Happy New Year from thefitwriter: 2013 in review

December 31, 2013

What a year it’s been! I’m looking forward to the opportunities and adventures which 2014 will bring. Here’s how 2013 went down in my world (and on the blog)

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I did five bodybuilding competitions and experienced the lows of not placing at all right through to the highs of competing in the USA and winning an overall World title!

comp 1) BNBF Centrals – 6th place physique
comp 2) BNBF Midlands – 2nd place physique
I was then invited to do the (new) Athletic class at BNBF Finals and decided to go for it
comp 3) BNBF Finals – 4th (of 5!) athletic
comp 4) UKDFBA Open – 3rd place bodybuilding
A few days later, I was invited to be the amateur female bodybuilder on Team UK at the INBF Worlds! Getting that phone call was one of the best moments of my year and I think I’ll remember it forever.
comp 5) (aka What the whaaaaat?! :-O ) What an experience… competing at the INBF Worlds as part of “Team UK”. I won the women’s bodybuilding HW class (by default!) and then competed in the over all against the LW winner. I won it, and became the INBF women’s bodybuilding overall winner and World Champion for 2013!

You can read the UKDFBA’s report of the INBF/WNBF Worlds 2013 here – it’s a great read and I encourage you to take a look.

I won a two awards in the naturalmuscle.com end of year awards (Best Journal, and I tied for Toned Glutes, LOL) – thanks, chaps!

WordPress.com has generated a handy summary of my blog stats for 2013. Have a look, see if you spot yourself in there! thefitwriter 2013 blog activity.

My most active blog commenters in 2013 were
Tara of Sweat Like A Pig (a fantastic strongwoman blog which tackles some meaty issues about training, women in sport, nutrition and competing – read it!)
Trish (she doesn’t have a blog but give her a cheer anyway, she’s probably making her bodybuilding debut next year)
Helen of Diary of a Newbie Strongwoman (as the name suggests – a strongwoman blog charting Helen’s journey through training and competing)
Rooobarb & Custard of Adventures in a Campervan (a wonderful blog about adventures in Ruby the 1967 split-screen campervan)
Fiona of HiFifi’s Transformation (a blog about a one-time (and future?) figure competitor who’s working out a way to eat and train for life)

Thank you, ladies (and gent)! But really it’s a big thanks to all of you who read, share and comment πŸ™‚ Apparently people read this blog from 155 countries, mainly the UK, USA and Australia.

Most popular post and product reviews in 2013 were

Tesco Nutri1st Advanced protein products
Monkey Nutrition whey isolate Primal26
Bio Synergy
Bio Synergy and Melanie Sykes supplement range
What I learned from the Phil Learney Fat Loss & Performance seminar
(You can see all my product reviews here)

Big up yo bad selves

I’d like to say a big thank you not only to my blog readers but to my friends and supporters in sport and business. Clients, agencies, PRs, collaborators, designers, editors, interviewees: thank you all. You can find me (wearing a slightly more professional hat) on my website, my linkedin and linkedin company page.

To anyone who has read, shared, liked, commented on or visited this blog in 2013: thank you! If you stick around into 2014 I promise to bring you plenty of interesting content, training info, competing reports, and behind-the-scenes news from a competitive bodybuilder who writes a lot. Hey, 2014 might even be the year in which I actually write more about the business of writing πŸ˜‰ You never know.

Happy New Year from thefitwriter: 2013 in review 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.


BNBF Finals result (and what’s next?)

September 18, 2013

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I’m back from the BNBF Finals where I competed in the first British line-up of the new BNBF/DFAC Athletic division.

Sadly I can’t give you the news I was hoping to bring back with me… I didn’t win, I didn’t even place. Sorry chaps. I placed 4th (of… um… 5!)

I’ll get the negative emotions out of the way first: I’m disappointed, sad and a little bit heartbroken. I fell in love with the Athletic class and felt at home in it. And (of course) I wanted to do well. With this being the first year it was on offer at a British Finals, the win took on extra significance – first ever British title holder! So, it’s a sad bye-bye to that dream.

Now onto the positives (because you know that’s how I roll): I really enjoyed the experience. I had a fantastic weekend and girls-only roadtrip with my Mum and friend, and plenty of others who came to support me on the day. I enjoyed every single moment of being on stage (well, until the moment they called 1st place and I realised I hadn’t even placed, haha – just being honest!)

