Friday, September 30, 2011


I competed in my first Figure & Fit Body competition on the 4th Sept 2011.

I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to compete as I had health issues mid this year & had troubles with my heart. At the time I thought it wouldn't be possible as I couldn't do anything that raised by heart rate... which meant no training! I ended up healing faster that the Doctor thought & was back to training after 6 weeks of resting & recovering. I had lost quite a bit of weight & muscle size but I trained hard for 10 weeks & ate a lot of clean, high - protein, good carb foods & was able to gain back what I had lost!

I competed in WNBF Miss Figure USA & Miss Fit Body USA & won them both.
I was very proud of myself for how far I had come & what I was able to achieve through self belief, hard work & dedication.

There were times when I didn't think I had enough energy to get through a training session, but I made myself! Pushed my body to it's limits - no further! I listened to my body & didn't overdo it like I used to.

Here's what I ate during the week leading up to my comp;

(Keep in mind this is NOT healthy nor maintainable)

I had around 6 meals a day starting with a cup of rolled oats cooked with water, almond flakes & cinnamon. Throughout the day I had either grilled turkey breast, asparagus & or green beans OR tuna in spring water washed to remove as much sodium as possible & baby spinach leaves. I had rice cakes with almond spread as snacks. Food like tomatoes & broccoli held too much water so I wasn't allowed to have it.
I went 3 days carb free, then carb loaded the night before my comp & water depleted for a couple of days before. I had low sodium through the whole 10 weeks leading up to my comp.

For the 6 months before my comp I did heavy weights & no cardio as I was already quite lean & didn't want to risk burning off hard earned muscle.

I would really like to stress to people that this is NOT healthy & this type of diet & training shouldn't be followed to get fit or lose weight. It is a short term plan & is not maintainable.
A lot of people have this idea that looking the way I looked at comp is a realistic, & maintainable healthy/fit look. Body builders are not healthy!!!

I personally don't like this type of diet & training but it did get me muscular & lean! I may have looked "fit" but I was actually pretty unfit & unhealthy. I had no energy as I wasn't eating enough carbs & I couldn't run to save myself since I hadn't done cardio in months. The water depleting was the worst part. I like to drink a couple of liters a day & I had to cut down to only a few sips the day before & day of my comp so you can imagine how I was feeling!

On the day of the comp I was tired, dizzy, sick & dehydrated. My face looked aged - I looked about 10 years older! When you get so low in body fat you lose the fat in your face which makes you look youthful...BUT my body looked ripped! The depleting had worked! That means that most the water that sits between my muscles & skin had gone - revealing more defined muscles!

If you're looking at competing it is important to speak to someone who knows what they're talking about & can assess your body type & the way you respond to different training & diet plans as well as pre-comp preparation & techniques. Everyone is different & you need to work out what is best for you!

What is fluid retention?
Fluid retention is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the circulatory system or within the tissues or cavities of the body & can make you appear higher in body fat & undefined. Foods that contain salt & sugar can cause the body to retain fluid. If you don't have enough protein in your diet & you're not getting enough amino acids or B-vitamins may also lead to fluid retention.

What is water depleting & water loading?
Water depleting is when you drink less or almost no water before a competition so that you look hard & dry on comp day. Water loading is when you increase your intake of water about a week out from your comp causing your body to increase the rate it expels excess water then when you decrease your water intake a few days before a comp your body is still expelling water at the same rate it was when you were loading.

What is Carb loading?
Carb loading is when you increase your carbohydrate intake gradually during the week before your comp. A week-long carbohydrate load allows you to adequately fill muscles with glycogen, which improves definition and size leaving your muscles with a "full" look.

* Bananas are a great source of carbohydrates as they're low in fat but provide you with potassium.
Potassium is an essential nutrient that can help prevent cramping as you decrease your sodium intake.

What is Sodium Loading/Depletion?
Sodium loading is when you increase your sodium intake about a week out from your competition. Your body will begin pumping more sodium out of the body.  About 3 days out from comp you completely eliminate sodium. When the depletion occurs, the body will still be tricked into pumping out more than normal & will take excess water with it. 

Here are some natural diuretics;
  • Vitamin B6 - a natural diuretic
  • Dandelion - natural diuretic properties
  • Green tea/caffeine - stimulates the central nervous system, has a diuretic effect & increases urine & sodium losses through the kidneys.
  • Asparagus - contains asparigine which is a chemical alkaloid that boosts kidney performance, thereby improving waste removal from the body
You have to be careful that you're using diuretics correctly or they can lead to dehydration & potassium deficiency. They increase the flow of urine causing your body to get rid of fluid which can also flush out nutrients & electrolytes.

Here is some interesting information about the final week preparation for a comp which is contradictory to standard traditional comp preparation written by Dr. Joe Klemczewski who is a WNBF Pro and has graduate degrees in health and nutrition.

Myths Of The Final Week

People often believe they can trick their body by using extreme techniques the last week before the show that will make them look super shredded. The truth is, if one has dieted properly, what they do in the last week will not make or break their show.
Few people win a show by tricks they use in the last week of pre contest prep. However, many people lose a show by using these extreme techniques. These techniques I speak of stem from myths that have been perpetuated by bodybuilders who use large amounts of anabolic steroids. These methods include but are not limited to…

  • Drastic carb depletion followed by drastic carb loading
  • Days of water depletion
  • Massive potassium loading
  • Laxatives
  • Diuretics
For bodybuilders who use large amounts of anabolic steroids, these methods are needed to shed water, as anabolic steroids will cause one to retain large amounts of water extracellularly (outside the cell or subcutaneously).
For a bodybuilder who doesn't use androgens, this type of preparation is a bit too extreme. One can think of the body as a pendulum. It will stay in equilibrium unless pushed.
One can push their body in one direction and they will experience a certain effect for a while, but eventually the pendulum will swing back in the opposite direction and they will experience the opposite effect.
For example, if one were to cut water intake drastically they would at first experience a great deal of water loss, but as the body senses water levels dropping, it will release anti-diuretic hormones which will cause the body to retain more water. On the other hand, in some cases we can use the body's reactions to our advantage.

