Basic Information About Competing In UK Drug-Tested Bodybuilding Comps

May 15, 2016

Almost every week, I get asked about how to go about competing in drug-tested/natural bodybuilding competitions. Tis the season, I guess!

Having just Facebook messaged someone the same information (for the third time this week), I thought it might be useful to actually pop it all in a blog post.

If I stuff this first section full of enough SEO phrases it might even get picked up on Google πŸ˜‰ “Natural bodybuilding comps in the UK”, “How do I start natural bodybuilding in the UK?”, “I want to do a natural bodybuilding show but I’ve no idea who the organisations are or when the competitions are, help, where do I look for information?”

That should do it πŸ˜‰
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So, here’s what I send people when they ask me about competing in drug-free BB comps…

There are three drug-tested/ drug-free/ natural bodybuilding organisations in the UK at the time of writing.

Who, What, Where?

UKDFBA – United Kingdom Drug Free Bodybuilding Association (website is in the link, and they have a FB page). They are the UK affiliate of the WNBF. The UKDFBA run a series of UK qualifiers, then a UK final. There is also a Pro Show and an International Show alongside the UK Final. They award WNBF Pro Cards at the Final. They then take a Pro and Amateur team out to WNBF Worlds.

BNBF – British Natural Bodybuilding Federation (website is in the link, and they have a FB page). They are the UK affiliate of the DFAC. They run a series of UK qualifers, a UK final, then they take a Pro and Amateur team out to DFAC Worlds. They award DFAC Pro cards at their UK Final.

NPA – Natural Physique Association (website is in the link, and they have a FB group). The NPA isn’t affiliated to an international federation. They have UK qualifers and a UK final, and sometimes then take a team out to the UIBBN competition.

Drug Free & Banned Lists

UKDFBA and BNBF are both 7 years drug free.
NPA is lifetime drug free.

They all use urine testing and polygraph testing. Although most of the “things you can’t take” are obvious (or ought to be!), some people are completely unaware of just how strict “drug free” is. So, if you choose to do all or any of the drug-tested bodybuilding organisations’ comps, it is 100% your responsibility to check the banned list OF THAT ORGANISATION and be certain you are in the clear. The information for each organisation’s rules and banned lists are on their website. If you can’t find it, contact the organisation representative.

Categories

All 3 associations have classes for men, women, teens, juniors, and older competitors (Masters). They all have Novice classes and weight classes. Some have Bikini and Men’s Physique. Some have Masters Figure as well as open Figure. Some of their women’s classes will be split by weight. Some have beginners’ shows and first-timers categories. The women’s categories tend to differ between organisations.

My (quick) advice would be:

– Choose the category your body is best suited to (or that you think your body will be best suited to, if you haven’t competed previously)
– Download the judging criteria, and/or contact the Head of the organisation to ask for the guidelines. Be sure you are clear about posing, footwear, whether there’s a posing routine or a T-walk (etc).
– If in doubt, ask advice. The organisation will be friendly and approachable and happy to help (if they’re not, find one that is!)

I’m very happy to chat more about any of this over message or email. I appreciate that it can seem overwhelming and confusing – like any new sport at first!

What To Do Next

Look at the Federations listed above, and their shows/calendars. Choose either by show dates and location, convenient to you (and your prep).

Mark your calendar. Train and diet. Keep in mind the judging criteria of your category. Put together a posing routine or T-walk to music.

Learn the poses you’ll need to do, and practice!

But more than that… do your research:
– make friends on Facebook with people who have done your category in your chosen organisation. Take a look at their competition pics and videos.
– look on YouTube for competition footage and competitors’ individual posing routines (or T-walks).
– see if you can get along to a show (ideally run by your chosen organisation, but anything will help!) Seeing a bodybuilding show before you compete is invaluable experience.

Then there’s stuff like posing suits/bikinis, tan… but that’s all for further down the line.

That was a whistlestop tour through the drug-free bodybuilding competition scene in the UK. I’m sure there are things I’ve forgotten. Official folk: if I’ve got any of the facts and information wrong, please comment/messsage me and I will correct it.

