The decision to compete again came about for several reasons:

I met a fellow exercise enthusiast, passionate about training and we inspired each other to refocus our training and do what we love, enter George, you will remember from the first post is now my training partner, known as “G” we support each other through the phases of growth change sets and reps highs and lows and pure love of training.

First Fiona Lamb our massage therapist @  https://www.facebook.com/CentreOfWellness suggested we enter a team into Tough Mudder event a hardcore 18-20 km obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. Of course we all agreed, we love a challenge here !

I was asked to train a promising young elite rower Oliver – when I asked him ” so why do you want this Oliver?”, he said ” because I love doing what others find challenging, I want to be the best I can be, I want to row for Australia!”

As you can see it was a combination of subtle nudges to go there, that place inside of myself that loves training, loves to challenge myself and be the best I can be and have fun along the way with people who are of the same mind set and want to be a part of the experience of life when we are inspired to achieve our passions.

Now for the practical steps, I began by doing my homework, researching and remembering what didn’t work so well last time I competed namely the hormonal fluxes and what this did to my mental and emotional experience, how supported I felt and any improvements required to my skill base, looking at the Natural Body Building federations and making my decisions, Sports model or Figure. I have competed as Figure 3 times and enjoyed the process so that’s what I went with this time too, often I find a full on commitment is easier when we actually “enjoy” the process and outcome.

I researched all the latest nutritional options, body fat testing, hormone balancing, supplementation etc as you will also remember from last weeks entry I chose Naturopath Carlene Fuchs and biosignature coach Michael Trinh, Michael I find out today at the first Bio sig session is also 2nd year Chinese medicine, I am a happy camper I sensed I had chosen the right person.

Emails to Carlene have me up to date with all the ins and outs of hormone & nutritional supplements, backed and supported by Michael s findings and recommendations – a double positive in my mind, this enhances my happiness and satisfaction as there is a lot of different information out there so always make sure the people you choose to work with are:

1. qualified

2. feel good to you

3. listen and respond to your needs

4. offer constructive, knowledgeable advice

My session with Michael is an eye opener even for me I am fit and healthy on any given day however we discover I have some deficiencies in Zinc, Magnesium, Vit D as well as the first area to address hormonally is Estrogen as this imbalance unless sorted will make it a real challenge to be stage ready causing my body to retain body fat around my thighs, mmm not so happy with that idea, so the Biosignature protocols begin, addressing one change at a time.

Remember always start small when it comes to changes, give all parts of you a chance to adjust, I will over the course of this transformation be sharing my experiences at a mental, emotional, physical and energetic level because that’s how I live and work wholistically.

Next a very long sms to “G” with the proposed training schedule, after long hours researching all my training protocols in my mind and visiting some well regarded Training Protocols like Chek Institute where all of our trainers are qualified and in consultation with Geoff Loomes my business partner & Exercise Physiologist & Chek practitioner at   https://www.facebook.com/CentreOfWellness, we are ready to begin.

Today is Monday and over the weekend I took some quiet time to adjust to the changes that will be required, changes to nutrition, social gatherings, how and with whom I spend my time, managing my energy through yoga & meditation and visualisations of my comp date on stage, the parties that I have till end of Feb then time to focus solely on my training and nutrition, posing practice, routines & music.

Today, Monday is a light day of Yoga and cardio and some core and meditation to set the mood. To say I am excited is an understatement, no photos to share just yet, stay tuned as the journey continues.

Tuesday training with super “G” its’ later than we’d normally train and we are having to make some adjustments to our schedules, food and balancing out our other commitments and still we walk away from the session satisfied we have “trained not drained” the system, it’s important not to over train remember that. Today’s session reminded me to stay in good form, work a little harder and that’s the benefit of a training partner as even those of us who enjoy exercise can get a little complacent from time to time, I know all this hard work and responding to “G’s” support to try a little harder, will get me across the stage comp day, I am very grateful 🙂

I’m off home for a snack, bath to soothe the sore muscles and wind down for the night, I”ve noticed I haven’t been sleeping well with the humidity and all the excitement time to nip that in the bud though as lack of sleep will affect my natural growth hormones…. remember get your zzzz’s for maximum performance and vitality in life or competition.

