Stealth Cardio Tactics (No Treadmill Required)

June 23, 2016

Cardio doesn’t have to be a dirty word. It’s been a long time since I was involved in endurance sport, but I still enjoy cardio*. However, I don’t often fancy the idea of plodding on a cross trainer for half an hour.

(*I realise that i might be kicked out of the bodybuilding “fam” for admitting this.)

So I employ Stealth Cardio tactics.

If you enjoy working up a sweat, but don’t want to do “traditional” gym indoor cardio, here are my 4 current favourites.

nicola joyce on a bike
Cardio disguised as commuting
I’ve been riding my bike to the gym (and back, obvi) a couple of times a week. Only when it’s sunny, mind. It’s not far – maybe 4 miles each way – but it involves a steep hill whichever way I go. (The gym is in the “East Cliff” part of town which should tell you something). So there’s 30+ minutes of cardio right there.

Only it doesn’t feel like cardio because 1) I like riding my bike, 2) it’s serving a purpose to get me to the gym and back again and 3) there’s plenty to see.

PS That photo is not recent. But it makes me laugh because it’s me, riding my bike, apparently to swimming club (note the 80s towelling swimming bag).

dog in a kayak
Cardio that’s funny
If you only need to do cardio for general activity levels, then the best kind is the funny kind IMO. Frankie thefitdog would agree. Here we are, attempting to paddle about together in a sea kayak. Quite possibly I found that funnier than he did. But you get my point. Challenge your kids to some sprints around the local playing field. Go and play badminton (or whatever sport you used to love) with a mate. Cardio can be fun, honest.

tabata on concept2
Cardio that’s so tough you can’t think about it til later
When I do cardio at the gym, my new favourite is the rowing machine. I’ve had some great advice from my fellow writer friend Patricia Carswell of Girl On The River, who’s a Proper Rower. I don’t know why I love the Concept2 so much, but I do! I think it’s because it’s proper hard cardio which makes me sweat buckets and feel like I might die a bit. (Don’t forget, I come from a very “ultra distance” endurance sport background).

I’ve mainly being doing “a href=”https://www.tabataofficial.com”>tabata on the rowing machine. If you’re not sure what tabata is, it’s a structured form of intense interval training. One “tabata” is 8 rounds of 20 seconds HARD work/10 seconds recovery (4 minutes). I do 2 Tabatas – 16 rounds, for a total of 8 minutes.

I’ve also done a couple of 5000m rows, and a 2000m row just to see how long it would take me. Point being, if you choose a form of cardio that’s so challenging that you can’t zone out or get distracted, you might actually feel more inclined to do it. Maybe. If you’re weird like me!

Cardio that’s so short you don’t notice it til later
Finally, this is something I’ve been doing once a week: adding 1-minute bursts of cardio in to my weights workout (as giant sets). At first I wasn’t sure if this would actually feel effective. Erm… I can report that it definitely does.

The idea of course is to make the 1-minute bursts hard, so your heart rate stays high and you break a sweat. You could do this by hopping on a piece of cardio equipment, or by using a skipping rope, or doing any kind of bodyweight move like burpees. If your gym has conditioning kit (battle ropes, sled, prowler) or strongman events equipment (farmers walk handles, tyres to flip) then that would work, too. You can easily add 20 minutes of cardio to your day by doing it this way. 20 x 1-minute feels more manageable – and more fun – than 20 minutes of zombie mode on the cross trainer.

Do you do any cardio at all? What’s your favourite approach?

Stealth Cardio Tactics (No Treadmill Required) 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.

Advertisements

Brace Yourself: A Mass Sense Of Entitlement & Elitism Is Coming…

January 3, 2016

Ah, January.

Specifically, January in the gym. Or, out on the roads (if you’re a runner), in the pool during lane-swimming sessions, or in your favourite exercise class/bootcamp session.

Social media this week is full of whinges, whines, and passive-aggressive memes about “newbie” exercisers. The problem? Apparently they are all about to arise from their sofas (where they’ve been lazing for the past 20 years whilst us fit-folk have been #beastmode 24/7). And they’re about to have the audacity to venture into our gyms.

