Stephanie Smirthwaite - Bikini Competitor

I joined the gym 4-5 years ago now and following so many inspirational ladies on Instagram made me want to compete too.

I have coaches who write my plans pre contest. This off season I had a diet plan in place for about 20 weeks before I started my prep. I am currently on 6 meals a day if I'm training, 7 meals if I have to start my day earlier than normal meaning I can eat roughly every 2 hours. Last year, being my first year of competing, I had sneaky spoons of peanut butter which were not part of my macros so I failed myself. This is only my second year of competing and both times I have had different coaches writing my plans.

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I always thought I would struggle with getting on stage. I'm quite a self conscious person but actually the more time I spent in the gym and practising in the mirrors with people around the more confident I became, especially with my physique improving. I actually thrived being on stage which surprised me. I got it wrong last year but I still held so much sass and confidence on stage and that makes all the difference.

Training: At the moment I have two upper body days, one all over lower body day, one more quad based leg day and another hamstrings and glutes based day. I train 5 days a week, I currently am 12 weeks out doing 30mins fasted cardio and 20 mins cardio after a workout. At the moment my food intake is still a good level so my training intensity is still pretty high and I'm still feeling quite strong. My current training plan though is working on volume and high rep ranges.

My first show was very daunting. I was not lean enough or muscular enough. There were no athlete meetings before hand and I felt I went in completely blind. Luckily, my partner had competed for out federation at the venue before so knew where to go and what to do. I didn't make it to the finals on either show but I learnt a lot.

Being an athlete does take up a lot of time. Working a full time job with different shifts every week makes it more difficult. Sometimes I will only get 3 hours sleep due to my shifts making training very difficult. Trying to eat every 2 hours is difficult as well when you can't take 'breaks' as you are constantly needed to be available. Social lives do suffer especially when friends want to go for lunch but you can only eat prepped food you've made for the day at a certain time. Luckily I don't drink anymore but nights out are non existent because you need your sleep.

I will be competing in 12 weeks time and the aim is to place top 3 and get through to the finals. Next year I am uncertain as me and my partner would like children one day. In the perfect world I would love to take my bodybuilding career further but I'm 30 years old and I don't want to have children too late in life. So at the moment I am undecided on how my future will pan out.


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