Audible sports audiobook of the month: Making the Weight: Boxing’s Lethal Secret

October 21, 2014

In this blog series, I review a sports audiobook from audible.co.uk

This month: Making the Weight: Boxing’s Lethal Secret (a Sports Shorts) by Barry J. Whyte

making the weight audible

Making the Weight: Boxing’s Lethal Secret (a Sports Shorts) (Barry J. Whyte)

This is one of Audible‘s “sports shorts” series and is a very quick listen. I picked it for a short dog-walk soundtrack, because I’ve always been fascinated by the sport of boxing. I wouldn’t say I love it, but I admire the basic and pure nature of it as a sport. No gadgets, no tech, just two human minds and bodies trying to outdo each other.

This little book began life as an investigative report into the dangers of strategic pre-weigh-in dehydration in boxing. But I think it will appeal to anyone who’s interested in what goes on behind the scenes and in the lead-up to sport’s famous moments (and, of course, to boxing fans).

Journalist Barry J Whyte looks at the potential dangers of the 24-hour weigh-in by looking closely at one specific example from boxing’s history: the February 2000 fight between Joey Gamache and Arturo Gatti.

By looking at the controversial ruling which allows (encourages?) boxers to dehydrate right down the day before the fight, and then pile weight back on before stepping into the ring, he stimulates debate about the short and long term consequences. Physical, psychological and physiological risks are explored: extreme dehydration weakens the athletes, opening them up to the prospect of taking more punches, not to mention heat-stroke, long-term brain damage and even death. And the question is asked: why have the sport’s fans, journalists and officials done so little to investigate this practice?

Here are the opening few lines:

There are 278 seconds left in Joey Gamache’s professional boxing career.

He doesn’t know this.

Standing in front of him in the ring tonight is Arturo Gatti. He is going to end Gamache’s career.

He doesn’t know this either.

If you fancy a very quick listen about a fascinating aspect of one of the oldest sports still in existence, download Making the Weight from Audible.

Let me know if you have a favourite sports book you’d like me to review, or if there’s a title in Audible’s library which you’ve had your eye on.

Audible.co.uk is the UK’s leading provider of new and classic audiobooks and has a range of autobiographies, investigative journalism and sports training titles.

Making the Weight: Boxing’s Lethal Secret (a Sports Shorts) (Barry J. Whyte) is available only from audible.co.uk

Audible asked me to write the reviews and provided me with free credits for the purpose.

Audible sports audiobook of the month: Making the Weight: Boxing’s Lethal Secret is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


A few photos and videos from UKDFBA 2014

October 12, 2014

ukdfba natural bodybuilding championships 2014

I’ve already blogged about my most recent competition – the UKDFBA (United Kingdom Drug Free Bodybuilding Association) UK Open Championships. My show report is here.

In that blog post, I promised some official photos, video and report. The report’s not out yet but I have the photos and the show video, so – for those who are interested – here y’go!

Quarter turns (I’m second in from the right of the pic)

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A few from the comparisons/compulsories

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Pose down!

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From my individual posing routine
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Here’s a video of my routine


And a classic couple of shots showing the “moment of strewth”
;)

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And here a video clip of that result being announced

Official photos by Fivos at Showshoots.
Video clips taken with permission from official video by Chris Lambert.

A few photos and videos from UKDFBA 2014 is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


So you want to date a female bodybuilder?

October 9, 2014

You sure about that?

OK. I understand – hell, I find some of my female bodybuilding friends schmexy too! ;) (And I get to tan some of them up!) But I feel it’s only fair to let you know what it could be really like. Forewarned is forearmed, and all that.
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(With thanks to J, J and L for some of the following bits of intel… and to all the other crazy single female bodybuilders I am privileged to know and hang out with).

The hotter the bod, the crazier the mind

I get it. You like muscly, lean ladies. Trouble is, you can’t have it all. You see, being that lean doesn’t come naturally (understatement…) It’s either/or, most of the time anyway. And, sorry, I can’t tell you when you’ll stumble upon the small window of time that is the Holy Grail: lean, funny, with it and a joy to be around. You’re just going to have to keep trying your luck. Most of the time, you get a) hot bod and bordering on maniacal, or b) reasonable state of mind but somewhat “off-season”. Just being real!

