Rosemary’s journey has evolved from wanting to shed excess body weight to being crowned the National Amateur Body Builders’ Association Southern Hemisphere Champion (physique category). Rosemary’s dream is now to share her passion for bodybuilding and competition preparation with others, and with the stamina, determination, and sheer dedication to her goals she’s displayed so far, she appears to be on a winning streak!
Hi Rosemary. Where are you from – born and bred local girl, or did you relocate to port Macquarie?
I grew up in Springwood in the Blue Mountains, went to Springwood Public School and Springwood High. Then my life changed dramatically, and I relocated to Port Macquarie 10 years ago.
What (or who) kick started your interest in body building?
At the age of 33 my weight was a little out of control, so I finally decided it was time to do something about it.
My brother had always kept himself in shape with weight training and cardio, so I asked him to take me to the gym and help me lose some weight. He had an old school approach to weight training, so it was straight to the dumbell rack, and that’s where it all began. My passion for lifting weights was instant, and I never turned back. I set myself a goal to lose 15 kg and put on as much muscle as possible within 12 months, and I did it right on time.
Once I had my body fat down to a reasonable level, I realised that maybe I could actually create something more, and that’s when I started to get serious about body building.
I stepped on stage for the first time approximately 18 months after I first started training and must say it wasn’t the best experience of my life, but it was a huge lesson for me on how I was going to go about becoming a bodybuilder.
Explain the processes involved – physical and mental – that have given you the physique you have today. What changes have you had to make to your diet, exercise regime, and thought processes over the past few years?
I train and keep to a strict diet all year round, but when it’s time to start getting ready for a show, it’s taken to a whole new level. I will spend 20 weeks doing “contest prep”, as we like to call it. This consists for me of totally clean, very strict eating of six to seven meals a day at 2.5 hour intervals. I also start my regular cardio, which I will change as needed through the diet, so I might be doing cardio twice or even three times a day.
My weight training is seven days a week and quite often twice a day.
So, I’m at the gym two or three times a day, seven days a week. I do all my own contest prep: training, diet, cardio, and by far the hardest part is the mental challenge. When you do it all yourself, you are constantly critiquing your own physique – which is quite a challenge, to say the least.
Body building is probably still seen by many to be a very male dominated field. Why would you encourage other women to give it a go?
Body building to me is about creating the ultimate physique. It’s about pushing myself physically and mentally beyond what I believe I am capable of.
As a female competing in a very male dominated sport, I have found an inner strength that I would never have discovered without bodybuilding. For any woman considering competing, there are various levels and categories they can compete in … But whatever they choose, if they can step on stage knowing they are the best they can be, it is extremely empowering and unbelievably rewarding.
You’ve achieved some phenomenal success at competition level. What have been some of your achievements/titles, and what accomplishment are you most proud of?
I have competed in eight shows in total: amongst my results were the NABBA Wild Bull Classic, which was held in Port Macquarie, 1st place; the NABBA Australian Championships, 2nd place; and IFBB NSW and the IFBB Australia, 2nd place.
My proudest achievement by far was winning the NABBA Southern Hemisphere 1st place Ms Australia title – that was about eight years ago now.
I then took a break from competition and continued to train and eat to maintain my physique. Towards the end of last year I decided it was time to stop talking about the past and return to competition. My plan was to compete in the NABBA NSW Classic, which would qualify me for the Southern Hemisphere.
Once I started my contest prep, I realised my passion for body building was stronger than ever, and I was totally driven to fulfil my dream of not only competing in, but winning the Southern Hemisphere again.
Twenty weeks later, I was in the best condition I have ever been in – under 5% body fat – and I won the NSW Classic. Three weeks later, my dream came true, and I placed 1st again at the Southern Hemisphere.
I am now completely dedicated to making body building part of my life, and I decided to study to become a personal trainer.
What are your current plans for training, future competitions, and study?
I am currently back in the gym training very hard and trying to gain a little more size, which is always the goal of a body builder.
I’m also furthering my education to become a personal trainer and aiming to compete again in the first half of next year.
What’s the ultimate dream for you – where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
My ultimate dream is to be training other people for competition: body building, physique, bikini, figure and fitness for both men and women and getting them into the best shapes of their lives, so they can fulfil their dreams. I’d also like to be training those people who don’t want to get on stage, but want be the best they can be for their own personal reasons.
In five years’ time I would ultimately be running my own business, specialising in contest prep and personal training.
Interview by Jo Atkins. Photos courtesy of Wright Click Photography.