If I thought week 11 was hard, that was a piece of cake compared to week 12. Week 12 involved me having to do a water load, carbohydrate depletion and 3 hours of working out a day. I just want to state for the record that I do not condone doing water loading to lose weight and it should never be done unless preparing for a competition and under the strict supervision of a professional. Water loading involves drinking up to 10 litres of water a day and constantly urinating it out to rid your body of extracellular water in the cells. If done correctly, you can potentially lose up to 2kg of water weight, however the risks are high and you can potentially dehydrate yourself and cause serious illness if done for too long. Great for a competition but as soon as the competition is over, you need to rehydrate and refeed your body. On top of that, the lack of sleep and the training was destroying me. I have never been so drained and tired from training in my life. I felt horrible all the time but continued to will myself to the end of the competition because I knew that it was over at the end of the week. The hardest thing of the entire competition was the last week. It was hell.
Coming into the last Saturday, I had to get a wax and spray tan for the competition. I hate getting waxed and when you are tired and irritable, it is not very pleasant. I had to jump on the scales to have my final weigh-in. I was quite shocked to see the scales showing me that I weighed in at 91.8kg with a body fay percentage of less than 6%. When I started in June, I was 104.8kg and had about 24.2% body fat. 13kg down and 18% body fat in 20 weeks. I was really shocked. The last time I was 91kg was in year 7. I have never been so lean, fit and strong in my life and I was ecstatic just to survive the last 2 weeks of the challenge. There was a sense of accomplishment and pride that you can only get when you truly work for something. On the final Saturday, I had to do my pictures for the competition and that was incredibly difficult and time consuming. The last pump up session was so tough considering I was incredibly dehydrated and hungry. I couldn’t even lift half the weight that I was used to and the photo shoot was tiring trying to pose and get the right angles and lighting for the pictures. It was a good experience and I definitely gained a new respect for any models out there. It is really tough work!
Then next part and one of the mentally toughest parts were waiting for the results. The challenge finished on the 9th of November and I had to wait until the 25th of November to hear if I made the top 50 and November the 27th to see if I made the top 10. This was very difficult for me as I am usually a very impatient person and wanted results immediately. I honestly felt like a little kid in December waiting for Christmas to come and started counting the days down until the top 50 was announced. The best way I can try to explain it to people is imagine running a marathon and trying to beat a certain time and as soon as you pass the finish line, you are told to wait 2 weeks until you get the results back. You are incredibly happy that you are finished however you want to see a result and to see if all of your hard work had paid off. It is a very aggravating experience and the wait was an excruciating one to say the least! The end of the challenge saw the public voting system take place. Honestly, I was incredibly overwhelmed by the support I got from everyone. I pretty much lead the vote count from start to finish and the amount of people who jumped on to place a vote was very humbling. Friends, family, clients, old football teammates, old basketball team mates and even people who I have never met before casted votes for me. It didn’t necessarily translate into winning the competition but it definitely got me noticed by the judging panel and that was the main reason why I decided to push it so much on social media. So from the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank everyone who voted for me. Although this was an individual competition, I definitely felt like I had a lot of love and support in my corner and that I am truly grateful for. I was also getting random people messaging me on Facebook personally congratulating me for my efforts and asking me what program and meal plan I used to get the results that I got. That made me realize that my efforts not only motivated myself but it helped motivate other people as well. My brothers also found great motivation from all of my hard work and all got back into the gym as well. Seeing others be inspired and work hard because I motivated then was one of the most enriching experiences of the entire journey.
The results were finally in. Although I had made the top 50, I ultimately fell a little short of my overall goal of winning the competition. I also failed to make the top 10. This was a very bitter pill for me to swallow as only I would know what I put my body and mind through and I honestly thought that nobody would have worked harder than I did. The general feedback from a lot of people was that I was very hard done by missing out on the top 10 and that I had a much better transformation and physique than many of the people that finished in the top 10. I will never understand why I didn’t make the top 10 however I will honestly say that it still hurts even while I am typing this. In the end, it is the judge’s decision and I have to respect that and move on regardless of the result. The day of the top 10 announcement, I just had a really bad feeling and intuition that Friday the 27th of November was going to be a very difficult day. It got to about midday and I hadn’t heard anything. Deep down, I knew that this would have been it for me and that I wouldn’t make the next stage. At 2pm, I looked at the webpage and saw that the top 10 was listed and that I would not be a part of it. It was one of the most sickening feelings that I have ever felt.