On the topic of libido
Here’s a funny thing. I hear most of my male BB friends say that their sex-drive takes a nose-dive during a bodybuilding diet. Yet most women I talk to say quite the opposite. It goes into over-drive. I have a theory here (absolutely not grounded in scientific research, btw). Could it be because we’ve now got more muscle mass and less body fat, our hormones are less “female” and more “male”? We’ve got more testosterone than previously (and more than non-BB women), and less oestrogen? I have no idea.

But on the flip side, one of my female BB friends said that, during prep, she is genuinely too tired for any of that shenanigans and will “expect the man to do all the work in the last few weeks of prep”. And she’s not talking about housework or grocery shopping.

I think the take-home point here is prep makes women more up for it (in their minds, at least), but when it comes down to the actual moment… we might have run out of steam. Soz!

On the topic of food
“Do not eat my food or I will kill you”. That’s a direct quote from a single FBB friend of mine. What can I say, she’s a redhead. I’ve got brown hair, so my attitude to food is a bit less fiery, but essentially I agree. We don’t get a lot of food, and what we do get has been carefully prepared, probably weighed out (tedious) and dreamed about for the previous few hours. If we open the fridge and you’ve eaten the damn thing… well, more fool you.

Cardio… not that kind of cardio
You’re unlikely to be our first thought in the morning. That accolade goes to the joy that is cardio. And, no, sorry, not that kind of cardio (what are you offering, anyway, LISS or HIIT?)

Choose your words carefully
You think women in general are unpredictable and difficult to please? Oh, sweetie, you have no idea.
Do not say “I’m tired”. To quote a friend… “I’m tired, you just have no f*****g clue…” (and that one’s not even a redhead!)
Do say: “Can I prep your food for you?” Friend quote: “I will love you forever”
Do say: “Sure, I’d love to help you shave your entire body ahead of your first tanning appointment.”
Don’t say: “Hang on… just snapchatting this….”
Do say: “I’ve found a cafe we can go to which does chicken/fish and plain veggies.”
Don’t say: “Oh yum, I can’t decide whether to have the pulled pork burger with triple cooked fries or the all-day-breakfast. What would you have?”
Don’t say: “Why are you just sitting there? You look like a zombie.”
Do say: “Let me carry that empty glass into the kitchen for you, it looks very heavy. Would you like a cup of green tea whilst I’m out here?”
Don’t say: “Great to meet you, I’m glad you like my choice of coffee shop. What can I get you, latte? Cappucino? How about one of the Christmas seasonal coffees? Oh – nearly forgot – do you want any cakes or muffins?”
Do say: “Great to meet you, I’m glad you like my choice of coffee shop. I’ll go and order: black coffee, right? Or would you prefer a green tea?”

I’ll leave you with a few choice words from my female friends:
I love nice tupperware. If you buy me some, you can stay (?! LOL!)
If I ask you to tan me it doesnt mean you get sex. (Friend 2 Yeah! Same goes for posing!)
I cry a lot during prep. It’s not about you! That’s normal for me.
Appreciate the hard work and commitment and we will be ok :)

Lots of love… the ladies of the bodybuilding world ;)

So you want to date a female bodybuilder? is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


So close but so far… (UKDFBA 2014 show report)

September 30, 2014

ukdfba natural bodybuilding championships 2014

On Saturday, I competed in the female bodybuilding class at the UKDFBA (United Kingdom Drug Free Bodybuilding Association) UK Open Championships. Here’s my show report. My emotions are still a bit all over the place so apologies if this isn’t my usual hilarious (!), witty (!!) style.

I’ve included some photos (from my instagram as always!) but have purchased the official photos (by Fivos at Showshoots) and will pop some of those up when I get them. I’ll also share the show report when it is published.

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This was the first show of the year for me, and my first since the INBF Worlds last November. You can read about my goals and aims for the show in this blog post – prep update – 2 weeks out.

