Compiling this blog while eating a bowl of pasta was a bad idea.
I have known Renee Armstrong for a couple of years now, she is a very good friend of my mate and theEDIT contributor Eliza Ashe. When I first met Renee she was sashaying across stages all over the world starring in a few musicals you may have heard of, like oh I dunno, Hair Spray (!), Chorus Line (!!) and Wicked (!!!). Yeah, she's kinda a big deal in the land of musicals. But then of course, as inevitably happens when you live out of a suitcase your entire adult life you get to the point where you want to lay down some roots.
Making the move to become a trainer was a natural one for Renee, she has had to focus on fitness (you try singing and dancing around your house for a couple of mintues, that shit is hard work) and her bod for a living. As a personal trainer it was then an easy transition to competing in Fitness Model comps for the natural performer. Seriously, this girl is entertaining without even trying.
So of course I flicked Renee a few Qu’s about what it takes to get a rig like hers, what it’s like competing and of course where the best place to get a fake tan is.
Tell me about your daily exercise routine?
My training changes depending on what I have coming up. Close to competition time I will be doing low intensity cardio in the morning, normally on the stepper, then a weights session in the afternoon. However, if I’m focusing more on strength, it will be heavier weights, lower reps and longer rest periods. I also don’t do very much cardio in this time.
What do you do when your usual routine gets boring?
I never just train for the sake of it. There’s always a plan or something I’m working towards. It’s also in this time that I am grateful for having a coach to keep me on track. I can’t recommend having a trainer more!!!
Check out how devoed that guy in the backgroud in. He knows he can't compete with Renee's abs, off to Sizzler!
How do you motivate yourself to exercise when all you want to do is curl up on the lounge and eat a giant bowl of pasta?
If you train hard enough 80% of the time you can enjoy having days of like that. I love being fit and training hard so it’s rare for me to see it as a chore. Often people will lose motivation if they are just training to burn calories or not following a program. I am always looking to change my body and make improvements.
How did your friends and family react when you told them you wanted to pursue body sculpting?
After being a dancer my whole life I have always been fit and active. This was not really a surprise to them. Now being a PT and a coach, it’s very common. I don’t compete for peoples reaction, it’s a personal thing.
How does your exercise routine change when you are getting ready for a competition?
I have more volume (higher reps) in my weights sessions and the inclusion of cardio. The biggest changes are with diet. Things become very calculated and precise. You can’t undo a bad diet.
Tell us about an average day of eating when you’re getting preps for a competition?
I eat 5-6 small meals a day. They include ‘clean’ low GI carbs like brown rice, sweet potato and protein in every meal from lean meats. My favourite fats are coconut oil and avocado. I never drop out a macro group until the last week before comp. In this time I go very low carb which is called to deplete the muscles of as much glycogen as possible. I make up for this when I ‘load’ or ‘carb up’ in the 2-3 days before the show. Your body over compensates and you come in on comp day looking really lean and full.
What is it really like backstage at a competition? Super competitive?
Not at all!! With body building the work is done in your prep. There’s not much you can do on show day to drastically change your physique. All the girls I have met through competing are gorgeous! A lot of them are young mums, professionals etc. The stereotype ‘fitness model’ is less frequent than you think.
What is the biggest myth about the kind of exercise you do?
That you are going to get ‘bulky’. I wish it was that easy to build muscle.
You must have tried more fake tans than I’ve had hot dinners, which is the best?
I use ‘MUSCLE TAN’ and the beautiful girls at ‘Parlour Room’ in Clovelly always do the best job. Not just with comp tans, they have the best 2 hr EVER!