We'd like to welcome our latest sponsored athlete Bronwen Stead, to the Gymmealsdirect team! To introduce her, we asked her a few questions.
We discuss her commitment to her family and training. We hear about her philosophy on training and nutrition, what drives her and she gives some solid advice for anyone looking to compete!
Q: So, tell us a bit about yourself?
A: Oh gosh, where to start?! Last year my husband and I welcomed our baby boy into our family, and it has been a tremendous learning experience. He is a happy and incredibly active little guy who loves to explore.
I love to travel and try new things; I hate to iron clothes, and I permanently have songs from Sesame Street stuck in my head. I can not have Nutella in the house as my willpower is only so strong and every day starts with a coffee from my husband.
Q: What made you want to start competing in bodybuilding competitions?
A: I have a background in dance and have always been active. Years ago I was quite ill with an autoimmune condition that was treated with chemotherapy. When I stopped my medication, I was motivated to get back into my training and claim my body back for myself.
A few people had suggested I should try bodybuilding competitions, and it was just the goal I needed. I did not place at my first ever competition, but I fell in love with the process. I went on to compete for fours seasons back to back in over twenty shows, with my best result being INBA National Champion Fitness Model – Novice Short.
Q: So, what does a typical week of training look like for you?
A: I am training in the gym 5-6 days a week, with one session with my PT Ariel Dencio. I was back in the gym when my son was six weeks old and with great support have slowly increased my weights training – I am now lifting better and heavier than before I fell pregnant! I like to get outdoors to do my cardio sessions, which is often a lake or hill walk with my son.
''I have some incredible teammates who inspire me, but I am honestly inspired by everyone who steps on stage. I know the process can be challenging, and the sacrifices required.''
Q: What’s your general philosophy on diet and nutrition?
A: Diet and nutrition are crucial!! As much as possible I like to eat fresh and local produce. That's where Gymmealsdirect has been amazing- as everything is fresh and sourced locally - saves me a lot of time as well.
I don't believe in "good" and "bad" foods; I believe in eating for your goals. Gymmealsdirect is also great in this capacity as you can change the meals based on your goals at the time.
Q: What are some of the biggest differences in your eating in the offseason, compared to comp prep?
A: When I am in offseason, I have a bit more flexibility with my diet, and allow myself the occasional meal out. While I am used to eating the same meals, I also have a lot of variety in my diet. Gymemealsdirect have such a good range of flavours, though, which makes things easy. This becomes important when I am in comp prep, and I start reducing the portion size.
''As much as possible I like to eat fresh and local produce. That's where Gymmealsdirect has been amazing- as everything is fresh and sourced locally - saves me a lot of time as well.''
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: I have always been inspired never to settle, and aim to improve continually. Every time I compete I want to bring a better package to the stage than I have before. I know that the next time I compete my body will be different – having a child has left its mark, but I have an amazing team, and I am excited to see what results we can achieve. If I were to nominate a person that inspires me, it would be my son. Every day I want to be the best person I can be for him.
I have some incredible teammates who inspire me, but I am honestly inspired by everyone who steps on stage. I know the process can be challenging, and the sacrifices required.
Q: What are your goals for the future in the sport?A: To bring my best package yet to stage. I don't aim for placings; this is a subjective sport, and you never know who will be there on the day. But I can compare to my previous physiques, and I know my best is yet to come. I am working with incredible coaches, and we are already pursuing these goals – I don't believe in a 12-20 week prep, this is a lifestyle for me.
Along the way, I aim to be an advocate for the sport – while we compete as individuals there is no reason we can't support each other through the journey. I have met some wonderful friends through competing, and will never say no to someone asking for help.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone that is considering competing?
A: I could talk about this for days! I encourage anyone who is interested in giving it a go, with the following suggestions:
1. Do it for yourself, not for anyone else. It's completely ok if your reason for wanting to compete is to give it a go, or a bucket list achievement. But if you are doing it for someone else, it can be hard to overcome the challenges.
2. Work with good coaches – you are putting your physical health in their hands, not to mention mentally. If you don't know the coaches available, do some research and ask around.
''Along the way, I aim to be an advocate for the sport – while we compete as individuals there is no reason we can't support each other through the journey. I have met some wonderful friends through competing, and will never say no to someone asking for help.''
3. I won't lie – it will be challenging. It will also be incredibly rewarding – you will learn a lot through the process. Anyone can do the training and stick to the diet; it is the mental resolve that separates those who commit to those who don't. Your mental 1RM will be tested.
4. Don't expect anyone to support you. If they do, that is fantastic, and a bonus. You do this for you, not for your parent's/friend's/partner's approval.
5. Enjoy the journey! It is easy to put all your focus on the comp day, but be proud of each day that you commit to the process.
If you want to see more from Bronwen and keep up with her journey, check her out on Instagram: @bronwenstead