And if anyone reading this ever wants any advice, tips, or “where to go next”, please get in touch. I love the sport and love to help. If I’m not the right person to ask, I’ll try to find out who is!

Basic Information About Competing In UK Drug-Tested Bodybuilding Comps 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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2 x World Champion!

November 24, 2014

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I’m back at my desk after a week away in Boston, where I competed in the WNBF/INBF World Championships as Team UK’s amateur female bodybuilder. I’m delighted to tell you that I won, thereby retaining my World title (blog posts about last year’s INBF Worlds are here and here) – and can now say I am a “2 x World Champion” (even if it feels a bit weird to say so!)

Like most sportspeople, I place significant amounts of pressure on myself. I’m very competitive and expect a lot of myself. With many things in life, the further you go, the more you need to achieve in order to fulfill your own expectations (even if those expectations are of yourself). Sport is certainly no different.

That’s why this World blog post will be a little different to last year’s. I’m just as happy, just as excited, just as proud of myself. I had just as wonderful a time out in Boston with the rest of Team UK, and feel just as privileged to have been given the opportunity once again.

But, this year, my pride and pleasure at winning are joined by seeing where I need to improve, how I want to move forward, and where to go from here.

First of all, a few words about the experience of going abroad to compete as part of the UKDFBA‘s Team UK.
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Once again, being part of the Team was absolutely fantastic. Last year was one of the best times (if not the best time) of my life and this year did not disappoint. The team were all great people (I knew some of them already but there were lots I hadn’t ever met or hadn’t really spoken to), the UKDFBA’s planning and organisation was flawless, our accommodation was really great, and we had some great opportunities to bond as a team (Team training at local Gold’s gym, for example). I come away from Worlds 2014 – as I did from last year’s Worlds – with solid friendships, amazing memories, and having been part of something very special.

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Onto the comp itself

As already mentioned, I won my class and thereby retained my World title from last year. Last year there were only four competitors (split into three LWs, one HW – me – and then an overall which I won). This year there was just one open class of three (no over all) which I won. πŸ™‚ Cheery wave to the other two ladies, if they’re reading this! It was great to meet you and share a stage with you πŸ™‚

I am of course delighted to have won, it feels great (if a little surreal!) to say I “retained a World Title” and to say I am “2 x World Champion”. But I’ve got mixed emotions, too, which weren’t present last year. I guess this is what makes competitive bodybuilders what we are! And what keeps us hungry, keeps us pushing forward, stops us ever settling for mediocre, average, for “just OK”.

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As much as I am over the moon to have won, I’ll tell you now that I wasn’t completely happy with how I looked. I did not look as good as I did at the UKDFBA UK show, and I wanted to look the same (or better!) I’d been really pleased – shocked, even – with how I looked at the UKDFBA show this year. But I was heavier, less lean, less conditioned at Worlds and I am disappointed and cross with myself for that. I know why – my diet and mindset weren’t 100% in those weeks between UKDFBA and Worlds. I did diet, of course, but it wasn’t perfect enough for me.

I need a little more think-time before I could tell you why this was. I know that I was so hugely focused on UKDFBA (and the goal of winning there and taking the Pro Card on offer), that when I came 2nd (especially when it was on a tiebreaker) I had a mental wobble. I don’t think I fully appreciated at the time, but a couple of weeks later I saw it had affected me more than I realised.

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None of that is an excuse, and I know that to be a successful bodybuilder I will have to develop ways to prevent things like this affecting me, and to refocus very quickly and turn my attention fully to the next goal regardless of how I am feeling. It’s unlikely to be the last time I fall short of a goal – this is sport, after all!

A note on the Pro Card thing

Pro Cards are only on offer at Worlds to class winners when there are five or more in the class. A lot of people have said they were sorry that a Pro Card wasn’t on the cards again this year for me. But to be perfectly honest with you? I don’t feel I deserved it. I do want to be a WNBF Pro – it’s my ultimate goal in this sport. But, based on how I looked at Worlds, I don’t feel I’m ready (in terms of physique or mindset). Not quite. Nearly… but not quite. The fact that I have “missed out” a few times now by a whisker kind of confirms what I feel: that I am very very nearly there (but not quite), that I still have lessons to learn and improvements to make. I don’t want a Pro Card until I’m ready for it.

