Claudia Cantoral - Figure Competitor

My name is Claudia Cantoral, I am a 26 year old designer by trade and a figure athlete new to the bodybuilding competition scene. My competition debut was this past Saturday, March 19th, 2016 at the Leigh Brandt Muscle Classic, which took place in New Westminster BC, Canada. I competed in the Figure A division and was able to take home a 5th place win.

Like many athletes, my road to the stage was fuelled by my passion for fitness, as well as for the challenge it provided and my determination for a positive change in my life. I started my fitness journey back in October 2012 weighing in at 155 lbs. and 39% BF. I was just one more woman suffering from self-esteem issues, hating the person I had become and unable to get myself out of that self-hate hole. That year I decided to take my life back and joined my local gym to try to truly change my life! Fitness has saved me, and has ignited a passion for life I didnít have before. It has pushed me past limits I didn't think I could conquer and has made me a better person. I am proud of who Iíve become because of it.

Now that I am entering the off-season, Iím not planning to stray too far from what Iíve been doing during my on-season dieting. During this prep I have learnt a great deal about nutrition and how it affects my body in particular. It has helped me look at food differently and I grew to respect it and enjoy it more. My on-season dieting consists of a 6 meal 1300-1500 calorie day and Iím planning to continue a 6 meal day during my off-season with a slight change in my macros totaling 1700 calories a day, while still keeping hydrated and taking in 4-6 litres of water daily. I found that this off-season plan allows me to build muscle while keeping lean.

Before trying this competition diet approach, I tried many of the trending diets out there with absolutely no real results. I wanted the promised quick fix and that quick fix never came. I lacked the dietary knowledge, understanding and respect that food deserves. You know what that say, ďKnowledge is powerĒ and that couldn't be more true when it comes to diet and weight loss. Now I know the difference between good and bad carbohydrates and fats. I learned about proper food and macro combination and now I finally know what works best for my body. Understanding food and what works best for your system is what makes the difference between success and failure.

Self-confidence is key for anyone wanting to strut on stage, and itís something I didnít have within me just yet, but grew into it during this process. Getting accustomed to the dieting and training program was difficult, but it was the idea of walking on stage and showing my physique which was the hardest part and was what truly frightened me the most. To be honest, I dreaded the idea of going on stage. I had suffered from stage fright all my life, but I had to face my fears and get past my comfort zone. I knew that if I could conquer this fear, I could do just about anything. Thatís the reason I decided to do a show in the first place, it was the right time in my life to explore new avenues and it was time to make myself uncomfortable in order to grow. I met my boyfriend, Thomas Blaney, at the start of this journey back in 2012, and he is the one that not only introduced me to the bodybuilding world, but he persuaded me to do the competition in the first place. Heís a personal trainer and bodybuilder and had competed twice before, so we decided to compete together! We both ended up placing 5th in our relative divisions and itís a memory we will never forget. Having him right beside me going through the same thing was a huge help. It was his constant support and understanding, as well as that of my family, friends and my incredible coaches Leigh and Dean Brandt that convinced me that I could go on stage a rock it!

Knowing how to balance training and diet is very important, therefore, having the right calorie deficit after each training day was key in getting show ready. Luckily I had 2 of the best coaches by my side guiding me through. Shoutout to Leigh and Dean Brandt, thanks for everything!
My weight training mostly consisted of a 6 days a week and 1 active recovery day program, which included everything from opposing supersets, metabolic training, boot camp circuits and german volume training. HIIT cardio was also always on the training menu every day.

Getting to experience my 1st show was exhilarating and I had such a blast doing it. From the athletes meet to the evening show, there was never a dull moment. When the athletes meeting day came, I couldnít believe how fast 12 weeks had gone by! It surprised me how not nervous or anxious I was. I was overwhelmed at my accomplishment already; I had pushed past the highs and lows of prep, the insecurities, the self-doubts. I just couldn't believe that I had actually made it to the show! The hard part was done and now it was time to show off and have some fun. I was excited to be around like-minded individuals and finally met my competition; and boy did I see and meet stiff competition that day, but I didnít let it get to me. All I needed to do was believe in myself and rock the stage. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the athletes were; whatever the outcome of the evening show was, I knew it was going to be one of the best experiences of my life.

For me, the pre-judging and evening show pretty much blending into one. My game face was on and I was ready to perform. The lack of nerves and anxiety from the previous day caught up to me, but when my stage time came I was able to control them. Taking that first step on stage was invigorating! I had finally freed myself. I was pretty much experiencing a daydream stage, everything was in a fog and to be honest, I did feel like I could have possibly passed out at some point there. I felt all the water and moisture leave my body and a simple thing like smiling became very difficult. I went through my mandatory poses and flexed like I had never flex before in my life. When they announced the 1st callout line up, I couldn't believe I was among the top 5! I of course dreamt of placing, but I knew that this being my 1st show, that it was probably unlikely and I was honour to be part of this group of incredible ladies. When the finals came, I was just as determined as I was at pre-judging. I had a rough idea that I was battling for a 4th or 5th placing and I wasnít going down without a fight. I felt more comfortable stepping on stage this time and managed to secure that 5th place. I had finished what I had set out to do and I couldnít be happier.

My journey doesnít end here. I plan to take the feed back from this show and improve my physique and bring an overall better package for my next competition. Iím planning to keep training and dieting and take a year to improve and put on a bit more size, bring up certain areas and kill it in my next show. Redemption is the name of the game so Iím looking to compete again at the 2017 Leigh Brandt Muscle Classic.

This is just the beginning and I canít wait to see whatís to come!

Sincerely,
Claudia Cantoral
clacantoral@shaw.ca
https://www.instagram.com/krazy_ceecee


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Claudia Cantoral

Claudia Cantoral