There’s plenty I enjoy about the UKDFBA show. Not only does it tend to attract great numbers across the classes (including ladies bodybuilding – which is unusual!) but the depth and quality is great. It’s a good atmosphere, enjoyable for competitors but also for spectators and all the people who come to support and “crew” for competitors. This is really important to me! And I get to meet up with lots of my bodybuilding “family” at this show, some of whom I only see once or twice a year. It’s a real kind of party/reunion type event as well as a good bodybuilding comp to be part of.

On Friday I travelled up to Leamington Spa with my sister, and my Mum joined us at the self-catering apartment a bit later, as did the folk we were sharing with. So Friday afternoon and evening was chilled, fun, relaxed and a big giggle really. I had two coats of tan sprayed on by a professional spray tanner, did a few rounds of posing, Mum made some final adjustment to my bikini (I’d lost a bit of fat on my glutes in the last week and the bikini bottoms were gaping/sagging) and I tried to get a decent night’s sleep (always a challenge the night before a comp – excited, nervous, and paranoid about wrecking my tan!)

On Saturday morning I did another couple of rounds of posing and took photos – I was really pleased with how I was looking. Legs (in fact everything, but particularly legs) had been tightening up day on day and I don’t think I’ve ever looked like I did on Saturday! I was so chuffed!

I weighed in 1.8kgs less than on my home scales, which answered once and for all the question “just how sh!t are my scales at home?” (the answer being: “extremely”). In fact I weighed in lighter than I weighed in at INBF Worlds last year, by 2-3lbs.

I dashed off to bag a space in the dressing room I was in last year as I knew it was a good ‘un. Once I’d got myself and my friend Paula installed in there, I was happy – I just wanted to get us both a bit of space and somewhere to find peace and quiet during the day. I then spent the rest of the day chilling with my feet up in that room, or taking a few short wanders to say hi to folk out front.

OK so on to the actual show!

I felt confident going into it. Not 100%, of course. But definitely the most confident (in myself) than I’ve ever felt. This only increased as I pumped up. I could see with my own two eyes that I looked good, and I was getting better as I pumped and posed. As I looked around I just remember thinking, yes Nic, you look good. You have every right to feel confident and go out there with the attitude that you could take it.

As I walked out onto stage I felt I was my best ever (so far/to date) and that I knew I looked good. I was confident in my posing, my routine, and in how I was presenting myself. I guess – bottom line – I felt GOOD!

I can’t honestly remember where I was in the call outs, nor how long we were up there, but I think I was middle of one call out and next-to-middle of another (I could be completely wrong!) We were worked hard, and put through the quarter turns and compulsories several times. Then the head judge said that the judges had seen all they needed to and were happy with what they’d seen.

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(quarter turns and compulsories – click to enlarge if you so wish!)

I had a lot of support out there and heard a lot of you calling out and cheering for me – thank you very much if any of you are reading! It really makes a difference and I am very grateful for your cheers!

I left the stage feeling confident but not 100% confident. I guess I thought I could have won… but wasn’t sure. I don’t know. I certainly didn’t feel like I definitely hadn’t won. I felt good still. But you know how it is – you can never be sure… and I wasn’t…

It was then on to our routines, which I LOVE. I have a new routine and new music this year and have absolutely fallen in love with both so couldn’t wait to perform it for the first time. It went well, I didn’t forget any of it, I could have given it a bit more welly but I guess that’s always the way! I put a lot of time, thought and effort in to my posing and routines and personally think it’s a really important part of what we do (after all the spectators are there to see a show, and have paid to see us!)
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(routine pics – click to enlarge if you so wish!)

We were all called back on, did one final round of compulsories, then posedown which was good fun.
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(posedown pics – click to enlarge if you so wish!)

Then it was time for the results.

This wasn’t just a “I could win this class” situation. It was a “winner gets WNBF Pro Status and funding for the Worlds trip” situation. I can’t tell you how much of a crazy focus this has been for me. Regular blog readers will have gathered that I am massive on visualisation, mindset, focus, etc. It’s been pretty intense leading up to this comp! And now it was down to the next few seconds.

