Sorayas’ journey to World Professional Model Champion

I joined Atrium Fitness about 2 years ago after deciding to retire from competitive cheer leading. I started going to the gym 5 times a week where I used to do about 30 to 45-minute workouts with weights. Mondays and Fridays, I attended the morning HIIT and Insanity classes.

Somehow along the way I started to lose motivation. I ate super clean during the week and when the weekend arrived I just ate all the junk food possible (starting with a big Chinese takeaway on Friday nights).

Soraya 1I didn’t have anything that would make me push hard in every workout or that would stop me from eating the whole supermarket during the weekend. I didn’t think I looked bad, or I was fat or anything like that, so I just didn’t put in that much effort.

One night during a holiday in Prague I started thinking that if I wanted to achieve the physique I always dreamed off, I had to make a change and stop sabotaging myself on the weekends. That is when I decided that I needed to do something out of my comfort zone that would actually make me stick to a meal and training plan 100%.

At the time I had created an Instagram account (@rayrayhudson) so I could post pictures to slowly track my progress, follow people in the fitness industry that would motivate me to work out and give me workout ideas, etc. Many of the girls I followed were bikini competitors, and after seeing their before and after pictures that night, that’s when I realised what I needed to do: Register for a bikini competition.

The thought of having to step onto a stage in a tiny bikini in front of hundreds of people would really help me stay away from foods I shouldn’t eat and work my butt off at the gym in every session.

Then it came the part where I had to find a federation that had a competition super late in the year (I needed enough time to prepare because my physique was miles away from a bikini competitor) and I had to find a coach. Yes, you can prepare for a competition by yourself, but as you have read already I was not great at sticking to a plan. My main goal was to be disciplined with my nutrition and training, and for that I needed a coach that was there pushing me in every workout, and that could teach me all I needed to know about nutrition (what to eat, when to eat, etc)

Soraya 2I was doing a self-defence course at Atrium Fitness and Matt Nice was the instructor. I asked him if any of the PT’s at Atrium Fitness had ever prepared anyone for a bikini competition as I needed a coach. He offered to be the one who could prepare me for that. I didn’t know then, but I was super lucky he decided to take me in.

March 30th, 2017 marks the beginning of my fitness journey towards my first ever bikini competition. Looking at the before pictures makes me super proud of what I have achieved!

It is said that abs are made in the kitchen, and I have to tell you, that is soooooo true. You can train super hard at the gym and do all the cardio, but if you go to McDonalds afterwards or eat a tub of ice cream, then all that previous hard work is for nothing.

You need to have in mind that the success of your progress depends 80% on your nutrition and 20% on your training. It is a hard reality to process, because we all LOVE food, and having to learn to eat clean is difficult. Unless you have studied nutrition, you won´t necessarily know what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat it to achieve your goal. Each goal has special nutritional needs. What someone eats to build lean muscle is very different to what someone eats that wants to lose body fat. That is why it’s super important to book a couple of PT sessions at the beginning of your “New You” Journey to get a training and nutritional plan that suits your goal. Your PT will help you learn to perform exercises correctly in order not to injure yourself and to work the correct muscles.

It is not easy to start a new nutrition plan and stop eating things you love, but once you learn how to eat healthy, it’s pretty easy to stick to it. There are many different approaches that you can follow – Keto, Intermittent Fasting, IIFYM, Paleo, etc – and the key is to find the one that suits you best, as that will make it easier to follow.

Soraya 3

In my case we did IFFYM (If It Fits Your Macros), where Matt gave me the number of calories a day and per meal. I could choose any food that would fit those macros. IMPORTANT: Anything that fits the macros, but choosing the foods that have a better nutritional value, for example: Complex Carbs over Simple carbs. Simple carbs are like quick-burning fuels (White bread, sweets, regular pasta). They break down fast into sugar in your system. Complex carbs are usually a better choice. It takes your body longer to break them down (whole-wheat bread, pasta and oats, etc).

While embarking yourself in a fitness journey, one of the most important things is being mentally strong. Not only do you need to fight the urge to have some ice cream or popcorn while watching Netflix, but you need to accept that changes don´t happen overnight.

It was hard for me not seeing my body fat going down at the beginning (I was bulking to build muscle and having 2500 calories a day) and not seeing it going down fast enough a few weeks before the show (cutting to shred and having 1200 calories – total Keto diet – and 2 hours cardio a day). However, it is very, very important that you trust the process and your coach.

