WBFF PRO-AM show in Australia

One of our most successful weekends in our history of preparing athletes for this incredible @wbff_official brand.

This weekend saw the inaugural WBFF PROAM show in Australia and the Santa Monica show in Los Angeles for our amateurs.

Overall this weekend we saw 6 of our athletes achieve PRO STATUS – taking out their categories in STACKED lineups of like-minded athletes chasing that elusive WBFF pro card. Many of these athletes were first timers in the WBFF and competing in general so their showings were extremely exceptional.

We also had 2 wins in the Pro categories which saw them win the championship title status and take over $7000 in prize money. To say we are proud of coaches is an incredible understatement and I am so happy with us not only backing up the team of the year title, but exceeding even our own lofty goals. You are are champions. Full results below.

Placings

  • Abbie – 1st place Fitness Diva Short + Pro status. Top 5 bikini
  • Amber – 1st place fitness diva medium + pro status.
  • Sarah Dalton – 1st place fitness 35+ & pro status
  • Sarah Dalton – 4th place diva fitness model short
  • Sarah Wachjo – 6th place diva fitness
  • Donna – 6th place fitness 35+
  • Kelly Daymond – 9th place fitness 35+
  • Kane – 8th place fitness tall
  • Hannah – 10th place fitness tall
  • Ashleigh – top 10 bikini medium
  • Gavin – 8th fitness model
  • Kelly Flanagan – top 10 bikini tall
  • Sarah Wachjo – top 10 fitness model
  • Shanon Hanrahan – 3rd place fitness model
  • Stephanie Wassens – top 10 bikini model
  • Suzanna M – top 10 bikini model
  • Tayah Pickervance – top 10 bikini model
  • Tiana – 3rd place bikini model

Pro titles

  • Fresh – 1st place Pro Fitness model
  • Daniel – 1st place Pro Muscle model
  • Kayla – 3rd place pro bikini model
  • Milla – 2nd place bikini pro diva

Amazing pro debuts by

  • Frida
  • Maya
  • Suzanna P

Amazing amateur debuts for

  • Alisa Motorina
  • Alicia bloom
  • Anna Kroehn
  • Hilla Sukar
  • Ibanez Taylor
  • Jackie Perry
  • Krisna Morris
  • Lina Revelo
  • Matilda Murray
  • Trish Speesa
  • Ruby Mcmullen
  • Sandra Angela
  • Vanessa McFall
  • Victoria Carter
  • Shannon Mulders

Santa Monica

  • Taryn – 1st place bikini + pro
  • Lexie – 1st place bikini + pro
  • Cindy – 1st place fitness + pro

Nutrition as the key to your body composition goals

With Summer almost over, the holidays are just around the corner!

With the thought of how near the New Year is, you might be tempted to hold off on your body composition goals until January when you can get a fresh start and shake off the holiday weight!

But really, why wait for January? You can start making small changes to your routine TODAY that will really help toward achieving your goals, reducing your body fat percentage, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The earlier you tackle your body composition goals and start working on your workouts and diet, the sooner you can make it a part of your life and do it habitually – so you do not have to think about it at all!

The first step to setting goals is to have a clear picture of where you are right now, where you want to be, and how to get there. Once you’ve considered the bigger picture, you can narrow it down to what habits need to be built, and what habits need to be let go!

Today, we’ll take a look at the essential things you need to keep in mind when you’re trying to build a lifestyle that will get you to your goal – and keep you there.

1. Creating a balanced diet

A good foundation for your nutrition plan is figuring out how many calories you need to be taking in. This is based on what you put in your body and how much you exercise (or how much you move daily).

In order to achieve your goal, you need to establish a healthy and achievable level of protein, carbs, and fats, and stick to it! Your body needs all these things in order to function properly – especially if working out is part of your lifestyle!

There are thousands of calculators online that will help you figure out what your calorie intake should be. Once you know how much you should be taking in, you can easily adjust your diet in order to match your level of exercise.

