Rebecca Humphreys has taken her desire to shed unwanted kilos after having her children to a whole new level, by entering the world of competition body sculpting.
> Tell us about yourself and a bit of your history?
Hi, my name is Rebecca Humphreys, wife to Todd and mother of 2 awesome kids, Griffin (8) and Jada (5). I have worked as a high school art teacher for 14 years and I’m still loving it!
My family moved to Taree 4 years ago with a transfer in the education department, and we are very happily settled in this beautifully relaxed area. As my career suggests, I have a passion for painting and drawing and only wish there were more hours in the day so I could create my pieces inspired by nature that are extremely detailed and realistic in approach.
My other vice in life is anything fitness related, and a great friend from Elite Fitness, who also became my trainer, Greg Hain, was the person who encouraged me to compete in Body Sculpting in 2006. I haven’t looked back since!
> What was the trigger that made you want to start changing your body?
Like most mothers, weight gain during pregnancy is normal. But mine was a little excessive to say the least, gaining just on 30 kg with my first pregnancy and 27 with my second. And no, it doesn’t just drop off! So when I was still carrying almost 24 kilos, a friend from my gym in Inverell suggested Body For Life, which is a 12 week program you can access via the Internet and/or a book, and it includes all you need in terms of a weight training, cardio, and eating program to change your life.
Hence I was hooked, and daily time at the gym helped achieve a healthier me and was a great place to socialise too.
> You said that it was a lifestyle change that you wanted. How did that come about?
After the Body For Life program I decided that regular time at the gym was an important investment for my health and eating good, clean, fresh food was the best fuel for my body. For anyone in their 30s it becomes difficult to maintain a healthy body unless it is a lifestyle change – not dieting and exercise, but simply part of everyday life. Routine is the key when you have a family, career and want to maintain a healthy body too. My husband eats like I do for the majority of the year, as do my kids, and we often spend time at the gym together as a family. So I know Todd and I are positive role models to our kids in maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.
> You’ve been in many competitions. Tell us about your experiences with them?
My first competition was in 2006, and if anyone had asked me if I would be on stage in a bikini being judged on my body after the birth of my kids, I would have laughed in their face … but I did it! The first comp was more about getting over nerves and standing on stage, and I probably wasn’t really ready physically to achieve success, but the adrenalin was great, and I made it through.
It gave me the incentive to carry on and see where I could push my body to, with a more informed knowledge of the body building industry, its rules and regulations. Body sculpting is the area I compete in, and Fit Body is a level within the industry that sits just below women’s body building, so our look is a little softer than the bodybuilding girls. We also wear 5-7 inch heels to accentuate the more feminine look to our physique.
Within this level we present on stage for a symmetry, round where the balance of our muscle structure is assessed, and we also do compulsory poses such as front double bicep and side tricep, among others, where individual muscle structure is judged.
We are also required to choreograph a routine to 60 seconds of music that best displays our physique. This is the fun part, where we can let our personality shine through. Figure is the level just below this; it has a softer look again, and we no longer go through a round of compulsory poses like the Fit Body girls but do a dress round instead. So stage presence is also judged, along with body symmetry.
> What were your placements in these competitions?
After my first comp I changed federations to compete within, as Greg and I felt it would be best to stand on stage with a group we knew was fully natural in their approach to body building training. The World Natural Bodybuilding Federation, or WNBF, is the only federation in Australia that drug tests all competitors. I have competed solely within this federation ever since, and my results have been as follows
– 2006 ANB Newcastle Classic – 6th
– 2007 WNBF Newcastle Classic –2nd Figure (now termed Fit Body)
– 2007 WNBF Central Coast Classic – 1st Figure, Best Poser, Overall Women’s Figure Champion.
– 2007 WNBF Australian Titles – 4th Australia Fit Body Short Class
– 2008 WNBF Femtastic Cronulla – 2nd Tall Class Fit Body
– 2008 WNBF Newcastle Classic – 2nd Fit Body
– 2008 WNBF Central Coast Classic – 1st USA Figure, 1st Fitbody, Best Poser – Fit Body, Overall Women’s Fit Body Champion
– 2008 WNBF Australian Titles – 4th Australia Fit Body Medium Class, Best Poser Fitbody Medium Class, 2nd Australia Medium Class USA Figure.
> What does it feel like to be involved in a competition like thes? What are they like to compete in?
It’s a long, long, long day when you compete in this sport, and this is no understatement. The day begins with a 1 hour cardio session at 5am to rid your body of any excess moisture, for a more muscular appearance on stage.