Soraya 3 a

I am living proof that even though you might not see the results as quickly as you like, the results come if you are disciplined. Please also remember to take progress pictures every now and then. You don´t see the changes because you look at yourself in the mirror every day, but when you compare pictures you will then be able to see, and it will motivate you to work harder!

If you are thinking of competing, you also need to know that the last week before show day (Peak Week), will be the hardest as you will be trying to lose all the extra water in your body and your carbs will go down even more. It sucks but you will love it as it´s in those last few days when you will see your body drastically change and all those muscles pop.

I am super proud of what I have accomplished this season. What was going to be a one-off competition, whose goal was just to get onto a stage and show off the six months of hard work and discipline, became three shows in a month. Three shows where I placed top 3 in everyone, received 2 pro cards and came first place at the Pro Championships receiving the title of World Professional Model Champion!!!

Soraya 4

It’s a great reward, for me and my coach, to have 2 bronze trophies, a silver and a gold medal to back you up.

 

Soraya 5

 

I would like to thank Matt for all the effort he has put into every session we had leading to this amazing competition season. He has been training me since day one, making me look the best I have ever looked. He has been there supporting me in every step of the way and shouting my number in every single show. I owe you the world and wish you all the best in your future PT journey training more and more bikini girls. Bring it on! More champions coming your way.

And last but not least, I would like to thank Atrium Fitness for believing in me, and being my sponsor for the British Finals and Pro Show. Thanks to their support I was able to achieve more that I could have dreamed of.

 

 

March 2016 Newsletter

Managers Message

Hello all and a big warm welcome to our latest edition of the Atrium Newsletter. Our brand new State of the Art E-Gym facility has now opened, and the new exciting way of keeping fit has been a hit with many of you already with lots of very positive feedback.

eGYM

If you are interested in trying the E-Gym out please see reception for details as with the layers coming off now that the weather is getting milder, what better way to get yourself into your summer shape.

– Steve

Paula’s Positive Message

I want to remind everyone that it is not always about your diet and what you do Paula - RESIZEin the gym that can prevent you from feeling your best.

 

Powerful affirmation can transform you, thinking about your attitude and behaviour can and will help you build confidence and help you keep motivated. A positive mental attitude will also help your determination to overcome any fears & obstacles, and a great internal mindset will help you accomplish your goals and improve your self image.

 

Post-Workout High Carb Smoothie Recipe

Watch Tim Shieff, World Freerunning Champion, teach you how to create this tasty and nutritious smoothie that is just perfect after a good workout session! The necessary ingredients can be found below:

  • 4 Medium ripe bananas
  • 8 Medjool Dates
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1 Litre water

Blend until smooth, Serves 4 people.

NUTRITION INFO

Per serving (per glass); 139 cals, 0.4g fat, 0.1g saturated), 1.6g protein, 30.3g carbs, 27.7g sugar.

FOOD FACTS

+ Dates are high in chloride which aids digestion.
+ Bananas contain potassium which helps our muscles to work properly. This is especially important after exercise so that our muscles can repair and grow.
+ Drinking a smoothie like this is better than your average energy drink because it provides just as much energy and sugar but it also provides your body with other nutrients like fibre and vitamins & minerals which are needed when you work hard at the gym.

Sugar-free Breakfast Ideas

Jess has a few tips on how to replace some of the high sugar content in your diet and eat better in the mornings with some tasty alternatives!

Newsletter jess

 

 

 

 

 

Fact – The Valsalva Effect

Aaron brings us this interesting fact about the Valsalva Effect:

The Valsalva Effect/Manoeuvre is when someone forcefully attempts to exhale against a closed airway, primarily when weight training during a lift. This increases blood pressure, decreases heart rate, and increases the risk of fainting and retinal detachment.

The Valsalva maneuver is commonly believed to be the optimal breathing pattern for producing maximal force, as it creates a pocket of pressure in the abdominal and thoracic cavities. The results are that you increase your power output potential and provide core support to protect your lower back from injury.

Pawel – How to achieve the perfect Flag

If you are willing to learn how to do a flag, there is one question you should ask yourself. Is my core and upper body strong enough. If you have any doubts, then you better get training.

I started with basic planks making sure my form is spot on, and making sure that I can maintain a variety of planks for a long period of time. Once I have mastered that, I then move on to doing some crazy super sets with a variety of planks, roll outs, press ups then adding some strict triceps dips and strict pull ups.

Once you have been doing this for some time, the last thing you have to do is to attempt it. When you try the flag make sure that you give your 100% and stay focused for every second of the flag hold. Best of luck!

