Thursday, 1 June 2017

Swapping the bikini and stripper shoes for waterproofs and walking boots!

I can’t believe it’s almost a week since my competition; the NPA Yorkshire’s held in Wakefield last weekend. It seems to have been a bit of a whirlwind five days since then; coming down from the elation of being on stage once again, to trying to bring myself out of the biggest food coma. To taking some time to reflect on my year so far and think about what I want to do next. To getting back into the swing of work once again and then casting my eyes on my next challenge; my very imminent challenge of the National 3 Peaks this weekend.
It felt very surreal being back on stage last weekend; 1 year after my debut. I had only ever intended on doing it the once but got the bug for it and soon found myself after my first competition in May 2016, planning my off-season and my return to stage in 2017. Last year’s competition saw me place sixth in a line-up of nine girls. I was absolutely euphoric with that result as I had never set out with the intention of being good at bodybuilding (as weird as that sounds bear with me!). As I’ve explained previously in these posts last year was all about getting through prep so to place in the line-up and get a trophy was the icing on top of the cake. I’d only had two months of an ‘off-season’ after returning home from a year of travelling, having done no proper weight training as such before that. And then I went straight into a five month prep. Looking back, it was a great achievement to actually place.
This year felt different. In true Rebecca style it was always about doing better. I’d spent 7 months building my muscle in my off-season and then went into a 21 week prep from January. I came in this year looking fuller with more muscle but leaner than last year; exactly what we set out to do. And the improvements were clear for all to see and I placed fourth out of a tough line-up of nine girls. Disappointed to not finish in the top three? Of course. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. But I knew it was always going to be a huge ask; especially at the Yorkshire’s which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, NPA show of the year. I’m proud of the improvements I made from last year and gave it my all throughout prep and on stage which is all I could do.
Straight off stage!
Trained Figure Class 2
So what next? In terms of bodybuilding I do have some plans. My coach and I met on Monday morning and had a good chat. We set some goals; some are mini-goals and some bigger goals which helps me to focus right now but also keeps my mind on the bigger picture. I don’t want to share these goals just yet as I feel that adds pressure; and it’s one thing I can do without right now after placing a huge amount of pressure on myself in the run up to last weekend.
Right now however my focus switches to this coming weekend. People often call me crazy for taking on so much, of which I laugh that off a lot of the time but right now I couldn’t agree more. This weekend me and 8 colleagues from Yorkshire Ambulance Service take on the National 3 Peaks Challenge. For those of you that don’t know, the challenge involves climbing Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales in under 24 hours. It’s about 24 miles in total and there’s no two ways about it; it’s going to be BLOODY HARD.
We leave Wakefield at 7am on Saturday morning, arriving in Scotland mid-afternoon; with a quick chance to grab some food before we start our first climb at 5pm. It may seem a dumb time to be starting a walk but believe me lots of research has gone into this and this is the best time; it means throughout the weekend you do all the climbs in daylight pretty much. So Ben Nevis should take us about 5 hours and then we set off on our travels to Cumbria where we will take on Scafell Pike, starting at 4am. A 4 hour climb in England will then see us ready to set off on our way to Wales at 8am, arriving around midday. The final climb should take us around 5 hours, finishing up at 5pm all being well on the Sunday.
As a bodybuilder, I hate cardio. With a passion. End of. Why did I agree to walk over 20 miles in one weekend on pretty much zero sleep? Because I’m clearly a little bit crazy…and I just LOVE a challenge. We are doing this for charity so it’s all for a good cause which makes it worthwhile. The monies raised will be split between the YAS Charitable Fund and the Danny Jones Defib Fund. The YAS Charitable Fund uses the money kindly donated to support its work in a number of ways. The money is used to fund additional training and equipment for services over and above those core services provided by the NHS. Most recently the Charitable Fund has been focusing its efforts on raising money for community medical units, which provide on-scene medical treatment for patients with minor injuries and illnesses, and public access defibrillators to help save more lives in local communities. The Danny Jones Defib Fund was set up by Danny’s wife Lizzie after Danny tragically died a couple of years ago during a rugby game. The Defib Fund is designed to raise money to ensure that community defibrillators can be made available at local rugby clubs. Both are great charities that we are delighted to be supporting.
So this week I have been getting prepared for the challenge; most of the preparation involves food supplies for me haha. I may struggle with the fitness side of it but there’s not a change I’m going hungry on it. I’m all stocked up with pasta, sandwiches, protein bars, BCAAs, gels, bananas and plenty of sugary treats to just get me through it. It’s fair to say calorie and macro tracking will go out of the window this weekend but I hear you burn around 10,000 calories in total over the weekend so I think that’s okay. I will be posting on social media (Instagram: @becmallinder, Twitter: @becmallinder and on Facebook) our progress so please follow me and see how we get on. Any donation would also be greatly appreciated; you can donate online following the link below:

In terms of the team that are doing this with me, I’m pleased to say I have an awesome team of support that I know will make the challenge fun and we will get each other through.
Dave Green (Head of Quality Improvement) is going to be a pivotal member of the team as he’s in charge of navigating us throughout the weekend (no pressure hey!). Ex-Army I feel we’re in safe hands…and he’s a Paramedic, what more could we want? Dave’s mate Daz (Darren Parkinson from the Hazardous Area Response Team) is also on the team and will no doubt be Dave’s right-hand man in keeping us all on track. Another Paramedic too so I’m definitely starting to feel more reassured. Both are keen on their fitness so should be no real dramas with these guys (she says!). Our third Paramedic on the team is Martin Shaw (Head of EOC Clinical Hub). Martin’s a keen gym-goer too and having seen him myself on the hills (haha – just for you Martin) he should be leading the way on Saturday. A former rugby player too Martin’s on stand-by to carry me when I collapse in a heap!
The more I write about the team the more confident I am in our abilities…next up Karen Warner (Deputy Director of Quality & Nursing) another keen trainer who has made awesome progress in the gym over the last 12 months and casually goes out walking or cycling miles on a weekend just for fun. A midwife by trade, we have plenty of clinicians on the team which is always welcome should anyone need patching up. Last year she took part in the coast to coast bike ride absolutely smashing it alongside Mark Turner from the Business Development team, who’s also on the team. Mark also gets out doing plenty of exercise so the experience across the team is vast.
Sarah Lacey and Rachel Foster from our Patient Relations department are also on the team and regularly hit up the gym classes. And last but not least we are joined by Sarah Gallagher from the Safeguarding Team. Another Paramedic too, Sarah is a very welcome addition and it’s great to bring so many of us from different departments together into one team for such a worthwhile event.
So, two sleeps to go! I’m in a de-load week this week thankfully so my body is feeling well rested for the challenge and fuelled on carbs after increasing the calories this week. I never thought I felt wholly comfortable in a figure suit and stripper shoes turning out the front double bicep pose on stage, however with the prospect of waterproofs, walking poles and blister plasters on the horizon, I think I might be wishing the Dream Tan back on sooner than I expected!
Wish us luck!