The Arnold Classic, named after the renowned Arnold Schwarzenegger, is about to be hosted in Asia for the first time since it began back in 1989. This means that for UP Hong Kong and Singapore it has given many members of staff the chance to compete in the world’s largest annual bodybuilding competition, something anyone in the industry would dream about doing.
Alex Lamb, 37 and operations manager for Ultimate Performance competed in her first bikini competition just a few months back, placing an impressive fourth, catching that ‘competitive bug’ and now moving onto something bigger and better. Alex has been enjoying the preparation to compete in the Arnold Classic Asia, under the bikini category and is here to tell us exactly what it’s like to train, commit and practice for that big stage.
How is the Training Going For You?
Overall my training is going well. I’m having to be a little inventive with exercises as I have a knee injury that means I can’t do any squats, lunges or step ups but it means I’m having to dream up new ways of hitting certain muscle groups, which can be fun.
Originally the amateur bikini competition was going to be held on the Sunday, but they have decided to have the prejudging on Saturday now and the finals on Sunday, so it essentially means I have less time than I thought…just days now!
How is your Health?
I’m feeling healthy and happy, much better than I expected this close to show day. I’m trying a slightly different approach this time and really enjoying it.
The only real issue I have now is insomnia but I’m able to focus on the finish line so it doesn’t really interfere with training.
What Areas are you Feeling Confident About?
I’m confident that I have done everything I can in the time available to get to whichever point I will be at on show day. If it turns out that certain areas of my body needed longer to lean out then I can live with that but the important thing is that I’ve stuck to my diet 100% and not missed any workouts.
How Have You Adapted Your Training?
Until a couple of days ago I was training exactly the same way as I have been for the last 7 weeks; 4 days a week weight training for about 40 minutes to an hour, with 1 full rest day and then 2 days when I would do a circuits class of some kind or a hike etc…
A couple of weeks ago I added in half hour cardio sessions (walking on a treadmill) about 3 times a week. Now I’m in ‘peak week’, so things are slightly different as I’m more focused on how I look for the stage rather than gaining strength or burning fat.
What Are You Most Looking Forward To?
“This might sound like a strange thing to be excited about but because I spend almost every day in gym kit, I’m really looking forward to throwing on a pair of heels and having my hair and makeup done!”
How Strict is your Nutrition?
I follow a flexible dieting approach, which means that I can eat what I feel like having, provided it doesn’t take me over my daily allowances. This means that I haven’t spent my prep fixating on what I can eat after the show; I’ve been able to have small amounts of anything I’ve craved.
I also plan and prepare all my meals at least a day or 2 in advance so I never have to rely on finding what I need to eat when I’m out.
How has the Support Been For You?
I have a great group of supportive friends who are somehow still around even though I’ve been pretty antisocial during my prep – some are coming to watch too, for which I’m immensely grateful especially because most of them think I must be out of my mind!
I train on my own, but am very lucky to have the UP team close by so I frequently bombard them with questions.
What Do You Feel the Judges Will Be Looking For?
Since my last competition I have been trying hard to get rid of lower body fat, which is an issue for many women. It is said that bikini competitions are won or lost from the back, which means the best bum is likely to do well!
I still have a lot of work to do but I’ve definitely made improvements since the last time. Something that will be interesting is how the judging may or may not be different on the international stage, as I have only ever experienced a local Hong Kong show.
How Do You Feel About the Competition Now?
“I’m just really excited to be a part of the first Arnold in Asia. There are no nerves, I feel no pressure either. I’m doing this because I have so much fun doing it and I’m fascinated by the whole process.”
The only thing I wasn’t sure about was which category to enter, as we had to pick only one. My choice was between the 169cm and above category, or the Masters category for the over 35s. I decided, perhaps against my better judgement, to save the Masters for another year so I’ll be standing up there next to a line of beautiful smooth skinned girls, some of whom are likely to be 15 years younger than me!