Shelby aims to make it count at her only local show

Shelby Feature image

Former USN Face of Fitness, Shelby Jessica Neves is another deserving local athlete who is ready to step on stage against international competition at 2019 Arnold Classic Africa (ACA).

Shelby and her coach dedicated 14 weeks to get her physique ready to stun judges, competitors and spectators alike at the Sandton Convention Centre on 18 May. We caught up with her ahead of the show to get the inside scoop on her prep.

How long have you been prepping for Arnolds?

I’ve been prepping for Arnold’s for about 14 or so weeks, although I’m continuously working towards the next show and improving my physique and overall package.How has this prep been for you? I felt like this past ‘off-season’ was the best off-season I’ve ever had. The prep leading up to the ACA was great, but the final 3 weeks were a lot more challenging and taxing than normal for some reason. But all in all, the prep was good!

What’s been the hardest aspect of your prep so far?

Learning to adjust to new aspects of my life. I recently started working as an assistant coach under my coach Tarryn Zelow. I now coach girls online, which I absolutely love. It’s a busy job so learning to balance that with prepping and studies was something that challenged me, but I already feel like I’ve made significant strides in finding that balance.

How long before a show do you cut out cheat meal?

It depends on my condition. It ranges between 2-3 weeks. Sometimes, if I peak a little too early, my coach gives me a re-feed.

How much posing practice do you do?

Posing has become a habit. I often find myself posing between training, for example. I start practicing properly to work on my posing fitness from about 6 weeks out. I try get in a little every day and increase the amount of time spent on posing as the comp approaches.

How has your training changed over the last few weeks?

I generally follow a training program for about 4-5 weeks. As comp day approaches, the style of training varies slightly, until I get right to the end where I introduce depletion training.

What’s the best part about competing?

There are a few aspects I love about competing. I love that feeling right at the end, just before show day when you can reflect back on your journey, both for of that specific prep and all the previous preps that got you to that specific point. It’s a very overwhelming and exciting feeling! And, of course, standing on stage gives me a feeling like no other! I like a good challenge, which prep certainly is at times, but that makes it so much more rewarding.

What do you do when you feel things are getting too tough?

I open and up and speak to the people closest to me. I always turn to my coach, who is always there, not only because she is my coach and the one directing and guiding me through the prep, but because she’s also one of my best friends. I also try and take a step back to reflect on everything that could be causing me too feel stressed, and see what I can do to alleviate some of the things that could make me feel that way. This approach helps me to always remind myself of my goal and why I’m doing this. My favorite quote which pulls me through a lot of tough times is: “Never give up on the things that make you smile.”

Nobody’s perfect, so where didn’t you stick to your program?

There have been times when I’ve slipped up and eaten a bit extra than I should have, or missed a training session.

What’s harder, dieting or training for a competition?

I definitely find the dieting harder than the training.

How has prepping affected your family life?

I don’t have as much time as I would like to spend with my family and close friends. I do, however, spend as much time with them as I can, and I always try to find that balance. Luckily, I have had very supportive friends and family who understand my lifestyle.

What other shows are you planning to compete at this year?

I will decide that after the ACA! As a pro, I can no longer compete in South Africa, except for the Arnold Classic, so it will be somewhere abroad.

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Do you ever look at someone working day in & day out at their goal, their passion and think “how do you do that? how do you do that every single day?” Well, there is no doubt people looking at the work you put into something you so strongly love thinking that too. Sometimes people don’t always understand why others do certain things or why they love something or someone so much but right there sits the beauty of diversity, passion & love – gracefully accept that. 💙 @ifbb_official @ifbbelitepro_official @arnoldclassicafrica Coached by @coach_tz Bikini by @k.leecreations #passion #love #grace #accept #support #ifbb #elitepro #fitness #life #work #dreams #goals #believe

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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.

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