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Five-minute breather with… Rachel Bond

This weekend, at the age of 40 and after losing 50kg in two years, St Anthony’s Catholic College science teacher and mother-of-two Rachel Bond will take to the stage at Jupiters Casino to show off a year of hard work in the ANB North Queensland Naturals Bodybuilding Competition. The obese 38-year-old Rachel would have been dumbfounded at the thought of parading on stage in a tiny sparkly bikini, but the new Rachel says that her results are proof that anyone can achieve their goals with a hard work, consistency and… broccoli.

“When I’m in the gym, I am not a teacher, a mother, a wife — it strips you back to basics, and you have to be focused in the moment with what you are doing”

What are you doing to get moving? Bodybuilding – I’m training with a combination of gym and cardio at the moment, and I’m entering my very first bodybuilding competition at the age of 40 this weekend.

How are you feeling? Excited, nervous and tired all at the same time. I have been working so hard for so long that it’s so hard to believe it is finally happening! If you had told obese 38-year-old me that I would be stepping up on the stage in a sparkly bikini at the age of 40, I would not have believed you. But here I am, proof that you can achieve your goals, with a bit of determination and effort.

What do you enjoy about weight training? It’s such a black and white sport: You can either lift the weight or you can’t — there’s no faking it! You can see progression each week when you are working hard. I also like the mindfulness that comes with it: When you are training, you have to focus on what you are doing. When I’m in the gym, I am not a teacher, a mother, a wife — it strips you back to basics, and you have to be focused in the moment with what you are doing. It is a great escape from the busy-ness of life for me.

“It is all about consistency:  Consistency in training and consistency in nutrition. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and the results will take care of themselves”

Rachel-Bond-before

Rachel at the start of her weight loss journey two years ago.

How did you discover bodybuilding? My sister enlisted me into the Bod Pod Challenge: The Bod Pod measured our body fat percentages at six-week intervals to see who could lose the most body fat percentage in 12 weeks. I initially just started doing mainly cardio-based exercise, such as walking, circuits and boot camps, in order to lose weight. I lost 19 kg in the 12-week time frame, which was great, but I did not win the challenge. The person who lost the most actual body fat percentage was someone who was also doing weights in the gym.

With the help of my sister, Renee [Jezard], I then decided to venture into the gym to give weights a go. This morphed into me attending PT sessions in the gym with Paula Pool from Fuel PT, and I have not looked back!

Have you always been active? In my younger days I was a swimmer, dancer and netball player. Once I had kids, the majority of that dropped off and I didn’t do a whole lot of activity; except for occasionally going for a walk. I have taken Samba and Burlesque classes as an adult, but in general my activity levels were nowhere near the amount of activity I now do every day!

“I have eaten at least one whole broccoli per day for the last year or so and am still not sick of it yet! It’s a great vegetable — get onto it people!”

Are you a morning or afternoon mover? I like to exercise in the mornings, preferably before my brain has woken up and realised what it is doing! I try to fit it in before the kids have woken up so it doesn’t eat into family time. Also, you never feel bad after a morning workout, so it is a great start to the day.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a weekend in Townsville? I love to walk up Castle Hill and run the stairs a few times in the mornings. My ideal day would then progress into brekkie and coffee and then hanging out with the kids on The Strand.

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Rachel on top of the Hill.

Your most motivating tune? Anything that David Guetta makes, but basically anything with a little bit of dance about it. Sometimes I like old school rock — ACDC and KISS are faves of mine.

Motivational quote? I have three that have stayed with me and kept me going:

1. “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out”
St Anthony’s Catholic College students heard this from our sports coordinator — I don’t know if it has stuck with them, but it certainly has resonated with me. It is all about consistency:  Consistency in training and consistency in nutrition. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and the results will take care of themselves.

2. Don’t think about it, Just do it!
It’s too easy to lie in bed in the morning thinking about exercising — you can think of a thousand reasons why you shouldn’t. Same with trying heavier weights than the last training session. But if you just get up and get going, your body is able to cope with pretty much whatever — just do it!!

3. Showing up is half the battle won.
Whether I’ve had eight hours sleep, or five hours sleep; or whether I feel unmotivated or I’m bouncing off the walls; I get up, get dressed and show up. Not once have I regretted a workout after it’s finished. Show up, everyday.

“Increased muscle mass increases your metabolism, which, in turn, burns more fat; and it helps with tone later on once the fat is gone. Too many people do it the other way around”

How do you pep yourself up when you’re craving the couch? At the moment, I just say to myself, “If you aren’t doing it, then somebody else IS”.  That is usually enough for me to force myself up and going. Also, having plans to meet other people at the gym is great, because I am more motivated to go if I know I am committed to working out with someone else too.

Do you prefer to get active solo, or with a buddy? When I am gym training, I prefer to train with a buddy so that there is someone there to help spot with the heavier weights and to keep me motivated. When I am doing cardio, I often like to train alone so that I don’t feel like I have to compete with anyone else and can just let my mind wander as I go. For me, it is kind of like meditation.

