Well, the last month has been full of ups and downs for all of us here at the True Fitness gym in Mumbai. While my yoga competition training was going remarkably well up until the first week of March, suddenly on March 5th the entire third floor of our gym was shut down and sealed by government officials. Apparently there is an ongoing dispute between the gym owner and the landlord of the mall we’re in, and so until the issue is resolved, no more Bikram Yoga!
Our studio is, unfortunately, located on the third floor. Still, the main gym is open (for how much longer, we don’t know yet), so I’ve kept up with weight training, and just upped the intensity, making some great gains on my physique.
I’m working with a client of my own who just landed two great roles in some upcoming Bollywood films, and so we’re busy getting him ready for his shoots. I’ve been doing the training with him, hitting my chest, biceps and triceps like never before, and I feel like my overall conditioning is the best it’s ever been outside of a show, and my overall symmetry is where I want it to be three months from the SAF Summer Spectacular.
I used to battle with my own coach about training the arms (I avoided it, fearful that I would look to “beefy”), but now I acquiesce that building the chest and arms greatly improves the appearance of the shoulders – that’s why you should always pick a great coach and then Do Exactly What They Tell You To Do! My point is, there’s a silver lining in every cloud, and instead of whining and complaining how some bad luck kept you down, when life serves you up lemons, you’d better figure out pretty quickly how to make the best lemonade from them. The road to success isn’t perfect, and that’s what makes it challenging and fun!
I’ve also been taking the 45-minute rickshaw commute out to the Bandra district to practice Bikram there, but my yoga-competition training has fallen to the wayside, I have to admit. I was struck down with a sinus infection for the last 10 days, and I’m only now feeling good enough to practice inversions (upside-down postures). Who knows, though, maybe the break did me some good. I was getting awfully sore from all the flexibility work I had been doing (even more sore than what the gym can dish out). Seriously, my spine felt raw, my back muscles felt like someone was beating me up with a baseball bat, and my right shoulder was about to resign from business. But now I feel pretty fresh and eager to dive back in again, so I’m all set to buckle down over the next two weeks here in India and make up for some lost time. I really want to take a placing and go to the International Championships in L.A. on June 8-9th. It would be another wonderful dream come true. Either way, I want to look back and say that I gave it my all and that I did my best to prepare! I will now be focusing on perfecting my routine, so I shouldn’t be quite as sore as the total volume of work will go down, at least that’s the idea. I’ll report back when I fly home.
On another note, I wanted to mention something to you about diet. I get questioned often about what I eat, and I always answer: my diet is unique to me, and it changes a lot, depending on my condition, my current training and my immediate goals. Right now, because I really stayed on point all year, I am going to take a four-week break from carb-cycling and just take in the kind of food I feel I need, when I need it. I want to give my body and my mind a rest from overly structured eating, so that come April 15th when I want to begin my eight-week final dial-in, I’m mentally and physically fresh and able to maintain the drive. This strategy works because, as I said, I’m in pretty good standing right now at about 10-11% body fat. If I had gained some extra weight in the winter, at three months out of the show I would probably be sticking to a strict diet and lose the weight steadily and slowly.
Like I said, my nutrition (and yours should too) totally depends on the unique set of circumstances that describe where I am at a given moment. Because I stay pretty healthy year-round, I don’t have “binges” or uncontrollable cravings. If I want to eat a pint of ice cream, I feel pretty comfortable doing it. I know I’ll wake up lean but pumped and ready to put those extra calories into a high-energy gym session (and hopefully build some more muscle while I’m at it). I also know I won’t go crazy and eat a pint every day for a week. It’s all about enjoyment and balance.
Besides, one of the great things about being a fitness model is that we embody a healthy look. The idea is to present a symmetrical, athletic, and attractive package that is still quite feminine. In other words, we get to keep our curves and don’t have to starve ourselves to look presentable! If I didn’t let myself indulge in a burger or an ice cream here and there, I would probably end up being too lean. I like to stay active, and I like to train hard, so making sure I eat enough quality foods is number one in my diet strategy.
So, in only two more weeks I’ll be on a plane heading back home to Montreal, where I’ll be training with my other Active Performance teammates (SAF's Jacinthe Aymot is one of them), and doing my final preparation for the Eastern Canadian Yoga Championships. Hopefully training will continue going well and I’ll have only good things to report. Game on!