On a personal note I am satisfied with everything: my condition, the changes I’d made since qualifier, my posing, my routine, my stage presence and (hopefully) the energy I brought to the stage and to the category. I wouldn’t change a thing (apart from my tan, which evidently is still a problem for me…)

Truly, the only thing I am sad or disappointed about at all is the result. Which is kind of a huge thing, but in some ways also just a small thing.

I feel we (coach Vicky and I) achieved everything we set out to achieve for me on a personal, physical and even mindset level way back in January when I first started with her. The only thing we haven’t achieved is the thing we can’t control: my placing on the day.

I’ve ordered the official photos and can’t wait to get them – Fivos the photographer is a fantastic bodybuilding show photographer and I’m excited to see his pics. I’ll share some when I get them. Until then, if you’re interested to see pics, scroll down to see some from a variety of sources including the BNBF’s iPad, and one of the show sponsors.

So for now, it’s goodbye Athletic class shenanigans and hello next goal:

What’s my next goal?

I’m doing the UKDFBA (United Kingdom Drug-Free Bodybuilding Association) competition in 11 days time. πŸ™‚ I’ll be back in the Physique (aka bodybuilding) category (ie “no shoes”). I’m really looking forward to the show, which will include the WNBF Women’s Pro European Cup – a rare opportunity to watch a women’s Pro Show!

Stay tuned! (pics below the sign-off…)

BNBF Finals result (and what’s next?) 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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And… I’m off! (To the BNBF Finals)

September 13, 2013

I thought I’d post a quick one before I hit the road early tomorrow for the BNBF Finals.

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I’ll be online over the weekend but only on my phone and only where coverage allows, so won’t be blogging again til Tuesday.

In case you’re new to the blog:
– this is my third year competing in natural bodybuilding
my second BNBF Finals
– I qualified in the Physique division (ladies bodybuilding)
– but am competing in the new Athletic division

How do I feel? Well, as anyone who had the misfortune of contacting me on Thursday of this week knows, this changes literally by the hour! But, as I type, I’m feeling hugely excited, nervous yet calm, happy and ready to go. I just can’t wait to be up there in Manchester, in the accommodation I’m sharing with my wonderful Mum and fab friend Helen. I’m looking forward to everything about the weekend!

Please do follow along via thefitwriter on Twitter or thefitwriter on Instagram and lend your support, not just to me, but to all the hard-working bodybuilders who have work so hard, so consistently and for so long to make it to the BNBF British Finals 2013.

If you’re coming to watch – do seek me out and say hi!

And, if you’re coming to watch as one of my support crew: thank you, thank you, thank you. Your support (on the day and behind the scenes) means so much and has kept me going at times!

Right – I’m off to pack one last thing in my wheely case… my A-game. May the best (wo)man win!

And… I’m off! (To the BNBF Finals) 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.


Random thoughts from 4 days out

September 11, 2013

d663732af46811e295c822000ae80c95_7Yawn. Hello. This post is brought to you by black coffee and a not-insignificant amount of effort… yes, my bodybuilding British Finals is this Sunday so suffice to say I’m feeling very tired, very sore and very flat.

I remember how you guys liked my very first “random thoughts from…” post back in 2011, before my first ever competition. A few funny things have happened in the last few days (well, not BAFTA-winning standard of comedy, you understand, just things that have raised a wry smile). And since you found it interesting to read about weeing into a plastic cup, I thought you might find it interesting to read about the things that can happen at the sharp end of a prep diet.

This post could be titled: “Why does everything. Take. So. Long?”

Everything takes longer when you’re dieting right down for a comp. Maybe it’s just me! I hope not. But I seem on a permanent go-slow. I forget things. I stand in the middle of the room not even knowing if I’m coming or going, let alone what I’ve forgotten. You get the idea.

So, here are a few scenarios which go some way to answering the question “why does everything take so long?”

Because you have to double back on yourself
Today I went to train, and even took my shoes with me to get some extra posing practice in at the gym’s studio. Chuffed with myself for getting so many things done, I left and went off to my sports massage. Lying there, I had a nagging sensation which was nothing to do with my hamstrings. Where were my shoes? I don’t recall putting them back in the car. Please, for the love of Arnold, say I didn’t put them on the roof of the car before driving off. No, I didn’t. Phew! I also didn’t put them in the car. I left them at the gym. Worst of all, I left them upstairs. So not only did I have to go back on myself to the gym but I had to walk up an extra flight of stairs.

