You ask, I do my best to answer: part 2 (INBF Worlds Q&A)

Here’s part two of you ask, I do my best to answer! (INBF Worlds Q&A) – thanks for your questions!

“How did you manage your food and water intake on the plane? I was surprised that you were allowed to bring your trophy back in your hand luggage – she’d make a good club if you were so inclined!”

It actually wasn’t difficult at all, thank goodness. I prepped all my meals up until we got to arrivals, and just ate those in departures or on the plane (had to refuse all plane food, including little packets of mini pretzels with the drinks, and had to hope nobody near me minded me eating turkey and broccoli out of a tub!) No food could be taken through the other side, so I just had to make sure I’d eaten it all. I then had quick-grab foods (oats, whey) in my hold luggage so I knew I’d have some sustenance if they journey to the hotel was longer than anticipated (it was – I was very glad of that whey!) Water was a different matter – you can’t take that through departures – so I just made sure I drank a lot before going through, and then bought a couple of bottles for the flight.

I didn’t ask about the trophies; I just carried them! I thought there was a chance of an upgrade 😉 (there wasn’t… but the flight attendant did bring me a glass of champagne!)


“What do the judges look for? Do you have a tick list of things you need to work towards in the gym?”

The judging criteria is clearly set out (for every federation) and, for women’s bodybuilding at least, doesn’t vary too much even when you consider that this is a totally subjective sport. You do have to remember that the judges can only judge what’s in front of them on the day, and can only compare the physiques which are up there. And some will prefer size over condition, some will value condition over mass, etc. But, in general, bodybuilding classes are judged against the following criteria:

Round one (quarter turns) – symmetry (top to bottom, left to right, back to front)
Round two (compulsory poses) – muscularity and conditioning
Round three (posing routine) – this isn’t always scored but can make the difference when it’s otherwise a tough call.

Then of course, as you hint in your question, we all have things we want to improve upon in the gym. I do always ask judges’ feedback after shows, and most of them get back to me with some suggestions. I’ve had good feedback from Worlds about my presentation, posing, confidence and condition. One suggestion was to put more size and density on my shoulders. Personally, I’d like to build more thickness and density in my chest, and build a bigger bum (bum and shoulders tend to disappear when I’m dieted right down). More back is always good, too, for folk like me with not much in the way of a waist!

“What sort of turnout from competitors was there? Were there people from all over the world? Was there a big audience – had people travelled to support the finals?”

There were athletes from eight countries: USA (who don’t need to qualify or be selected to compete), and UK, Canada, Barbados, Australia, Switzerland, Italy and Japan. It was hard for me to tell what size the crowd was as I wasn’t able to be out front watching for much of it (and people tend to come and go) but the auditorium was huge and I could sense a lot of people out there. Most of the countries brought large teams of athletes, coaches and supporters and there was cheering in plenty of different languages!

“How did the atmosphere at a US show compare to the UK? In my head it should have been all glamour and spotlights 😉 “

The atmosphere was definitely busier, and more intense than at any UK show I’ve done, but this might have been down to it being Worlds rather than a qualifier or British. The atmosphere in the amateur ladies changing room was definitely down to the sheer number of women (and amount of sugary snacks being consumed!) Tee hee.

I had my hair, make up and tan professionally done and am so glad I decided to do so. Not only did it kill that awful dead time of hanging about, but it was fun! The ladies were upbeat, excited, and really got me pumped up in to a great, positive mood. And having my hair and make up done made me feel like a superstar, which I really needed. I needed my attitude and belief in myself to step up to the highest possible level, and having hair and makeup really achieved this. It was a lovely treat to myself and just added to my feelings of “wow” about the whole experience of competing at Worlds.

I also booked myself a mini photo-shoot backstage with Reggie Bradford and again I am really glad I did so. Not only are the shots a fantastic memento of such a special competition, but the it added a sense of extra glam to the whole day.

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“What I find quite incredible is how you have managed to sculpt your body over the years to perform several different functions, from triathlon, to channel swimmer to bodybuilder… In these days of body dysmorphia, I think you are an example of how our bodies are tools to make perform how we see fit. It is sad that impossible and unrealistic images are portrayed as something to aspire to through all the photoshopping and airbrushing done by the media. You are an example of how being in control reaps rewards.”

Well, thank you. I haven’t really thought of it like that but I’d be delighted to think that I am an example of that. I do believe that we can all do exactly what we want with our bodies (although competitive success isn’t guaranteed of course). Where the mind goes, the body follows. That’s the difficult part: knowing why you want to achieve something, setting goals, sticking to a plan and following through.

Like the lady who asked this question, some of you will know me from years back. Yes, I have swum the Channel (and similar swims), taken part in triathlons and other land-based endurance events. And now I’m competing as a bodybuilder. Different energy systems, different training, different nutrition, different mindset (and different levels of bodyfat!) But all me underneath it all.

So, yes, I do believe that our bodies are tools which we can persuade to perform as we wish. Very precious tools, and ones to be celebrated, but they are (or can be) at the beck and call of our brains. If we want them to be!

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You ask, I do my best to answer: part 2 (INBF Worlds Q&A) 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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