That way you can create a trackable, sustainable system for you to follow that will get you to where you want to be in no time!

The next step is understanding your metabolism.

You know these people who can eat everything they want – and stay skinny?!

You might even be one of them, and let me tell you, it’s HARD for them to gain weight (and some of them really want to).

Think of your metabolism like a fire. When you put quality fuel in there, like a log (i.e. wholesome foods like high-quality protein, slow carbohydrates, and healthy fats), the fire burns for a longer period of time. When you don’t fuel the fire enough, or you fuel it with paper or twigs (like refined carbohydrates and sugary foods), it dies down.

Understanding your metabolism is super important when trying to reach your body composition goals – but it’s not as easy as it seems.

Sometimes it can be obvious what you need to do, and sometimes you might need some help from an expert.

Speaking to a doctor or registered dietitian can help you tailor your balanced diet to your personal health and medical history. They may be able to provide you with additional guidance or recommendations to improve or maintain your current health. Your doctor is most likely aware of your health and medical conditions and may be able to give you general recommendations for certain foods or a diet pattern that can help you achieve not only a balanced diet, but one that may improve your overall health. They may also be able to refer you to a local dietitian for additional help.

After you have checked in with your doctor and you have a nutrition plan going, it’s time to go shopping! A well-stocked pantry can be a great tool for maintaining a balanced diet.

Stock up on shelf-stable foods for quick and easy balanced meals: canned beans, no-salt-added canned vegetables, canned tuna or chicken, 100% whole grains (like quinoa, 100% whole wheat pasta or brown rice) and nut butter, frozen items like frozen vegetables (without sauces or seasonings), frozen fruit, frozen pre-cooked grains (like brown rice or quinoa), low-calorie frozen dinners (for busy nights) and frozen proteins (fish or chicken).

And always keep a supply of fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy (like low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese and lean proteins (chicken, fish, pork or lean beef).

Now, here is where we have to briefly mention supplements.

If you’re always busy with work, juggling 10 things at once and you don’t always have the time to cook a delicious meal – that’s where supplements come in!

They’re one of the best ways to make your diet sustainable and easy to follow on a busy schedule. But I don’t believe everyone needs them. A lot of people (especially men) rely on them in order to see results! I suggest using them only after you’ve been following a solid workout and diet plan for a while.

Only the people who are serious about their goals but can’t manage a balanced diet should be the ones using supplements.

So now that we know the elements of a balanced diet, let’s talk about how we can turn it to habit – and that habit into a lifestyle!

2. Turning your diet into a part of your lifestyle!  

Here’s something my first coach ever told me – if you want to change your life, start with your environment.

If you want to make this sustainable, you can’t do it without a little change.

Let’s start with your refrigerator. You have to throw away all the sugary stuff from in it – chocolates, fruit juice, barbeque sauce, ketchup, etc.

The best way to avoid binging unhealthy foods is simply by surrounding yourself with MORE delicious and healthy options!

If you ever feel that you want to eat something sweet – go for an apple. It will suppress the cravings and it’s always on point with your diet.

Also, keep the 80/20 rule in your mind.

It simply states that if you follow your diet for 80% of the time, you’re good!

Remember, this is about building a lifestyle and making it sustainable.

I believe a lot of people end their fitness journey because they try to force themselves to do something they don’t want to do.

In order to make your goal long-term, get to it, and stay on it after you’ve achieved it, you have to reason with yourself. You can’t just tell yourself what to eat and what not to, and expect your body to follow.

Your body will want everything you try to suppress.

And suppressing it for long will just lower your energy and get you on a downward spiral of being unmotivated and unhappy.

That’s not what I want for you!

I want you to have a balanced, flexible diet.

Flexible dieting is the best way to keep yourself motivated and still push forward toward your goal!

Many alternative diets (keto, low-fat, vegetarian) are very prescriptive, with very rigid rules and little compatibility with people’s tastes and preferences.

