Lauren Gross finds out what it takes to go from being a slug on the couch to a bodybuilder on the world stage.
For most students, the thought of living the lifestyle of a bodybuilder is almost unimaginable. Bodybuilders or fitness models train extensively and nourish their bodies with proteins to compete, muscle against muscle on stage. This couldn’t be more different to the student diet of 2-minute noodles and alcohol (although walking up McMullin hill has to count as some high intensity exercise).
To most people, the bodybuilder lifestyle seems as familiar as a trip to outer space. How do people go from average/skinny/slightly flabby to being a super-toned and muscly machine?
2014 Asia Pacific Fitness and Sports Model Champion, Miss Model America Champion and Miss Bikini Universe Pro, Renee Brady says that she first got into bodybuilding because she was overweight during her childhood. She lost weight through cardio and then discovered weight training.
“A male friend of mine proposed I look into competing and I had a look at the females who competed and I was astounded by their amazing physiques. I could not stop thinking about it from that moment,” Renee said.
Similarly, Brock McInerney initially got into the sport just to lose some weight. He started to like the look of bodybuilding and now he loves the lifestyle.
“I want to be a bodybuilder because I have grown a passion for the sport and lifestyle. [I have] the desire to be better than yesterday and increase my knowledge on diet and training in an effort to be better again tomorrow,” Brock said.
Both Brock and Renee are incredibly disciplined with their diet and exercise year-round and these become even stricter prior to competitions.
Renee trains twice a day, six times a week and eats a high protein, low carb and high fats diet. She consumes six meals each day every two and a half hours.
“I eat a lot of chicken, green vegetables, nuts, rice, oats and protein shakes,” she said.
Brock also trains twice a day and he tries to eat ‘clean’ by avoiding processed foods. Before a competition, Brock increases the intensity of his workouts to ensure the maximum amount of calories are being burnt. He then slowly decreases the amount of calories he consumes each week in an effort to lose body fat while maintaining muscle mass.
Big muscles come with a big price tag. Renee says each preparation session before a competition is usually around $3000! Brock agrees that it is expensive, however, he says that he probably saves a lot by not having alcohol-laden nights out at Kingas.
There is no doubt that the ability to train twice a day and resist things like potato bake, chocolate and pizza is really impressive but bodybuilders still face heavy criticism, especially online. Brock shrugs the negativity off and says it usually comes from people who have no idea about the sport.
“I just think that it wouldn’t matter what I did, there would be negativity,” he said.
Renee faces even more criticism because she is excelling at what has traditionally been a male-dominated sport. You only have to look on the Instagram accounts of female bodybuilders to see comments like ‘eww’ or ‘you look like a man’.
Renee says she has seen these criticisms on social media but hasn’t received too much of it herself. It’s important to note that Renee describes herself as a ‘body sculptor’ rather than a ‘bodybuilder’, which has more of an emphasis on modelling.
“Personally, I don’t let those comments affect me whatsoever because my training and bodybuilding is not purely superficial, it is about the hard work, dedication, endless hours of training and strict dieting that goes into presenting such a physique that entices me. Some physiques are a bit too much even for my liking, however, I have so much respect for the women and men that have sculpted their bodies to that extent,” she said.
Image: Renee Brady