Our very own Pawel doing what he does best! Showing the world what he can do. Any one up for the challenge? 🙂

Posted by The Atrium Club on Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Staff Training

We openly encourage our team to improve their knowledge and skills, this is what they have been up to so far.

Reception

Well Done to Paula who recently completed and passed her Level 2 NVQ in Customer Service. Paula is now working towards her Level 2 NVQ in Team Leadership.
Jodie & Donna are in the process of completing their Level 2 NVQ in Customer Service.

Fitness Team

​Jess is off to ​Birmingham to complete a PIYO course. Hopefully we can find space on the timetable for a class or two.

Aaron is is steadily working his way towards Level 3 Personal Training and successfully passed his assessment. If you are interested in Personal Training Aaron is able to offer reduced rates whilst his training is ongoing.

Stuart is always on the look out for new courses, he is finishing a Sports Conditioning course as this newsletter goes out.

One surprising change of direction is Naomi, who loves the gym and helping out members that she has signed up to become a Level 2 Fitness Instructor. This time next year Naomi may well be teaching Circuits!

Low-fat Cake Recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

This tasty looking, easy to make, low calorie cake will take 10 minutes preparation and 20 minutes to bake. It serves 8 people so enjoy with friends and family afterwards!

recipe-image-legacy-id--363719_11

Ingredients:

  • Butter or Oil
  • 50g Plain Flour
  • 3 tbsp Cornflour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 4 Eggs
  • 175g Caster Sugar

 

  1. Heat your oven to 180 C fan or 160 C gas, then grease and line the sides of a 2 x 20 tin with grease-proof paper. Sieve baking powder and flour together.
  2. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then whisk in the sugar. Beat the egg yolks then whisk in the whites. Fold in dry ingredients using a large metal spoon then spoon the mixture into the tins and level tops.
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes until risen, to test insert a skewer into the middle and if it comes out clean its good. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes then gently remove and leave to cool completely
  4. Mix the mandarins and fromage frais together. Peel away the grease-proof paper, sandwich the cakes with the mandarin mix, then dust with icing sugar to serve.

At only 214 calories and with 4g fat in total, treat yourself to this cake without feeling guilty 🙂

Breakfast

stressfreefullenglis_67721_16x9Often referred to as ‘the most important meal of the day’, and there are reasons why!!

Breakfast is essential for fuelling the body with energy throughout the start of the day. How often do you find yourself being hungry at around 10-11 o clock and start reaching for those sweet treats that are meant to be saved for a special occasion?

When we sleep we obviously aren’t eating, but our bodies are busy recovering and growing, so when we wake up, we’ve been fasting
the whole night! Therefore it is important to start your day right and get some good quality food in you and give yourself some energy.

A breakfast rich in high quality protein and good fats is a great way to start the day. This will give your body the oomph it needs to kick start your metabolism, set you up for the day and help keep those hunger pangs at bay. Plus the good fats will help cognitive functioning meaning you’ll be firing on all cylinders right from the get go!

Coconut oil is a fantastic source of healthy fats and is a great substitute to use as a cooking oil. Why not try a 3 egg omelette with some bacon medallions, spinach and vine tomatoes. A great combination of flavours, vitamins, fats and proteins that will get you off to a flying start. If you want to do one better then wash it down with a tall glass of water with some lemon slices to help detox your body and you’re good to go!

This especially applies to all those early morning gym goers! Make sure you’ve got fuel in you so your body isn’t using that hard earned muscle tissue instead! Happy Eating!

MYZONE

Massive well done to Jerry Herrigan who has lost 12 kgs since the end of December 2014. Below, he explains how the Myzone belt has helped in with his weight loss journey.
In Jerry’s own words
‘The Myzone belt has helped me with my type 2 diabetes as I can now manage my weight more effectively and
monitor my heart rate on regular basis. It has pushed me to work harder and I can now see a huge improvement in my cardiovascular fitness and in my strength.’
‘There are many health benefits to gain from using the Myzone belt and I believe it is a worthwhile investment in your health now and on into the future.’MYZONE- Jerry

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from all here at Atrium Fitness!

After all of our merry making, our goal to get Ely fit continues into 2015. We are back open to our normal hours now and classes begin as normal from Monday! We have an insanity special taking place tomorrow (Saturday 3rd) with Jess taking the participants through an intense choreographed bodyweight class.

Look out though…

We have a few new classes and some minor changes to our timetable taking place as of 12th January! So head in and pick up our new timetable to get up to date and all your class bookings sorted before then!