Because you knock things over more often then get a bit OCD about clearing it all up
Particularly in the morning. Make a coffee. Knock the aeropress off the cup. Decide it simply must be cleared up this moment. Slop water on the floor. Ditto. Pull some crockery off the side whilst moving the tea towel. By now it is half an hour later than you hoped it would be and the kitchen is in worse disarray than if you’d left the few atoms of ground coffee where they fell.

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Because you stockpile food like there’s a zombie apocalypse incoming
I do need more chicken, turkey and steak. But not this much. Is it just me who over-purchases diet food? Why! My fridge is bursting with broccoli. My freezer runneth over with meat. My sister is clapping her hands at random gifts of chicken and mince. And, meanwhile, my eyes still light up whenever I get an email declaring some amazing offer on chicken breasts and sirloin. Stop the madness!

Because you put things in the wrong place

Where is the tin of dog food? Where? I mean… just… where? Oh, sure, it’s in the freezer.

Because you lose things
I actually can’t even remember what I was going to write under this section. Does that make it even worse?!

Because things in containers are not always what they seem
On Sunday I went from the gym to my Dad’s to hang out with Pops and my nephew.

Here’s an adorable video which you simply must watch, about Matthew the caterpillar. I’m sure it’s quite the cutest video of a 3-year-old ever.

Anyway, I’d taken a meal with me in a plastic tub, just in case I hung out long enough. And I did. So I got the tub out of my warm gym bag, set it in the sun on the garden table and then opened it up to eat it. Oh, no. That’s not my chicken and veggies! It’s possibly the last thing you’d want to carry with you in a hot car, then in a gym locker, then in a hot car, then in a warm garden. Raw trout.

If you’re competing, racing or performing (Sista!) this weekend: good luck and enjoy!

Random thoughts from 4 days out 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.


Competing at the BNBF Finals – but… which category?

August 12, 2013

I’ve got some exciting news to share!

As per my previous post, I qualified for the BNBF British Finals by way of my 2nd place at the Midlands qualifier.

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A couple of days later, I had a lovely (and unexpected) surprise. I was one of 8 women from across the Figure, Masters Figure and Physique categories at the qualifiers who had been invited to compete in the new “Athletic” class at the Finals.

What’s it all about?

Once I’d got over my shock (I’m not sure why but I didn’t think I was in the running for an Athletic invite), I gathered all the info I could.

Athletic is a new division which the BNBF, and their international counterpart the DFAC, have created to sit between the softer look of Figure and the big, dense, hard look of Physique (aka female bodybuilding).

It makes sense.

Here’s a post from DFAC about the new category and their women’s categories. And here’s some info taken directly from the BNBF/DFAC women’s classes criteria.

Miss Athletic
The DFAC judging criteria comprises the judgement of competitors over 3 rounds : Symmetry, Athletic Muscularity and Evening Performance. The weighting of each individual round with regards to scoring is divided evenly across the 3 rounds. Round 1 and 2 judged in preliminaries and round 3 judged at the evening performance.

Athletic will consist of three rounds:
Round 1 symmetry
– Quarter Turns
Round 2 Athletic Muscularity
Round 3 Routine

Two-piece suits is used for all rounds. Heels of no more than 3 inches are allowed for rounds 1&2, a dance shoe is highly recommended to allow flexibility of the foot during poses in round 2. A dance shoe will be very elegant but functional as it has a flexible sole.

Symmetry – Competitors will be judged on the overall shape, structure and proportion of their physique. Competitors should display an evenly balanced physique which is aesthetically pleasing and equally proportioned from the front, side and rear. In addition, an even balance between the upper and lower half of the body should be evident.

Competitors will be judged through a series of quarter turns, starting in a front relaxed pose facing the judges and moving in a clockwise direction, quarterly, upon the request of the head judge.

Athletic Muscularity – Competitors will be judged on Athletic Muscularity. They should be harder in condition than the figure competitors and show very detailed abdominals and strong detailed quads. They will not get marked down for having striations and muscular condition will be a rewarded. They should not be over muscular, heavily muscled athletes will be considered wrong for this class. They look should be athletic with long hard muscle rather than the bigger full muscle bellies of the Ms Physique.

