This article was originally published by Australia Financial Review
By Amantha Imber
September 20, 2021
After being a very unsporty (read: nerdy) child, in my adult life I have always found joy in exercise and keeping fit and healthy. About 2½ years ago, I was doing functional training classes at a gym but felt like I had reached a plateau. I wanted to find a personal trainer for health reasons, as opposed to anything else.I studied personal training on the side when I was doing my psychology doctorate, and I still read quite a bit about nutrition and exercise physiology – so my prerequisite in a trainer was that they needed to know more than me. I found that person in Sami Clements from Fitbliss Fitness, a trainer who specialises in female weightlifting but happens to be based in Utah, in the US.I should add, I don’t consider myself a bodybuilder per se. I simply think of myself as someone who does weight training to be fit and strong and a good role model for my seven-year-old daughter, Frankie.Do you compete or do it for pleasure?
The idea of competing freaks me out; it’s so not me. I lift weights because it makes me feel powerful and healthy. And in a society that pressures women into believing there is only one ideal body type, it shifts the focus onto appreciating my body for being strong and for functioning well.
How often do you train?
I do four to five 45-minute weight training sessions every week.
Where do you train?
Pre-COVID-19, I was training at a gym, but because my trainer is based in the US, my routine was quite unusual. I would do weekly check-ins and send her videos of me lifting weights so she could give me feedback on my form. Every six weeks, she would write me a new program. Then when COVID-19 hit, I set up a pretty awesome home gym in my garage with a squat rack and cable machine and a bunch of dumb-bells and kettle bells. I feel like I bought the last squat rack in Melbourne before fitness equipment everywhere started to sell out.
Lately, that’s all changed again. After two-plus years of having a virtual trainer, I wanted to find someone who could train me in person. I found James Killen from Sigma Physique, who is the most knowledgeable trainer I have met. So now [when not in lockdown] I train at his studio twice a week and in my home gym twice a week.
Has COVID-19 affected your training or plans?
It meant I invested money in setting up a home gym. But now I can’t see myself going back to my old gym as I love my home set-up.
I do a little cardio – specifically on CAROL, which is an AI-powered bike. It has protocols for reduced-exertion high-intensity training, and I’ve been a huge fan of the company for several years. It’s the most time-efficient way I have found to improve cardio fitness.The heaviest weight you lift in training?
I can squat and deadlift about 50 kilograms.Describe a training session.
I do two predominantly lower-body days with my trainer. We do very heavy hack squats, leg presses and other exercises where we work up gradually to one really hard set of each of the main exercises. I then do two predominantly upper-body days in my home gym, where I might do bench press, some back exercises and shoulder exercises.What benefits does bodybuilding bring?
Even though I am 43, I feel fitter and stronger than I have ever felt in my life.Do you have a special diet?
Nope. I just make sure I eat a fair bit of protein to help with muscle recovery.
Your view on anabolic steroids?
Definitely not for me.
Ever suffered a serious injury from bodybuilding?
No, I haven’t. Touch wood.
Do people compliment you on your physique?
I do get a few comments, especially about my arms – I guess they are quite toned.
Love most about bodybuilding?
Feeling strong and powerful, and the feeling of progress through lifting heavier weights.
Dislike about bodybuilding?
Nothing comes to mind.
Tips for people wanting to get into bodybuilding?
By far the most important thing is to find a great trainer, someone who is super knowledgeable and passionate about staying on top of the latest research.