There are some rules of course, but as the name suggests, flexible dieting is nowhere near as stern as other diets tend to be. A flexible diet opens up people’s choices as there is little emphasis on making people only eat certain types of food (although eating a variety of foods and vegetables is encouraged).

The diet is essentially based on establishing a daily calorie target (the most important factor in weight control) and slightly looser target ranges for Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats – allowing you to treat yourself and enjoy the foods you love!

Everything we’ve discussed so far will help you set your body composition goals.

Remember, no one knows you better than you!

You can always benefit from working with a fitness and nutrition coach, but you are the best person to set goals for yourself.  

At the end of the day, it all boils down to what you’re willing to do (and let go of), what improvements you’d like to see, and how far you’re willing to go with it.

But the first step to doing this… is actually pretty simple and easy to take.

You need to know where you’re currently at and what you’re going to do – and that means getting your body composition tested and deciding that you’re going to create a nutrition plan that you will follow until you get to your destination.

That way you can set goals for yourself that will make your entire fitness and nutrition journey motivating, successful, and most importantly, enjoyable!

Building Your Fitness Brand – 3 Steps to a Successful Personal Brand

The internet has given a lot of fitness lovers the opportunity to start their own fitness brand.

I feel that phrases like ‘personal branding’ and ‘marketing’ are thrown around so much nowadays, nobody can really understand what they mean. They’re always backed-up by “researched” mumbo-jumbo that speaks to you about broad concepts instead of what will help YOU improve YOUR business.

Today, let’s take the process of developing such a business and break it down to the actionable steps you should take if you want to develop your personal brand in the fitness industry!

1. What is a Personal Brand and How To Create One

For starters, we need to know the difference between branding and marketing.

Marketing is getting the word out for what you do. If you’re a fitness coach, that includes being on social media, running ads, funnels, getting people to visit your website, all of that.

Branding is all about the experience people get when they work with you. It’s a lot more emotional than rational and has to do with everything from the way you work with (and who you work with) to the way you present yourself online – your name, your logos and colors, your voice, your copywriting, even the comments you leave under other people’s comments.

Think about that – is the presentation and copywriting in your website too serious? Or too sweet-sounding?

There’s hardcore, pushing people to the edge coaches, there’s the laid-back, fitness lifestyle type coach, then the wellness coach, the diet coach…

You need to find a niche of people you can help with your knowledge and expertise. One of the biggest mistakes that I see a lot of personal brands making is trying to appeal to everyone.

We all work with different people who have different interests, so “developing your brand voice” means finding out who you want to be online and focusing on that target market.

You do that by:

  1. Making sure your website copy, your social media content, your talks, interviews and marketing materials all have the same style, vibe and energy. This builds trust within people and increases the exposure you get by making you more easily recognized online.
  2. Making sure you always have a clear next goal in mind and making them bigger over time.

Now that we know what branding is, let’s take a look at how to actually get the word out for your business, make sales, impact the lives of people, and become a voice recognized in such a crowded market!

2. How To Get Exposure for Yourself and Your Brand

Now that we know what our brand voice is and who we’re trying to help, it’s time we reach out to these people and give them value!
Always remember – you have to be congruent in all of these channels. Branding and marketing must go hand in hand like a lock and key. If one of them is missing, you risk coming across as either unprofessional or uninteresting.

Before you start getting more exposure you need to figure out one thing – where your audience is spending their time. For the fitness niche, there’s already a few great places you can go and build a solid foundation!

Here are a few ideas for channels where you can reach people online and engage potential clients for your fitness brand!

  • Engaging people on social media – commenting, liking, following and messaging on Instagram and Facebook.
  • Running Facebook and Google ads – to a landing page for a product (free or paid).
  • Doing webinars, live trainings, even Instagram Live – just giving out free content or promoting courses on a webinar.
  • Ranking higher on Google with SEO – absolutely crucial!
  • Local events and networking – you can meet people to collaborate with.
  • E-mail Marketing and collecting leads – the best way to communicate to your audience via text.
  • Creating a blog or podcast – giving out free content to your audience.
  • LinkedIn – setting up auto-responders and engaging people there.