Pushing The Pendulum

Many Competitors practice the technique of water depletion. Water depletion consists of reducing one's liquid intake to practically nothing as they approach the contest. Not only is this practice very dangerous, it is also ineffective.
Muscle tissue consists of 70% water. If one restricts water intake drastically, they will lose muscle fullness and appear flat onstage. In addition, reducing water will increase the likelihood of muscle cramps while onstage (this happens quite frequently and is very embarrassing).
Some competitors believe water is what causes them to appear smooth. This is not the case. Water retention intracellular (inside the cell) will cause one appear hard and full. Subcutaneous (under the skin) water retention however, causes one look smooth.
When the body senses a drastic restriction in water intake it will release anti-diuretic hormones that cause subcutaneous water retention. This makes physiological sense: the body senses it is not getting enough water and releases hormones that cause water retention to prevent dehydration.
The result is muscles that appear look flat; from lack of  intracellular water, and soft; from retaining water subcutaneously. The competitor's goal is to maximize intracellular and minimize subcutaneous water retention. Part of this can be accomplished via proper carbohydrate manipulation.
Carbohydrate intake in the final week should be based on one principle, that water follows carbohydrates (approx 2.7g water is stored for each gram of stored carbohydrate), and it is the water following the glucose, not the glucose itself that causes the muscle to have tight fullness.
Therefore, we can deduce that it is not logical to deplete ones water and load up on carbs, more logical however, is to keep a high water intake, and manipulate our carbohydrates so that the maximum amount of water is stored inside the muscle tissue and not subcutaneously.

On Sodium Depleting And Potassium Loading

I see that many competitors seem to think that cutting out sodium and raising potassium to ridiculously high levels is the best way to shed excess water. Not only can this process be dangerous, (even fatal if grossly overdone) it is not that effective.
You see, in terms of ADH (anti-diuretic hormone that causes you to retain water) decreasing sodium intake will reduce ADH output. However, your water and ion levels are controlled by several hormones, not just one. This makes sense, as your body does not want to lose a lot of water.
Why? Because an increased urine volume means decreased blood volume, decreased blood volume means decreased blood pressure; which is dangerous in the short term as it decreases the amount of blood to and from the heart. Therefore, if you lower your sodium and increase your potassium, the body will fight water loss by increasing aldosterone production.
Aldosterone is member of the steroid hormone family and it causes water's reabsorbtion in the kidneys (water retention) and triggers you to become thirsty. Production of aldosterone is stimulated by EITHER an increase in blood concentrations of potassium or a decrease in concentrations of sodium (exactly what most competitors TRY to do!).
Wait, it gets better... aldosterone attaches to receptors on the distal tubule and on the collecting duct (part of the nephron... the functional unit of the kidney) and causes water to be reabsorbed into the interstitial fluid.
So instead of excreting this water via urination, your body will retain it to increase your blood volume and return your blood pressure to normal.
The best strategy for losing excess extracellular water (if you don't want to take illicit drugs) is to use a moderate approach. Sodium loading isn't a bad idea starting about 10-15 days out, but when you deplete don't take it to ridiculously low levels... stay within 1.5-3g per day.
By the same token don't load on a bunch of potassium, just eat the foods rich in potassium, no need to take potassium pills every hour.

As much as I didn't like the comp prep as it's not healthy for you I am still very proud of myself & what I was able to achieve. Not many people have the dedication it takes to prepare for a competition & the guts to actually get up on stage. While I gained a lot of support & compliments from friends, family & online I still received a lot of negative comments even from those close to me.
Some comments & questions were;

"You're overdoing it"
"You're obsessed"
"You look disgusting & unattractive"
"You're too lean" or "you're too muscly"
"Why do you want to look like that?"

Well in comeback to your put downs, questions & concerns; I did it because I LIKE training, I like pushing my body to it's limits, I think abs are sexy on girls & I like being strong & proving people wrong! I did what many people said I couldn't. I have achieved something that many say is hard to achieve. I proved to myself that I can achieve pretty much anything I want to do through self believe, hard work & dedication. When I fell I got back up, when I was told "you cant" - I said "I can" & I did! Did you?

We both won!! :)

With my gorgeous Sonia who came 3rd :)

My best friend Chloe Maxwell & me backstage
I'm wearing an amazing Amy Taylor dress.
On stage - Triceps pose
Figure suit by Vizion Wear
Back stage pumping up

WNBF Miss Figure USA short class winner &
Miss Fit Body USA short class winner 2011

“Failure is temporary, giving up makes it permanent"

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm"

“Humans have the remarkable ability to get exactly what they must have, but there is a difference between a ‘must’ and ‘want.’ ”

“To be successful, pursue your goals with unstoppable determination. As long as you know exactly what you want and possess an incessant desire to acquire it, you will prevail.”

“True success comes to those who strive for greatness without surrendering to defeat. You can overcome anything when you possess the unstoppable drive to do so."
Dream - Believe - Commit - Achieve

* PLEASE NOTE: This information is based on research I have done - whether it is correct or not is debatable & relies on personal opinions & experiences. You should always seek advice or guidance from a professional before starting a diet or competition preparation.


  1. Thanks for writing this up. I have been searching EVERYWHERE for a first hand experience and the low-down on what is involved with competing.
    You should be super proud. Takes a lot of dedication and focus to do something like this. I'm looking forward to it!


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