Wednesday Leg day and the biggest session I’ve done for a while, the test is can I get up off the floor and walk down those stairs?Legs such a major muscle group often can take a more intense workout than the rest of the body, always remember to balance your body parts for greatest symmetry, the art of Figure sculpting is to be able to create symmetry via shaping the muscle groups creating an over look and feel of proportion and balance this can be achieved successfully with a well designed program. Remember to strengthen AND lengthen… so stretch well, while there is a lot of controversy over the benefits of stretching my body says “YES PLEASE” so personally that’s what I am going to trust, our body’s are highly tuned and receptive so pay attention and listen to what yours is saying to you!

Thursday Hello legs, as I try, yep TRY to get out of bed for my morning yoga & meditation practice they make themselves known! And just what do you think you are doing they ask? Well it’s time to get up and make my way into a new day I respond, is that so they reply, mmmm just take a moment will you cause we aren’t going anywhere.

So pause I do to reflect on the way the challenge to the system from DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) creates the need to listen with love to the body’s messages, just taking a few extra minutes to do this is invaluable in any change process, mindlessly pushing oneself continuously leads to burn out and fast with all sorts of “negative” associations being formed to the process you are undertaking. Now I have competed before so I do know what to expect and still it surprises me the impact of DOMS pain, ouch!! I do remind myself again though in this case the result = DOMS and this is a + because it means I worked hard enough to create growth, and as long as I refuel and recover properly I will survive and train harder at our next training session, besides the soreness eased up pretty quickly with yoga, you will remember I suggested to strengthen AND lengthen yesterday, well the benefit is my  reduced soreness :),  anyway back to what I was saying about the impact of pain, this can affect your emotional and mental well being as when we experience pain (even beneficial growth pain, I know a lot of people don’t think using the P word is helpful from a “positive” language perspective and hey this hurts so I’m telling it how it is!).

The natural response to pain is to shut down and try and protect ourselves in this case my mind is saying whoa up girlfriend just what do you think you are up to?…

Really well now please explain why you want me to participate in this?

I gently remind myself of my goals and dreams for myself and re establish my compelling reason, now while this goal and process might seem a little crazy to someone else, I get it, and I am doing this for me, so re negotiations  are complete at a mental level and then back to just sitting still listening with tenderness to my feelings about this process as pain does cause a “type” of sad feeling just due to the soreness and I respond with a reshuffle of my timetable to allow more rest time, a promise of massage, a longer soak in the bath with sea salt (mineral baths help to alleviate toxins and relax tired muscles, just ensure you use pure organic based products rather than chemical, a few drops of lavender goes a long way too :).

Some other adjustments are my nutrition I feel fantastic, eating great nutritionally balanced, high protein (please consult your health care provider/s) meals and thriving on the coconut oil, zinc, magnesium, DHA / EPA – essential fats, vital greens my system still needs a few days to start assimilating completely so my belly feels full, I ate a delicious roast lamb with steamed greens (still crunchy) dinner last night after my massive leg work out I personally find lamb a very rich meat and this morning I can feel the need for a “lighter” food day to support the changes my body is going through, so again people the take away message here is

1. Listen to your body’s messages

2. Respond with care and attention

3. Adjust and reaffirm where necessary

4. Recommit & have fun

Okey doke stay tuned for more off to work now with my amazing clients then to the gym session tonight with super G, bless him listening to me talk about my delicious lamb dinner like it was such an amazing story 🙂 !!!, trust me good nutrition is a thing to be excited and grateful for, have a good day all.