These are only things that you can do yourself!

Keep in mind, one of the best ways to promote yourself online is to collaborate with other people in the fitness industry. If the branding is right and the energy matches between you, amazing things happen.

Doing guest posts on their social media and blogs, being a guest on their podcast, being in their YouTube videos, even on their Instagram stories. Even reaching out to an influencer is not a bad idea.

Another thing crucial to your success is to gather testimonials from the people you’ve helped. They will really help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, know what the people are thinking, and show people that you’re truly all about giving value!

What matters is getting the word out to as many as possible, right? So think about which of these channels you’re not using and start implementing them into your marketing strategy.

So, when you’re doing things the right way and people are seeing you, engaging with you, and approving of what you’re doing – how do you turn these views into profit for your business?

How do positively impact the lives of the most people while making the most sales and building your brand?

Let’s learn how!

3. Growing Your Brand and Making Profit

For someone who has been in the fitness industry for quite a long time, I can honestly say…

Every fitness industry personality is endorsing something nowadays.

And that’s a good thing!

Whether you decide to create your own product – be it a supplement, an E-book, a course, a clothing brand – or you decide to endorse others for a piece of the pie, selling products is the most obvious way to generate profit, so it goes first on our list.

Brands will have no problem paying you for representing their vision online. Mutual promotion between brands and ambassadors is a win-win way to hook your audience up with products you love using at great discounts – and get paid for it.

Chances are you’re already promoting products to your friends and community – you’re just not getting paid to do it!

But if you decide to create your own product, and you truly create it from start to finish and put a piece of yourself in it – people will love it and you will have success.

And always make sure to have a product you’re giving out for free! By doing that, the people whose ideologies your brand voice matches will become loyal followers you can keep giving to again, and again, and again.

If training and living healthy is a lifestyle for you, chances are you know a few things that can be beneficial to others.

And if you love working with people one on one and want to make a positive impact on their life – you can consider coaching as your go-to way to profit online.

Honestly, coaching others has changed my life as well.

I see so many positive, motivated and goal-driven people that it inspires me to work hard and be at my best self all the time. Watching someone’s life change in front of me and seeing them deal with their insecurities and giving them the confidence to take on the world has made me a completely different person.

And even though fitness coaching has become a huge industry, there’s still a spot for everyone who wants to do something unique and give value!

Bottom line is, the more people you help and the more people you reach, the more opportunities you’ll be open to.

If fitness is your lifestyle and you want to share that with the world – don’t hesitate and start a fitness brand!

It’s a great way to get paid for doing what you love, helping people achieve their goals and doing it while building a sustainable business. Nowadays, that can seem like a feat, but the opportunity is here, for you, now!

Now that you know the proper way to do develop a brand voice, get exposure and grow your brand, there’s just one thing you need to know…

Whether you’re going to promote brands, sell courses, or do online coaching, there’s a ton of people who love fitness, need help, and want to hear what you have to say.

Marketing is important so you can get the word out for yourself and speak to the world. But make sure your personal branding is on point – it is exactly what people will be hearing when you speak.

The Competitive Edge Podcast – Fitness Uncensored!

“The Competitive Edge – Fitness Uncensored” kicks off our series of Podcasts that seek to be a wealth of information from active competitors perspectives on the fitness industry.

From general topics of dieting all the way through to stage posing and everything in between, make sure you tune in for real time tips, tricks, advice and discussions from these 3 Australian WBFF Pro competitors. Alicia Gowans (current WBFF 35+ Fitness World Champion), Jared Hustler (Male Muscle Model WBFF Pro) & Keegan Thornhill (Male Muscle Model WBFF Pro).

This promises to be a no filter view on all things fitness, positives, negatives and all the BS that comes with it. Get the real story, uncensored!

