Monday, April 28, 2014

Featured Interview: Sarah {MABBA competitor}

Happy Monday everyone!  Today I am bringing you a lovely interview that I did with a friend and fitness buff, here in Winnipeg.  Ms. Sarah just finished her second MABBA competition this year and while I was doing her fitness photoshoot, we got to talking about bodybuilding, the intense training and the feedback she gets from other people. So, I thought it might be neat for people who might be considering competing or those that wonder how easy it is to get the body of a fitness competitor.  Without further adieu, here is my interview with Sarah!

T: What motivated you to start training?

S: I have always been in shape and have loved the gym.  I had never been trained by a professional though and previous to having a baby had been interested in the possibility of doing a fitness competition one day.  After having Amelia and putting on and keeping a tiny bit of extra weight I felt there was no better time than now to train to compete.  I googled, in search of a trainer, and found Katie at Fit-Fire Fitness and here I am today;  I just finished my second competition.  Other than wanting to get into the best shape of my life I also wanted to challenge myself to go into the spotlight and show myself off on a stage.  I have never really been on a stage or been the center of attention (nor wanted to be).  I never took dance classes or anything growing up or anything that required me to be on a stage in front of people (other than piano recital and Christmas concerts for elementary school).  Training to compete gives me the challenge to better my physique but also challenges me to get out of my comfort zone by show off a little and challenging my confidence.

T: What was the hardest thing to overcome when you started training?

S: The hardest thing was changing my diet and eating clean.  I loooooove food and love my sauces and gravy's and sugars, etc….so taking all that out of my diet was very hard.  The posing practice was always tough because I am not naturally flirty or "sexy" so it was hard to put on that bubbly "façade" and prance in front of a mirror, let alone a crowd of people! I am still very much working on my stage presence and confidence.

T: What was your biggest motivation?

S: My motivation was the challenge I was giving myself.  I just wanted to get into the same shape I was before I had a baby and into even better shape!  It also motivated me thinking that I was increasing my confidence and challenging myself outside of my comfort which only makes me a better person I feel.  In the end my only competition is myself.

T: I know you said that you wanted people to know that even though you look super healthy right now, you aren’t at all. Can you explain this in a bit more detail?

S: I'll first mention that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist or anything like that so this is mostly in my opinion and understanding.  I mentioned to you that I am not necessarily healthy at the moment because it is true, being so close to a competition when I shot photo's with you (a day after I competed) I am at a very low body fat percentage.  My percentage was less than 8% and is less than 8% within the last month of training and at competition day.  It is said that to function at a normal level women should have at least 11% body fat and 12% for men (I believe those are the stats, but, again, I am not a doctor).  I may be eating healthy by eating in small portions and often and eating very clean (which is good) but I am also working out A LOT and putting my body through a lot of stress with all the training I do in the gym.  I'll also mention that we are playing with our diet a lot especially the last couple of weeks before competition we are eliminating a lot of fats/carbs and dairy as well as the last 1-2 days before competition where we are depleting our water which is clearly not a healthy thing not to mention the day of competition where we are trying not to drink any fluids at all! (water is very important to drink! While training I drink at least 1.5 litres just while I work out!)  It is not realistic for me to think that I will keep this body post competition nor is it healthy.  A competitor does this for that big day and once that big day is done we will put that body fat back on and won't look like we do on stage all year round…and if we do? In my opinion it is not healthy or normal to look like that all the time…unless someone is just naturally blessed with that body then good for them and I am jealous!

T: How did you feel after your first competition when a bit of weight came back on? Were you sad? Disappointed? Etc.

S: To be honest I was aware that I would put the weight on so it didn't bother me as much as you or I may think…I was, however, a little disappointed that I didn’t have that body for very long.  I immediately bloated up and felt like I put back all the body fat within a week of the competition!  After my first competition I just ate and ate and ate which I regretted because I felt I could have and should have continued eating clean.  My trainer made sure I knew, while I was training, that it was not realistic to have that body at all times and to be aware that I may not look like that after the competition and that I would bloat up.  I think knowing this helped me not be too disappointed as I was already prepared and aware.

T: What surprised you the most during your journey?

S:  I was pretty amazed by how quickly your body starts changing from eating clean.  I immediately lost probably around 5% body fat within a month, I believe, when I first started (I started at around 20% body fat when I first started training for my first competition).  All the changes and all the new muscles I saw develop was just amazing….I have never felt the striations of a muscle until I trained to compete.  My muscles have come so far in their growth and it is pretty cool to watch happen!

T: Is healthy eating/working out something that you think you will keep doing?

S: I will definitely continue eating clean as much as possible (with cheats along the way of course!)  There are so many new recipes out there now a days with the new "eat clean" craze, so I plan to take advantage of these recipes and continue to find ways to still enjoy flavours of food but also try and make clean choices at the same time.  I love working out; it is my biggest passion so I will definitely continue with my fitness and trying to grow (I want a bigger bum!) as well as compete again.  I haven not been to the gym in almost a week and I am so excited to go back today I can hardly wait to get to the squat rack!  It is not about weight loss for me though (I definitely don’t need to lose weight but only gain it) it is about weight gain in the end because I want to increase muscle and be healthy.

T: To somebody who wants to start training for a fitness competition what would your biggest advice be? (aside from getting Teri to do your “after” photos bahaha!)

S: Have a good trainer that is looking out for you! There are so many trainers out there just looking for your money so be wary!  I have heard so many competitors say how upset they were when they bloated up after and tell me that their trainer didn't prepare them for that or give them a post competition plan.  I was very lucky to find my trainer (Katie at Fit-Fire Fitness).  She supports me 100%, is there for me to ask questions at any time and doesn’t make me feel stupid when I ask the silly questions (which I do weekly).  She cares about all of her clients well beings and makes sure she helps you set realistic goals.  You need a trainer who cares to give you a game plan for after the competition and help you understand the changes your body will go through.  Do not try and train yourself for a competition.  You need a trainer who knows what they are doing.  The other big advise would be to be aware that the body that is produced for a competition is not something that is kept all year round.  You have to be aware of your body and love it even with 20+% body fat and be aware that your body fat will go up after competing.  Many competitors go through a "post competition depression" so you just have to be very strong willed and know these things and be aware to avoid becoming depressed post competition.  Have a good support system but also be good/strong support for yourself by knowing yourself and your body.  Be prepared also mentally that there is a good likelihood that you may not place in top 5 in your first, second or third competition….Do not set yourself up for disappointment in that way.

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