My next steps?

A very good, very constructive off season. I may or may not take a year off competing. Either way, I’ll be training hard and heavy, making improvements to physique, mindset, my knowledge about training, diet and my own body.

Stay tuned for a blog post about what to do if you develop horrendous edema/water retention after spending 5 days celebrating in an American city after coming off a long bodybuilding prep diet and then get stuck on a middle seat on a night flight between two large sleeping men (I will come up with a catchier title, promise!)

Thanks for reading!

2 x World Champion! 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

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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.


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.


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

November 18, 2013

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 πŸ˜‰ (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 πŸ˜‰ “

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.


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

November 17, 2013

In my previous blog post, I asked if you had any questions about the INBF Worlds, my prep, off-season, and my plans for future comps (or anything else relevant).

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Yes, it’s a lazy way to get a blog post out there. I plead jetlag!

Here goes:

“What does getting a Pro card mean or do?”

Bodybuilders compete as amateurs or as Pros. A Pro was once an amateur but won a certain level of competition (usually a national Final, or the amateur bit of a World level comp). Turning Pro doesn’t mean you can jack in your day job and earn a living wage bodybuilding (we wish!) “Pro” denotes the standard and level at which you compete, not that it’s your profession. Pros compete for prize money, whereas amateurs don’t, but even if a Pro was to win every single comp he or she entered, it would barely be enough to cover the cost of flights and accommodation for competing. There are a few exceptions: in the IFBB, those at the very top of the tree do make a living from competition winnings, product endorsements, sponsorships and putting their name to supplements, clothing, etc. In reality, become Pro for a UK bodybuilder actually means you have less choice of where to compete (because you can only do Pro shows, and – at present – there are very few in Europe). For me, it’s something to aspire to, it shows progress and achievement, enables you to be judged against an ever-higher standard of competition, and is one way of marking ongoing progression through the sport.

“This might be a bit personal, but are you older than a lot of competitors? The reason I ask is that your blog reads a lot different…”

I’m 36 (and a half). And thank you – I think! The blog didn’t start out life as a bodybuilding blog, or even a competing/racing/sporting event blog. It’s just my blog, and bodybuilding is one part of a big life. So, at the moment at least, lots of it is about bodybuilding. It hasn’t always been that way (have a dig back through the archives for triathlon, channel swimming, cycling races and even stuff about the business of writing πŸ˜‰ ) I’m glad you enjoy reading it at the moment πŸ™‚

“I want to know everything about the comp – what was the backstage atmosphere like, what was the process that you had to go through to prove you were natural? PS some of the guys on your team are ridiculously good looking, phew!”

Ha ha, I have no idea what you could possibly mean about the male competitors on Team UK! Ugly mugs πŸ˜‰ Some of them proved very popular with the other ladies in my changing room… tee hee. Backstage was a lot larger than any comp I’ve done in the UK, although not necessarily any more well-equipped. There was plenty of space, plug sockets, toilet cubicles and room to pump up, but no mirrors (people brought their own) for example. In my experience, there’s always positives and negatives about every backstage area. I guess it’s because BB comps are held in so many different kinds of venues, from theatres to civic halls. This one was in the auditorium at a big University.

The atmosphere was really friendly πŸ™‚ It’s not always the case, sadly, particularly when it’s a top level comp. It often seems to follow that the higher the stakes, the tenser the atmosphere. I’m really pleased to say that this was not the case at the INBF Worlds (not in my experience, anyway). The atmosphere in the amateur ladies dressing room was… manic, frenetic, highly-strung, often hilarious, and a giggle. Imagine the largest, strangest sleepover you’ve ever been to. It’s like that. Only with bikinis. Beauty treatments, fake tan, talk of junk food, sharing makeup, high emotion, even a bit of singing and booty-shaking. It was all there. I made some new friends (“let’s take a selfie! OK, now tag me on Facebook!”), got some great advice on exactly which chocolate-covered peanut butter-filled pretzels to buy from Trader Joe’s, and enjoyed myself immensely.