Renee-competing---Rachel-at-biggest-weight,-then-both-of-us-at-Miss-Muddy

On left: Rachel at her biggest with sister Renae. On right: Renae and Rachel pre-Miss Muddy 2014.

Most annoying fitness fad? Wearing gym gear as fashion and never actually working out.

What’s your greatest fitness achievement? Achieving my goal of competing on stage will be a massive achievement for me as I would have lost around 50kg to be able to get up there.

“Find something you love doing and do it! It is a simple as that”

Most memorable active moment? When I finally made it to the top of Castle Hill for the first time. The first time I tried to walk up there, I didn’t make it and had to stop about two-thirds of the way up. Now it does not take me very long at all! Also, conquering a 30-minute session on the stair-master was also a big achievement for me, as I developed a major fear of that machine!

What activity have you always wanted to try (and what’s holding you back)? Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP).  At the moment it is pretty much only being time poor that is holding me back. After the comp season has ended, my workouts will drop off a little and I should have time to give this a go. Looks like great fun!

What’s something we don’t know about you? In my spare time, I indulge in some millinery, sewing and craft. These skills have come in handy now I have to bedazzle up my posing bikini! Also, I have eaten at least one whole broccoli per day for the last year or so and am still not sick of it yet! It’s a great vegetable — get onto it people!

Rachel doing what she loves.

What’s your next goal? After competing in the ANB North Queensland Naturals Bodybuilding Competition this weekend, next on the list is to enter the ANB Queensland State Championships in late September at the Gold Coast and then the ANB Australian National Championships in October in Sydney.

What are you doing to get there? Working very hard in the gym with my trainer Paula Pool and consistently staying on my nutritional plan. Good nutrition is vital in this sport. I also attend bodybuilding posing lessons with Shonte Bottcher from iPose. Learning the poses is a lot harder than it looks, and it’s important to be able to correctly showcase all of that effort on the stage.

Rachel-and-kids

With the kids.

Most embarrassing moment on the go? There have been plenty! I have been a little too enthusiastic with the chest press and have been stuck under the bar once or twice, having to shimmy out from underneath or ask the nearest gym-goer to help me out. I also dropped a 10kg weight plate on my toe, which was painful as well as embarrassing. That resulted in the loss of my toenail, but it’s all good now!

Who would you most like to train with (e.g. famous person, or someone you look up to)? I would love to train with Dana Linn Bailey [professional bodybuilder].

The training advice I wish I’d listened to was… starting weights straight away for weight loss. I initially lost 20kg using pretty much just cardio, but I have since learned that increased muscle mass increases your metabolism, which, in turn, burns more fat; and it helps with tone later on once the fat is gone. Too many people do it the other way around. You don’t have to build crazy amounts of muscle either. I realise a lot of people would not aspire to my amount muscularity, but you can definitely look a lot more lean and toned by getting into the weights early on. I was lucky and learned this relatively soon into my weight loss journey, and have not looked back since!

Also, don’t be scared of the gym. Everyone there has a story — they all started off somewhere. They are not judging you; they are more likely to be thinking, “Good on you for working out”.

Most treasured piece of fitness gear? My versa grips, which are a rubber grip attached to my wrist that I use to help me hang onto free weights in the gym. I love how they help transfer the strain of a lift away from my fingers and to the muscle that I actually want to work. And a hairband: I hate having stray hair tickling my face when I am trying to work out! I have also kept my first weight belt: The Velcro no longer sticks, and it is way too big for me now, but reminds me of how far I have come.

Miss-Muddy-finish-line

The Miss Muddy finish line in 2014 – another great physical achievement.

My best local fitness tip is… Townsville has so many opportunities to get moving, whether it be the hill, the gym, dance classes, bike rides, running, water sports. Just take advantage of the great weather, the great facilities and the great knowledge we have here. Find something you love doing and do it! It is a simple as that.

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Rachel’s 40th birthday – Hawaiian theme.

Tell us a joke (why not?) I am out here. I am officially the world’s worst joke teller!

Last words? I firmly believe that if I have been able to achieve this goal, that anybody can do it. You just have to consistently chip away at the goal, step-by-step, and all of a sudden you are there. Special thanks to my sister, Renee Jezard, for motivating me to get going; Paula Pool (my PT), for her expert knowledge and friendship; my family (husband Troy, and children Layla and Holly) and the staff and students of St Anthony’s College for their support and motivation. It is amazing how much support you receive when you share your crazy goals with others!


Get involved

Watch Rachel and her fellow competitors in action this weekend at the ANB North Queensland Naturals Bodybuilding Competition at Jupiters Casino. Tickets will be available at door on the day or you can purchase reserved seats by phoning 4721 1511. The Model category starts at 10am and Figure/Bodybuilding is at 4pm. Find out more here.

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Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz is combining two of her great loves — writing and getting active. Previously working as a journalist, sub-editor, and editor in newspapers and magazines; she is editor and co-founder of TheGo Townsville. She stays active with the staples of road cycling and yoga, but has recently discovered triathlon. And become addicted (apart from the swimming part). She also has a Cert III in Fitness and is passionate about improving mental health through physical activity.

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