That’s not all! They’re going to mess things up for us for a few weeks in January (you know, using the equipment and possibly not knowing how to load a bar properly) and then they are going to GIVE UP AND GO AWAY AGAIN! (Why could that be… ?)

These gym-newbies are thus a dual source of sustenance for the gym community’s elitist comments and holier-than-thou attitude. Firstly, they turn up at the gym never having been before (remind you of anyone… like… you? And me? And indeed everybody?) Then they fail to stick it out (because, of course, they haven’t got the commitment and willpower you have. It could also be that they were put off by that sense they had of not being quite welcome. Or perhaps, just maybe, it’s because the gym isn’t for them after all).

32d61897eaf602d0a4048a0f50d3082c.jpg

Well, I hate this time of year. Not because of the gym newbies. Because of the attitude of gym “oldies” who posts memes like this one, and write stuff on Facebook, and then crow with I-told-you-so glee when the newbie isn’t there any more in February.

I get it, I do. It’s annoying when you turn up to squat, and all the squat racks are taken. It’s frustrating when the weights are all out and strewn around the floor. It can be irritating when you really want to use a certain pair of dumbbells and they’re being used by someone who doesn’t look like they know what they’re doing.

But I really think we need to get over ourselves.

Worst case scenario: you are doing your final workout before a competition. Or you’re someone who makes money from your sport/physique, and you can’t do the exact workout you wanted to do.

I can’t imagine there is ever a situation where there’s literally not one thing you can do in the entire gym that day. If there is, I guess you need to talk to management and tell them they’ve been ambitious with their new sales targets, or need to re-invest in kit.

Here’s what I hope I’ll be doing if any new folk decide to join my gym in January.

  1. Say hello and/or wave (depending on the Headphone scenario)
  2. Introduce myself
  3. Ask if they’re new (because I’m terrible at remembering people I’ve actually already met)
  4. Ask if they’ve come from another gym or if this is their first go in a gym environment
  5. Tell them amusing stories about the gym dog
  6. Tell them to let me know if they need a hand with anything
  7. Say goodbye and hopefully see you again soon

It’s really not difficult. I was new to the gym, once, too. I still feel unsure and a bit intimidated and nervous if I go to do a brand-new sport or type of training. And I just think it’s nice to be nice.

After all, what’s the alternative? Whingeing about how people are lazy and can’t be bothered to do anything about changing their weight, health and fitness… ? Oh wait… our industry tends to do that, too. 😉

What are your thoughts on the January gym-influx scenario? To what extent is your training affected? Have you posted that ^^^ meme and do you plan to unfriend me on FB now? 😉 (bye)

Chat with TFW on social media
Here’s where you’ll find me:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Brace Yourself… 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.


My Unexpected New Favourite (Boxing!)

December 17, 2015

10948947_856619254396250_600709451_n
One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about taking time away from bodybuilding competition prep is the opportunity to try other types of training.

I’ve ridden a horse (not mine sadly), a bike (mine), done some Strongman training, and even went along to my local boxing club to do a session.

That was in March. I’ve barely missed a session since.

I didn’t think I’d like it at all. Back when I was a Fitness Class Devotee (sometimes I’d do two, back to back… !) I tried Body Combat and other “punch-along-a-music” type classes and totally hated them. Sorry, Combatters. I just felt like a giant bell-end.

Who doesn’t love a boxing movie? (My dog is named after a character in Million Dollar Baby). So, lured by daydreams of being Hilary Swank, I went along to boxing, secretly assuming I’d feel just as much of a bell-end as I did at Body Combatx100, because this was proper boxing, with real boxing coaches, in an actual boxing club.
IMG_0801
I absolutely loved it from the first session. Although I did nearly walk out (and I can count the number of times I’ve nearly walked out/given up on a sport on one hand). The warm up (!) was SO HARD that I genuinely didn’t think I’d be able to get through it. I only stayed because I knew that, if I left, I’d never go back.