The competitors will be asked to carry out 5 poses.
1 Leg out to the side front bicep pose (open Hands)
2 Straight arm chest pose with leg outstretched to the side.
3 Cross legged rear bicep (open Hands)
4 Side tricep pose with leg stretched out to side
5 Any pose showing abdominal detail and quads

Evening Routine – This will be a routine to music done with bare feet. The routine should display the athletic muscularity, include strong movement and any poses the athletes feels showcases her shape and athletic muscle. It can also include strength moves. Flips and tumbles should not be included.
It will be assessed on the presentation of the athlete’s musculature, symmetry and movement on stage.

Here’s a video explaining why Athletic was introduced, what it means for the other two women’s classes (Figure and Physique), what’s expected of Athletic competitors – along with a demo of the poses.

The woman demonstrating the poses is Rachael Hayes, the first DFAC Athletic Pro, and winner of the class at the Worlds and the Universe last year.
rachael hayes bnbf athletic
Whilst Athletic has never yet been held at any competition (qualifier or British Final) in the UK, it was held (launched, I guess!) at the DFAC Worlds last year. Two of our ladies were asked to do it – Rachael, who got her Pro Card in Physique (bodybuilding) and Jo, who got her Pro Card in Masters Figure.

Here are some pics from the first Athletic class at the DFAC 2012 Worlds in Miami.
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This year, DFAC amateur athletes have been competing in the Athletic class over in the States.

But it’s never been done here in the UK before.

So, when I step on stage as an Athletic competitor – along with whoever else in that list of 8 chooses to accept – I will be part of the first ever British line up of BNBF Athletic. What an honour, and how exciting!

It actually does feel like an honour to have been asked, and I am really happy to accept!

I can understand why the BNBF offered me the opportunity and can certainly see how my physique fits well into the category. How well I’ll do remains to be seen!

So – all change as I continue with my Finals prep! Heels to master, new poses to learn, and a “Ms Athletic” persona to develop and refine so I step on stage ready to do the new category proud. πŸ™‚

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Competing at the BNBF Finals – but… which category? 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.


Next stop – British Finals!

August 5, 2013

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Just a quick update after yesterday’s BNBF Midlands qualifier (in case anyone reading this hasn’t already heard from me via FB, Twitter, instagram etcetcetc πŸ˜‰ )

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I placed 2nd in our class of five, and got my invitation to the BNBF British Finals in September! Mission accomplished! Phew and hooray πŸ˜€

I was pleased with the improvements I’d made since the competition two weeks ago when I failed to place and didn’t qualify, and I got some great feedback from judges and spectators.

I now have six weeks to train and diet for the British, where I plan on bringing in my very best condition (so far!) Together with coach Vicky and her plans and guidance, I feel I’m on track to be in my best shape.

I’ll get the official photos in due course but for now here are some to be getting on with:

Look, Ma! I’m in the middle of the call-out! (I was then moved along one, but, still πŸ˜‰ )
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Top three (3rd, 1st, 2nd – me)

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I was selected for a random drug test (the BNBF is a natural bodybuilding federation)

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Trophy and Finals invite!
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Next stop – British Finals! 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.


Hurry-up-and-wait (24 hours out)

August 3, 2013

Here we are again at “one day out” – tomorrow I’ll be competing in the final BNBF qualifier of the year (the BNBF Midlands show at Derby).

These last couple of days are a lot of “hurry up and wait” – competitors tend not to train, and there’s not a lot to do… but somehow between the coats of tan, and food prep and the logistics (particularly if you’re travelling any distance to your show) the day is pretty busy! It’s a fun flurry of excitement tempered by the constant awareness that you mustn’t smudge your tan… πŸ˜‰

As always, I’ll try to Tweet updates tomorrow from thefitwriter Twitter and/or pop some photos on thefitwriter instagram. Our class (Physique aka female bodybuilding) is on last so I imagine I’ll be on for pre-judging at about 3pm and again for routines and posedown at about 8pm (<<< rough estimate).

Here are a couple of photos from my show two weeks ago – I've put them on FB but I have it set to private so many of you won't have seen.

(All photos by Chris Nsubuga/Big 50)
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Thanks for reading.

Hurry-up-and-wait (4 hours out) 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.