5th place was called – my friend Paula. I was delighted for her, it was her first comp, she was the only first timer in the class, she wanted to place… and she did.

4th, 3rd.… not me.

Holy Mother of Arnold. Here we go. I’ve either won it or… I haven’t, frankly. One matters, one doesn’t matter. That’s how I see it. One is a win, the other is not a win.

The head judge was saying that it was incredibly close… that, in fact, it was a tie-break. We were tied for first place, and the result of the tie-break is….

In second place….

Me.

Sigh.

OK. Smile, smile, don’t cry, look up, smile, walk forward, shake the winner’s hand, stand there and smile.

The winner was then called forward, and offered WNBF Pro status.

My emotions have been up, down and all over the place since. At the time I felt absolutely gutted and disappointed, but not so bad. I felt happy, in that I knew I was my best ever (so far!), very happy personally in how I looked and how I’d posed, etc. Happy that I’d improved a placing in a year (I was 3rd at UKDFBA last year) and happy (although it’s a bitter happiness!!) that it was so close. You can’t ask for much more (other than winning, obviously) than being in a tie break situation.

But I have also gone through a slew of negative emotions: sadness, disappointment, feeling absolutely gutted, and (if I’m honest), angry. I’m not sure at what. Myself, I think. Angry that I didn’t get on stage absolutely dominant, that I left it up to the judges to make the decision, that I didn’t step up there and make their job easier for them. I won’t be making the same mistake again. Believe me, there’s nothing like losing something so important to you on a tie-break decision to focus the mind.

So, what’s next?

A few people have asked me what’s next, if I’m done for the season, if I have another chance at earning Pro Status, etc. I was always heading out to INBF/WNBF Worlds as part of Team UK, and am still doing that. The result of the UKDFBA decided whether I went out as the newly-crowned WNBF Pro, to compete in the Pro class, or as an amateur, to do the INBF show. Those are the only differences – I was always prepping onwards for Worlds and nothing has changed there. So: I am going out with the UK Team to compete in the INBF Worlds, to defend my over all women’s bodybuilding title from last year and – hopefully – to earn WNBF Pro Status by so doing. That’s the plan.

So close but so far… (UKDFBA 2014 show report) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


What does “peak week” mean, anyway?

September 23, 2014

If there’s a competitive bodybuilder in your nearest ‘n dearest inner circle, chances are you’ve heard them talk about “peak week”. What the hell is that? If you’re not sure, you probably haven’t dared ask. Because your bodybuilder is probably lethargic to the point of zombified, over-emotional, hyper-sensitive, or asleep (or all four) during peak week.

Peak week is the jargon used to describe the final 5-7 days leading up to an actual bodybuilding competition. It can be “where the magic happens” or it can be where things all go to shit, depending on… well, on quite a lot really. A great deal can change during that final week, sometimes good (the bodybuilder will “come in” just right) and sometimes bad.

Here’s what your favourite bodybuilder may be doing, experiencing and feeling during peak week. See, now you don’t have to ask!

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Water loading
Some – by no means all – competitive bodybuilders will manipulate water during the final few days before a comp. There are many roads to Rome, but a common approach (not to Rome, to water manipulation) is to load with water at the start of peak week and then taper off (or even cut water completely) 24 hours or so before stage time. The theory is that the body gets used to the extra water, and therefore readily excretes more (the body loves homeostasis, after all). Then, when you taper/cut water, the body continues to excrete water, not realising that less is coming in. The result (we hope) is that we look drier on stage.
What this means: your bodybuilder might be glugging down anything up to 10 litres of water every day. They’ll be feeling cold, gross and probably a bit sick to be honest.

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Carb depleting
Another common thing during peak week is depletion of carbohydrates for a few days (usually 3-4). Exactly what this means will depend on your bodybuilder (are they a big one, or a little one? Have they dieted on low carbs or not? Are they going to carb up? How lean are they to start with?) Some competitive bodybuilders will cut carbs for a few days to the point of essentially taking none in at all. Carbs will come from maybe some leafy greens and that’s it. We’re talking less than 20g carbohydrate every day for a few days.
What this means: they’ll be staggering around in an exhilarating combination of brain dead, foggy haze, and mild euphoria. Sorry, I can’t tell you which of the three states you’ll find them in at any one time.

