The hard slog to body build­ing de­but for Poppy

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - ERIN TASKER

When Poppy Cooper-Vear steps onto a stage wear­ing a bikini and five-inch clear plas­tic heels this week­end, it will make the past 18 months of hard-slog and ded­i­ca­tion worth it.

It will be Poppy Cooper-Vear’s fig­ure body build­ing de­but, and while there’s nerves, there’s also a sense of sat­is­fac­tion, know­ing that she’s achieved her goals.

It’s not been easy. She trains at least six days a week, do­ing fasted car­dio at 5am and head­ing back to the gym af­ter work for re­sis­tance fol­lowed by more car­dio. But build­ing mus­cle is about far more than just lift­ing weights and do­ing ex­er­cise; diet and eat­ing the right food is vi­tal. So for the past 18 months, Cooper-Vear has been eat­ing six meals a day, weigh­ing ev­ery­thing she eats. Up un­til two months ago she was al­lowed one treat meal a week.

‘‘I would think all week about what I was go­ing to have, and then I would change my mind all day,’’ Cooper-Vear said.

But as com­pe­ti­tion time neared, the treat meals had to stop. A self-con­fessed sweet-tooth, she’s sur­rounded by temp­ta­tion at work and home.

‘‘That’s where the mind game comes in; you’ve got to be strong and smart,’’ she said.

Cooper-Vear said she’d taken up body build­ing for three rea­sons. She suf­fered from var­i­ous health is­sues and was de­ter­mined not to let them hold her back, she wanted to learn the sci­ence be­hind good health and fit­ness, but most im­por­tantly, she wanted to in­spire her daugh­ter.

‘‘Young peo­ple learn through modelled be­hav­iour, and I have such a sig­nif­i­cant role in her life that I wanted to role model be­hav­iour to teach her to dream big.‘‘

Body build­ing was a misun­der­stood sport, she said. Many as­sumed peo­ple did it be­cause they had body is­sues, or low self­es­teem.

‘‘I’m not do­ing this be­cause I think I’m fat, or have body is­sues, I’m do­ing this to achieve a goal. It is not sus­tain­able to strip down to 10 per cent body fat.’’

‘‘You've got to be strong and smart’’ Poppy Cooper-Vear

She knows that when she fin­ishes the two shows in the next two weeks, which she hopes will qual­ify her for na­tion­als in the novice sec­tion, her body fat will go up again. But that doesn’t worry her.

‘‘If I don’t qual­ify I’m at the point now where I have given this 110 per cent. I couldn’t have done it bet­ter than I have done. I have been so strict and driven the past 18 months that I know in my heart that if I don’t qual­ify, it’ll be ‘so what?’.’’

ERIN TASKER/STUFF

Poppy Cooper-Vear has ded­i­cated the past 18 months to trans­form­ing her­self into a body builder.

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