I did go back, the next week, and it was much easier. Still hard (it always is), but doable. So I stuck at it.

Here’s a typical format. It’s a ladies-only session at an amateur boxing club.

  • warm up: 10-15 minutes of jogging, skipping, plyometric moves, “speed jog”, shadow boxing
  • main session: 25 minutes or so of bag-work and pad-work with a partner. We do things like “20/20/20” (20 seconds boxing the bag, 20 seconds boxing whilst jogging on the spot, 20 seconds big power punches… repeated twice), burpee followed by 4 punches (for a minute), 1-15 punches then back down from 15-1, slips, combinations, 10 x star jumps then 10 x punches (for a minute). You get the idea. Very little rest, with intense intervals of work.
  • circuit session: imagine an old-school boxing circuit (if you can’t, then just imagine any boxing movie you’ve ever watched) and you’re along the right lines. Sit up variations, press up variations, burpees, squat jumps, tuck jumps, med ball work. Either with a partner (so you get a bit of rest), or without (so, er, you don’t).
  • stretching at the end

IMG_0800
What I love about boxing

It’s good, honest, proper hard work. I’ve always liked watching boxing as a sport, because (on the face of it, anyway) it seems a very “pure” and honest sport. Two bodies, one ring, that’s it. Our training has the same feel. Work hard, get on with it, nowhere to hide.

It’s the hardest cardio/conditioning work I’ve done in a long time. You get a proper sweat on (which is something I miss from my cardio days). It’s challenging. It’s teaching me new skills and a new way of working with my body (not something that necessarily happens very often once you’re an adult). I’ve been going for nearly a year and I’ve recently started hearing “well done Nic!” and “you’re getting better”. 😀

I also love the social aspect. I’ve made a new bunch of female friends through boxing and this isn’t something I even considered when I started going. They’re women I probably would never have met. We’ve got very athletic people, and people for whom boxing is the first and only exercise they’ve done. We’ve got people who have boxed in competition and won titles, and we’ve got people who can’t yet do a press up on their toes. We’ve got older ladies, Mums, college students and even an under-10 (she comes with her Mum and she is badass!) I really look forward to my twice-weekly boxing sessions and I realised recently it’s for the people as much as it is for the training.

And lastly I love it because this year it’s been a way of getting two guaranteed hardcore conditioning sessions in every single week.
IMG_0803
As our coach says when we’re flagging: “come on girls, get your money’s worth!” (to which we reply, “We got our money’s worth within 5 minutes… it’s £2 a session!”) 😛

Tonight is the final session of the year but if you’re interested in joining us in January, we’re at Folkestone Amateur Boxing club, Tuesdays and Thursdays 7-8pm (don’t be late!) and everyone is welcome – age, ability, fitness levels don’t matter. It is a ladies only session, but obviously the club itself caters for men and boys too.
IMG_0802

Have you done boxing training? Did you fall in love with it too?

Chat with TFW on social media
Here’s where you’ll find me:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

My Unexpected New Favourite: Boxing 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.


Ever Seen A Snowman Sissy Squat?

December 12, 2015

12357769_1667659460182595_38132851_n

I have! Today I squatted with Buddy the Elf and Frosty the Snowman aka my friends Miky and Jamie. A load of us went over to the fantastic Ripped Gym in Harlow – home to one of our own (WNBF Pro Mark Oakes) for the annual Christmas “natty meet”.

Our community of natural bodybuilders have various gym-meets throughout the year, sometimes organised by the gym owner, sometimes by the bodybuilder who trains at the gym.

Date and venue are set, word is sent out, and whoever can be there turns up to train, chat and have something to eat afterwards. It doesn’t matter if you’re experienced or new, competing or off-season, retired or yet to compete. You just have to want to train and have a bit of a giggle with the good folk of natural BB.

Training partners/trios are usually arranged beforehand via Facebook. And so it was that I ended up arranging to train legs with Buddy Miky and Frosty Jamie.

