This is the story of Helen, a woman who pulled herself out of a grief stricken black hole to end up rocking it on a stage in hot camo workout gear taking out the trophy in a fitness challenge….at the age of 50. Helen is not looking back, declaring herself to be Healthy, Happy & Loving Life.
Every week at Sharing Bali I see transformations take place. It may be a shift in thinking, a kick-start of healthy habits, sleep deprived bodies refreshed and revitalized or just a realization that life is ok and they have a lot to be grateful for. By the time we reach the volcano summit for sunrise, the inner warrior is revealed, self belief restored and a new found zest for life busting out all over.
Christopher Robin would be proud.
I met Helen on our Sharp Moves Body Transformers Retreat back in 2013.
Helen shares her highs, lows and laughs and takes us through her average day…. juggling family, work and hours of food prep and training.
If you are feeling even just a little bit blah about life… read on. Helen is the ultimate poster woman for taking action, turning dreams into reality. Fitness comps may not be for you, but take just an ounce of Helen’s determination to help you on your way.
Me: Impress us with your transformation stats:
- 2nd Runner-up in the 2014 Maxine’s Challenge
- Winner 2015 Maxines All Stars Challenge.
- I lost 18 kg in my 2014 challenge.
- This was a 16 mth transformation for the two challenges.
- I trained 7 days a weeks in 2014, it took a lot of time and energy.
- My 2015 challenge was about 22 weeks of hard solid training again but with a lot heavier weights and a strict food plan.
Lives: Yarra Valley, Melbourne
Hangs out every day with: Heavy weights… LOL !!!
Three words to describe yourself: happy, determined and a dream chaser
Fave Fitness Fix: Heavy Weights
Best time of the day: Morning
Can’t live without: Dumbbells
All time fave food: I can’t choose …. sweet potato and cheese
Ultimate way to relax: I don’t have time for relaxing … infrared sauna time is the only time to relax now…. comp prep… otherwise mowing my lawns with my music on.
What are you excited about right now: I have a comp 29th /30th April, my very first at 50. And also studying for my Cert 3 & 4 PT Course
K: Was there an “aha” moment? What made you commit to such an extraordinary journey?
H: I spoke to a friend at the boxing gym I go to and she told me about the Maxine Challenge she was doing.. and said I should try too…. I was having massages for my calfs and I mentioned it to my friend who was massaging me and he said DO it , I said really?…. he said YES you need to do something.. He also offered to help me with my food and there my journey began and it hasn’t stopped.
K: Describe a typical day. (A reality check for those thinking about taking up fitness challenges at this level.)
H: I am up at 5 am everyday… well the alarm goes off, then again at 5.15 and I get up…. Dress, coffee and hit the shed ( My Iron Shack).. Music on (loud) and off I go into my own world. I do have my staffy with me everyday .. he just watches.
I have a program already designed for me for my comp prep… I have to do the workout. If I was not comp prepping I would be doing my workout from the previous week at PT, this can take anywhere from 1/2 hr to 1hr 15mins… I then do some posing practice and head back to the house for brekky…. I either do some house work or office work. I food prep 3 times a week and this last for the whole week. I eat 6 meals a day, everyday…. PREPARATION IS THE KEY …
If I prep my food I stay on track and never slip up .. Then another session in the afternoon a few days a week.. I love my boxing, great cardio … then bed by 9.30… in between that 6 meals and prob 3-4 litres of water and 57 pit stops too :-))
K: There must be some incredible highs. Can you give us your best 3 ‘fist punching the air’ moments.
- winning 3rd place Maxines Challenge 2014
- winning Maxines All Stars Challenge 2015
- when I finally pressed 400kg on the leg press
K: The lows?
H: The tragic death of my son…… something I will never ever get over and it is still in the courts now… My sons death drove me into a black hole and the Maxines challenge pulled me out.
I don’t have any other low.. I love life and make the most of it,
because life is a gift.
K: And the crazy moments where you lost it with laughter?
H: I have some great friends at boxing who drove me all the way to the end, we laugh at every session.. I love meeting the girls for some fun 3-4 days a week.. the early morning walks with friends, we talk about everything, laugh a lot and enjoy each others company.
