Helene Tremblay - Physique Competitor, Powerlifter

When I first started training and fell in love with building muscle, I decided I would eventually compete. At first, I had my heart set on Bodybuilding, but after learning more about the categories I decided to enter in Women's Physique.
My first contest was October of 2016 and at that point, I had been dieting and training for 4 years. In that time, I had lost over 100lbs of fat, and had surgery to remove the excess skin in my midsection. I placed 3rd in my category, which earned me a qualification for a Tier 2 show, which will take place next June! I'll start prep around February next year (2018).

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My off-season diet doesn't actually change too much in principle from my contest prep diet. The calories are higher, obviously, but my meal timing stays consistent. I don't move around a whole lot at work, and I always train in the evenings, so I've found what works best for me is to not have carbs (aside from greens) in my first few meals of the day - only my pre and post workout meals have rice or oats. And conversely, I keep the fat in my post-workout meals to a minimum. I fast for a few hours in the morning, then I start eating every 2 hours until I train. I refeed once a week - usually on a Saturday before or after a heavy training session.
I've found, overall, I operate well on a high-protein (lots of eggs/whites, chicken, fish), moderate to high fat, and low to moderate carb diet. In my off-season obviously my calories are higher, and that's mostly from carbs, again just timed around my workout.

Failed diets: I've only stepped on stage once, so my scope is limited here. But I did have to switch to a ketogenic diet for the last 7 weeks of my 20 week prep, because my body just wasn't responding anymore. And I actually enjoyed it! Would I do it again? No. I felt I lost some muscle in the process, and that's not worth it. Next time I know my body will be more conditioned to handle an aggressive cut, without having to drop carbs entirely.

Training: After my show, I decided to try my hand at Powerlifting and got to work on getting ready for my first meet in January of 2017. This allowed me to switch gears, focusing on lower reps with heavier weight. My body responded very well, as I'd been training in high volume bouts for a long, long time. I packed on muscle, strength was climbing weekly, I got to eat more food, and I felt great! Now I've done two meets, broken records, and I'm preparing for my first Strongman competition. I still incorporate a lot of accessory/assistance work to keep my physique well-rounded, but heavy compound lifts are the basis of my training in the off-season. In contest prep, I still perform compounds, but for a lot more reps, and with timed tempo so the muscle is under constant tension. Having the ability to change between the styles of training has kept things interesting and constantly challenging, and my physique has benefited tenfold.

Throwin it back to I guess 9 days out from MB. Best believe I'm gonna make this chick look like a mini marshmallow come June. ?? #tbt

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Self-confidence: Ah, this is a tough question. I still struggle daily to feel truly confident in my body, especially post-contest. Truthfully, I believe I was ready for the stage because I had given myself so much time to mentally prepare. I decided a full year before I even started contest prep that I would compete at this specific show. I completely trusted my ability to work with my coach and be ready in the timeline I had set. I knew if I wasn't ready, and that if I didn't deserve to be up there, that I wouldn't compete. I had great support from my coach and family, and that made me feel more ready.

Show experience: Unfortunately, my prejudging experience was awful! lol. The show's format was posted online, but had changed on show day. So when I was actually up way earlier than when I was *supposed* to be on stage. I almost missed my chance, but I just made it. Cold, no pump, no carbs. But I showed up, I smiled, and I stayed in the middle ;) I was upset, but I shook it off and put my feet up to rest for finals.
I learned a lot about what to do better next time. First thing: get a tan touch up between shows!! I didn't think I needed it, until I took my sweatshirt off and my tan was a smeared mess. I didn't have time before finals to get it redone, so I just went on stage. The head judge let me know I was scored accordingly and that my tan was distracting. Totally fair, and it's my fault.
Overall, I compete with an amazing organization, and I volunteer backstage whenever possible. Thankfully, that helped me a lot to know what to expect on show day. I always suggest to hopeful competitors that they spend a day backstage in the chaos to see what it's like. It's a different outlook, and it's a lot of fun!

Considering I used to be a fat, lazy, depressed person, athletics literally saved my life. I can't express how great it feels to have accomplished something I never thought I would be capable of doing. Even if I had never placed, I would still be just as proud. I don't look at food the same way; I feel enlightened to how my "normal" lifestyle was killing me. I am so much happier, vibrant, positive, outgoing, confident, and secure.

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Future goals: Provincials next June for Women's Physique. If I place and qualify, I may do Canadian Nationals. I'm undecided at this point.
Many more Powerlifting meets!

Email: hjtremblay@gmail.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/queenofmean_

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