Join our Facebook Group to stay up to date with our podcasts and discussions!

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Find our episodes here!

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On the road to Worlds: The importance of good supplements

Good supplements, like those offered by Bulk Nutrients, can mean the difference between finding that extra 1% and reaching your full potential, and being left wondering if you could have done more. And trust me, over the past 6 months while I have battled injury throughout my busiest competition prep to date, Bulk Nutrient supplements have been my saving grace!

This year has seen me persevere to overcome some pretty significant injuries, illnesses and personal challenges – so safe to say just getting to a position where I can be competitive at WBFF Worlds is a HUGE achievement! With thanks to consistent nutrition, effective lifting, a positive kick-ar*e attitude and my fav supplements supplied by Bulk Nutrients, this year I am bring to stage the best me to date! Consider yourselves all warned!

But seriously, in order to be competitive against some of the most gorgeous and talented people in fitness, who are equally as dedicated and committed to achieving their goals, I rely on the competitive edge offered by Bulk Nutrient supplements. My fave Bulk Nutrients products are Whey Protein Isolate or Thermowhey (Choc flavoured of course!), added with Bulk’sBCAAs, Leucine and Green Fusion has given me the boost I have needed to power through my workouts, recover faster and maintain a healthy mind and body. This year you’ll also find in my go to bag of Bulk Nutrient supplements,Diindolylmethane (DIM) and R Alpha Lipoic Acid (RALA), which have been great for aiding energy production, glucose disposal and estrogen metabolism.

We all know how seriously I take my nutrition, training and comp prep. Being able to push myself beyond my limits, challenge my own perceptions and drive hard toward my goals is what sets me apart. When you combine this with good nutrition, solid training, and the great range of supplements offer by Bulk Nutrients – well then you have a winning combination!

My Road Back to the Stage

Over the past couple of years my journey took a significant detour.

From winning my pro-card to finishing top 10 at World’s, being blown off course by injury and personal adversity to now targeting a return at the end of the year, the learning & growth has been painful. With my goals sternly set for a return to the WBFF Stage at the Atlantic City Pro-Am in December, the next 12 weeks will be blogged, documented & broadcasted through this site & through my social media channels. It doesn’t promise to be sunshine, rainbows & smiles but I can say it probably will have a lot of that. What it will also have though is a very real insight into the rehab, training, challenges (both specific to me & fitness competitors in general) as I lead up to stage. This blog will cover off on everything from nutrition, body maintenance, rolling, active release work, activation, training techniques & programs, cooking, fun things I do socially but also help with the overarching prep goal & more. If you are interested in following this journey with me, read the little preface below as the starting point of this new adventure.

There are no coincidences in life. None. I strongly believe this to be true & the more I rehab, heal & start to recreate my physique/conditioning the more I am seeing my broken back as a blessing. It has actually changed my structure quite significantly my waist has become smaller, my back has actually gained a greater V taper & my core has never felt this strong forced to work 100% on my bio-mechanics has meant that my actual shape has been transformed over my healing period & TBH I’m feeling so much happier with my new look. Although I am excited to regain some lost size on my delts & continue to build some leg/glute thickness over the coming year, I am simply quite content…. Content with life, with my evolving aesthetic, with how much strength I’ve gained via my challenges, with who I am as a person, with how it’s enhanced my technical coaching skills & most importantly with how much stronger my body is feeling mind, body & spirit have gained invaluable lessons during my period of trials & tribulations. All of which have expanded for the best #mevsme #buildingabetterme #evolution #aesthetic

Alicia wins the LA PRO show and takes home another crown!

It was another successful showing for coach Alicia Gowans at the WBFF Pro Show held at the Beverley Wiltshire Hotel last weekend.

She took home another crown and now adds another title to her cabinet!

She finished 1st in the Pro Diva Fitness over 35s as well as second in the overall Pro Fitness Category too. What an amazing achievement from our coach.

