I have been wanting to start this series on my blog for a while, as I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many amazing strong women who lift and I want to share this with you. Simone, this weeks “Girl who lifts”, is one of those women I know through other people but she recently reached out to be about my training and possible competing in figure and I’m looking forward to getting a session in with her next time I’m in London. I’ll let her tell you more about herself:
How long have you been a girl who lifts and what made you start?
I’ve actively lifted weight from a young age as I’ve been involved in various sporting disciplines since a child, although I started taking lifting seriously in 2009. I’ve been around lifters and body builders throughout my entire childhood, as my father and his friends were all body builders, so I’ve been exposed to the lifestyle since I was a little girl. I decided to try my hand at figure competing in 2011, and signed to UKBFF.
What advice would you give the Simone of a year ago?
No one singular person knows everything. What works for some doesn’t necessarily work for others. whether you’re building mass, gaining strength or cutting body fat, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ formula. Gain advise, but ultimately you learn as you go.
What’s an average week of training for you and do you ever miss sessions?
My training weeks vary depending on my mood, if I was to say I was genuinely enthusiastic about training every day I’d be lying. I have days I can’t be bothered to train just like everyone else, but I have to distinguish in my own mind whether or not I’m being lazy or if I’m genuinely tired. If I really don’t want to train, I won’t. It’s that simple. For the past year I’ve been training solidly for 6-7 days a week, but will occasionally truant for a few days here and there.
My training weeks can involve anything from one training session a day, to three training sessions a day. It all depends on how I feel. I get bored very easily and despise being ‘boxed in’, so I tend to range from sparring with a boxing coach, circuits, interval training, power-lifting etc.
Do you have a favourite body part to work and what’s your favourite exercise to do that?
I used to love training legs, but am harbouring a questionable injury at the moment, so am doing what I can with what I’ve got, whilst stupidly ignoring the pain I shouldn’t be ignoring.
I enjoy training shoulders and back, and am partial to an overhead power-clean once in a while. I enjoy good old-fashioned chin-ups as well, wide grip and close grip, underhand and overhand, with extra weight or without extra weight.
Aside from the aesthetic journey, as a girl who lifts, you are all about strength. What are your current strength and training goals?
Hmmmm I’m not one to document my lifestyle as a “journey”, I find it corny. Life in itself is a journey and the mental and physical results are a by-product of what you do throughout your life.
I enjoy lifting, it is something I do for me. I never intentionally set out to be considered as an inspiration to others, but understand that, that in itself may motivate others. I just enjoy throwing heavy weights around in a controlled environment.
Up until a few weeks ago I was physically preparing to compete in another Figure Championship, but mentally and emotionally I realised it wasn’t for me anymore. The pre-contest prep is misery for me personally, and there’s nothing I’m getting out if it in order for me to want to continue competing, so I decided to make the executive decision to retire from competing altogether. I still train, but there will be no more contests for me.
Do you follow a particular diet?
Not particularly no. I’m not into balancing out Macros etc, obviously I eat very high protein content and also eat very regularly. I tend to eat every three hours, and my main protein source is chicken. I ALWAYS have carbs, and drink copious amounts of water.
Do you ever cheat on your diet? If so, how do you compensate for it?
I eat what I want for the simple fact that I love food. 90% of the time is spent eating very sensibly and to support muscle growth etc, but if I want something different I’ll have it. I don’t tend to see it as “cheating”, it’s a negative approach to eating something you like therefore it’s seen as “bad” if you want to eat a chocolate biscuit, when in fact, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re training hard and eating to support your personal achievements, having the occasional portion of chips or Mars bar isn’t going to effect you if it’s not done that often.
As a girl who lifts, what is your biggest challenge and how do you overcome it?
A lot of what you’ll encounter, both training wise and in day-to-day life serves as a challenge. It’s up to the individual to determine how to overcome what they’ve been confronted with. Ultimately, being happy and loving training is important. If it takes a lot of ‘inner arguing’ to get yourself to train, re-evaluate what you’re doing and try a form of training or workout that will make you feel more enthusiastic. Doing what you love shouldn’t feel like a chore.
What is the best fitness tip that you wish you could tell every woman reading this?
If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you’re never going to be elated with the results you get on the outside. Understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and realise that not everyone is interested in your fitness goals.
What is the biggest fitness myth you have come across?
That millions of sit-ups will get you a six-pack, and that you shouldn’t eat before bed.
My favourite quote is “If excellence is possible, that good just isn’t enough”; If the sky’s the limit, where do see yourself in 5 years time? Where is excellence for you personally?
My favourite quote is “The real rulers are invisible, and exercise power from behind the scenes”. My legacy isn’t in being a sporting effigy nor Figure Competitor, there are much bigger goals that I am pursuing privately without the egregious need to shout about them using social media platforms and inter networks.
Excellence for me personally is a balance of mental, physical, and emotional strength. I’ve realised that it’s so important to be honest with yourself, and not to sacrifice being happy for something you’re not willing to be remembered for in your obituary.
Regardless of me not competing anymore, I will never stop training hard and lifting heavy, it’s part of what I do but isn’t who I am.