Amber Deambrogio - Bikini Competitor

I started out about 4 years ago now, I was underweight and had major body image issues. I started eating "clean" towards the end of high school and by the time I turned 18 I was 42kgs and dropping. I was eating healthy but the problem was I wasn't eating enough. I was leading a fairly dull life having just finished school and living in a small town with little opportunity for growth. I had huge aspirations to compete and get into the fitness industry, but there was just nothing for me where I was.
So, I moved down to Brisbane and started working out in the gym. I realised how unhealthy and weak I was, and from there my goal was to put on weight. After a long battle mentally and physically of gaining weight, I found myself a coach to put me through my first competition prep. It was the hardest thing I had every experienced, but it has only improved since that first year. I have a different coach, different approach and I am much healthier mentally and physically. I'm now 21 and a healthy 57kg.

3 years ago vs now. A little public reminder to myself that progress isn't always linear. Things take time. Some days will be crap, some days you will feel like giving up, some days nothing feels worth it, and that's okay. The main thing is to never stop pushing, even when things get hard. Don't put things into the "too hard basket". Keep moving forward. That's when it all counts.

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I follow the flexible dieting approach (IIFYM) nutrition wise. During my contest phase the only thing that is really different is my calories drop as I get close to competitions, and I cut out a few things like sweeteners as I get really close to competitions. Tracking my macros has definitely been the most successful approach for me.

My first two preps were following a "clean eating" approach, and while it worked, it was mentally harder, and reverse dieting out of competitions was much harder. It was a lot more restrictive and it was hard not being able to still have a social life.

Training: At the moment my programs are composed of a combination of Hypertrophy and Strength work. So all of the main lifts plus accessory work. I don't have any cardio during the middle of my offseason which suits me fine! During my offseason my calories are a lot higher, and I try and eat my higher carb meals around my training for energy.

My last competition prep was the first prep with my new coach, and while it was still hard, I enjoyed the whole experience alot more. I wasn't 100% happy with my final look in the end, but I came away with places which was a welcome surprise. If anything I used the whole thing as a learning curve for the next prep, and I came away with alot more confidence too.

Building self-confidence: Honestly it was just practice after practice. I don't think I really got my confidence until the second season of competitions. It's just something that comes with time and pushing yourself beyond limits. I still get the shakes sometimes on stage.

Couple of weeks out from icn classic. Bit of posing practice while sending photos to the coach man. ?? #throwback

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Being an athlete is just the lifestyle now. I guess other people see it as a hobby, but it means I always have something to work towards. Even if I don't have a date in mind, I'm always improving on something. Self improvement always. I love the challenge and I set my standards really high when it comes to anything, so I'm always going to want to improve something.

At the moment my focus is building muscle. I'm not entirely sure when I'll compete again, I'm sort of leaving that to my coach to decide. If I had it my way and everything goes to plan, I would love to compete at the end of 2018, or start of 2019. I've been competing in one federation for the whole time, so I would also like to switch that up, as well as divisions. (Currently competing in bikini). Long term goals, and I mean years and years, I would love to compete in figure.

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