IMG_0776IMG_0778

Miky and I have never trained before. Jamie and I have, although not in the gym. We did a 60 mile sportive in the Summer. It was pretty hot, very hilly, and a big ask! Jamie had to get off his bike and have a little sit-down outside somewhere rather prophetically named “Hellfire Caves”.

Today was slightly less punishing on the quads…. but only just 😉

Ripped Gym in Harlow is an amazing gym, huge and packed full of equipment. I swear you could be there for 6 hours and still not have time to do a set on every different bit of kit. I trained there back in February but there was still lots I wanted to try out today!

Here’s what we did

(I’m sure you can spot the bit where the guys said “are we done now?” and I said “yes, oh no, ooh, can we just do a few sets on […]?”)

Back squats 4 sets (I worked up to 70kgs) then 1 set paused squats (lower weight)
Plate loaded hack squats 3 sets 10-12
Barbell SLDL 4 sets 10-12 ish
Superset: lying hamstring curl (both legs), standing hamstring curl (single legs) <<< I love this bit of kit!
Sissy squats
Barbell hacks (only 1 set – I was taught how to do them properly – all I can say is ouch!)
1 x triple dropset on the leg press (cheered on by Jamie telling me “You’re a reindeer! You’re STRONG! ;D) )
Seal rows 4 sets

My legs are officially ruined!

12380049_742196922579419_1609568491_n12358224_742197009246077_112926785_n
IMG_0779

(Just in case you think I’ve had a particularly transformative off-season, I should point out this isn’t me on the seal row. It’s multi-titled Champ Robert Rodney).
12355102_742196815912763_818721632_n

Then upstairs for a bit of posing (had forgotten how tiring it is and how much it makes my legs and back ache!)
IMG_0781
Then to Five Guys for a PWO meal. Sorry, Five Guys fans, but I was underwhelmed. It was OK but just OK. The company was great though 😀
natural bodybuilders in five guys
Thanks to Mark Oakes for organising today’s meet (herding cats?) and to Michelle at Ripped Gym for the warm welcome.

Chat with TFW on social media
Here’s where you’ll find me:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Ever Seen A Snowman Sissy Squat? 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 Weekend Training At Body Flex, Aylesbury (Two Training Sessions)

November 29, 2015

Remember when I created a Google map and list of UK gyms owned and run by natural bodybuilders? The map is here >> UK natural bodybuilders’ gyms <<. At the time, I pledged to do some kind of grand tour, visiting each gym to train, interview the owner and blog about the gym.

That hasn't happened (yet?) but this weekend I took a road trip to stay with my bodybuilding buddy Chris Roche. We trained twice at his local gym, Body Flex in Aylesbury, which is owned and run by former natural World Champ Tony Montalbano (there are rumours of a comeback in 2016, but you didn’t hear it from me…)

The time of year between the end of one bodybuilding season and the start of the next can be a bit boring. It’s easy to feel disconnected from the close-knit community of natural bodybuilding. So I take it upon myself to invite myself to training sessions and travel around in order to hang out with the good folk of natural bodybuilding.
body flex gym aylesbury
This weekend was one of those road trips. I went up to Aylesbury, trained twice with Champ Chris Roche at Tony Montalbano’s Body Flex – all fuelled by Chris’s Dads excellent cooking (burp).

Chris is a Personal Trainer based at Core Strength Fitness in Aylesbury. He’s the UKDFBA British Teenage Champion 2012/13, BNBF British Teenage Champion 2013 and placed 3rd in the amateur U24s at the WNBF Worlds in 2013.
1146535_10153441114330072_1758396491_n
I can’t remember when I first met him, but we became firm friends on that trip out to the WNBF Worlds in Boston in 2013. I remember thinking (shame on me!) that I couldn’t possibly be friends with a young fellamelad of Chris’s age. I am, literally, old enough to be his mother (cringe). We agreed to hang out for a day and I was wondering what the hell we’d have to talk about. Well Chris, my apologies! 😉 We had a great time on that trip and have remained good friends since. We’ve trained together tons of times – at Emporium in Birmingham over Bodypower weekend, and at various “natural meets”, and now at Body Flex.

