The basics – How old are you, which university do you go to and what do you study?
Hi, my name is Catrin Eleri Thomas. I’m twenty two years old and I’m a sport and exercise science finalist at Loughborough University.
How did you get into fitness?
I was a keen athletics growing up and was in the national squad for athletics. I competed for Wales in the 200m metres and relay on numerous occasions. I eventually moved away from track and field and began interested in endurance running. The heavy mileage unfortunately led to several injuries including stress fractures and tendonitis. During rehab is when I first become interested in the fitness industry and specifically lifting. I used lifting to aid my injury through working on strength and conditioning exercises and increasing muscle strength in my glutes and calves which were identified by physiotherapists as my weak areas. My injury also affected me emotionally but lifting allowed me to feel mentally strong, for me the gym was an escape and gave me a feeling of release.
What made you want to compete?
I’ve always enjoyed having goals to work towards. I competed in this competition last year and it was a great learning curve. I gained a lot of knowledge and felt it would be a shame not to put what I learnt into practice with this years’ prep. Also it’s my last year of university hence my last year to compete on the SPC stage – I’m keen to make it count.
How many competitions have you done? Is this year’s SPC your first? How are you feeling about it?
As mentioned above I competed in the SPC last year, this was my first and only competition to date. I am nervous but I think that’s natural. I have trained hard for several weeks and I think you just have to trust the process. I know as soon as I step on stage the nerves will disappear and I will just enjoy the experience of being in front of the judges. There was a great crowd watching last year and their support really helped bring out some confidence in your performance.
What is your training like during prep?
I don’t set specific sessions for particular days because I like to choose my session based on my preference on the day and my energy levels. However I do try and complete the 6 session below throughout the duration of my week :-
Day 1 – Legs (quads/ hams/ calves). Day 2 – Chest and triceps. Day 3 – Morning cardio and afternoon swim/aqua jog. Day 4 – High rep shoulder session. Day 5 – Back + biceps. Day 6 – Morning cardio and afternoon abs, glutes and obliques. Day 7 – rest day.
What is your diet like during prep?
Overall my calories consumption is set at 1800 calories per day. The specific macro split is:- Protein :155 grams, Fats: 43 grams and carbohydrates: 205 grams. I try to have 5 meals a day with 31g of protein serving per meal. I make sure I get carbs in pre and post training. I think it’s important to emphasize that the prep diet isn’t focused on calorie restriction or carb elimination. During prep it’s so important to get the right amount of nutrients for your body and this includes a healthy amount of carbs, protein and fats in order to maximize performance during training. Note that macros will probably be changed slightly with 4 weeks to go and during the last fortnight I will be water loading.
How do you stay motivated during prep?
I am lucky enough to have a good friend as my coach for this competition – Gareth Burns. He is a natural bodybuilder competitor and is a UKUP Pro, Pure Elite Pro, FMC Pro and 2016 BNBF Finalist. He is very knowledgeable in this field as well as supportive. It’s great to have someone to talk to about your prep. I send him weekly progress pictures and he’s always sending me feedback and encouragement. I also want to say thanks to my house mate Asia who’s come with me on all my morning runs and kept me going through the dreaded cardio sessions.
How do you manage your studies alongside staying in shape?
Personally I think they both go hand in hand. Submitting work by specific deadlines requires a lot of self-discipline and commitment which are both needed for successful prep. I always have my ‘To do list’ out on a Sunday evening where I plan my session for the week as well as what work I need to get done on different days.
What are your fitness goals for the future?
I am currently looking at career options in the health and fitness industry. I am really eager to work with the public and promote positive lifestyle choices. I truly believe that education is the key to changing attitudes towards diet and physical activity. There are many things that I’ve learned during prep that would benefit the general population e.g. tracking macros instead of counting calories, not to be defined by the number of the scales and the vast benefits of strength training.
Finally, is there anything else you would like to add?
I’d just like to say a massive good luck to the rest of the SPC participants. I genuinely can’t wait to meet everyone on show day and witness all the incredible physiques. Hang on in there guys… there’s under four weeks to go!