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Bony, small, childlike and flat
You might think your favourite bodybuilder looks good during this peak week. They probably won’t. They’ll feel flat, small, little in their clothes, nothing like their big strong selves. Just at the point when they need to feel good, they’ll be feeling poop. They’ll be bundled up in long trousers and hoodies, partly because they’re chilly and partly cos they can’t bear to look at their pale small selves. If they’re lean enough, it might be painful for them to have a bath (that moment when they sit up to turn the tap up – ouch), to sit in one position for too long, to lie in one position in bed.
What this means: ignore, or make sympathetic noises. Try hugs. It won’t be long til they’re full of simple sugars and off-season again.

Final cardio sessions
If your bodybuilder has been employing cardio during their competition prep, they will be counting down the amount of cardio sessions they have left to do. They might be doing cardio a couple of days before, or they might do their final cardio session early in peak week. This day is usually one to celebrate.
What this means: ask the question “when’s your final cardio session?” delicately. Be prepared for either joyous whoops or dark looks and mutterings of “I’ve got 4 left”. Even if the show is only 3 days away.

Depletion workouts

Along with carb depletion come depletion workouts – these are final weights sessions in the gym, aimed at depleting the body of glycogen (so it “fills up” again once carbs are reintroduced). These sessions tend to be exhausting and frustrating. Your bodybuilder will typically stagger through them, tearful, staring into space, and not wanting to talk to anyone.
What this means: leave them to it. And let them nap afterwards.

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Carbing up
Most bodybuilders will introduce more carbohydrates towards the end of peak week, either after a period of depletion, or just as a continuation of their prep diet. Bodybuilders need to be lean, but big and full on stage. It’s the holy grail, and a fine balance, but the only way to get there is to be lean enough in the first place and then to fill out with enough carbohydrate that they can get “the pump” and avoid looking flat, tired and stringy.
What this means: there will come a point in peak week where your bodybuilder is suddenly eating vast bowls of rice, oats, potatoes (usually oven baked beyond recognition). They will be over the moon, at first, until they realise that eating huge amounts of dry, plain carbs isn’t much more fun than eating none at all.

Shaving themselves
I’ve said it before, but it makes me laugh (and this is my blog) so I’ll say it again: you haven’t lived until you’ve shaved your own rear delts. Man, woman, hairy or smooth, all bodybuilders need to remove bodyhair a day or two before their first layer of tan goes on. Some will Veet it (dicey!) and some will shave down.
What this means: if you live with a bodybuilder, you might get roped in to the full-body shave process. And your bodybuilder will feel very, very small and cold after they’ve shaved their entire body. Have a hoodie and dressing gown ready.

Posing daily
Hopefully, your bodybuilder will have already done plenty of posing practice. But, during peak week, they’ll do more. Probably daily, at least once, for 15 or more minutes. Not only does posing at this point help calm and focus their mind, but it actually helps tighten up the physique and can even help the drying out process.
What this means: expect your bodybuilder to demand an audience for endless rounds of quarter turns at any time of the day or night, and don’t be surprised to see your bodybuilder in the gym, trousers rolled up (or dropped, to reveal pants of course) flexing and squeezing. You may also be asked to take photos. Just go with it.

What does “peak week” mean, anyway? is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


NLP for bodybuilders: 3 techniques you can try today (and a bonus one!)

September 15, 2014

thefitmumTheFitMum is more than just a pretty face, you know ;) She’s also an NLP Master Practitioner. This means that she’s not just a qualified NLP Practitioner, but has done further qualifications and is the next level up. She uses NLP in her work as a leadership development coach, but she’s also taught me a bit about it in the context of sports psychology.

I was sitting with her yesterday (she was kindly altering my sparkly-bikini!) and thought I’d do a quick Q&A to find out 3 NLP techniques you competitors can use during contest prep, or on show day.