aylesbury personal trainer
Here’s what we did:

Saturday: Shoulders, Abs
– Hammer strength plate loaded shoulder press: several sets adding weight each time, then a final drop set
– Single arm dumbbell lateral raises, the final one a drop set
– Single arm dumbbell overhead press, final one a drop set (I managed the 20kg for a few!)
– Rear delt dumbbell flys (Chris taught me how to actually do these properly)
– Real debts on the pec dec with horrible “holds” and a drop set
– Hanging leg raises

Sunday: Legs, Calves
– Barbell squats, 4 working sets (I did 70kgs)
– Plate loaded hack squat: 5 sets of 10-12 reps with minimal (30 seconds or less) rest (yuk)
– Plate loaded leg press: 15-20 reps for 3 sets (heavier every set) then a quadruple drop set (yuk)
– SLDL with dumbbells – 3 sets (I used the 30kgs for these which I was pretty happy with)
– Nordic hamstring curl (ouch)
– Seated calves on plate loaded machine
– Toe presses on leg press

Great couple of sessions, thanks Chris!

What did you train this weekend? Have you trained at Body Flex? Can anyone guess which gym on my map/list I’m training at next weekend?

Chat with TFW on social media
Here’s where you’ll find me:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

A Weekend Training At Body Flex, Aylesbury (Two Training Sessions) 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.


Lift Heavy Things Up & Down, Once

November 20, 2015

I’m going to do a Powerlifting comp.

Before I go any further, here’s a quick “strength sports 101” for people whose brains go blank when they see a barbell*

(*hi Dad)

Bodybuilding: the one where you use weights in the gym to make your muscles big, but then at the competition you don’t lift any weights up and down. You pose on stage in sparkly pants/bikini. The judges neither know nor care what weights you can lift.

Powerlifting: the one where you lift weights up and down in the competition. You only do three different lifts. Bench press (lying on your back on a bench and pressing the bar up and down), squat (standing up with the bar on your back, and squatting up and down), deadlifting (leaning down to grab hold of the bar, then standing up with it). The judges don’t care what you look like in a sparkly bikini, but they are very strict about how you lift your weights up and down.

Olympic lifting: the one you might see on TV sometimes during major sporting events, where people in singlets do athletic stuff with a barbell like lifting it over their heads. The lifts have funny names, “snatch” is one.

Strongman: the one you probably watch on TV over Christmas. You’ve probably only seen massive great big giant men doing it. The events are very memorable, even if you’re not sure why they’re doing them; things like pulling a truck, deadlifting a car, or lifting a series of very big heavy stones.

OK, so the one I normally do is bodybuilding. I’ve done strong(wo)man a couple of times. Now I’d like to have a go at powerlifting. If I ever give Olympic lifting a go, you have permission to make me eat any one of my numerous hats.
11349273_1048345308555638_551176317_n
Which federation?

There are lots of powerlifting federations/associations (just as with bodybuilding) but I’m choosing to compete with the BDFPA (British Drug-Free Powerlifting Association), partly because lots of my friends lift with this association so I’m guaranteed to have friends at my comp, and partly because – as a natural bodybuilder – I’m serious about competing in tested sport wherever the option exists.

Full Power? Whassat?

At most powerlifting competitions, you can either do “full power” which means you have a go at all three lifts (bench, squat, deadlift) or you can opt to do just one lift.

Equipped or unequipped?

You can also lift “equipped” (which involves bits of kit which help you be able to lift more weight, such as bench shirts, knee wraps) or “unequipped” which means you can use a belt and that’s about it.

