Tone and tweak to stage
As a professional photographer, Jacqui van Dam of Alexandra has always had a natural eye for form and tone. She never dreamed that one day all eyes would be on her. That’s exactly what happened a year ago when she entered her first body sculpting competition. “I’d always been fit but I needed a goal. My trainers, Rob and Sher, suggested body building. But that didn’t appeal. I just wanted to tone and do a little tweaking.” They suggested sculpting and set van Dam a 12-week programme leading up to the South Island Body Building Championships. Motivation was no issue, but the diet was, van Dam said. “Last year before I started training I was eating pretty bad stuff, living on sugar fixes, like chocolate, biscuits and cake. Suddenly I had to live on six small meals a day. I had to force myself to eat, and I lost six kilograms eating more than I ever had before.” Once van Dam got into the swing of it, she said it wasn’t that hard, and she soon thrived on the one-hour gym sessions three times a week, with her own workouts in between, plus the low-carb high-protein diet. She soon found herself staring down the barrel of her first championship, getting her nails done, putting on high heels, a bikini and an outrageous spray tan. Body sculptors also have to dehydrate for about four days before the competition so their muscle tone shows up, further enhanced by more tanning cream. “I looked in the mirror and I could not believe it was me. It looked like my head on someone else’s body.” Seeing herself was enough of a shock let alone going out on stage. But she did it, and enjoyed the experience, finishing fourth, as was the case again this year. Before her next attempt, her goal is to re-focus her training so that she can be “third time lucky” and get placed next year. In the meantime, she is happy to relax for a while.
On a high: Jacqui van Dam, of Alexandra, fresh from the South Island Body Building Championships.