When it comes to dedication, hard work, and the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, few experiences can compare to the thrill of competitive bodybuilding.
Vanessa, our Sports Bookings officer, recently secured second place in the Wellness Amateur Show at TRU Athlete International Sports and Fitness, the largest sports and fitness expo in the UK. This is an incredible result as it is her first season of competing as a wellness athlete.
Vanessa's bodybuilding journey began in 2020, when she ventured into the world of weights and strength training. It wasn't until 2021, though, that she participated in her first show: the Arnolds in Birmingham.
"To prepare for this event, I took a year to focus on building muscle and refining my physique. Afterwards, I dedicated another two years to further enhancing my physique, especially tailored for the Wellness category, which seemed to suit my body type perfectly."
Vanessa's fitness journey began in 2017 when she began weight training at BodyRox. "The gym was more than just a place to work out; it was a source of inspiration. Witnessing bodybuilders training there and participating in shows in Jersey ignited a spark in me. For years, I watched these athletes from the side-lines, and finally, I summoned the courage to step out of my comfort zone and embark on this incredible journey."
Vanessa's journey in the competitive bodybuilding world has been relatively brief but intensely rewarding. "To date, I've participated in just three shows. My debut was as a Bikini competitor in 2021, followed by two shows this year as a Wellness Athlete. Each show brought its unique challenges and experiences, contributing to my growth as an athlete."
So what does competing in a live bodybuilding event look like?
"Competing in a live bodybuilding event is an entirely different world backstage. As competitors, we go through an extensive preparation process, from applying spray tans to perfecting our makeup and hair. Backstage, it's a hive of activity, with athletes eating carefully planned meals, practicing their posing, and using weights to pump up their muscles and achieve that perfect stage-ready look. It's a thrilling and nerve-wracking atmosphere, with a camaraderie among competitors that's truly special."
During the off-season, Vanessa maintains the same commitment to training and meal preparation as she does during prep. The key difference lies in her dietary flexibility. She allows herself a bit more leniency with food choices. "If I have cravings or social events on the weekend, I indulge, but I'm always back on track the following day."
Beyond her own bodybuilding journey, Vanessa has also ventured into online coaching.
"There's nothing more rewarding than helping individuals achieve their fitness goals, witnessing their transformation, and boosting their confidence."
Vanessa's Tips for Aspiring Bodybuilders
For those considering stepping into the world of competitive bodybuilding, Vanessa has a few pieces of advice to share:
Attend a Live Show: Watching a show in person can give you a real sense of what it entails and help you better prepare.
Invest in Growth: Ensure you have a solid growing phase before hitting the stage. This will give you the muscle foundation you need when shedding body fat for competition.
Find a Knowledgeable Coach: Having a knowledgeable coach by your side is invaluable. They will guide you every step of the way, providing invaluable expertise.
Sacrifices and Discipline: Be prepared to make sacrifices, especially when it comes to your diet and social events during your preparation phase. Discipline will be your greatest ally in this journey.
Mindset Matters: Developing the right mindset is crucial. As you near the end of your dieting phase, it can get incredibly challenging, and your mental resilience will carry you through.
by Fiona Perryman