Tone and tweak to stage

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT - By MARY-JO TO­HILL

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.

Photo: MARY-JO TO­HILL

On a high: Jac­qui van Dam, of Alexan­dra, fresh from the South Is­land Body Build­ing Cham­pi­onships.

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