I’m going to do full power (yolo) and unequipped, because I just want to see what I can lift, and I can’t be bothered getting used to lifting in kit – it’s a whole new world of technique.
12224452_1156607201034744_1737461716_n
What do you wear?
As an unequipped lifter within the BDFPA, I wear a singlet (kindly lent to me by my powerlifting buddy from the gym) with a t-shirt underneath, long socks for deadlifting, a belt, and any suitable shoes. I’ve got myself some Olympic/squat shoes for the…er..squat (obvs) and I must say they make a lot of difference. I really love them. They make me feel much more secure as I squat, I feel I can go deeper (which is important, because if I don’t go deep enough at the comp, my lift won’t count), and my posture feels better. The belt and I are not enjoying such a harmonious relationship at the moment, but it’s early days. I hope that, with time, I will be able to see past the belt’s tough, unrelenting exterior and that it might soften up and be more gentle with me. Until then, I will (wo)man up and deal with the pain!
11246921_1490033351327023_797716754_n
I’ve barely started training for the comp, but I’ll post more about training another time. I do bench, squat and deadlift regularly, and can lift OK weights for all three. But obviously I’m keen to do as well as I can at the comp. And training for just one maximum rep is very different to using the three lifts as part of hypertrophy-style bodybuilding training.

At the moment I can lift:

– 60kgs for 2 reps (bench)
– 100kgs for 1 rep (squat)
– 140kg for 1 rep (deadlift)

And yes those are all executed properly according to powerlifting rules – I train in a powerlifting gym and my training partner is a powerlifter.

I’d like to get the bench up a bit, the squat up quite a lot, and the deadlift up a fraction if possible.

Here’s what I need to do before the comp:
– get used to the belt
– make sure my technique is “comp legal” for all three lifts (hitting correct depth, locking out, pausing at the chest etc)
– poss smash belt with meat tenderiser?
– try to get my lifts/numbers up as much as possible (particularly bench which is my weakest one of the three)
– poss run belt over with truck
– decide on my openers (the weight I’ll nominate as my first attempt on each lift)
– decide how much I’ll probably go up by after that (you do each lift three times, so you nominate your opener, and then have two more goes on each lift, obviously going up in weight each time, but by how much is up to you)

Have you done a powerlifting meet? How was your first comp? I’d love to hear any advice, funny stories, dos or don’ts.

Chat with TFW on social media
Here’s where you’ll find me:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Lift Heavy Things Up & Down Once 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.


My off-season training and eats

October 13, 2015

Now I’m back in the groove of blogging, let’s talk bodybuilding.

Even though – as explained in my “comeback post” 😉 – I don’t have any definite plans for competing again, I’m still training and (mostly) living like a bodybuilder. Just not one that’s prepping for a show.

I’m in the gym 4-5 times per week, and still doing a BB-type training split. I experimented with a DUP-style training approach for a while (bench, squat and deadlift) but felt restricted and missed the variety and volume. I also limited myself to just one leg session per week for a while, but started pining for a separate hams/glutes session.

So, basically, I’m back to the same split as when I’m competing. The only difference now is that I’m a bit more flexible and intuitive. I always know which “bits” I’m training, and usually know what my main lifts will be, but I play it by ear after that. And if I end up training with someone, I’ll change things about to make the most of having a partner.

Here’s a sample week:

Mon: legs (squats/quads)
Tues: back
Weds: chest & triceps
Thurs:
Fri: shoulders & a bit more back
Sat: legs (hams/glutes)
Sun

I’m terrible about training arms. I find it really boring. I know, what a bad bodybuilder. I don’t mind training triceps to be fair, but bicep training bores me to death. I’ll usually tag along with Some Bloke in the gym (because almost every Bloke In The Gym seems to love training biceps). I also don’t really train calves although I know I should. I rarely train abs in the gym – I go boxing twice a week and we do a lot there, and I think my abs get a decent workout from deadlifts too.

In terms of cardio, I do a fair bit just because I really enjoy it. Don’t forget, I work at home and sit on my arse all day long. And I come from an endurance-sport background. So I actually like working up a sweat and doing huffing-and-puffing stuff.

