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Photo Credit: Visual Poison
Swimwear: Ark Swimwear

Punta Cana… One of the most beautiful tropical destinations in the world. When I found out I was selected to compete in an international swimsuit pageant, I knew I would have to get in the best shape and face the pageant with a positive attitude and mindset. I approached Shredded Strength Institute who agreed to be my sponsor for the six months leading up to Swimsuit USA International Model Search. I had such a great experience and journey and I wanted to share my fitness journey and share what I learnt below.

Firstly let me tell you a little about Shredded Strength Institute. It is one of the best gym cultures you will experience in your life (and rated one of the top seven gyms in the world). I’ve made such great friends there and there is such a support network from the staff and everyone who trains there. The directors are so passionate about what they do and are ready to answer all your questions (no matter what they are, and trust me I asked them all).

They make you feel you are part of a team working towards a fitness goal which I think is the key to their success. Everyone at Shredded is there to change their lifestyle, gain knowledge of healthy habits and get in shape in their own way and time. Everyone who goes to Shredded has different goals and the reason is the way Shredded do things is so unique is they tailor each plan with their goal in mind. Another unique component of Shredded is if you’re not booked for a personal training session and just training there, they have certain hours in the morning and evening where a staff trainer will walk around and assist you with your exercises and spot you! I think that’s brilliant added value! I booked in for 1 session a week with Marty and then the other 3-5 days I trained using the training plan he devised for me. So when I trained by myself I had certified trainers walking around ensuring I was doing the weights correctly and that I was challenging myself.

IMG_8627 Photo Credit: Visual Poison
Swimwear: Ark Swimwear

Phase One: Initial Consultation

The first phase before you even start to look at your nutrition and workout plans is to book in for an initial consult with one of the Directors of Shredded. During this consultation they do multiple tests to see how your body works. You can bring different types of foods and supplements and they test how your body responds to them and what your body is lacking vitamin and mineral wise. They also test out the supplements they recommend to see which ones your body responds to best. For example your body may respond better to whey protein than pea protein. I found this fascinating – we discovered for me personally almonds respond better than cashews and peanuts, all my supplements with flavourings tested bad and a couple of unflavoured supplements I have tested as being great for me (obviously they had no sugars or fillers and the ones that did my body didn’t need). It was really an interesting session. We also had a look at my body fat percentage – which at roughly 23.8% was within the normal range for a woman, but not at the goal I wanted for swimsuit, which Marty suggested to be 12-15%. 

During my consultation Marty discovered my body was highly demanding of Glutamine, which indicated I had symptoms of leaky gut, which was something I had suspected for a while but I wasn’t sure how to fix it. He immediately started me on something to help me solve this problem first and get my health on track as a priority. 

The thing I like about Shredded is if the products you already have work for you, they’ll recommend you keep using those, and then they recommend their additional products but they limit the amount you are taking. For me personally they recommended 5-6 supplements a day, which included my vitamins and a probiotic. What I love about Shredded‘s supplement range is they are all personally tested by them (with 30+ years experience they know what works best) and they are all natural products with no additives, fillers or sugars.

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Photo Credit: Visual Poison
Swimwear: PepperMayo

Phase Two: Nutrition and Supplements

When it came to designing my meal plan Marty from Shredded provided me with a nutritional booklet and for the first month I was able to design my own meals based on the recommendations in the booklet. A few of the things I enjoyed was being able to add pot set yoghurt to my diet at night for that bit of sweetness before bed, having gluten free wraps during the day and then a mix of vegetables and proteins the rest of the time. I also really enjoyed the high carb day he put me on once a week which meant I could load up on fruits and have carbs with every meal on that day. Within the first three weeks of following the plan I had dropped 3% body fat, I couldn’t believe it as I had tried so many things before and hadn’t been able to shift it or drop weight. However then after the initial few weeks the rate at which my body burned fat started to slow down, which Marty explained to be normal.

From that point and from a lot of experimenting with my level of carbs vs. fat intake Marty worked out that my body tended to utilise fats better for energy than carbs. You can be on one extreme of the scale or the other, or you can fall anywhere in between. Since my body types seems to utilise fats best and function better with less carbs, this meant week by week we gradually reduced my carb intake and kept my fats quite high to sustain my energy levels and burn more body fat. Week by week I was dropping 1-2% at a time and a week before I flew out for my competition I managed to reach 13.8% body fat and Iwas absolutely ecstatic. Closer to the competition Marty was telling me down to the gram what to eat every meal to ensure I dropped the body fat in time for the competition.

Here are some of the other things which we discovered through trial and error:

  • Halfway through we realised my lower back fat was the hardest to budge – this was due to inflammation and possibly gluten products which tend to inflame your body, particularly my back. Marty recommended MetaBuz to burn this fat off and reduce my body inflammation. It’s really tasty as a tea or added to your protein shake post workout.

