Tuesday, 18 October 2011

I am sitting at Belgrade airport waiting for my flight which has been delayed. I am flying home via Munich after competing in the IFBB Amateur World Championships in Serbia at the weekend.

Well what can I say, I earned IFBB Pro athlete status in Bikini within one year of competing with UKBFF. I am so happy, it was my dream to become IFBB Bikini Pro!

I placed 3rd at World championships and 3rd at the Arnold Classic Europe last week.

Both amazing experiences. There were over 25 girls in my class (over 163cm) from countries far and wide and an equal amount in the u163cm class in both contests. I have never seen so many girls looking great altogether. We were narrowed down to top 15 then to top 6, and then into the final placings.

I have competed in 3 international competitions now so have gotten to know some of the girls, national teams and photographers which is nice. I hope to see them all again someday soon. A special mention for the Slovakian Team who looked after me in Serbia :)

In Madrid, I competed at the very first Arnold Classic Europe where there were both amateur and pro shows. Mr Swarzenegger himself was of course present, giving a speech and presenting the winning trophy to Victor Martinez in the Mens Open Pro. A great addition to the European contest scene, I hope it continues to grow.

It has been almost 18 months since my first competition, 7 shows later I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the lessons I have learnt along the way...

Ok, we need to remember there is only one 1st place. Everyone wants to win of course but there is only one first place. To be in the finals is an achievement in itself because if you imagine there are girls who do not make it into the finals, they train hard and diet just like you or I but don't get placed. I always try to bear this in mind and be thankful for the experience.
It is important to learn to be happy for others in their success.  Sometimes it is someone else’s time to shine and one day it may be your day, you can't take that away from people.  If you were the winner you would want people to be happy for you right? We all want the same things, no one walks off the street and takes the trophy without making the effort. In the beginning I wanted to win so bad I felt like tripping some of the girls up hahaha (only a brief thought) but now I have learnt to be happy for others success. I'm not going to lie, this is a skill I am consciously making an effort to learn. On stage when I do not get the placing I would like, I try my best not to look upset although sometimes I fail ;) . Its important to be gracious in both victory and defeat.

You may hear people say ‘enjoy the journey’ and you think 'yeah whatever' as I used to, but it really is true. Anyone that knows me knows how intense I am and knows how much I want this but I need to listen when people say ‘enjoy the journey’. The present is all we have, you cannot live in the past or future, these are just your perceptions of how things happened, the only thing that is real is right here, right now and it is important to respect that.

Now I have reached my goal of IFBB Bikini Pro I am going to take some time to learn to live in the moment and try to create a balance in my life. I am going to consider what shows I intend to compete in 2012. I have heard rumours of Pro Bikini at FIBO in Germany and at the Arnold Classic Europe in Spain next year so these would be on the list but I would also like to take to the US stage.

I have done all the thank you's before so I won't do them all again but I would like to mention UKBFF once again. UKBFF are simply the best federation if you want to compete in UK. The only federation that will pay your expenses to the European and World Championships if you are selected to represent them.  The UKBFF leads into IFBB, the largest, most prestigious Bodybuilding and Fitness federation in the world.

I have decided not to compete at the UKBFF British Championships as I am already eligible for Pro status and I am exhausting after my back to back contests. I will however be at the finals on Sunday to support the federation and competitors. Good luck to all my friends competing

Work hard, Train hard, stay focussed. Never take your eyes off the prize.

Michelle :)

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Okay, I decided to make a blog update before I go to the Arnold Europe next Thursday...

My contest dates are
Arnold Amateur Europe, Madrid
Friday 7th October 1pm Bikini over 163cm
Sunday 9th October: 10-12pm Overall Bikini (if I win my class)

IFBB Amateur World Championships, Serbia
Saturday 16th October pre judging
Sunday 17th October Finals

UKBFF British Championships, Nottingham
Saturday 22nd Pre judging
Sunday 23rd Finals

My training is going well, I am starting to get a little tired and it’s a real effort to put enough energy into my workouts but they have to be done. I am doing 5 days a week resistance training and 6 days a week cardio. I stopped training quads for the past month or so and am pleased with the balance. I am sure my body will not change in a week but mentally I need to ensure I've done everything I could possibly do. My social life has totally gone out of the window as I needed to minimise the temptation of eating and drinking out. However, my diet is still not too restricted, I have been eating clean all year so it’s not a mad rush. I still have a once-a-week cheat right up until a week out.

I have been working out what I need to take with me and stocking up on false nails, eyelashes, make up etc. I'm starting to get excited. I fly on Thursday so will prepare all my food Wednesday. Unfortunately I won't be going for a Paella after the show as my contests continue but I will allow myself a small cheat after each show.

From now until the first show I will keep working on my poses and doing some visualisation. I believe visualisation is a great tool that can be utilised by everyone including athletes and performers. If you have been there in your mind, it won’t be so scary when you do it real life.  The key is to try to visualise what it is you need to do  and keep visualising until the images are clear and then you try you see the event as a film, you run this through in your head over and over, imagining the sounds and feelings, feel the stage lights on your face.  If you get nervous, feel those feelings, feel the nerves and get used to those feelings, embrace them don’t dismiss them.  Try to run the film as first and third person from every angle, know exactly what you are going to do. Obviously if you have never been to the venue or even if you have the real thing is not going to be exactly as it was in your head but you will have some experience before you go.  You can rehearse with your eyes closed, it’s a very powerful tool after all I believe a lot of what goes on in our lives are in our minds only by way of perception.

I figured by the time I get to the British finals in October it will be my eighth show in eighteen months so I'm quite proud of myself to have done so much. It is like I have been in race horse mode the past four months!  I know I have given my best and that's really all you can do. I plan to take a few weeks out to relax after the shows and then I plan what is next for me.  

My main aim is to earn an IFBB Pro card, this is a goal I set myself and one I hope to achieve.  As you may or may not know, there are not that many opportunities for a British Female to earn Pro status and Pro cards are not given at the UKBFF British finals, you need to place well at an International show. 

At this point you hand over the control of what happens, you cannot dwell on what is not in your hands, when you have done everything you can, it is now time to go on stage and enjoy what has been done.  You cannot make yourself win 1st place so regardless of the outcome  I would
like to take this opportunity to  thank in particular UKBFF for giving me the opportunity to represent UK at these events and sponsoring me at European and World Championships, My mum and Dad (my mum for being my little chef) Team Bombshell for helping me grow, Panthers Gym for their continued support from day one. Shaun Stafford for the time he has taken to listen to me and give me some 'smashing' upper body workouts. Jimmy, Taira, Tia and Amjad for listening and analysing my pictures with me, my lovely clients and also a few fb friends I've met along the way who have encouraged and supported me, you know who you are :)

Thanks guys, I hope I have been able to 'keep it real', provide some inspiration and show anyone who is thinking of competing what the journey is like. Your support and stories have certainly inspired me.

I will try to add links and updates to my Facebook page to keep you all updated. I would like to thank you for your continued support, all my fb messages keep me going.

Make sure you look out for me and my ego in the November issue of Flex magazine (on the shelves Oct) ;o)