My 2011 challenge

I figured it was time to tell you all what I’ve been training for these past few months (literally, not figuratively). I know a few of you have figured it out already.

It’s a break from the norm and I’m not sure what you will think (not that other people’s opinions have stopped me before ;)) So just stick with me past the next line and I’ll try to explain.

Bodybuilding. There, it’s out. Or, more specifically, figure – a class of bodybuilding.

No, not like Arnie, and no, I won’t be taking steroids. I have no intention of looking like a man (it would be a good trick if I could manage it) and I won’t end up all huge, I promise. Although, yes Mum I will have to “go that funny colour”, although it’s only fake tan and most of it’s wash-off. 😉

Long time readers of the blog will recall the 8-week body recomposition challenge I did with personal trainer Kat Millar. I decided to do that because I was looking for a new focus, something to challenge my mind as well as my body after years of endurance sport. I was also still carrying a little “Channel chub” (the affectionate term Channel swimmers give to the bodyfat we find it necessary to gain and maintain). I’d always loved weight training and decided I wanted to make it my focus, to see what it could do for me.

What did it do for me? Quite a lot, actually. And when I sent Kat my “after” pictures, she told me I had the kind of build, symmetry and genetics judges look for in “figure” competitions. Figure is a category of female bodybuilding – sitting somewhere between the softer look of “bikini” and the harder, larger look of female bodybuilding. Kat’s a successful figure competitor so I took her word for it. And once the idea was in my head I found it hard to shake off.

The idea of competing in figure terrifies and excites me. It’s challenging on every level – psychologically as well as physically. But that’s exactly what I was looking for. This is so far outside my comfort zone that it’s a tiny dot on the horizon. Honestly, I feel more comfortable with the idea of getting in the Channel and trying to swim to the other side than I do with the idea of stepping on stage as a figure competitor. But that’s the whole point. It’s completely new to me on every level, and I love that.

I have no idea how I’ll do. It’s such a subjective sport. I don’t know if I’ll do just one competition, or if this is something I might come back to again. One thing I want to assure you is that I am absolutely not leaving swimming, triathlon, running and cycling behind. I’m just trying something else for a season, just to see how far I can take it.

Oh, and I’ll most definitely be doing the XT Memorial Mile, even if my quads are so sore I have to walk it. I suggest you join me 😉

I know the idea of competitive bodybuilding isn’t for everyone, and I know there will be people out there having a giggle, or shaking their heads in disapproval, or saying “why would you want to do that to yourself?” That’s OK. 🙂 I welcome comments, questions and candid thoughts – do leave me a comment and I’ll answer.

And I hope you’ll stay with me as I go through my contest prep and get ready to step on stage….eeek!

My 2011 challenge is a post from The Fit Writer blog.


10 Responses to My 2011 challenge

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nicola Joyce, Nicola Joyce. Nicola Joyce said: My 2011 challenge […]


  2. Allie says:

    Wow…that’s amazing! I can’t imagine ever doing something like that – the level of dedication you must need is just incredible. I can’t wait to see how you get on! Loads of luck!


    • thefitwriter says:

      Thank you! Yes it’s pretty much 24/7 – how I train, what I eat, how much rest I (don’t) get, even stuff like postural work to try and “turn off” some of my overactive swimming muscles…it’s full on but I’m loving it 😀


  3. Richard says:

    When do we get to choose your shoes?! 😉


  4. Good luck with it all – I admire you going so far outside your comfort zone – there’ll surely be some learning in there.


  5. AJ says:

    Will you be trying to add muscle mass? You may have enough muscle to begin with, so maybe it’s primarily a matter of leaning out to that level. Being too muscular/hard can be a negative in figure. Hope the experience goes well for you; best of luck! This takes a LOT of discipline that most of us don’t have!


    • thefitwriter says:

      Hi AJ,

      Yes, I’ve been working on adding mass since about December – lifting heavy (8-10 reps) and eating in a slight surplus. I know I’ve got a decent amount of muscle there but I’d rather come in too hard than lean out to reveal that scrawny, stringy look. It’s all a bit of a guessing game as I’ve not done this before! Thanks for your good wishes, are you involved in figure yourself? Nic


  6. […] with a BodPod assessment – the good folk at Ki Performance on Margaret Street heard about my contest prep and invited me along to have a body composition analysis in the BodPod (thank you, […]


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