All eyes will be on the stage at the Sandton Convention Centre on 18 May as SA’s top Bikini and Fitness athletes strut their stuff against international competition at the 2019 Arnold Classic Africa.
The Arnold Classic Africa affords deserving local athletes the opportunity to compete in an international competition, against participants from all continents, in Africa. It’s a major event on the local calendar and our athletes are going all out to be at their best on show day.
One such athlete is the reigning USN Face of Fitness, Farai Gomwe. We caught up with her as she entered her final phase to get the inside scoop on how her prep has gone.
How long have you been prepping for Arnolds? I started about 8 weeks out by slowly dialling in. My coach didn’t want me to lose too much size by starting too soon.
How has this prep been for you? Compared to my first competitive year in 2018, this prep hasn’t felt as overwhelming.
I know what to expect and I continue to trust my coach through the process. It hasn’t been easy, but my mental and physical strength has definitely improved over the past year.
What’s been the hardest aspect of your prep so far? Dieting. I stick to it and it’s doable, but as an absolute foodie, this is the toughest part of prep for me. Going to gym is now second nature – I actually feel awkward if I don’t go.
How long before a show do you cut out cheat meal? This year I had my last cheat meal at 5 weeks out.
How much posing practice do you do? I practice posing daily now that the show is so close. I’ll sneak in a few poses in between sets at gym as well.
How has your training changed over the last few weeks? My training changes monthly, however, my coach has increased the number of sessions that target my weaker areas this year. I’ll do depletion training in the final week.
What’s the best part about competing? Knowing I can stick something out from beginning to end. There was a time when I had a bit of self-doubt and felt pressure to perform, especially during this prep. However, I’ve come to the important realisation that this is for me and I will soon revel in that amazing feeling of accomplishment after achieving my goal having followed through on the plan.
What do you do when you feel things are getting too tough? When the going gets tough, I tend to focus on my job. I prefer to be at home reading or watching something, or I’ll speak to my coach and those close to me. I avoid being in environments that stress me out, like social gatherings, which can be exhausting and full of temptations.
Nobody’s perfect, so where didn’t you stick to your program? The intent was always there, but there were a few mornings when I genuinely struggled to get out of bed for cardio.
What’s harder, dieting or training for a competition? Dieting has always been difficult for me, because I love food and even though I eat 6 times a day, not eating what I want is mentally strenuous. I don’t find training easy during peak week. This is the only time I’m not amped to go to gym.
How has prepping affected your family life? Positively. I don’t live with my parents, but when I see them, they’re in awe of how I’ve become so disciplined in what I do and the all-round domino effect that prepping has in other areas of my life. The worry was more around what I was doing during the prep for my first show, which didn’t make much sense to them initially.
What other shows are you planning to compete at this year? A provincial show and hopefully SA Champs.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.