After week 2‘s competition and hundreds of votes, Paula Harrow walked away with the gold, and of course the prizes, courtesy of Goldstar Supplements and Smartshake. Thats two weeks in a row for the girls! Physique Of The Week’s Craig Abbott caught up with Paula to discuss her training, diet and plans for the future.
Craig: Hello Paula, first thing is first, congratulations on winning Physique of the week! A question we always like to ask is, what made you decide to enter in the first place?
Paula: Thanks! Erm… I entered physique of the week purely because I wanted to see how I would do, after seeing a friend of mine had entered the previous week. Obviously the protein and new shakers were an incentive, but I have been working more or less none stop since October 2010. So I thought ‘why not?’ I have nothing to lose, and possibly things to gain.
Craig: Well considering you entered ‘just to see how you would do’ you certainly did okay! 311 Votes! That is almost 100 more than Sarah Laurie achieved last week! Were you worried about the competition at any point.
Paula: I have to admit, after Jordan Leader took the lead the first couple of days, it spurred me on that little bit extra to beat him! After all, to compete you have to have that competitive streak about you. He was a good very good competitor, I was always looking over my shoulder.
Craig: (Laughs) Yeah people seem to take our competition very seriously! So, you look in fantastic shape, how long have you been training? And what made you get into it in the first place?
Paula: I started ‘training’ about four weeks after I had my son who is now six years old. I started with dieting and fitness DVD’s at home, just to get back in shape more than anything else. However, I will admit, I took it too far and ended up super skinny. It wasn’t a good look. Then I invested in a weight bench and some free weights. But not really knowing what I was doing, I just ended up spinning my wheels. I have a few friends that are into bodybuilding. So I went to see Eddy Ellwood. I started training properly in October last year under his guidance. He gave me a diet and training program to follow, and all the advice I needed to get me in proper shape to compete at the North Britain. I placed 3rd in the ‘toned’ class, and got an invite to finals. All in my first year.
Craig: Wow, that’s pretty incredible! I can actually remember seeing you compete at the North Britain! Did you set out originally with the intention of competing, or did competing become a challenge you wished to take on further down the line
Paula: Competing was never part of my plan before October, because to be honest, I never thought I would stand a chance (laughs). I used to be quite the party animal before, so really never considered it. But, after talking to a few friends about it, I thought I would much rather spend my time training than doing anything else. I love training so much. And competing, although it’s nerve racking, is such a rush! I did the ‘toned’ class this year, but I want to do the ‘trained’ class next year. Training for that is intense! But love every second of it!
Craig: Well nobody can challenge your commitment! So, obviously you have just said its intense, what does this mean your typical diet / training plan looks like?
Paula: My diet at the moment is high protein, medium-ish carbs. Depends what im training that day. I always eat more carbs the days I have a big gym session. I eat about six times a day. This usually consists of chicken, fish, eggs, steak, occasionally brown rice, ground rice and I’m also trying to add sweet potato in, also lots of green veggies. I keep chopped peppers and sticks of celery in the fridge just in case I get a hunger pang between meals. I try to drink a gallon of water a day, some days its harder than others but its got to be done! I also drink a morning detox tea before breakfast.
As for training, I train six days a week, every morning!
Day 1: Shoulders and abs with 30mins on the cross trainer
Day 2: Biceps and triceps,
Day 3: Legs and calves with 15mins cross trainer
Day 4: Back
Day 5: Chest and abs with 30mins cross trainer
Day: 6: Hamstrings and glutes with 15mins cross trainer
I usually have Sundays off but if I get bored, I’ll go put some more cardio in!
Craig: Nice, some great tips for our readers there!
Your diet looks very clean! Do you ever have cheat days, junk food, alcohol, that sort of thing?
Paula: Yes I do have a cheat meal. Not every week, but if I really fancy something naughty, I’ll have it then. Usually a Friday or Saturday night. I do drink occasionally, when I have the odd night out. Nowhere near like I used to, thank god! And I only do it while in early off season.
Craig: (Laughs) Alcohol is the devil! It always seems to creep into peoples diets somewhere along the line! Your rules for it seem very sensible! I notice from your pictures you have a number of tattoos, do any of them mean anything or tie in with what you do in any way?
Paula: Yeah, I have thirty-three tattoos at the last count (laughs), some of them mean things. My kids names. I also have ‘carpe diem’ (seize the day) and ‘one life-one chance’, two quotes which I live by. But most of them I got purely because I like them.
Craig: Thirty-three! Whoa, I bet they are a nightmare to cover up for your shows! (laughs)
Paula: Surprisingly they aren’t! A few coats of stain in the days running up to the competition, then the stage tan just before I go on. Eddy makes my stain a lot darker for me to hide them!
Craig: Ah, I see, little tricks of the trade! So, do you have any inspirational figures you look up to?
Paula: I think Ava Cowan and Larissa Reis are amazing! Both have fantastic physiques. If I could have a figure like either of these two, I would be doing bunny hopes over the moon! Definitely two ladies I find extremely inspirational. And of late, Sarah Laurie, she is an amazing girl, I applaud her for all her hard work. She has put in so much to get where she is now, and so down to earth!
Craig: Well you certainly look well on your way to achieving that! Yeah, Sarah was a worthy winner of the competition! Think she is a little bit inspiring to everybody who knows what it is like to be overweight! So what are your thoughts on our website?
Paula: I think the website is fantastic! For the few seconds it takes to upload a photo, you get the chance to win stuff, get the rush of people voting for you, and of course everyone gets to see all the hard work youve put in.
Craig: Thanks! Yeah we tried to make the application process as easy as possible!
So just before we go, do you have any advice for our readers?
Paula: If I could give anyone any advice it would be: Don’t listen to negative people, as long as its what you want to do then go for it! The sky is the limit as long as you put the hard work in. Never give up, and never back down!
Craig: Awesome advice! Thank you Paula! Congratulations again on winning Physique Of The Week, we wish you all the best for the future, and we will be routing for you from the crowd at the North Britain 2012! See you then!