Simonne Paarman - Bikini Competitor

I qualified as a personal trainer in 2015 whilst living in London. Unfortunately, being away from home, isolated and trying to figure things out on m y own and being on a strict budget, I restricted my meal intake but could, at the time, only afford carby foods because that was cheaper and easier. Being a new trainer in Central London I realized that I couldn't be 81kg and 31%. It didn't suit the lifestyle.
Prior to working in the gym, I had a job at Searcy's St Pancras where I met Eniko, who happened to be a competitive athlete. I watched her go through her prep and went to support her at a Pure Elite. She had already planted the seed and said I should compete but only after watching her on that stage did the bug bite. From there, I hired a coach and started my transformation. I came back to South Africa for my mom's birthday but I decided to stay instead. Several people asked if I was planning on competing so in August 2016 I did my first show which was as a Fitness Bikini girl at Eastern Province Provincials.

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This was my first proper off season but diet wise, I was getting a fair amount of carbs and I think 6/7 meals plus a shake post training as I needed to move up categories. Prep diet is a lot stricter as I don't follow the flexible dieting because I prefer tracking my macros to see what my stubborn body does and doesn't respond to.

I have always gone according to what my coaches have told me. In my first year it was a rush prep so I had carbs for about a week until they were pulled out. I depleted on chicken as I refused to eat fish (bone phobia). In my second year I had a new coach but sadly he was ego driven and nearly put me in hospital with his methods. Initially it went well as there was a balance between proteins, fats and carbs. However, he pulled everything out far too soon and I basically looked ill. This year, under Royston's guidance, we decided to take a much longer prep so as to avoid having to force my body to drop. My carbs are kept around my training times and alters on certain training days and off days. My body is responding so far so that's great.

Practice, practice, practice. It is in my nature to be highly self-conscious and shy. Having grown up as a bigger, heavier girl, strutting around in a bikini and being judged on my physique was never on my to do list. But I've always told myself, what is the point of going through everything on prep and then falling flat on stage. You've done the hard work so show it off.

At the moment my cardio consists of one hour per day, 30 incline on the treadmill at a good pace to sweat out my sins. Time permitting, I do the full hour fasted or I split it between the morning and post weight sessions, which I do in the evenings. Obviously as I am currently cutting, I'm in a calorie deficit. I have carbs pre and post training. Regardless of if I am tired or hungry, training needs to be done. No excuses. If it's not on my piece of paper (diet sheet), I don't eat it. That's how I balance it.

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The last show I did was in August 2017. Athlete check-in was stressful because a number of things didn't go according to plan: my tan was a disaster because I used a different product but it hadn't been applied correctly, plus she was late. Then it was just greasy as there was too much glaze so then it was just smudging. There were a few other incidents but it's all in the past. Despite that, the other girls were all very supportive and there was a good atmosphere backstage and before pre judging. Finals, sadly the tanner was horribly late but there was nothing that red wine couldn't fix. With the night show everyone brings a different flare and amps up the vibe completely. I'm getting goosebumps as I think about it now. There is always that thrill and excitement as you line up before call outs and step on stage. I can't think of something else that gives you that kind of rush.

As I'm a personal trainer, I can't let being an athlete affect my life. I love my job and competing so I need to balance the two. In my personal life, if I'm on prep, naturally I can't eat at functions or birthdays etc, unless it is my own food. I am strict on myself in that regard and won't be tempted to cheat or go off the plan. My boyfriend also competes so he supports me and even if he isn't on prep, he understands the lifestyle and is very patient with me.

Future plans: For now, grow my business and help as many people as I can to achieve their goals. Competition wise, I would love to make it to SA's and hopefully take to a World's stage this year. In the meantime, I'm keeping my head down and doing the hard yards to achieve everything I've set out to do.


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