So I guess my first post should be about why I chose to get involved in bikini fitness; there are countless reasons! I got the idea when good friends of mine (one who is now my coach: check Jono Cave Coaching!!) started competing, and suggested that I should get involved. Another reason, was for confidence. I had always been satisfied with my body, but I always wished I looked more athletic. It sounds sad to some people, but getting a 6 pack was one of my goals. I knew that if I achieved that then I would be on my way to feeling more confident about myself and the body I chose to work for. I wanted to see what condition I could get in, instead of just going to the gym with no real reason but to maintain a body that I saw as average. But the biggest reason of all was to see whether if I put my mind to something like that, whether I would stick to it. It was a challenge I set for myself, and to be honest, going into it, I had no idea what I was in for. I think I thought I would find it easy… How wrong I was! I started to tell people I was doing it, and then there was no backing out haha… My family and friends were sceptical too – ‘Pie’ (nickname given to me by my brothers as my sweet tooth is the biggest one out there).. doing a competition where you have to go on a very strict diet for a long time… no chance..
I’ve always been going to the gym, whether it be to work off the ridiculous amount of junk food I used to eat, or to train for Lacrosse which I played in school and then for Loughborough. Playing Lacrosse for Loughborough for the last 3 years meant that I was training in the gym and on field, altogether approx 10 times a week, but despite this, I was never satisfied with my athletic condition. Obviously when training that hard and that frequently, your body isn’t going to work to its best ability on a competition, prep-like diet. So whilst still in my second year of uni I put the bikini fitness competition idea to the back of my mind.
BUT It was in my third year of uni where I really started to take gym seriously. I had been lifting weights a little bit from first year, but it wasn’t until this last year where I put gym before pretty much everything else. It was my last Lacrosse season, so I was training super hard, and thought why not put this training to use and use it as the off-season in preparation for a bikini competition this summer (2015).
So with Jono’s help, we started my off-season. It was so different to what I was used to. I started tracking my macros, controlling how much fat, carbs and protein I had a day (Team IIFYM!), weighing myself every single day, and following specific workout plans which enabled me to build up as much muscle as possible, whilst gradually increasing my calories and maintaining a stable weight. This was done to make it easier for when I started the ‘cut’ and had to decrease calories to lose weight. I’d be lying if I said I found even this stage easy. I was previously only eating around 1500/1600 calories per day- despite being in the gym and training 10 to 11 times a week. We tried to increase my calories as much as possible, but over the 6 months I struggled to get to over 2000. I was naive and thought that I would be fine starting my cut from as little as that, and in hindsight I will definitely listen next time round when Jono tells me to eat more food!! Reading this you’d probably think I was crazy not being happy to eat more food- but it was an actual struggle! I don’t think I’d find it difficult now though…