In March of this year, I was fortunate enough to go to one of Australia's largest fitness expos, FitX, to write a story on the IFBB show and the related expo for Bodybuilding.com.
At that expo, I spotted my idol, Editor-in-Chief of Oxygen Magazine Australia, Lindy Olsen, and made a bee-line for her. I didn't have any idea what I was going to say to her and had absolutely nothing prepared, but armed with my iPhone recorder and a nervous smile, I asked my bodybuilding and healthy living inspiration if she would share a few words with me on the expo and the Oxygen philosophy.
Our conversation came at a perfect time. I was just about to compete in my first ever fitness model competition and the words Lindy spoke to me about competing and living a healthy life stayed with me throughout the rest of my prep and my post-comp transition.
I will never forget that day and I can't thank her enough for taking the time to speak with me.
Lindy: Oxygen is for people who want to get fit without the fluff. "No fluff fitness" is our motto! This means you won't find sexual content in our magazine, unlike some others in Australia. You also won't find too many articles about makeup and beauty. While those topics are important, Oxygen focuses on health and fitness first. We want our readers to get results.
Aspiring Oxygen cover girls always ask us, "How do I get on the cover? How do I market myself?" Every single time, I tell these girls it's all about being fit and healthy first and foremost. Anybody can be on a cover and look pretty! It's about the person behind the makeup who's important. It's about having a positive attitude and being gracious. It's about not about being a diva.
Yes, change is possible. And you can do it in a healthy way if you choose to! I was the same as you: I lost 29 kgs (64 pounds) and then competed in my first show nearly nine-and-a-half years ago. I take pride in saying that I am 100 percent ridgey didge natural. I don't even take Sudafed in the off-season, because I know that sometimes it contains pseudoephedrine. To me, that's cheating if you're competing in a natural federation! I believe it's really important for an Oxygen cover girl to be a positive role model.
Yes, and that's a really healthy approach! It's an approach we are using to educate both men and women—men read our magazine, too. We want to make sure people understand that it's not just about how you look. Anyone can go on a diet and be in shape, but it is whether they are healthy on the inside that really counts. You can tell when someone is healthy on the inside. They glow!
That's right! And people who are healthy on the inside don't need to go on crash diets to get into or stay in shape because they live and breathe health and fitness. One of our cover girls, Lesley Maxwell, is in her 50s. She is completely natural and is in better shape than most 20-year-olds! Her skin is just glowing because she eats well and trains hard. For her, it really is a lifestyle. That's the way it should be for everyone.
People don't realize it takes time to get in shape the right way. I'm not having a go at anyone who chooses to do it another way. That's their choice. But to me, it's always about health. This is the message we want to make sure we send to all our Oxygen girls and readers in Australia: "It's about fitness. Looking good is just a side effect!"
That's the message that I have been drumming into readers since I've been editing for Oxygen. I am blessed to do what I do. I love what I do! I am an athlete first and foremost, and that will never change, but I love having the ability to touch people's lives. For example, the response this weekend has been incredible. I think I have taken more than 300 photos! … I am just so pleased that the message is getting out to people. It means more to me than any trophy or any title.
For my comp preps, I never cut out food groups. I still had yogurts and all of those sorts of things. It's just different styles of plans. Some coaches do things differently to others and that's OK. It's not wrong. Everyone has a different approach.
When I first started, I didn't have a lot variety either, but now I know my body well enough that I am able to do things differently. It's trial and error. You will know more about yourself for the next time around and what works for you. That's the part that's really exciting. You'll get down the track and be amazed at how your mindset and body has changed. And you will be excited about inspiring people around you, which you are already doing!
You're already doing it with your fabulous blog! So don't ever change who you are, or what you are doing, or the approach you are taking. It's about being true to you and not jumping onboard bandwagons—just be who you are and be passionate about it. That's when you will really start to shine and gain even more credibility. People will trust you when you speak, they will connect with you, and it is an amazing feeling when you touch their lives; sometimes, you won't even realize that you've done it.
People will come to you and say, "Oh my goodness! I want to do what you did!" They will see you are living, breathing proof of your healthy approach. So, don't ever, ever compromise that. That's the message you need to send to other people, and that is what I am trying to do with the mag.
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