What is NLP?

NLP – “neuro linguistic programming – is a type of psychotherapy which looks at the links between our brains’ neurological processes, the language we use (internal and external!) and our learned behaviours.

Mum says, “It’s about how the language we use affects our mental attitude and the way in which we react to things. For example, if you say to yourself “I’m going to dread training today, I’ll never be able to pull that 100kg deadlift…”, it becomes what a lot of people would call a self-fulfilling prophesy. Your brain tells your body what you’ve said to yourself, and that equates to not being able to do whatever it is you want to do. Because the message you’ve sent to your brain is “I can’t do it”. The brain doesn’t have opinions of its own, it operates on the messages you deliver to it. It can’t do anything else: it’s your brain!”

I did a quick poll on Facebook the other day about 3 things competitors struggle with during competition prep or on competition day, and asked Mum which NLP techniques she thinks would be most useful.

Here are 3 (4, actually!) NLP techniques you can try… in TheFitMum’s words.

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NLP For Nerves on Competition Day

I would recommend a type of visualisation which is called “Scramble Pattern” in NLP.

When people get nervous, they are usually visualising what they dread, not what they want.

One of the best ways to get you out of that negative mindset is to make yourself relax by laughing. Once you start to smile and laugh, your body releases endorphins and you relax. So you need to get to the stage of having a giggle brewing inside of you.

Well in advance of the day, really call to mind what you’re nervous about. Think about it in detail. You’re about to step on stage, you’re standing in the wings… think about that very vividly. Then, in your head, change everything you can about that mental picture. Use all your senses.

Think about what you’d love to feel under your feet (sand, grass?)
What’s your favourite smell? The air in the auditorium smells just like that (coffee, popcorn?)
As you step on stage, you look at the audience and they’re all wearing t-shirts and waving flags of your favourite colour – all you can see is a sea of your very favourite, happy colour.
In the centre of the judging table is your favourite person in the world, grinning up at you.

Create a mental image which completely smashes the nerves. Get away from the reality of what you fear it might be like. Imagine something a little bit crazy: so you might end up walking across sand, smelling popcorn, with whole audience dressed in bright pink. Ideally, think of something really silly – maybe the audience are all wearing pink afro wigs – this will make you smile and laugh.

You need to keep thinking about your silly, funny mental image. Sit and contemplate it every time you get that nervous feeling, and put this on top of it. “Scramble Pattern” scrambles the nervous picture, mixes it up, and turns it into something which you look forward to thinking about.


NLP For Stage Presence

One of the best things to do if you want more confident stage presence is a technique called “modelling”. Think of your favourite person in the world, someone you really look up to as successful and confident. It could be another bodybuilder but it doesn’t have to be. It could be an actor, a singer, even someone you know. It needs to be somebody you personally think is superbly confident.

Think about what it is that they do to come across as so confident. Is it the way they walk, the way they stand, or smile? Pinch one or two of the things they do and practice them for yourself.

When you’re on stage at your show, you’re not going on stage as you (the you that you feel is underconfident) – you going to be them. You are sending yourself the message that “I am just like DLB because I am walking on stage and smiling just like she does…” (or whatever it is). You can even give yourself a new nickname to match your new persona, a name you use for yourself on show day.

I think it would help competitors to also choose posing music which really matches this persona, and helps you think of yourself as a rock star, a dancer, or whatever it is. It all helps you think of yourself as this person who is wonderfully confident who loves being centre stage.

Another technique which would help with nerves and confidence is “anchoring”. Set yourself an anchor – you need to do this way in advance of your comp.

Think of a time in your life when you were really confident (it doesn’t matter how long ago it was or what age you were). You need to be able to remember the exact details of what you were doing.

Sit quietly with your eyes closed and call that time strongly to mind – it may take a while at first. What could you see, feel, smell and hear? Was anyone saying something to you? Who was there? Was it warm or cold?

Really bring to mind that feeling of achievement, confidence, happiness and pride. As you get that feeling welling up inside you, anchor it. You do this by using a unique stimulus – something you don’t typically do (so, clenching a fist for instance wouldn’t work as you do this sometimes already). Many people use a physical action such as pressing thumb and ring finger together. It needs to be something the judges won’t see/notice but something you don’t typically do.