Coach Alicia Wins Atlantic City Pro Show

Alicia has successfully completed her comeback show by winning the PRO FITNESS DIVISION at the WBFF Pro-Am show in Atlantic City.

Such a great achievement! Get yourself a coach that walks the walk and genuinely cares about your results!

Some other notable results were Giorgia Piscina WBFF Bikini Pro winning her division also! Posing client Jared Hustler winning his pro status and Tahlia Christou finishing second in her division! Bikini Pro Tash Mackenzie also looked amazing as did Mel in her transformation division!

Hectic Schedule & Intermittent Fasting

Adapt to what life throws your way and believe in yourself!

There has been A LOT of talk in recent years about the benefits of intermittent fasting. For body builders used to eating at set intervals, the thought of going for a prolonged period of time without food can seem daunting! Trust me, unless I’m dialing down for stage, I NEED and LOVE all my food. But recently, my usually in control schedule, has exploded into a colourful array of chaos.

Running multiple businesses and juggling home life, sees my schedule challenging at the best of times, but coming back from a major injury has seen my lifestyle change even more so. I love experimenting with new methodologies and finding new ways to work within my limitations. I am always researching and trying different things. So my current crazy schedule and lifestyle presented the perfect opportunity for me to try Intermittent Fasting.

There are loads of options out there for intermittent fasting. I’ve opted for the 16/8 protocol. 16 hours fasting, with an 8 hour meal window. I’ve also dropped my calories slightly due to a reduction in exercise capacity and cut my meals back from six to four, with a lower fat and carbohydrate split.

Why intermittent fasting?

Aside from Intermittent Fasting fitting nicely into my current lifestyle and schedule, I am attracted to the major health benefits that research suggests can be gained from intermittent fasting. These include:

improved metabolic efficiency and increase insulin sensitivity levels;

reduction in oxidative stress and greater mitochondrial energy efficiency; and

Increased cellular capacity to resist stress, disease and aging.

For me, I’ve found intermittent fasting has allowed me to reduce my overall body fat, maintain muscle mass and continue to make progress toward achieving my training goals, while maintaining an incredibly busy lifestyle. I’m taking baby steps but everyone of them is in the right direction – forward!

Importance of good supplementation

While I am finding intermittent fasting is allowing me to continue to achieve results, my supplement regime during this period has also been incredibly important, and must really form part of any intermittent fasting protocol whether its 5:2, 16/8 or eat-stop-eat.

I’ve found using Green Fusion in the morning gives me that vitamin boost and reduces acidity, and combining it with an amino acid like Leucine helps to prevent muscle catabolization.

Training fasted can also be a challenge when fasting and using Pump FX has given me the boost I need to get through my morning workouts. I’ve been getting great results with Pump FX particularly when combined with ZMA to aid recovery and increase sleep quality.

The wrap

Whether you achieve results or not is up to you. We’re all presented with situations in life that don’t allow for us to maintain our usual routine. Some will use this as an excuse, but I choose to find ways to continually plan for my results. For the time being intermittent fasting combined with the right supplements has been a great way for me to continue to achieve results while working through challenging times without giving up on my dreams. Anything is achievable if you are willing to work hard for it, adapt to what life throws your way and believe in yourself!

Conditioning is only half the battle

Conditioning is only half the battle if you’re going to be hitting the stage!

Don’t forget the importance of nailing your stage appearance but also your presence! Posing is one of the biggest criteria!

This is a little snippet from THE WBFF seminar workshop that we ran at Oasis Health Club Mount Gravatt last weekend. Bikini Pro Tasha Mackenzie & Fitness Pro Alicia Gowans Wbff Pro gave the girls a little run through of an example walk. Excuse the choppy footage, we were taking some still photos from the video at the same time to help develop the best poses for all our girls taking to the stage in October.

Beauty, Fitness & Fashion

Alicia is a guest writer for one of the newest online magazines called Human Performance, check out her article below.

