T-minus one week to go! I’m writing this on the Saturday night before the photoshoot.

 

I’m a little nervous. Have I done everything right? Could I be leaner? Could I have trained harder? Did I take too long resting in between sets? Did I take one too many spoonfuls of nut butter when I was only meant to have two tablespoons?

When I sit back and think about it logically and realistically, the answer is ‘no’, there is nothing I regret about how I did this (except for a rogue tablespoon of almond butter that one time).

I did absolutely everything I could have, without ‘needing’ to use the excuse of starting a new job, moving across the ocean and the stresses involved in that. I gave it my all!

Now the question that I face is ‘do I take the approach of a bikini model or bodybuilder, and start tweaking my carbohydrate intake? Do I try to water load, and then dehydrate?’

 

Dani is looking lean, the lightest she’s ever been since she was a teenager and a week away from her final photoshoot.

 

For those of you that might not understand this, these are techniques that some competitors use to alter how their muscles look – to make them appear fuller and leaner for a short amount of time.

As a strength athlete and powerlifter, I’ve personally never employed these techniques. I haven’t needed to cut or make a special effort to make weight. Some athletes in my sport will do a water cut to make themselves lighter in order to make their chosen weight category. I haven’t needed to do this in the past as my year-round weight is about 62kg which is absolutely fine for my weight category (under 63kg).

 

I’ve decided to simply stick to my current nutrition plan. I know that this has been working with my body so therefore I am not going to mess around with it. 

 

My body fat has dropped to 9.6% and my weight is around 59kg. This is easily the lightest I’ve been since I was a teenager.

Am I looking forward to my first ‘real meal’ after the shoot? ABSOLUTELY! But, to be honest, I’ve really enjoyed feeling so in control of my own body. I’ve realized that I’m a numbers person – hitting numbers on the bar as well as my nutritional macros numbers is something I’m good at.

 

Five weeks of hard work have got Dani to a place she’s never been before – lean and abs popping!

 

So why am I nervous about the shoot? Well everyone has their own insecurities, and as you’ve probably picked up, mine is my (lack of) abs. No matter how lean the rest of my body gets – arms, legs, back – my abs are the stubborn ones.

Because of my athletic background, I’m also a woman that carries a fair bit more muscle than your average girl. As a teenager, I was told that I was too ‘muscular’ and too ‘big’.

 

This experience is helping me brush that chip off my shoulder and embrace my body for what it looks like and not simply what it can do.

 

I’ve realized that a balance can exist, even for me!

So what is going to change this week? Training! I’ve stuck to my powerlifting program this whole time and tried to hold on to my strength gains.

This week is the only week where I will veer away from this to give my body a rest to look optimal on the day. That means high reps, light weights, and plenty of cardio.

It’ll be different to what I’m used to, and a strange mental challenge changing my routine, but I know it’s going to be worth it.

Just seven days left! I can’t wait to see the final results!


 

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