As you feel that wonderful confident memory, do your unique stimulus movement. As the feeling ebbs – let it go (you don’t want to anchor the feeling as it ebbs away).

Then “break state” by getting up, going away and doing something different like getting a drink of water.

The more often you do this, the quicker it will become. Your mind is very quick to remember and anticipate it. Soon you will barely have to think about it, just redo your anchor, and it will bring the state to your mind.

We naturally anchor lots of things, it’s a very common thing – think about how you feel when you smell suntan lotion!


NLP For Food Cravings

This is very powerful – I call it “like-to-dislike” – but it will be helpful if you can get the help of someone who knows about NLP.

Think of a food or drink you really hate, something you find truly disgusting. Close your eyes and really think about it. When you picture it in your head, is it close to you, far away, right, left up or down? Is it in colour? Is it on a plate or in a cup? Is there a smell associated with it? Is there a frame around the mental image?

Now break state.

Come back and go through the same process with the food you are craving and struggling with during your prep. Where is the mental picture? Ask all the questions above.

Now, what are the differences between the two pictures? Is the thing you hate far away and to the left and in black and white? Is the thing you crave closer, in colour, slightly above you?

Picture the thing you crave and move it to where the picture of thing you hate is. Change everything about the picture of the thing you crave, so it takes on the same properties as the picture of the thing you can’t stand.

That’s all it takes. Once the picture of the food you’ve been craving is in the same place, with the same size/colour/properties as the mental image of the thing which disgusts you, your brain won’t be able to cope with it.

If you need more, as you move the image of the craving to the place where the yukky food was, imagine you are taking the craving food and dipping it into/mixing it with the gross thing. Even talking about this is making me feel a bit sick, since I did it myself and cured myself of craving crisps!

Thanks Mum! This was so interesting (and I love any excuse to sit and chit-chat with you!) xx <3 I really hope some of you found this helpful. Do you struggle with any of these 3 categories? Have you ever used NLP for sports performance?

NLP for bodybuilders: 3 techniques you can try today is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Differences between years 1-4 of bodybuilding preps

September 11, 2014

After writing my prep-update post the other day, I started thinking about the differences between my prep these days and how it was in my first year. Not training or diet, but mindset and generally how prep affects my life (or perhaps rather how life responds to prep?) It really is quite different, and all in a good way.

Screen shot 2014-09-11 at 21.42.21

What’s different in my fourth year?

The Box
I used to have a box.. no, not a box, The Box. It was such a significant part of my prep that I used title case when referring to it (and anyone who knows me as a copywriter will realise how it pains me to do that!) The Box was a cardboard box (a large one) full of foods I’d bought during prep in order to eat afterwards. All sorts of shit. Over-priced imported American cereal. Pop Tarts. Peanut butter anything. American candy. Oh… all sorts of stuff. I don’t even know. By the time prep was over, I didn’t even remember buying most of it. And, of course, I ended up breaking into The Box more than once during prep.

Funny story about The Box v2 (2012 prep). I struggled so hard to stay away from it that, during my divorce, whilst my ex and I were separated and I was still in the house, I actually locked The Box in the shed and asked him to come to the house and take the key away. Whilst we were getting divorced. Yeah… priorities…

I do not have The Box this year. Or even a box. I just… don’t.

Post-comp eats lists
I also used to keep a list (2011: a Word doc, 2012: a page in my journal) where I’d write down meals, recipes, food combinations that I’d eat after my final comp. The reasoning was that if I wrote it down, it would be out of my head (and that I’d remember it – because, obviously, eating a toasted cheese sandwich with crisps inside is information of paramount importance which simply must be recalled at a later date). I… don’t have a list this year.

