From stress relief to a win
BEFORE the sun has even reared its head, Nicole Challen has done 45 minutes of "fasting cardio” and set herself up for a day's work at the gym.
This is just the beginning of the Blackwater woman's daily exercise regime, one she said had taken her all the way to the Australasian bodybuilding titles.
Ms Challen recently returned from the Australiasian titles in Sydney, where she won first place in the bikini competition.
The Blackwater woman, who hails from Mackay, said her foray into body building happened about five years ago when she started travelling for work.
"I lived in Mackay and then moved into a mining environment Monday to Friday,” she said.
"I'd always been into sport, but couldn't be a part of a sporting team at home or here.
"By going to the gym I could control when I went, and still do something without letting a team down.”
What started as "a bit of stress relief”, quickly developed into much more.
"I was working long hours and going home sitting on the couch,” she said. "It wasn't the best relief.
"But when I went to the gym I realised it was a bit of a better alternative.”
Now home after her success in Sydney, Ms Challen said there was no time for rest.
She said she was now in "prep” ahead of Queensland championships in October.
"I prep for about 12 to 14 weeks; it's when you start getting serious about your diet in the weeks leading up to the show,” she said.
Ms Challen said she dropped nine kilograms, 10% body fat ahead of her last competition in Sydney.
During prep, she also said she would practice posing, and walking around in a bikini and heels.
While it was hard work, the Blackwater local said it was all worth it come competition day.
"I love the excitement and the nerves around it,” she said. "Getting dressed up, and knowing you've all worked hard to be there.”
And while she competed to win, she said the girls all respected each other's work ethic.
"They've worked their arses off to get here, we've all worked our arses off.”