I'm a huge fan of the word 'BODYBUILDING'. If you're getting into the fitness lifestyle to improve the way LOOK, and of course to get the health benefits and increased energy, you shouldn't be afraid of this word. Building a body is a goal to be proud of. There's nothing wrong of wanting to look a certain way. I always liked the look of 'thicker and curvier' women. Supermodels on the catwalks with minimal muscle, never gave me body envy when I was younger. For me the biggest goal has always been being FIRM, regardless the size. In other words, I've never wanted to become skinner, but change the body composition - from 'skinny fat' to 'lean firm'. My ideal body inspiration lies in looking like an amazonian hourglass creature, a superhero woman from comic books or a warrior princess. Think Xena, WonderWoman or one of the incredible women from Boris Vallejo's art:
How have I built my body is one of the most common questions I get recently. Even though I'm FAR from my ideal physique, there have been noticeable improvements with some muscle gain in desired areas. I've been consistently training with weights for 2,5 years now (started in July 2014), and it took me a REALLY long time to understand how to train. I'm still learning a lot, as it's a never ending process, which I can describe as 'layering' your knowledge and experience. What I love about body building, is that you need to be knowledgeable about nutrition and training, yet also apply all those theories to your own body. Consistently and patiently. Seeing your body change is the single most fascinating and addictive things to experience!
Initial part of my weight training journey prior to 2014 was very basic - learning a proper form for squats: how to position your feet and how deep to go. I was terrified of anything heavier than 10kg. I was also VERY against training upper body, being fearful of looking too manly and growing massive amounts of muscle - rookie mistake and naive view of muscle building ability for women.
My childhood's athletic background includes sprinting and 7 years of ballet, plus odd tennis sessions. What else have I been doing before 2014? Mostly group fitness classes like hot yoga, spinning, zumba, dancing. Running has never appealed to me, but in 2012 I moved to a flat right next to a park and decided to give it a go. 4 months of jogging gave me some very swollen knees - repetitive impact injury. Plus zero change in my body composition. Sure, I've gained more endurance and cardiovascular strength, but nothing else has changed. I also didn't know much about proper nutrition and thought that eating chicken, drinking a green juice and cutting sugar would lead me to a leaner healthier body.
I've stopped running and got a block of personal training sessions at my local gym. They included mostly HIIT workouts with endless jumps, squats and ab crunches. My knees got even worse.
After a MRI scan for my knees, I was advised to get some rehabilitation training to strengthen the muscles around my knees. Realising that my personal trainer was no good, I've approached a much more experienced trainer Nash Jocic (my current coach), as my boyfriend was his client at a time and raved about his expertise. Nash asked me a lot of questions during the consultation and confessed that he gets a large amount of injured clients who were 'damaged' by previous personal trainers.
The rest is history. July 2014 is when I've started to train with weights consistently: 3 times a week, going up to 4 sessions a week in 2015. Now I train 4-5 times a week during the off-season and more during my bikini preps. Since July 2014, the longest non-training periods I've had were 1 week long, whenever I was on a family holiday. Probably 5 times in total.
How do I feel about weight training? I enjoy it A LOT. I love it. Why? It's the fastest and the most effective way to improve your physique. All you need is 40mins X 4-5 times a week. I will talk about my training specifics in the future posts. Nutrition plays a crucial part in it. You need to commit yourself to the right food to build muscle, to maintain muscle and to shed the fat when necessary.
Of course, I have to thank my genetics for the training response I've had so far. You can never compare someone's journey to your own. Plus we all have different body shapes to work with. That's the beauty of bodybuilding - you can sculpt and build where you want. Just need a vision and a lot of patience!
This gives you a general idea of how much effort was put into my current physique. As I've mentioned before, I'm still a newbie at this and can only share how to take your body to this stage!