Apply a few layers of tan, eat a yummy brekkie of dry oats (helps suck out any left over moisture) and cooked eggwhites (protein is a must for building muscles), prepare food for the next 12 hours and get your hair and makeup started.
On arrival at the venue you must register and be drug tested and put your feet up and wait until it’s about an hour out from your category. Lots of very browned and buff bodies are everywhere, as most comps I have been in have had between 120- 180 competitors and there is very limited back stage space, so we are often seen outside a backstage entrance pumping up with weights, applying last layers of tan, cooking oil (gives a nice sheen for stage) and spraying with Deep Heat to bring out veins, which is appealing to judges.
I continue to eat dry oats; it is not unusual for me to consume about 750 g to 1 kg in a comp day and only sip water to aid drying out. When you know it’s time for stage soon, tidy hair and makeup, eat some well earned lollies – sugar, yeah! This is our enemy, except for when it’s time to stand on stage, as it helps fill the muscle which you have starved of carbohydrates for the last few days, pump up with the assistance of a backstage helper, and put all that training and extreme dieting behind you and do what you have trained so hard for over the last 9 months – show off that beautifully taut and toned figure.
We are often on stage posing for about 10 minutes. But if it’s a close competition, I have had the unfortunate experience of being under hot lights and straining my muscles for nearly 20 minutes, which leaves the body feeling cramped – like you just completed an hour weight training session. There is often a break between the symmetry and dress/ compulsory pose round, so you have to go through all that was previously mentioned, again. Yes … you do have to be a little crazy to compete in this industry.
> Can you let our readers in on your amazing training schedule?
When in comp preparation, which is normally about 6 months out from the date of competition, I train 4-5 hours, 6 days a week. I need to split my training between the morning and afternoon to fit it in among work and the family. 3 days a week I interval train, jogging and walking with my staffy Gus, normally covering about 10 km. Every other day I work the stairs for 45 minutes at the back of Elite Fitness, which is great for shaping up the legs and glutes, and follow that with an hour of posing practice in those heels, and I also have to practice the 60 second routine to music, which is a necessary component of Fit Body.
In the afternoons after work I generally do about 1 hour of weight training and another 45 minutes of cardio, especially important in the last few weeks to rid excess body fat, more posing practice and finish off with some stretching. Along with all the training comes a fairly strict eating regime consisting of egg whites, chicken, protein supplements, broccoli, rice, sweet potato, and green leafy vegetables. Only the cleanest, healthy food can build a toned body.
> Where is it that you train?
I have always trained at Taree Elite Fitness, and Rachel and Ian have been extremely supportive of my body transformation with advice and a friendly smile or gesture on those days when they know I am struggling with the pressures of this sport.
All of the gym members are a fabulous bunch of people and are always enquiring of my results when it’s comp time – it’s great when you have a group of people who have seen all the hard work you put in and can share in your success. I think Greg and I may have inspired some people to take up the challenge of competition in the future too, which is awesome.
>With all your training and being a mum and wife it must be a huge juggle to find time for all avenues in your life. Does it ever get too much?
Support is a must in this sport, and I wouldn’t be where I am without my fantastic husband Todd, who puts up with my 5am mornings, afternoon training, dieting, and crazy mood swings! And yes, there is many a moment when giving up would be soooo easy, but positive people in my life like my husband Todd, trainer Greg, and his wife Ange, who trains with me and keeps me on track, are life savers. All of the trainers, owners, and friendly faces at the gym also spur me on through the difficult times, and I can’t thank them enough.
> So what does the future hold for you with your life and your training?
2009 will be a year of rest in terms of competition, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see my friendly face at the gym. I need to train heavy and hard to increase size and come back bigger and better for the stage in late 2010.
Without the 4-5 hours of training hanging over my head, my goal is to take on my Personal Training Accreditation, so I can pass on my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things gym related to other like minded people. I already have few people lined up for programs and can’t wait to inspire other people to be the best they can be!
> Lastly, can you tell us what it feels like for you to have turned your life around with this amazing transformation you’ve done?
Absolutely fabulous, and I am pretty proud of the fact I stuck with it through the tough times and transformed my lifestyle and health to a level higher than I thought possible.
We often train within our comfort zone and rarely push our body to the limit, which is what is necessary to achieve amazing results. So my advice to any person out there who wants to improve their fitness or take up the challenge of this sport … don’t just dream it, understand the power you have in yourself, take control of it, and live the reality.
> Thank you Rebecca.