To compete in the INBF and WNBF, athletes need to be 7 years drug free (some drug-free Federations are lifetime natural). Athletes are tested by urinology and polygraph. “Drug-free” is assessed against the current WADA (World Anti Doping Authority) banned list. When people think about drugs in sport (particularly bodybuilding) they automatically think of steroids (often used as a blanket term I think!), growth hormone and other exogenous hormones, and “stuff you inject into yourself”. In reality, there’s a great deal more on the banned list, from certain stimulants/”fat burners” to certain diuretics. Fun fact! Caffeine (in certain quantities) was on the prohibited list until 2004.

“What next?”

Well, I have had three goals for the last couple of years in this sport:
compete in America [tick]
win a World title [tick x 2]
– get Pro Status/”Pro card” [ ]

So, 2014 will be the Year of the Pro Card. I will compete with the UKDFBA again here in the UK, with a view either to earning Pro Status here with them (as the winner of my class did at the UKDFBA comp this year), or to go over to the INBF Worlds with their UK team again, win again, and this time earn Pro Status by doing so. Usually, the winner of the overall would be offered Pro Status at the Worlds. It didn’t happen this time, because there weren’t enough people in the class (last year there were 9). So – come on ladies! And I’ll see you there! πŸ˜‰

That’s enough for now – part 2 coming soon!

I’ll leave you with a couple of photos a mini-shoot I did on the day of the comp. I’m really pleased with them, they’re a great memento of a fantastic experience πŸ˜€

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You ask, I do my best to answer! (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.


A World Champion… me… really?

November 13, 2013

Yes, really. It still feels bizarre to type “World Champion” and “me” in the same sentence, but it’s true, so I’d better get used to it πŸ™‚

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This is just a quick post after the INBF World Championships last weekend. Partly because I wanted to get a blog post up before too much time elapsed, but mainly because I still don’t know where to start when it comes to writing about the entire experience.

Perhaps you can post any questions in the comments; it might help me know how to tackle the task of writing about it!

To cut a long, wonderful, memorable story short:

I went with the UK Team to compete at the WNBF and INBF Worlds in the USA last weekend. The INBF is the amateur half of the federation (the WNBF is where the Pros compete). I was the only amateur female bodybuilding competitor on the UK team (there were 12 of us in all, including male and female Pro athletes, a female amateur figure and fit body competitor, and male amateurs across the age and weight classes).

I weighed in at 124lbs, which placed me in the heavyweight female bodybuilding class (they split us at 118lbs).

On the day of the competition, shortly before going on stage, I found out I was the one and only HW competitor 😦 I was disappointed (and saddened) because I wanted some competition, and didn’t want to be on stage by myself. It’s a long way to go, and a lot of prep, to “win by default”. But I can’t control who doesn’t turn up on the day, and who doesn’t compete in qualifiers and national finals, and who doesn’t get selected for the other countries’ teams.

So I went on stage as the only HW competitor (they did end up putting the LWs and me on together, so at least I was on stage with others, although we were still being judged as two separate classes).

So, yes, I won the World HW title too, but I was the only competitor.

However, the real competition of the day for me was the over all. I would be up against the LW winner later on in the day to contest the over all and to push for the World title. I’ve never competed in an over all before, never gone back on stage for a second time against just one other person, never been in the position of knowing it’s either me or her who will get that main title.

I did it… and I won! I can’t remember the moment when my number was called, but I can remember feeling joy, elation, disbelief, excitement, relief and… I dunno! Everything! πŸ˜€

Winning the over all meant I became the INBF World female bodybuilding champion for the year. πŸ˜€ It’s been my dream, my goal and part of what I’ve been working towards for the last two years of my time in this sport. The other part – WNBF Pro status – is now next year’s focus πŸ™‚

That’s enough for now, jetlag is pressing on my eyelids and telling me it’s time for bed.

I’ll be getting official stage and backstage “mini photoshoot” images shortly and will share some with you.

In the meantime, if you do have any questions about the comp, the build up, the weekend with the team, my plans moving forward or anything else, please do leave a comment. It might help me write a better post-comp review when I have more energy!

Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for all your support, enthusiasm, interest, good lucks and congratulations.

A World Champion… me… really? 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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