K: There must be the odd day when you would really just prefer to loll the day away. What gets you back into your training? I can only imagine it is a case of Mind over Muscle.
H: Yes it def is. Sometimes I think maybe I will have a rest today, but the dream I am chasing doesn’t allow for this… If I want the golden ticket then I HAVE to work for it….Exercising for a day here and there won’t get me to where I want to go.
K: Enlighten those of us who only hear the negative stories of fatigue, injuries and food deprivation in the fitness competition world. You seem to be the picture of health. Is it realistic for you to maintain this as a way of life?
H: Hey I get tired like we all do, but I am in bed at 9.30 every night … I manage my time every day.. I take my vitamins and eat fresh and healthy… don’t get me wrong I love a chocolate donut and a cider too… but when I am in my zone it just doesn’t come to mind.. Injuries, well I mentioned before, massages to relieve the tightness in my calves from all the walking I do ( 10km EVERYDAY ) it has turned out I do not have any cartilage left in my right knee, so I need a reco but will opt for an arthroscope for now, so I can chase my dreams
I eat 6 times a day, I do not starve myself at all…I eat 5 meals and one is a protein shake. I haven’t been sick once in 2 years …. I look after myself everyday.
K: Thanks to FBook I have seen your home gym take shape. My guess is Santa has to bring in extra reindeer and elves for your deliveries. Is the gym “Helen’s zone” in the house? Was this essential for your training?
H: I think my gym AKA My Iron Shack started with a boxing bag and grew from there…. I wanted to train everyday in 2014 but the place I trained at wasn’t open on Sundays or very early in the mornings, so I started to get pieces here and there… Gumtree, ebay … I bought second hand equipment, then started to add in a new piece or two here and there…. I still use the old weight plates I started with …. I love my weights and add to my collection a lot….and YES Santa is my best friend ….
K: Was it easy to keep up with family and friends and maintain your training? It’s not unusual for friends to drop off and pick up new ones as we move through different chapters in our lives.
H: My family were great… most of my friends were great too…. there is always someone who doesn’t like what you are doing, because they think they can’t do it … I kept telling myself LET THEIR ENVY BE YOUR EGO and that I tell people now …..
K: There’s an element of glamour in the industry. No shortage of sparkly costumes and high heels. I love that you opted for camouflage gear. You look amazing and true to yourself. Was that a brave move on your part?
H: I think at my age the tiny sparkly bikini didn’t appeal to me…. I love Camo and everyone knew that… I knew it would be different and that’s what I wanted.
K: What were your thoughts just before you stepped up on that competition stage for the first time?
UM !!!! I was so scared… I couldn’t remember what I had to do ..
H: I hesitated before going out and once I was up there you couldn’t get the smile off my face and I rocked that stage.. :-))
K: Aside from the obvious body transformation, what are your top 3 benefits to your life?
H: Health, Happy & Loving Life.
K: Transformations usually take place once we get a fresh perspective on life. We know many of our guests go home with a promise to themselves to make some sort of change in their life. What did you personally get out of your Sharing Bali Retreat experience? Any surprises?
H: I loved the peace and serenity of Sharing Bali. The food was the best part for me …. haha!!!! Sharing Bali was what really kicked my goals into action.
K: Your top 3 tips to someone about to embark on a major body (or life) transformation?
Stop with the excuses, have goals and dreams, give it 100%
K: So you took out the prize. Congratulations. Did you party as hard as your train?
H: Hahha!!!! I had a few donuts over the weekend and enjoyed the company, food and time with my family and friends….. no real partying… in bed before midnight that night.
K: I imagine this is a way of life now? What’s next?
H: This is my way of life now… I have a comp coming up and I have my eye set on stage at the Arnolds next year.
K: We will be cheering from the virtual sidelines! Thank you for sharing your story… you are clearly in love with life, healthy beyond belief and the ultimate poster woman for taking action to turn dreams into reality.
Inspired? You can follow Helen’s continuing transformation on Instagram @hbmaxchallenge