For the people who are now thinking that it is only a contest and that it’s not a big deal, I will put it into perspective for you. I trained 83 of the 84 days over the 12 weeks, many days I completed 2 sessions per day, some days I spent a total of 3 hours per day at the gym and despite all the times I pushed when I couldn’t push anymore, sweated when I didn’t think it was possible to sweat anymore and vomited until I was red in the face, I did not reach the lofty goal that I set for myself of winning the competition. I did everything I could apart from cheating and it still was not enough. The optimist in me is extremely happy because I stuck the whole 12 weeks out, definitely improved both physically and mentally and inspired so many people but the bitter perfectionist in me tells me that I ultimately come up short, didn’t reach the goals I set for myself and that I lost. I did not win. My view on the entire experience changes with my moods. I am frustrated and annoyed yet very pleased and content at the same time.
Also to remind me of my shortcomings, I was awarded with a Max’s Muscle Up 2015 Challenge Top 50 T-shirt which I received in the mail. I just laughed, tore up the congratulatory note on a piece of A4 paper and threw the T-shirt to the back of my wardrobe where it will probably never see the light of day again. I understand that I am coming off looking like a sore loser but this is exactly how I felt when I received this prize in the mail and I guess we all deal with disappointment in different ways. My Dad had a chuckle and said that the T-shirt should have said on it “I busted my arse for 12 weeks and all I got to show for it was this lousy T-shirt.” That did however make me laugh and it also made me realize that although I felt I did this journey on my own, I had an amazing support cast who shared all the highs and lows of the entire 12 weeks with me and for that I am eternally grateful. I also kept being told that at least I won the public vote. Yes, I was incredibly happy with winning the vote but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I said to a few people that winning the public vote but losing the competition was like going out to the Deck in Frankston on a Friday night, looking to pick yourself up a hard 10 to take home with you, putting in all of the ground work all night and she leaves with another bloke while you are left there at 2am looking to find yourself whatever you can get at the end of the night…It wasn’t what you were looking for, but it’s better than nothing!
Now that the dust has settled and that I have had a little bit of time to sit back and reflect on the entire journey from the start of June to right now, I feel like I am an entirely different person. Definitely more driven and focused and wanting to stick things out until the very end. I am lot more confident in my appearance and a lot more confident in my mental strength and capabilities. I have learned to be more patient and calculated with my preparation as well as learning that the easiest thing that you can do it give up and quit. The challenge is about never giving up. It is about letting other people along the way help you out. It is about sharing your successes and setbacks with the people closest to you and it is all about learning from your errors and moving forward. The challenge gave me direction, focus, drive and rekindled my passion for challenging myself on a mental and physical level and I definitely needed these body transformation challenges to get me out of the spiralling depression that I was quickly heading in. This has gotten me back on track and I refuse to fall back into the old habits that plagued my happiness for so long.
I didn’t do this alone however and I have many people to thank. First and foremost, I would like to thank the amazing Ms Rhiannon Leake for being my training partner, friend, coach, mentor, nutritional advisor and an overall incredible source of inspiration. There is no way that I could have gotten through the last 20 weeks without you and your willingness to help me succeed shows exactly your true worth as a person. Anyone who has the opportunity to train with you is incredibly lucky and your mere presence is enough to motivate and inspire most people. I would also like to thank Mr Tim Morgan for being an advisor and more importantly, a really good friend. You have always had my best interest at heart, you have always had my back and you always continue to challenge me to be the best trainer that I can be. You are just a very genuine human being and you always have time for anybody and that has definitely helped me get through some rough times on a personal and professional level. Also, I’d personally like to thank Ms Morgan Rackham for having the unfortunate job of waxing and spray tanning my huge carcass. In order to look good for those pictures, a lot of hair had to be removed and I had to get my pasty exterior in check and she helped out with no hesitation (Maybe because she loves inflicting pain on poor souls!). It sometimes is a thankless job but I thank you for your time and effort. Thank you to everyone who campaigned for me in the public vote competition. There is absolutely no way I would have won with just my network alone and all the work put in behind the scenes by so many people ultimately got me over the line. To everyone who dropped in a vote for me or got their friends to vote, to those who shared my Facebook post and those who spread the word, I thank you so much. To my clients and friends from 4 U Body Fitness who gave me a lot of love and support over the 20 weeks, I thank you. Sometimes it is very difficult training so hard for so long and you definitely have some flat days and my clients were very supportive and understanding of my goals and aspirations. Thank you to my Dad and brothers for their support and all my friends and family who sent me good luck wishes for the journey.
Moving forward, I will continue to train and I am aspiring to take my training to the next level and become a bodybuilder which has always been a dream of mine. The next step in the journey will be a long and arduous one and no doubt the toughest one yet however the last 20 weeks has proven to me that nothing is impossible nor is it out of reach if you strive for greatness. I would have been reluctant to aim so high before June 2015 but now I truly believe that if you want to succeed in life, you can do so with a never say die attitude, a thought out plan and a dream.
Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars.
If you missed part 1 click here www.4ubodyfitness.com.au/the-journey
If you missed part 2 click here www.4ubodyfitness.com.au/the-journey-part2
4 U Body Fitness
Mobile Personal Training Specialist