I walk (fast) with the dog twice a day. I don’t count this as cardio, but I know some would (walking the dog before breakfast = “fasted LISS cardio” in bodybuilder-speak 😉 )

I then go boxing twice a week (Tues and Thurs) which is most definitely cardio, trust me! I try to get out on my road bike 2-3 times per week for 1-2 hours (although this is currently down to once a week given the short daylight hours). I run hill sprints, or flat sprints on the footie pitch out the back of my house… “sometimes”. At one point I was doing it twice a week. I really should get back to it. If my sister, or my friend Lou is reading this… let’s get a regular sprint session in the diary?

I do NOT go on my bloody cross-trainer! I put it in the shed when I moved house and have not re-assembled it.

11380213_743527942439927_1620636316_n
Current favourite sessions in order of bestest-most-favourite:

1) hamstrings (currently loving SLDL with dumbbells)
2) squats (currently loving/hating front squats)
3) back
4) shoulders

And least fave:
– chest (because my weights are trash and it frustrates me)
– biceps (because boring)

And the food side of my off-season/not competing bodybuilding life?

I try to eat “well” but I also refuse to impose any kind of restriction or rules on myself. Partly because I am living life, and not dieting for a show, and there’s much more to life (IMO) than eating to a set of rules.
11201588_533470956800051_1842591147_n
(I had birthday cake on my birthday this year for the first time since 2010.) But also partly because I know I’m still recovering (mentally) from several years of pretty restrictive dieting. I know not everyone is affected by the rigours of dieting but I was! And it’s taken me a while to get to a good place re: food and food behaviours, and it’s still a work in progress. I don’t want to upset the good balance I’ve manage to achieve. And I know that if I am going to grow and make physique improvements as a bodybuilder, I need to eat and not diet!

So I have moved away from the “bodybuilder” style of 6 meals a day, and I try to eat 3-4 times a day (basically breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack usually mid-afternoon). In other words, like a normal person.
11203413_895277063869789_1123651525_n
What’s probably not so “normal” is my meal choices. I still eat bodybuilder-type meals, some of which people may find a bit weird. Breakfast is often fish and veg, or meat. I don’t do cereal, toast or breakfasty stuff. I just don’t want to, I got out of the habit when I first started bodybuilding, and I like my way better 🙂

My lunches and dinners are some combo of meat, fish (I genuinely like fish – so would you if you lived on the coast and had access to the fresh fish I can buy straight off the boats), veg and spuds. It doesn’t have to be spuds, but I like them.
10914654_888025847916711_1599346865_n
I try to eat carbs with every meal, because I’m just trying to get my body used to a nice steady balance and consistent intake. No high/medium/low carb days and certainly no low-carb eating. Just a reasonable balance.

Bodybuildery foods I do not eat:
– oats. I don’t like them and they don’t like me *burp*
– asparagus. I like it but it’s so expensive and I don’t need to eat it.
– protein powder. I rarely need to. I just come home after training and eat my next meal.
– egg whites. At least, not just egg whites. I might use them to bulk up my eggs, but I no longer eat just the whites.
– nut butter. I don’t get the hype, and can’t remember the last time I had it.
– rice. I like it, but it’s a faff to cook and I just never really think about it.

Bodybuildery foods I do eat:
– eggs, broccoli, white fish, chicken, potatoes (although these days I usually go for the humble white spud rather than sweet pots), spinach and other leafy greens, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, coffee!

Things I have enjoyed reintroducing to my kitchen:
– fruit (I am still loving the joy of the simple Braeburn apple), bread, milky coffee, pork, lentils (yes, really), ice-cream, spaghetti, cheese (halloumi is a current fave).

Well, I feel like that was a pretty boring post. I’ve also realised that I’ve got out of the habit of taking photos “for the blog”, sorry about the wall of text (and recycled Instagram photos!)

Please let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to write about! Next up I’d like to tell you about my boxing sessions, or the bike events/sportives I’ve been doing, or perhaps (!) something about copywriting and work.

Whaddya reckon?

Here’s where you’ll find me:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

My off-season training and eats 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.


%d bloggers like this: