Chloe Pickford - UKBFF Body Fitness (Figure) Competitor

Sports have always been a massive part of my life I have forever been competing in various sporting activities, so I guess ive always been involved with competitons and always had a focus. The gym/exercising has always been in my interest but as a younger girl I focused more on the cardio side, however it wasnít until university where as part of the first team hockey squad we were taken through a strength and conditioning program every week, I really began to love lifting and feeling strong. Within the squad I was the strongest and was always willing to deadlift and squat more each session! When I qualified as a Personal Trainer I realised that I needed a focus for myself again as I was no longer playing and participating in sports, considering I had always been in competitive sports to have suddenly stopped was a bit of a shock.

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I had seen girls compete on instagram and various social media platforms and known of girls and guys involved in it but I was unsure I had what it takes. I remember a fellow PT from the studio I was working out of at the time said ĎChloe you should come and meet my coach, to chat about you potentially competing, I reckon youíd love it!í so I went to the gym with him and met my first coach, he watched me train and had a little look at me, straight away highlighted I was very leg dominant and had no shoulders, something I had anticipated him saying, but he pointed out that I had a natural athletic physique. I had never weight trained properly so I had a few imbalances to say the least, but from that day on I never looked back! I originally wanted to compete in the Bikini category, my old coach did make me aware that it may not be the category for me this was confirmed when I visited Helen from Panthers gym for posing practice, where she advised me to change to Body fitness, she highlighted that I was too muscular for the bikini category, initially I was devastated but it seemed to work in my favour, I am a true believer in everything happens for a reason.

Contest Prep

With last year being my first year competing I have never experienced an off-season before, I decided to compete in March 2016 and stepped on stage in September 2016, so this is my first ever off season, I gained a lot of un wanted weight after the British Finals as I didnít have a reverse diet set out immediately by my previous coach, it is amazing how quickly your body can change in a matter of weeks if you donít have a plan set out. When starting up with my new coach in late November he devised a sustainable diet for me to stick to with the aim of dropping the unwanted body fat. I am typically on 6 meals per day where I consume a high amount of protein, with 3 low carb days per week where I consume more fats (days off from weight training), this diet has been assessed and altered through the months for example I am now on half the amount of carbs on my training days and zero carbs on my active rest days and I have now cut out carbs in my evening meals. I personally am rather carb sensitive and I donít necessarily need them for my main source of energy, I also find it easier to stick to the same meals everyday so I know my calorie intake is the same day in day out. My prep last year was a tricky one, as I previously mentioned there was no real off-season for me, I didnít have months or a year to build muscle and work on the imbalances in my physique. We worked on as much as we could for 3 months and then I was into the prep phase, keeping my protein high and gradually lowering my carb intake.

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I am very much looking forward to dieting this time around and to experience a different approach from my new coach, I also am holding a lot more muscle this time around so revealing what I have been working on is an exciting thought for me!

Failed diets: I think with competing comes a lot of trial and error but Iíve not been in the industry for long to state that Iíve tried a lot of pre contest diets, however pre contest last year I was on a very low calorie diet, the diet combined with certain training approaches meant I lost some muscle mass and condition in my lower body, I wouldnít ever want to approach a competition in that way again.

I typically follow a high, medium and low rep training cycle, my heaviest lifts are obviously seen in my low rep weeks, I find this a great way to train its simple but so effective. I do HIIT twice a week either on the spin bike, treadmill (sprints) or I devise a mini HIIT circuit out, these sessions are on 2 of my zero carb/rest days. I always complete 10 mins of cardio on the bike before I begin my weights session to get the legs moving and heart rate up and I do 20 minutes after my weights session with 15 of the 20 working at a higher intensity.

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On stage

I have always been a performer, I danced at a young age and through my school years studied drama, for me getting on stage is a time to almost show off, posing and walking onto the stage is one of the easiest aspects of competing for me. However at first I was worried about showing my physique off to hundreds of people in near enough no clothing, even when I have check ins I am very hesitant about stripping down but when you are tanned, dieted and you have a face full of make up you do really feel your absolute best!

The whole process for my first show was ever so nerve racking, with it all being so new to me I really didnít know what to expect, when checking I was looking around trying to figure out who I would be against. I remember thinking to myself back stage at my first show that I just need to step on that stage smile and show them what Iíve got! The girls backstage with me had all competed before and some of them looked a lot bigger than me, but I had to try to focus on myself, when I was told Iíd got top 3 and I needed to complete an ĎIí walk the nerves ramped up but I was so ready to strut my stuff, it is situations like those where my inner performer comes in handy. The British finals were a whole new level of nerves, the standard was so high but again I just channeled my nerves into performing.

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Future plans

I want to continue to compete and see where it takes me I suppose, I love having it as my focus and I thrive off continuously challenging myself both physically and mentally. I have fallen in love with the sport and can definitely say choosing to compete is one of the best decisions I have made. Who knows that the future holds!

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