When it comes to New Zealand body building and sports modelling, there’s no bigger competition than the NABBA/WFF National Championships. Formed back in 1950 in the UK, NABBA was the first original competitive body building association and famous past NABBA stars include Steve Reeves (Hercules Movies) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (four time champion). WFF became registered in 1998 and although the two are vastly different — NABBA caters for a more muscular physique while WFF caters for a more athletic look — the two are connected and hold national and international competitions for both men and women each year.
The NABBA Top Of The South awards were recently held in Nelson and showcased some of the best in the business. Tayla Anderson won both Short and Top of The South overall this year. She also won the national championships held in Christchurch, and competed at the 2017 NABBA/WFF National Championships last weekend and took out first place for the Junior Sports Model division. On top of that, she’s a personal trainer! Verve caught up with Tayla to find out a little bit more about the sport and what it takes to compete in such a large scale competition.
What inspired you to get into the sport?
My dad (Mark Anderson) also competes for NABBA and has done since I was very young. He is also a personal trainer, so I grew up around the sport and was around him during his dieting and preparation process. I think initially what I enjoyed about training in the gym was the awesome feeling it gave me — a sense of strength, empowerment and achievement. That feeling is what drives me.
What’s your favourite part of doing what you do?
I love having something to work towards because it adds fuel to my training and it challenges me. I love showing other people what can be achieved through hard work and dedication. As a trainer, it is also important that I can practise what I preach.
How did you prepare for the competition?
I spent four months in a dieting phase where I restricted my calorie intake daily. Once I learnt what I could eat within that calorie count while still hitting my macros, I established my diet. My training consisted of five sessions a week — splitting each training session into specific muscle groups.I also checked in with my coach weekly for eight weeks prior to the event. This included half-hour sessions of practising my posing and making sure I was staying on track and looking ready to compete. Outside of that, I practised on average twice a week by myself for 15 minutes or so.
Was there a special diet you had to stick to?
Yes, I followed a very strict diet that consisted of meat, vegetables, eggs, protein shakes, greek yoghurt, brown rice, quinoa, rolled oats, tuna, rice crackers, cottage cheese, coffee and peanut butter, of course.
Do you train alongside other competitors or is it quite a solo sport?
Everyone has their own approach to training and what works for them but I don’t tend to train with other competitors. In my experience, I have been shown a lot of support and encouragement from other competitors including others I will be competing against. We all understand the process and how hard it can be.Of course it’s also a competition and you want to go out there and win. Being unsupportive of other competitors is not going to boost your chances of winning. I have met a lot of cool people through competing and continue to stay in contact with them through social media.
What’s next for you?
At this stage I just want to relax and enjoy summer. I don’t plan on competing next year. Five months is a long time to sacrifice in one year, and my body deserves a rest. I’ll be focusing on my personal training business for now.
Is there any advice you would give to someone wanting to start competing?
Go for it! Anyone can achieve what I have but you’ll need to be prepared to be disciplined and work bloody hard! The process can definitely be a struggle, but if you want it bad enough, you’ll get through it.