Post-comp thoughts BNBF Centrals

July 22, 2013

If you were following along on thefitwriter Twitter yesterday you’ll know by now that I didn’t place, and obviously didn’t therefore get an invite to the BNBF Britain, which was my goal at yesterday’s BNBF Central qualifier.

(Some photos at the bottom of this post)

From the tweets, direct messages and emails I’ve got, I think people are assuming I’m upset at not qualifying or placing. I’m not. Here’s why:

Feedback from the judges is that the thing I need to improve on is condition (leanness). This can be done (and was in the plan to be done, and will continue to be done). The other things we’re judged on – symmetry and muscularity/size – are somewhat harder to correct or improve upon in a short space of time and whilst dieting! So, if I need to improve anything, I’m quite happy that it’s something which can be improved and which we were in the process of doing. Condition would have been improved anyway, had I qualified yesterday or not, because I have an eye on the Finals and there’s no way I am as lean now as I want to be for that. So – yep – better condition is in hand.

We (coach Vicky and I) achieved what we wanted to achieve with my physique for the 21st July 2013. It just wasn’t enough on the day and in the context of the line up. But both of us are completely happy with how my body (and mind!) have responded to training, diet and prep to this point. Everything’s been working (and we have a lot of cards left to play). Personally, I was delighted with how I looked yesterday, truly, and I only got better during the day.

It was a big class and a very strong one – “finals-worthy”, someone said – so, although of course I’d much rather have placed and qualified than not, I’m happy to have been up against such a strong line up and lacked what it took on the day against that calibre of competitor.

We had a great opportunity to trial what works and doesn’t for the run-in to a comp and on comp day. As it turned out, I think everything we did worked well, but it’s always useful to have the chance to look and see, get feedback, look at how I changed during the day between the pre-judge and nightshow, etc. It’s interesting for me and useful for my coach and can only help us for future shows.

I had a really nice day! Yes they’re long days and it was very hot yesterday but I had a really lovely time, shared the dressing room with a great bunch of women and generally had a good day. It’s got to be fun.

I didn’t let it rattle me. I ate my planned “post-comp” meals and treats and that’s it. Straight back on the diet today without any emotional back and forth or internal struggle. That’s significant to me and I’m proud of it. The only other time I’ve had to jump straight back onto prep diet the day after a show, I found it a really mental challenge. It’s not a front, either, I promise. I’m not keeping any inner-demons on a tight rein. I really am totally fine to just truck on, with yesterday as a refeed and a good long hot posing session and some great practice for everything to do with competition day.

Having said all that, don’t think I’m complacent, fine to stop here, or happy with not having placed. I’m just OK with it, and understand and accept the reason why, and – importantly – personally happy with how I looked yesterday for this stage in the wider plan of my 2013 prep.

I’m a Competitive Bodybuilder, and a competitive bodybuilder πŸ˜‰ I don’t compete to “get up there”, or to make up numbers, or for the achievement of stepping on stage. It is an achievement, absolutely, but I compete to do well. So, whilst I am quite happy with some aspects of yesterday (my own improvements, the fact that we know what works for me and my body, that I was not found lacking in symmetry or size, how I handled my emotions and diet in the aftermath) there is still the competitive aspect. I didn’t qualify. I want to. And, if I’m going to achieve what I want to achieve this year, I need to.

So – onwards to another qualifier. The BNBF Midlands in Derby on 4th August. It’s the final qualifier of the season.

13 days!

Here are some pics – I don’t have the official ones yet – these are from a couple of friends who were in the audience.

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^^^ I’m 3rd in from the right

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^^^ I’m 3rd in from the right

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^^^ I’m 3rd in from the right with my hair in a bun

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^^^ 3rd in from the right

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I’m in the middle of this pic

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I’m on the right

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That’s me

Post-comp thoughts BNBF Centrals 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.


Random thoughts from 24 hours out

July 20, 2013

With less than 24 hours to go til I’m on stage at my my first bodybuilding competition of the year, I thought I’d share some thoughts. Except, I’m not sure what they are. I’ll start writing and see where this goes… Bear with!

thefitwriter nicola joyce bnbf 2013

“How are you feeling?” This is what I’ve been asked by friends and family on text and via Twitter etc all day. My answer… apart from a bit bored and twitchy (like on Christmas-Eve-Eve when you’re excited, but it’s too early to cook the canapes, and you’ve got a lot to do, but can’t start some of it yet, and you just want to get on with it cos it’s Christmas, dammit!)… I feel “OK”.

