In the lead up to the 2017 World Fitness Federation (WFF) International Pan American Cup, experienced figure athlete Emma Blenman is going to be living a rock star lifestyle.
As a member of accomplished professional coaches Cheryl Frost and Blair Loveday’s handpicked international team, she will join nineteen other competitors in the resort town of Puerto Vallarta for a week of intense preparation.
This part of Mexico’s Pacific coast is known for its beaches, water sports, and nightlife scene.
The town’s cobblestone centre is home to the ornate Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe church, boutique shops and a range of restaurants and bars.
While based here Blenman, and her team mates, will be staying in a luxury villa complete with infinity pool and the ocean crashing below.
There will be photo shoots, time to explore, and new friendships formed but then there is also the serious business of fine-tuning.
Despite the idyllic location, this determined competitor will have “one eye on the mirror” in bid to “peak” at the right time.
The right time being when she takes to the stage in her first WFF event which will see her competing in a weight rather than height category and performing a few different compulsory poses compared to previous competitions.
Blenman burst onto the competitive scene on 2015 with notching up a string of impressive displays on the domestic scene, including a second place in open figure at the Australasian Natural Bodybuilding Federation (ANB) Newcastle Classic, second at the ANB Central Coast, and a third at the ANB Nationals.
This saw her qualify for the worlds in Canada and here, at the UFE World championships, Blenman was offered a Procard after placing third in physique section and sixth in figure.
“I turned down the Procard because that meant I would not have been able to compete in Australia the next year,” she explains.
Her immediate success changed everything and was the impetus to her transition from mine electrician to personal trainer.
The 32-year-old mother of two now runs Emergy Body Sculpting which means she is lucky enough to have turned her passion into a full-time occupation.
But this has not come without sacrifice.
“After I had my second child I was not happy with my weight so I decided to set myself a goal - to start competing,” she explains.
For many embarking on the unrelenting journey of attaining the perfect physique and then putting yourself on stage to be compared, and scrutinised, would be off-putting.
Blenman says this is exactly what drove her quest for perfect muscle group separation, balance and symmetry.
“I have always been attracted to the hardness and rigidity of the muscular classes. Growing up my mum was a weight lifter and although this was quite unusual at the time it meant I was used to seeing strong women,” she explains.
“I wanted to challenge myself, I was unhappy with weight, and I wanted to know I had the power to change that.”
The disciplined athlete has done this on her own terms; shying away from the traditional bland body sculpting diet of “chicken breast and broccoli” that left her feeling depleted.
“In preparation for my first competition I followed a traditional diet but I soon realised I wanted to do it in a more balanced and healthier way,” she says.
“I like to get as much of my nutrition from real foods as possible, and I only use supplements from ASN Hunter when needed to help me peak at the right time.”
Blenman says being able to eat a variety of foods including cheese while maintaining her physique has required her to “learn the science behind it all”.
Something she has enjoyed mastering but it is an all-consuming pursuit as it is all about timing, pairing and monitoring.
A skill she called upon when floored by mononucleosis in April.
“Basically from April to July I couldn’t train and I spent plenty of time in bed,” she says.
“So I had to manage my preparation for this event through my eating. I am feeling good considering, and I am just stoked to be going.”
With this less than ideal preparation Blenman is not thinking about a Procard but there are 14 up for grabs and she is a fierce competitor.