden to bodybuilding, the work I do to empower women and my charity challenge for Rosa, UK Fund for women and girls.

Tune in

Please SHARE SHARE SHARE

It would be amazing if you could share the good news on social media:

  • @wandsworthradio
  • #healthywandsworth
  • #nicoradio
  • @nicoyogapilates
  • @fatigueexpert (that’s me)

 

Join me 😀

A Day In The Life Of

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Today I thought I give you a little insight into what life is like when preparing for a bodybuilding competition. I knew a few bodybuilders before I decided to do this and knew it would be hard. But oh boy was I not prepared for what I had coming. It is one thing to hear about someone’s struggles and imagining how they feel vs actually feeling it, believe you me.

So here it goes:

6 am I get up for my first session of cardio. Some of my friends have to get up at 3 or 4 am, so I consider myself lucky!

8:30am I will have meal number 1 – oats and lots and lots of egg whites, which I turn into pancakes. As it turns out, I can turn pretty much anything into pancakes. They are bland, but they look like pancakes, so I imagine they taste good.

10:30am time for meal number 2. Food? Again? Well, when you have 6 meals to get through in a day, you have to eat every 2-3 hours. This is quite time consuming. Although eating the exact same things at the same times every day means I can prepare a lot of it over the weekend and save lots of time during the week. And let’s be honest here for a moment: I never struggle to eat… ;-D

1pm – lunch (ah yesss, I was close to starvation)

2pm – gym for a proper weight session. We are talking bench presses, deadlifts, weighted squats and basically just lifting some heavy stuff. I grunt, I swear, I sweat. It is not pretty… But this part is the one I enjoy the most. Every workout counts and I push myself as hard as I can. Leaving the gym after a really good leg workout and barely being able to walk is one of the most satisfying feelings to have. I can’t deny that I feel a sense of disappointment when I wake up the next morning and am not sore ;-D

3pm – meal 4 straight after the gym to replenish my body. Ooh, that one always feels good!

5pm – meal 5. More food. Glorious food.

7pm – my second cardio session for the day. I get to walk through the local parks for an hour with a heavy bag full of water bottles strapped to my back.

9pm – meal 6, my final bit of food before heading to bed.

10pm – lights out! Sleep is such an important part of life. It is necessary for good health, something that I have chosen to ignore in the past. Sleep is also necessary for muscular development and so now I am making it a priority. I work too hard on my physique to jeopardise it with a lack of sleep. Besides, sleep tastes so, so good (I tend to dream of food… haha)

The cardio sessions are designed for maximum fat burn and so I wear multiple layers (3 pairs of long trousers, a thermal shirt, hoodie with the hood up and fleece on top plus a jacket for the session in the park). The layers ensure that I sweat. A lot. We are talking waterfalls running down my back and sweat dripping into my eyes and off my chin. This is one aspect I don’t love about the process, if I am very honest.

So there you go – a day in the life of… me! Living the rock’n’roll lifestyle 😉

I may be missing out on a social life right now, but it will all be so worth it when I step on that stage for Rosa UK.

If you are feeling generous after reading this, you can sponsor me here.