This might sound boring. It’s not. OK is great. OK is calm, balanced, peaceful. Of course, I’m very excited, and quite nervous, and fending off a bit of self-doubt. But I’m not experiencing (or entertaining) any wild swings of emotion, and that’s… OK!

I was talking to former-coach-turned-wonderful-friend Kat Millar on Skype this morning and decided that this is all part of our inner competitors “growing up”. Gone are the tantrums, cravings and wild toddler-terrors of the first year competitor. Gone is the bolshy, crafty teenage competitor whose emotions seek to “try it on” at any given opportunity. That was year one and year two for me.

Here we are in year three of prepping/competing and maybe my inner competitor has reached her early 20s (it’s a bit like “dog years”).

It’s not just the “feeling… OK” which got me thinking about this. It’s everything about this prep. I haven’t hoarded any food (don’t laugh – if you’ve dieted for a show or a shoot, chances are you know what I’m talking about). I don’t have a “treat box” (you should have seen it in previous years!) I don’t think I’ve even dreamed about food!

Cravings? Honestly – none. My fellow competitors will know how significant this is. If you’ve experienced wicked cravings on a prep diet (whether or not you find yourself falling head first into a binge as a result), you’ll know how strong they are.

This time? None. I honestly mean it. Coach Vicky Bradley and I discussed my post-comp eats the other day (yes, I have a plan for what I’ll eat after the comp – my choice, my decision, and I like it). I could really have had anything. What I chose might make you laugh but it really is what I want and I know it’ll hit the spot in terms of tastes and textures I’ve been missing.

Once I get off stage: cottage cheese with some granola and frozen berries mixed in (OK, some dark chocolate or nut butter might find its way in there too) When I get home: a hearty but quality meal (I’ve chosen one from Kezie’s Wild Gatherings meals) with some mash or something like that.

You’d have to come backstage at a comp to put this into context against the muffins, cookies, Pop Tarts, doughnuts and signature-cravings (most of which will have been built up in the competitor’s mind for weeks if not months) you’d see being treated with reverence. And I’m not in any way saying I haven’t been part of that in the past. Good grief, have I. But… I don’t feel the need this year. And it’s really quite freeing to know that I don’t have to. Just because the post-comp eatathon is a traditional and time-honoured part of competing, it doesn’t mean I have to indulge if I don’t want to.

It’s very strange, I can’t explain it, but I’ll definitely take it. Prep just feels like “what I do”. It’s fine! It’s a challenge, and gets difficult, but it’s not horrible or awful.

Isn’t that how it should be? After all, this is a hobby. A tough one, but a hobby. Challenging can still be enjoyable.

Little victories

Here are a couple of small, but significant “victories” from this past week which I help me thihnk perhaps my inner competitor is growing up

1) The grocery shop
I went to Tesco this week to get the bits I needed for carb up and comp day and, of course, for my post-comp treats and meals. Normally, a supermarket shop for me is a very quick dash around the outside: veg, some fruit, some frozen stuff, the fish counter. I honestly haven’t been down the cereals, biscuits, packaged goodies aisles for months (no point testing my will power during prep!) This time, I did let myself wander those aisles, partly as I needed some things from there, and partly because I felt different, I knew I honestly wouldn’t want to get anything, and I was fascinated to see my reaction. Apart from being amazed by the new products on offer since I last paid attention, I noted… nothing. Sure, I was tempted by some stuff (I am human, and food packaging and marketing is clever stuff!) But I knew that honestly and deep down, I did not want anything. I don’t want to eat it, I don’t want it in the house. I don’t need it. It doesn’t serve me in any way. I’ve been there and done that and not one thing you can crave honestly tastes as good as you think it will. So I bought the stuff I’d planned, knowing that will taste as good as I think it will, and went home. I hope some of you out there can appreciate how meaningful this experience was!

2) The online window shopping

I’m sure I’m not alone in “window shopping” on the web shops of various health food stores, low carb food stores etc (those American import sweetshops are a common one). The other day, I found myself idly loading up an online shopping cart with all sorts of sugar-free products, some treats, a load of protein bars etc. All sorts of stuff I really don’t need, but I guess my mind was starting to wander. The difference between this year and previous years? This year… I logged out, closed the window, didn’t buy the stuff. Previous years I would have (and did) buy it, then it would arrive and I wouldn’t even remember half the stuff I’d bought, and then of course I’d eat it. Stuff full of rubbish and not anything I need – or want, honestly.