Cravings
No cravings this year. Hand on heart. I don’t know if this is because I’ve finally found a way of dieting which satisfies my taste buds (and my micro nutrient requirements!) so my body isn’t trying to tell me anything. Or whether it’s because I’m so damn focused on my actual goals in this sport that psychological cravings mean nothing to me. I don’t know. I haven’t tried not to have any. I haven’t done anything to stop having any. I just don’t have any. Maybe it’s because, finally, I realise that 99% of foods on this planet will still be in shops, cafes and restaurants when I can relax my diet. Look, ma, I’m all grown up! ;)

Obsessive thoughts about food, eating out, meals I’ll make, things I’ll buy/eat

Similar to the list I guess. I used to just think so much about foods I’d eat, cakes I’d have at coffee shops, even things I’d buy from service stations (I know… what?!) I don’t do that now. About the only thing I am doing is really looking forward to going out for nice meals with family (Sissie – I’d love to go for a burger at The Nutmeg with you and brosephine!), going on dates where I don’t have to act like a saddo and ask for modified versions of things on the menu, and lingering over home-cooked meals with my Dad and my Mum.

Stock-piling
Similar to The Box. I used to stockpile foods, not even stuff you’d call “bad” foods, but things I still couldn’t really eat at the sharp end of a prep diet. Why? It’s not like Tesco is going to run out of muesli any time soon. My cupboards/fridge/freezer now just feature the food I eat at the moment. I haven’t even got anything stashed away in the freezer. I just can’t be arsed. If the apocalypse comes and all the food in the world gets blown up, I guess I won’t be here to worry about it anyway.

Focus and goal setting
I’m more focused this year. I was always focused (those who know me from a certain squeaky-clean, bubbly online forum ;) will recall that I had a forum journal back in 2011 called “Operation Pro Card”… haha!) But my focus is different this year. It’s more… focusy. It’s narrower, yet calmer somehow. Perhaps because I understand the structure of the sport a little better, and I know what I actually want.

Sleep
I’m sleeping soooo much better. I used to wake most nights during prep (not the whole thing, the final 6 weeks onwards I guess) at exactly the same time every night. I never knew if it was down to hunger, cravings, wonky hormones, or my dreadful habit of reading food blogs (!!!) on my iPhone in bed at night (I no longer do that, either). But I sleep all night through now, 99% of the time anyway. My personal life is very different now to how it was during my first two preps, which certainly helps. Anyway – I’m not going to question it. Just be thankful for it. I love sleeping! :D

Reading
On that note, I read a lot of blogs and online articles (occupational hazard!) Back during my first prep, almost all of the blogs I read were foodie ones. Recipe blogs, food blogs, “healthy living” blogs which frankly were anything but. I don’t read any of those any more. I read competitors’ blogs, yes, but not the ones which are mostly about terrible low-calorie “recipes” and borderline eating disorders. And not the ones full of cheat meals and other things which would often just trigger me into The Box or the post-comp eats list activity. I read loads of mindset blogs, strongwoman blogs, feminism blogs (hollah), writing blogs, funny/comedy blogs, blogs of my friends… lots of stuff. But not food.

Pinterest
Oh lord. Pinterest. I used to spend hours on damn Pinterest, pinning things I’d make (I never did), places I’d eat (I never went) and things I’d buy (I often did… they went into The Box). The boards are still there… peanut butter, cinnamon, banana bread, cereal (yes I had individual boards for those niche topics). I haven’t been on for ages, to pin or to browse. Partly because I CBA, and partly because I am aware that gazing upon pictures of peanut butter muffins with cinnamon buttercream and pretzel crumb topping is just a mental temptation I can do without.

Journalling
I’ve always journalled (have kept a personal diary since I was eight years old) and have always kept a training/food/mindset type journal during my bodybuilding preps. But these days I also keep a “me” type journal. I write a page every single morning before I get out of bed. I love this practice. I swear it’s helping, or perhaps I’m doing it because other things have changed. I’m not sure which came first.

To those of you in your second (or more!) year of competitive bodybuilding, what differences have you noticed since your very first diet/competition? Until I wrote this post, I hadn’t realised how far I’ve come and how much my mindset has changed. I can’t wait for my fifth (sixth… tenth… ?) year competing! :)

Differences between years 1-4 of bodybuilding preps is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


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