  • 2 weeks from the competition Marty placed me on EGCg to burn additional fat required to get your body down to the lean state required for competitions and I used a pre-workout as well to push me through the workouts in the last 2-3 weeks which were more intense.

  • Kelly recommended Estro-Control to me – as a woman your estrogen can play a part in bloating and holding water weight, especially around that time of month. Being a swimsuit competition I wanted to control this as much as possible and this product truly worked wonders for me combined with the EGCg.

  • Since I had unflavoured BCAA’s I mixed the super greens (Berry) with them prior to my workout to give it some flavour.

  • A few weeks out from the competition Marty didn’t want me to eat less than what I was eating but he wanted to put me at a slight calorie deficit in order to reach my goals. Instead of reducing my calories through food I added walking in the morning pre-breakfast to put me at a calorie deficit before the day had started.

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Photo Credit: Doug Carter
Swimwear: Veve Swimwear

Phase Three: Work it out

I cannot express to you how incredible the workout plans were. Designed specifically for my bikini body – Marty’s plan for me focused on weight exercises which were a slightly lower weight, more repetitions to ensure my heart rate was kept high for the entire session with my HIIT cardio mixed in between the sets. We started with 3-4 workouts a week for the first few months and increased this, so by the time it got to a couple of weeks out from the competition I was doing 6 workouts a week! The day before I flew out to the US for my competition I reached 12.8% body fat! I reached my target of 12-13% exactly!

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Photo Credit: Gordon Lam

Phase Four: Keep calm and compete

The week of both of my swimsuit competitions I was able to maintain my diet fairly easily throughout the week. I made sure I stayed hydrated, ate as many vegetables as I could (it is a bit more difficult when you are away to find everything you need) and kept to my protein portions. By then I loved my morning walks so I went to the beach every morning and I managed to get to the gym every day if not every second day. I didn’t put too much pressure on myself to go to the gym as I’d already worked so hard, instead focusing on enjoying the week and the experience and training if I had the time.

IMG_7511Photo Credit: Visual Poison
Swimwear: Ark Swimwear

Phase Five: Results and Review

For my competitions I managed to win one of my competitions and I placed 1st Runner- Up in the other. But it wasn’t about that to me, it was about the experiences I shared, the memories and the journey! When you put the work and the time into something and focus on the most important thing (your health) the rewards from it don’t stop coming. Shredded  helped me to change the  way I look at life and have made me reflect a lot more deeper on every level. What Marty and Kelly have taught me has been invaluable to me and I now look forward every day to implementing the suggestions which have become a part of my daily routine. Thank you to the team at Shredded Strength Institute for teaching me life lessons and making me always strive to be the best version of myself!

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My sixteen week transformation with Marty from Shredded

I have put a list below of the top 10 supplements I personally buy and use from Shredded  Strength Institute (www.shredded.com.au). You can use my discount code at checkout “elise” to get 10% off!

Elise’s top ten supplement products with Shredded Strength Institute:

  1. Ajinomoto Glutamine
  2. Thorne Medical Shake – Vanilla + Whey Protein – Chocolate Cacao 
  3. Super Fruits & Greens – Berry
  4. Enzimatik Control
  5. Zinc Synergy 
  6. Probiotic Synergy 
  7. Omega 3/C010 
  8. Vitamin D Synergy 
  9. MetaBuz
  10. GabaMag 

Competition Supplements:

  1. EGCg (2-3 weeks out from competition)
  2. Estro-control (2 weeks out from competition) 
  3. Pentacarb (post-workout with protein shake) 
  4. Subcut (1-2 weeks out from competition apply on skin with a dry brush, rubbing with pressure into problem areas such as stomach and thighs.)

If you don’t live in Perth the supplements are available to ship all around Australia. If you do – I hope to see you at the next Shredded Strength Sunday class at 8am sharp! Come give it a go, you won’t be disappointed!

Happy training and until next time,

Elise xoxo

9 Comments

  1. Zac Zarev says:

    What are your thoughts on Sous-vide cooking?

  2. Tim says:

    Holy crap what a transformation

  3. Bryn says:

    Sous vide is great I use it all the time. Amazing work Elise its a great gym I love it

  4. Geoffrey Bourke says:

    Hi there Elise,

    Is that gym in Perth?

    Fantastic transformation

    Ciao bella, ✅✅

    • Elise Natalie says:

      Hi Geoffrey,
      Yes it is located in Perth, in the location Floreat. Their supplements and vitamins are available for purchase online Australia wide.
      Thank you so much for the compliment!
      All the best,
      Elise

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