The 30-day countdown to my Pure Elite bikini contest has begun and I’m feeling stupendously giddy at the prospect of stepping on stage for the first time in all of my Mumsy glory. Day by day, I’ve loved watching my waistline shrink as my muscles grow, and I’ve never felt happier, healthier and more in control of my body as I do now.
Naturally, being a single parent to my two young children is pretty testing when it comes to training. Working with limited childcare, exhausted energy levels, aching muscles and erratic sleep patterns are hard; but trying to build muscle on a vegan diet is perhaps the biggest hurdle I’ve faced so far. I’m currently taking on 1,800 calories per training day and 158g of protein, for which I munch through hemp and pea protein shakes and bars, chickpeas, black beans, lentils, tofu, quorn, almonds and cashews to hit my target. I consume mountains of broccoli, green veg and seeds, and eat four small meals a day with 100-200 calorie snacks in between. I nibble on handfuls of seeds, protein bars, rice cakes and avocados – I’m constantly eating or training as the deadline approaches.
I train with weights in the morning, splitting my routines into four days per week for each muscle group, and then finishing up with cardio in the evening by cycling from home on an exercise bike in my lounge to keep my metabolism ticking over nicely after my evening meal.
On rest days, I drop my calories to 1,700 but still keep myself active. I’ve thrived on smashing my personal bests, turning super sets into drop sets and then 100-rep challenges. My self-esteem has grown. I’ve gone from soft and scrawny post-pregnancy, to tight and toned. I get so many compliments from men and women, which I wasn’t expecting.
When women think of attempting bodybuilding, this image of a butch, muscle-bound and unattractive bronzed wrestler enters their mind and they instantly freak out. Don’t! Seeing as this is my first show, I’m entering four categories – International Model, Mums That Lift, Bikini Babe Tall and Tattoos – to gain experience and hopefully taking home a top-five placing. The judging criteria for my chosen categories is to have a tight beach body with slight abs and be moderately muscular and lean, but not so much so that I should move up to the muscle categories. It’s all about bringing that spark and energy to the stage, showing my personality and being marketable if I’m going to win any of the £17k-worth of prizes.
The stage lights are in sight and I’m packed and ready to go so wish me luck – I’ll be announcing my results in my next column! #FML