For many Australians, maintaining a fit, healthy and active lifestyle is often impeded by everyday life and seen as a chore. For World Beauty Fitness and Fashion (WBFF) Diva Pro Alicia Gowans, it’s a way of life.

Alicia is the Australian WBFF team captain, owner of Oasis Health Club, the founder and Head Coach of Ally’s Angels and Alphas and is fast becoming Australia’s most renowned fitness models. Her passion for fitness as a fully-qualified fitness specialist, with qualifications in personal training and sports nutrition, has complemented her corporate background and a Business Bachelors Degree as well as ongoing Bachelor of Exercise and Movement Science/Bachelor of Behavioral Science studies.

We had the pleasure of speaking to the down-to earth fitness fanatic, coach and elite athlete to get an idea of her meticulous preparation and routine with just under four months until her next competition. Her first and foremost point about preparation, the next one will be completely different to the last.

“No two comp preps are ever the same. Each prep is always different because each year your body changes and you need to take a different approach.” 15 weeks out from her next competition, Alicia says this period should encompass a strong focus on heavy lifting and building lean mass, combining heavy lifts with volume-based sessions.

However, Alicia’s current preparation has been hindered following a re-injuring of an injury sustained at her last World Beauty Fitness and Fashion(WBFF) World’s competition. However, you don’t reach the elite levels that the mother of two has by succumbing to injury. Injury is not a simple excuse to relax, but an opportunity to spice up the training routine and try something different. “So instead of lifting heavy I have been focusing more on volume based training utilising the occlusion or blood flow restriction training method to amplify the intensity of my sessions.” “Occlusion training is great way to still achieve significant gains in size and strength while only lifting 20-40% of your One-repetition maximum (1RM). “My favourite exercise at the moment is actually the primers that I conduct prior to every session.

“These exercises help me to ensure my engagement, biomechanics and technique are all on point even before I touch a weight. And when you really tune into your body you can feel every muscle and fibre turning on. It is really amazing to feel and a great way to connect with your body.” She has also complimented her current routine with Pilates, foam rolling, plenty of stretches, and training in high-altitude conditions. Extensive research suggests a strong correlation between high-altitude training and fat reduction. “The higher altitude forces the body to utilise more of the anabolic energy system keeping metabolism elevated for a longer period post training.”

Without an injury impairment, Alicia says there is no set-way to optimising results. A common misconception is that there is a designated workout or technique that will optimise the construction of lean muscle, fat reduction and generally optimise fitness and body image.

However, preparation is a rapidly-changing, delicate science that requires frequent adaptations. It’s all about listening to what your body desires throughout the preparation and adjusting the training accordingly. “Preparing your body for stage, and coming in on point and on time is a science! There is a lot that goes into it and it is never the same. You have to really know your body and be able to adapt to its changing needs.”

“My training is always focused on my goals, so no two training phases are ever the same. Because body building requires symmetry, shape, size and leanness it is important for me to assess my physique at regular intervals and adapt my training as I progress. “ “For me in the months leading into competition I am generally training 6 days a week, for around an hour each day. Training is predominately lifting based with minimal cardio, focusing on lean mass growth and the enhancement of my development zones from the previous competition.”

Alicia prefers the use of non-linear programming over standard progression, a technique used in foundational training, due its limitations. She states that elite athletes, or goal-driven individuals who compete at multiple competitions throughout a year can achieve far greater success adopting a non-linear program. “It’s largely because the adaptations developed in preceding phases do not get carried over into sequential phases. For instance by the time you have reached the later power phase in the progression sequence, the adaptation developed during the hypertrophy phase will have been lost.

“Depending on the training phase I will generally work my non-linear progression programs in weeklong micro-cycles that will include rep ranges and loads targeted at hypertrophy, strength and power. “For example a simple 6 day undulating program for me may focus on 2 days each of strength, power and hypertrophy, with day 7 rest or active recovery.

