The 2019 competitive Bikini season is about to kick off and our reigning USN Face of Fitness champion, Farai Gomwe is gearing up to make a big impact on the local stage.
The 2018 IFBB Millennium Gold Plate Ladies Fitness Bikini up to 1.66m champion is looking to take a big step up and shine on the biggest stage in Africa in May. She’s been hard at work with her coach, Tarryn Zelow to perfect her look.
This is an exclusive look at how the due are prepping for greatness.
Which competition are you prepping for this year?
I’ll be competing at the 2019 Arnold Classic Africa. I also plan to compete in a Provincial show and a National show if I qualify. If I’m physically and mentally up for other shows, I will certainly do them.
How do you change your diet when you prep?
My diet consists of low to moderate amounts of carbohydrates, with a high protein intake and a good amount of healthy fat. Closer to competition, I eat more lean meats such as fish and chicken and reduce my carb intake. At present, I still have red meat in my diet.
How does your training change?
I maintain consistent training splits, but I also incorporate HIIT training programs designed by my coach twice a week, as well as steady state cardio.
I do depletion training in the final week, which consists of higher reps than usual with less weight to deplete the glycogen stores in the body.
I stop training legs a week out as they can look flat on stage if you keep pushing them. My legs are one of my favourite features, so I train hard until that point.
How often do you check in with your coach?
My coach is my mentor, so if anything bothers me or if I need advice on anything, be it bikini colour or alternative exercises if I’m struggling with something, I speak to her. I’d say we speak at least 3 times a week, with one feedback session dedicated to my condition. It’s important for me that she knows the headspace I’m in as the competition gets closer. In the final weeks, my condition checks become more frequent, sometimes even twice in a day. In the last 24 hours, we do this regularly.
Do you have ‘cheat meals’?
I still include cheat meals and will only stop when I’m told to. But I’m more mindful of the type of cheats I eat at the moment.
What changes in your supplementation?
I stick to my usual supplement protocols, which includes:
- USN Glutamine
- USN BCAA Amino Lean
- USN Pure Creatine
- USN CLA Pure 1000
- USN L-Carnicut
There are also a few new USN products I’ve incorporated into my plan to get leaner, such as USN PhedraCut Lipo X, Crave X and Water X. When I start to dial in, I remove whey protein and exclude all supplements in the final week.
Are you trying something new or different this year?
Definitely. I’m not a morning person, but I’ve started doing my cardio in the mornings. I’ve found this helpful because when I do my weight training in the evenings, I’m full of energy and ready to go for it. We are also dialling me in a bit later so I don’t lose too much size. I’m also working on taking a more holistic approach with how I deal with my emotions because stress leads to increased cortisol and this shows on my body as I bloat.
What improvements would you like to see in your physique this year?
This year is all about my glutes. I have a booty, but there is a certain aesthetic that I would like to achieve one day. My coach has incorporated glute training into my program at least three days a week to achieve this goal. All body parts matter, though, and deserve attention, but I must be cognisant of weak areas and improve them.
What’s the hardest part of competing?
Being unable to eat random meals and the need to be very cautious and mindful at social events. My loved ones respect what I do, but the decision at the end of the day still rests with me.
I understand that people who compete talk about food a lot because it can really be a mental challenge, but when I’m restricted I find it best to just take it day by day.
As the competition date gets closer, it’s also important to find the drive to keep going, not just for training but in everyday life when carbs are reduced.
What’s the best thing about competing?
I think this is overlooked at times, but the elements of trust and support in relationships we build through competing can be immensely meaningful. Seeing results and the weekly changes that come with consistency are also magical.
On show day, it is extremely rewarding to acknowledge all the hard work and sacrifice that went in. Whether you placed or not, if you honestly did your best then you can be very proud. This is an important lesson my coach taught me.
Realistically, what would prep and competing cost you?
Well, I can’t give an average figure as this is subjective, but it is a costly sport. Some athletes are self-sufficient, which I admire, while others have sponsors for certain items. In terms of budgeting, consider the costs associated with the specific foods needed for your diet, the cost of supplements, your bikini, shoes, tan, hair and make-up. The show will also require an entry, registration and federation affiliation fees.
There may also be accommodation and travel costs if you’re competing outside of your home town. If you’re committed to competing and there’s an option for early registration, go for it. I start getting the things I need together from 8 weeks out. This ensures I’m prepared for the additional costs that come my way, while still managing my usual needs.
What’s the biggest obstacle you have to overcome during show preps?
It feels like they take forever, but I constantly remind myself that competition prep is temporary. It’s all about perspective. It’s a few weeks of dedicating myself to a goal and doing what needs to be done to get there.
Why do you compete?
For the discipline. I always maintain that having structure in my life has a beneficial knock-on effect on everything else that I do. It forces me to use my time wisely. Physically, I love seeing the changes that my body goes through. Mentally, overcoming what comes my way and competing gives me time for introspection on a lot of things, both before and after the show. It’s still so fresh and there is lots to enjoy, experience and learn both about myself and from my peers.
Do you get a lot of people asking you for advice?
I do. It’s very humbling that people seek advice from me. I will always help as much as I can.
What advice do you have for ladies who want to compete this year?
- Ask yourself if you are prepared to put in the work. Do you have time for it?
- If you have a coach, listen to your them.
- Unless you’ve been training for a while, don’t jump into a show without adequate preparation in terms of training and budgeting. You ultimately get out what you put in.
- If you’ve competed before, use your previous performance and condition as a benchmark for comparison. Don’t compare yourself to others.
- Work according to the criteria of your chosen federation.
- Practise posing. If you put in the work at the gym and in the kitchen, you need to present the fruits of your labour well on that stage.
- Your mindset is everything. Start and end with a winner’s mindset, even if you are just starting out and learn to manage your expectations in terms of placings.
- Always remember the 5 Ps: “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.”
Any last words for ladies who want to enter the USN Face of Fitness 2019?
It’s such an exciting opportunity! Remain true to yourself, know your story, and enjoy and maintain a fitness lifestyle. Regardless of the criteria for entering this year, make sure to present yourself well to stand out.
It’s important to understand the USN and Fitness brands from the outset in terms of what they stand for and what they offer from the get go. Make sure you align with these values from day one.
Remember, people will be watching you and you never know how much influence you carry in your circle and beyond. Whether you win the competition or not, how you carry yourself is always important.
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.