Bodybuilding as a sport has been around a long, long time, and for most of it’s lifespan, it has been completely drug-free. The most incredible physiques were created through some serious hard work and sound nutrition, and lots and lots of sleep. I’m thinking of legends like Reggie Park, Steve Reeves, Clarence Ross, and my favorite, Frank Zane. The list of natural body-builders is quite big actually, but it’s been overshadowed by the current dominance of anabolic-sustained growth seen in international body-building today.
I picked up weight-training because of a personal bet I had with myself when I saw a friend of mine compete at an NPC event in the spring of 2010. While I was in pretty good shape from 9 years of a steady Bikram practice, I felt like my regimen, (and my derriere) needed a boost. I knew I was entering a possible hormonal window of increased muscle loss because of my age, and it looked like a heck of a lot of fun getting up on stage with the other women. So, I hired a trainer at my gym with a background in competitive bodybuilding, and joined the Cathy Savage Fitness team for coaching and stage preparation, and began a journey that is now part of my daily life and philosophy. In m first year, with just a few months of training under my belt, I won several shows, and really fell in love with competition. I hired a new coach to take me to the next level, Jean-Jacques Barrett, and I’ve been training with him ever since. I am now certified as a Strength and Conditioning coach with NASM as well as a Nutrition coach with Precision Nutrition. I do most of my own programs now, consulting with JJ whenever I have a specific goal or want to try out a new protocol and I no longer consider my time in the gym to be simply “weight-training”. When I work out it is with a critical eye to symmetry, over-all shape, and conditioning. I take photographs on a weekly basis which I share with my coach, go over details of muscle development, and change the program when necessary. I love my workouts at the gym, and train hard. I agree with Frank Zane that you have to stay mentally focused to the point of meditation when you are working out. You really have to visualize what it is that you are trying to accomplish, and then put that mental image into your body when you hit it with weights. I think that’s one of the reasons why I’ve had good success with my training, it’s the easy crossover between yoga and body-building. I know that the mind has a limitless ability to amplify results when it’s clear and focused. And I also know from yoga how important complete rest is between sets, (what we call savasana). Not only does this allow you to get ready mentally for your next set, but physiologically it allows the circulatory system to flush the entire body with nutrient-rich blood. It’s all about growth, about staying in a hormonal zone, reducing stress and any other catabolic triggers, and really getting the most our of you time lifting. Breath is also often overlooked. How you breath can really affect your load during the workout. If you’re not in control of your breathing, and running around gasping for air, you aren’t taking full advantage of your lung capacity and you end up limiting how hard and how long you’re able to work out for. I really do my best to stay as calm and focused as possible when I’m working out. For me, body-building and yoga go hand-in-hand, and Bikram himself was a very successful competitive weight-lifter, training under Bishnu Charan Ghosh, an international judge for the Mr. Olympia and the IFBB, and highly respected physique coach, (he trained the first Asian Mr. Universe, Monotosh Roy).
Something else I really want to stress is that successful and sustainable body-building, at least for me, has to have a really holistic approach From my training as a Health Counselor with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I know that a person’s health has just as much to do with the balance between their social network, career, family life, sleep, and financial budget, as it does with how much exercise they’re getting or how much broccoli they’re eating. I say this because so many competitive physique athletes end up getting injured, sick, or develop anti-social behaviors and eating disorders. I have friends who have ended up with fatigue syndrome and have given up weight-training altogether. The alternative is an abuse of fat-burners, energy pills, and a constant cycling of extreme exercising and dieting.
Body-building, like yoga, done the right way, through a strong work ethic, sensible exercises and cycling of programs, sound nutrition and management of all the other factors that sustain optimal health, is an incredible sport that has great potential to positively influence society, and I really hope that there are more and more athletes ready to support the all-natural movement, so there is an alternative out there for the present and future of the sport!
For online training, nutrition, and health counseling, please send inquiries to: [email protected]
For my Show Prep Package, which start a minimum of 5 months prior to a show, the package is $1500, with a $100 initial consultation fee that includes a skype coaching call to set up your program.
If you are interested in my annual YHH Body Transformation programs, you can apply to register by emaling me at [email protected]. The program is 6 months long, the cost is $1800 CA non-refundable, and includes personalized training and nutrition programs monthly, as well as weekly skype coaching calls. The group is limited to 10 women who must all actively participate on a private facebook page, and answer to regular homework assignments including building motivational collages, taking training videos and creating macro-friendly recipes! It’s a highly successful program, and will have you sweating bullets in the gym 5-6 days a week. Get ready to work! Once accepted you can pay your deposit of $250 via paypal to hold your spot. These programs fill in months in advance, seriously, so please contact me immediately if interested.