This blog is the first of 3 instalments in which Martyn Pace, a Personal Trainer, will take you through his journey from ‘Gym Floor to Stage’.
My name is Martyn Pace and I am a 29 year old personal trainer, I have worked in the fitness industry since 2007. Although I have always been sporty and active throughout my life, I didn’t start lifting weights until the age of 21.
Since then I have managed to totally transform my ‘skinny-fat’ body to a toned and athletic physique. This series is all about the story of my preparation for my very first physique competition; the highs and the lows, the experiences I encountered and what I learnt from the journey.
Why I Decided to Enter a Fitness Competition
I initially entered the competition because a client of mine told me he wanted to enter the show himself and he had asked if I would enter alongside him to support him along the way.
I have always wanted to enter a physique competition, but never thought I had either the physique or mentality to confidently stand on stage in front of an audience. Even though I maintain a pretty lean physique year round, I have always felt that there is a huge difference between looking good and looking good enough to stand on stage. Nevertheless, I wanted to support my client as much as possible so I decided to go for it.
Furthermore, physique competitions are an area of the fitness industry that I have always been interested in and wanted to explore further; and what better way to learn about them than actually going through it yourself!
When I finally decided to enter the competition and fully commit to the idea of standing on stage and ‘strutting my stuff’, I had 8 ½ weeks to prepare. I was already in half-decent condition, but there was no way I was anywhere near stage ready. During the first week, I began to doubt myself and questioned whether or not I was going to do this. To ensure I stayed committed throughout the entire process and to stop myself from dropping out, I booked myself a photo-shoot for the day after the competition. That way I ‘HAD’ to get into the best shape of my life; otherwise the photo-shoot would be a waste of money.
What Did I Expect?
In terms of the diet and training regime, I was pretty confident that I could do it. Although I don’t normally follow a super ‘strict’ diet and training plan throughout the year, I do eat very clean and train 5-6 days a week normally, so I thought that I could stick to a show preparation plan. Even the gradual reduction of carbohydrates and calories proved to be quite easy to cope with and although I do think I reduced my calories too much towards the end, I was never really hungry and very rarely had any cravings for cheat meals and food binges. What I hadn’t anticipated however was just how much the reduction of calories would have on my performance in the gym. I have always thought that I had a high pain threshold when it comes to pushing my body to its limits in the gym, but the combination of minimal carbohydrates together with an increase in exercise frequency, duration and intensity was something I was not expecting. Some days it literally felt like I was a zombie with no energy, other days I would start out with lots of energy and then ‘boom’ the tiredness would hit me like a brick wall. Nevertheless, I never once missed a day of training and always made sure I completed the full workouts.
I knew that doing the show would impact on my home life and expected it to have quite a big effect on my relationships with my fiancée, family and friends. But I had a plan in mind that would hopefully prevent this from happening. I made sure I sat down and spoke to them all, explaining what I was doing, what it would involve and I asked for their support throughout my journey - this proved to be real a life saver.
Apart from the odd sarcastic comment, they supported me every step of the way and even during social occasions and family get-togethers, helped me stay on track and stick to my nutrition plan. Without this support network I honestly don’t think I would have been able to do it.
The posing however was a totally different story. I had never held any poses before myself, and apart from the odd clip on you tube, I had never really seen a physique contest before, so I knew this was going to be the area that I really struggled with…and I wasn’t wrong. It took me a good 3-4 weeks to even practice in front of my fiancée. Once we got all the laughter and sarcastic comments out the way, I felt a lot better and even though I knew I wasn’t very good, practising my poses during the last few weeks at least became more comfortable.
In the next post, I’m going to talk about my workout plan and general nutrition before I go over the show and my thoughts thereafter...