An undulating program simply refers to altering the repetitions in a single day’s work out, almost in a wave formation. The theory behind the process again is based upon optimising the output for an athlete’s input. Whilst you only get out what you put in, undulation is a technique that assists in maximising results. “Using a daily undulating program can often result in a further maximisation of gains, as the body is placed and continually varying stressors for growth.”

“An example is focusing initially on priming lifts which are low weight and high reps, before moving onto a heavy compound lift for high sets, low rep sand then combining this with more of a volume super-set sequence of four – five sets of 12 – 15 reps. As the preparation progresses, the importance of cardio and aerobic capacity comes into play. “As I get closer to stage, the focus of training shifts to greater volume with a steady increase in cardio, along with one or two metabolic conditioning sessions.”

And the last fortnight before a competition incorporates higher intensity, increased cardio and things really kick-off! “The last 10 days prior to a competition is what body builders describe as ‘peak week’. This is where there is a greater increase in physical output in order to deplete the body of glucose stores and continue body fat reduction, in preparation for carb loading the evening prior to stage.” “Peak week is the most exciting period in comp prep because every day you wake up and your body has changed in some way. It is like Christmas morning EVERY morning as you find new cuts or new definition that wasn’t there the day before!”

Training and optimising performance and preparation, particularly at an elite level, is never as basic as simply working out. A key ingredient to optimising performance and output is an athlete’s diet. Again however, it’s not simply about living on a diet of vegetables and protein, there is an incredible science behind an athlete’s food consumption. As an elite athlete, everything must be done by the book. “One of the biggest mistakes I see aspiring body builders making all the time is not fuelling their bodies correctly to achieve their goals. This often means either eating too little or too much, or equally as important, not eating to the right macro-nutrient splits.”

“As any elite athlete will tell you, nutrition is intricately linked to performance. You can’t expect to eat poorly while achieving optimum results. This is more important in body building than most other sports,given the package you bring to stage is the determining factor in your success. “ For bodybuilding, the diet, likewise with training methods, varies vastly depending on where the athlete sits in their competition cycle. For example, off-season training, which is built around muscle growth and development, would generally see Alicia consume between 3000-4000 calories per day.

“A standard day would normally consist of fats and protein in the morning, carbs and protein around training, and either a high fat/high protein evening meal, or something more carb based depending on my training schedule. “The challenge is always to come in on point at the right time, without losing too much muscle mass during the cutting phase.” “It is important to have as long a prep as possible so as to keep calories high for the longest possible period to avoid damaging your body or wasting muscle.

“For me coming into stage I never drop below 2000 calories, choosing a longer period to dial in, rather than a more aggressive and calorie restrictive approach. “Competition nutrition, or ‘prep’, is of course very different to off-season nutrition.” And yes, don’t worry, even the best of the best manage to sneak in a little treat every now and then. “I try to incorporate a cheat meal every so often, but I never schedule these choosing instead to listen to my body and what it needs.

However, it’s a fine line to walk when searching for a clean treat. “My idea of a cheat meal is different to most people! I particularly love Cajun crusted salmon with chilli beans, or lemon chicken with homemade sweet potato wedges and asparagus…YUM! I will always go for a clean option rather than something ‘dirty’. For any budding bodybuilders who have been inspired by Alicia’s incredible rise to the pinnacle of her sport, or her lifestyle in her eyes, the mother of two says suggests seeking professional help to filter the incredible catalogue of information is the best approach.

“Perhaps the most challenging thing when you are an aspiring body builder is that with the amount of information available out there, it can be difficult to discern what is useful knowledge, and what is just junk. This can lead to misconceptions and loads of mistakes when you are starting out.” “I always suggest any one aspiring to compete in body building or just looking to build a toned physique seek out a coach that can provide good quality guidance, especially in the initial stages of development.”

“A good coach can make the world of difference and help you lay the correct nutritional foundations and understanding. Most coaches, like myself, will guide you through both nutrition and training and this can be invaluable when you are first starting out.” “The saying ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ is very true in body building, so having someone to step you through the process can be a very rewarding experience.”

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