Alex Brooks - UKBFF Bikini Athlete

Update from Alex, May 2017.

I recently competed at UKBFF North West, in the O166cms category. I usually compete in the masters category & did well last year finishing the season as the Sugars Classic Masters Champion. I thought it would be a good idea to see whether I could still "make the grade" in Open & as my coach said I was ready we decided to compete at this show. It was definitely a learning curve. I think you forget that age does sadly play a part in this sport & the condition a female body has at 25 vs 35 is quite different (more than just wrinkles & laugh lines). But none the less I felt my physique was in good shape & I was happy with the improvements I'd made since last year so all in all I took a lot away from the show & had an opportunity to reflect on my strengths and areas for further development.

Alex Brooks

Photo courtesy of Christopher Bailey.

The registration was probably where it dawned on me that I'd be competing against girls 15yrs younger than me when I saw a fellow competitors dob. But this didn't sway me in anyway, I'm happy with the body I've worked hard for & am proud of the condition I bring. I don't really experience nerves at shows. Often people have referred to me as "zen like" but I guess that's cause I know the routine for show day & have the awareness I've done all I can up until that point to appeal to the judges, if I'm not what they're looking for then I seek feedback, review my training with my coach & keep trying to bring the shape they're after.

I believe bikini fitness is a great sport! The quality of athletes, that I've met over the years in UKBFF and the achievements they've made during their journeys to stage is truly inspiring & phenomenal. I love the sport as it gives me something no other area of my life can fulfil. It challenges me both physically and mentally and I am continuously learning about how my body responds to different training methods and nutrition. I don't think I'll ever stop this lifestyle, just may not compete forever as other areas of my life will take over from time to time as priority, but for now it's my true passion.

Contest Prep

I have been with team Showgirlfitness for almost 3yrs now and am coached by Michelle Brannan. She's been such an amazing influence in my journey and given incredible support over the years. She is more than just a coach & continuously goes above and beyond for her girls. She's been a constant reliable source for feedback that's helped me change and develop from show to show. She creates all my nutrition plans and training and we're in regular contact either through team training sessions or email/msg to ensure things are working and we're on target (even when we're out of season as this I've learnt is just as important as prep).

My nutrition plan doesn't change all that much during the year, just closer to competition time I'll sometimes drop cals to lean down or include/reduce cardio depending on what my physique looks like. I'm pretty constant throughout the year and even when I went on honeymoon for 3 wks at the end of last year I kept a good condition and trained daily (mostly outdoors sports - hiking / mountain climbing). I do enjoy an offplan meal from time to time, but do love my meat so stick to steak / ribs or biltong (a South African delicacy from my roots) instead of sweets as I'm not a big fan of pastries or sweets in general.

My biggest challenge during prep has been work. I'm a Team Leader in A&E for the therapy department and have to cover shifts which sometimes can be stressful and haphazard. It's definitely been an area for learning as I either will hold water with stress or drop weight due to being on my feet all day. It's never the same & each prep comes with its challenges - we're often short staffed & being the team leader means I have to pick up extra shifts if someone else can't do them last minute (you learn to be flexible and quickly adapt to things so that you can fit in meals/training etc when your routine goes out the window!). But with each prep I learn new "tips" and skills which help me overcome these challenges, so I just keep going.

Life as an athlete

I don't think I'll ever go back to being "how I was before" I found weight training and flexible eating. I don't want to call it normal, as I don't think I've ever been 'normal,' but the way I eat, train and generally live my life now seems perfect for me & my husband has joined me in my living routine which makes it so much easier to see it being a sustainable lifestyle. Even when we're on holiday we train in some form & eat healthily, I think having a "buddy" on the journey makes it easier & more fun. So I guess I'll always be a "lifelong athlete" in some form or another.

Future plans

I am due to compete at the UKBFF English Grand Prix on the 4th June (in masters) & then will look towards focussing on IFBB Arnold's Classic in September, which I qualified for having won the masters category at UKBFF Sugars Classic last November '16. I also qualified for the UKBFF British Champs at the end of the year so will most likely end my season with this, unless something else tickles my fancy.

I find having regular goals to work towards really appeals to my personality and I believe in setting yearly objectives rather than resolutions to challenge myself both professionally and physically. Here's to seeing what the rest of 2017 brings.

Follow Alex:
Instagram: chameleon_charlie
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