Friday Long awaited rest day… that’s it just REST, RECOVER, REGENERATE, today one of my dearest friends got married, so I was able to spend my rest evening with Amanda and her equally amazing best friend, lover and partner Nick, what a beautiful ceremony, simple, easy and loads of fun, great food, beautiful views of the harbour and amazing family & friends, 1 or 2 red wines (remember I said I had celebrations for the next few weeks, at this stage training hard and a small indulgence is encouraged, fun is highly recommended with the right people) of course focus on the goal never strays from the mind and making room for pleasure is key to success! All of this topped off with getting my groove thing on and shaking the booty on the dance floor, great exercise and enormous fun 🙂

Saturday Today I felt every session of the week, I found the mind and emotions a little erratic this morning and I took my time getting out of bed, stretching gently meditation was quiet and I was aware that something wasn’t quite right, as a woman I had to make allowances for my cycle ( remember ladies that hormonal changes affect all aspects of our existence, forget the idea that you are a machine or need to soldier on, DON’T big mistake, forget keeping up appearances!) I felt angry and sad all at the same time and this just didn’t fit with my training goals for the day or even my preferred way of life for that matter, again people listen to your emotions and if something doesn’t feel right its for a valid reason!

I spent time with my beautiful adult son Charlie cooking and eating breakfast together, chatting about our day, our lives, he was off  Go carting with his mates, we bantered, we hugged, laughed  (he has a crazy sense of humour that I adore) and I am aware as he has witnessed me compete 3 times before (and some of those times especially the early day were very crazy times due to inexperience and way too much on my plate as well as being aware that a mum who has more lean muscle mass than you do as a prepubescent teen can be a little disconcerting, given how competitive teenage boys are).

My message here is always remember it’s the connections we have with those we love in times of challenge that really matter, when we are focused on a goal we can forget this and exclude the people we love the most, when we most need that connection and support :).

Off to the gym to see what I have as well as find the quite space that training offers me to work out just what is going on with my mental and emotional space, I am normally a very calm, peaceful yet motivated and inspired individual, today I was none of these things, as a side note I remember my first comp and the trainer I worked with a guy said to me get angry use that and I was thinking …” are you nuts do you realise how much energy anger takes out of you?”

So the aware trainer and person I am I had to rein in my mind that wanted to push hard and push through my emotions and just get it done and accept that my emotions were quite erratic and there was a valid reason for this somewhere in there?

The ahha moment came within my first 2 sets, I had been without the right mix of nutritional supplements, the shipment was delayed, I hadn’t factored completely the degree of changes happening at a metabolic, physical, emotional and mental level as conscious as I am CHANGE takes time and energy in and of itself, (even with experience on your side expect to be be surprised from time to time, and if you are new to change make room for it my friend), so I cut my session short went and got what I was lacking from the vitamin store and caught up with a very inspirational man Luke, we chatted he’s competed also as well as recovered from Leukemia in the process, we laughed, I watched him train and remembered the long journey to recovery he has had, we enjoyed a beautiful home cooked meal with his family and a text from my equally amazing training partner “G”, I am truly blessed to have such inspirational and supportive people in my life, very content to head home for a relaxing bath, quiet time and know all was restored to order once again.

Sunday Nice sleep in :), my much missed shake of supplements, yoga & meditation then a light breakfast & off to the gym for the last session of the week, a more low key affair with attention placed on attending to any imbalances the hard core training may have created, with these balanced out a light cardio and G & I were done, out into the glorious sunshine to soak up some vitamin D, caught up with one of my girlfrinds Brie for a walk and chat, after we solved all the challenges being presented to us in the way girls do best, talking 🙂 I was off home for meal prep for tomorrow and a few domestics, some business to attend to and now movie time.

Thank you all for sharing my journey to comp day I hope you have found something of value in my reflections, please let me know if so. I will be posting every week of my experiences on whatever level presents itself I will share the achievements and the challenges that any goal presents and how I have chosen to address them and make the necessary adjustments so I give this my best, stay tuned and happy thoughts to you.

Vanessa 🙂 x

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