Tomorrow is one hell of a line-up. Eight women in my class. There has been one (yes one) in my category at every qualifier so far this year. Normal numbers are three or four. But what will be will be, and – to my mind anyway – if I’m good enough, I’m good enough, whether there are two others women or 200.

My goal is to qualify for the BNBF British Finals in September. Anything else will be the stuff of dreams!

Right, I’m off. Tanning to do, steak to eat. I’ll try my best to Tweet updates tomorrow from thefitwriter Twitter and/or pop some pics on thefitwriter instagram. My Facebook is private but if you’re a friend on there, you’ll no doubt see some updates too. And I’ll blog about it just as soon as I can.

Thanks for reading.

Random thoughts from 24 hours out 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.


7 days to go!

July 14, 2013

…til my first bodybuilding competition of the year, that is.
thefitwriter nicola joyce bnbf 2013

Wow, hasn’t that time flown?

It really does feel like it has, but not in a bad way. Sometimes, when you realise it’s the 14th July and it feels like it ought to be somewhere circa early-April, it’s a horrible panicky feeling. Like time has whizzed past and OMG you can’t be ready and it’s all been a bit manic and a lot stressful.

Not so this year, not so this prep. Yes, time has flown – I can remember being “8 weeks out” – but here I am, a week exactly to the day, and it seems about right, really. Prep has been drama-free, hard but not difficult, challenging but not painful and… just kind of “what I do”.

This first competition is one in (hopefully) a long string of competitions this year, so I certainly wouldn’t want to be feeling at the end of my tether yet! If I need to feel like that at all, I’ll save it for the build up to the highlight of my season, whatever that turns out to be. This one’s a qualifier and, whilst I’m always “in it to win it”, the goal is to qualify (that being what a qualifier is for, after all).

So, with seven days to go, it’s all about keeping my head together, focusing, minimising stress, maximising sleep (!), and ticking off the little things which combine to make a big difference. Here they are, in no particular order:

– posing practice (there’s one pose in particular I need to work on to get just so)
– routine practice (although I think I could do it in my sleep by now!)
– dry body brushing, showing with PH-neutral shower gel, and all those other skin-prep details which really do make a difference to tanning
– finishing this bottle of Fushi’s Gotu Kola and green coffee body oil which I was kindly sent to try out and I added to my “let’s give it a go!” skin-prep – I like it and do think it’s helped slightly
getting beautified (it takes several appointments throughout this final week, trust me on that one. I am quite old now)
– choosing my suit for pre-judge (“plain bikini round”) and sewing the straps up so it fits just so
packing my little red wheely case for the day
– deciding on what I’ll eat when I get home late on Sunday night
– sitting with coach Vicky to come up with a sensible* plan for the days and weeks after the comp (mental and physical, mindset and socialising, diet and training)
– developing a strategy for show day itself (what I’ll eat, what I’ll drink, how much and when, how I’ll pump up, whether I’ll find a quiet corner and sit by myself, or head out front to watch some of the show)
– tanning! I know some competitors think it’s a pain in the glutes but I love it! I love the smell of it, I love the hilarious elaborate rigmarole of it, and I love the fact that my sister is my Chief Tanner these days – nothing will bond two sisters quite like the phrase “right, time for your boobaloobs – lean right back so they lift up” πŸ˜‰ #sistamatic
… Sista, if you ever compete (Figure, natch!), I’ll tan your boobs for you xx

*(I’m loving “sensible” at the moment – amazing how calming and freeing it is to know that, actually, you don’t want to go mad and eat a load of random crap – and what’s more, you don’t have to!)

No progress pics, I’m afraid. They are saved for nearest and dearest – the rest of you can wait til I’m on stage. There are some on thefitwriter instagram but a lot of them have been filtered through artsy apps, or chopped into bits (usually minus the head πŸ˜‰ )

Here’s to these final seven days! If you’re coming to the show, I hope you have a fantastic time and enjoy yourself. I look forward to updating you all… in a week!

Any questions? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best.

7 days to go! 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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