“MY BODY CRASHED…TWICE” (THEN YOGA HAPPENED)
Due to the overstimulation of my nervous system from training, insane amounts of caffeine, mental and emotional stress, I developed digestive problems, debilitating fatigue, major anxiety (with panic attacks), depression, disrupted sleep, blood sugar imbalances, weight gain and body dysmorphia. But I got better – thanks to yoga.
Name: Natasha Seeto
Occupation: Student(Nutrition)/Medical Admin
Location: Queensland, Australia
Type of Competing: Bikini Athlete
I have always been an active person, participating in sports from netball and athletics to dancing in its many forms. I began hitting the gym when I started university and loved how lifting weights strengthened my body and my mind. I have a strong mind-body connection, so I saw results quickly and became hooked.
After I switched to a vegan diet, I was hesitant at first to continue lifting weights as I thought I wouldn’t be getting enough protein (how humorous now). I educated myself and realized that I had nothing to worry about in terms of nutritional deficiencies, and decided to compete!
Q: Tell us about the past two years of recovering from bad coaching and how you got back on track.
In 2013, I had a great debut year in bodybuilding as a bikini athlete, ending the year as the Australian Novice Bikini Champion and placing third in the world as a Bikini Novice at the PNBA Natural Olympia.
“Throughout my first competitive year I looked great, but I was very unhappy.”
I trained two to four hours per day, worked a full-time job (plus a ton of overtime), was eating around 1000 calories per day, and averaging four hours sleep per night.
I burnt out fast, and to keep me going, I was consuming pre-workout drinks just to keep functioning at baseline.
My coach did not have time to properly coach me, my progress wasn’t tracked, my food wasn’t tracked or adjusted, my training programs weren’t modified, and I didn’t know any differently.
“I trusted wholeheartedly, and I gave 110 percent; in fact, I gave too much in many ways, mentally, physically, emotionally, and my body crashed … twice.”
The first time was in the middle of the competitive year and again at the end. I had exhausted my adrenals; they couldn’t keep up with the amount of stress I was putting my body and my mind under.
Due to the overstimulation of my nervous system from training, insane amounts of caffeine, and mental and emotional stress, I developed digestive problems, debilitating fatigue, major anxiety (with panic attacks), depression, disrupted sleep, blood sugar imbalances, weight gain, and body dysmorphia.
It took 14 months for my body to believe I wasn’t starving it and to stop holding and gaining fat. I had to reduce weight lifting and eventually stopped, which was a total mind-f*ck.
Towards the end of 2013, I’d freak out when I had to force myself to have a rest day, so stopping training all together was extremely difficult and made even more so when you have a nasty inner critic constantly calling you fat and a failure … enter body dysmorphia.
In those healing 14 months, I learned how to be patient and truly love my body, by trusting and appreciating its innate intelligence and healing abilities. I took up yoga, which helped to ground and reconnect me with my body.
I am happy to say my body is trusting me again, and after a lot of research, I have begun training again with a high carbohydrate approach to my diet and training.
Q: What do you like the most about competing? The least?
I love training and dieting with a goal in sight. I very much enjoy setting and achieving goals. It’s so satisfying when you begin to see small changes each week in your body. I enjoy pushing my body just past my self-perceived upper limit; going one or two reps past what you thought you could is incredibly satisfying.
I also love comp day: getting dolled up, wearing a smashing bikini and heels, then getting up on stage and turning it out feels amazing. After prepping for months, it’s great to have a bit of fun on stage and really allow yourself to shine.
I don’t like the post-comp come-down. There is such a long buildup to comp day, then it’s over. It can be emotionally difficult.
Q: Describe what you normally eat in a day.
At the moment:
- Breakfast – spelt oats with nutmilk and maybe some dates/banana for breakfast
- Lunch – a starchy carb (sweet potato, potato, rice or quinoa) with veggies
- Dinner – legumes (beans, lentils, or chickpeas and veggies
- Snacks – 1-1.5 L of green smoothie (water, cucumber, spinach/kale, lime/lemon, or grapefruit) and fruit (berries, rockmelon, or banana)
- Supplements – plant-based protein powder (if required)
- Water – 2-3 L of chlorine and fluoride-free filtered water
Q: What are the three biggest trends you see in bodybuilding right now?
I have kept bodybuilding at a distance for the past two years, but:
Firstly, what I do see is many people dabbling with the use of peptides to increase muscle growth and performance.
Secondly, there seems to be many people wanting to be social media famous for their fitness lifestyles these days – no judgment, just an observation.
Lastly, there is a massive surge in the amount of women competing in all bodybuilding categories, which is fantastic!
Q: How do you relax and refocus?
Pranic breathing used in yoga is the easiest way for me to relax. It slows and calms the nervous system; having increased oxygen flowing through your body is incredibly relaxing.
I am all about moving meditation that keeps you focused in the present moment and allows you to be and let go of the world. For this, I practice yoga (vinyasa flow and yin) and I dance.
Also, anything to do with nature is very high on my list of relaxation tools; being on the beach or amongst trees and animals is very grounding for me.
Q: Who (person/people) has inspired you the most in your life? What top three experiences have been pivotal in making you the woman you are today?
My mum told me from a very young age that I could succeed in anything I put my mind to, no matter the circumstances.
I believed her and I have always excelled at whatever task or goal I set myself, because I believe with absolute conviction in my own abilities.
Life is full of many turning points and lessons.
If I had to pick three experiences that have shaped the person I am today, they would be experiencing racism at an early age (my mother is Australian and my father is Chinese).
As a child, I could not understand why I was being punished by my teacher when I was a good student and I loved learning.
The second experience would be experiencing physical and mental abuse from my former stepfather.
“The third experience would be going vegan. My health and heart have never felt better than they do now. My body is strong, energy is next level, and my heart is full of love.”
All the above shaped the person I am today. Though the first two experiences were difficult to live through, I am grateful for the lessons they provided me and appreciate them for opening my heart and filling it with compassion. They showed me I could either be a victim of circumstance or a creator of my future … I chose the latter.
Q: Why do you think women’s bodybuilding is trending right now?
I believe women’s bodybuilding is trending right now because it empowers women.
Bodybuilding shapes how we are perceived in our world and the world at large.
“Lifting strengthens not only our body but also our mind.”
It allows us to be bold and daring in other areas of our lives we are told by society that we can’t or shouldn’t be. Lifting weights hands us back our power, and we are loving it!
Chris Willitts (creator of V3), is the founder and owner of Vegetarian Bodybuilding.
V3 Vegetarian Bodybuilding System is a mixture of science and author’s advice, providing users with optimal diet and exercise. This system is designed for vegans and vegetarians only.
A lot of research has been put in this program. Furthermore, a lot of professional bodybuilders and athletes tried and tested the program, praising its progressiveness and efficiency.
The program is about taking control of your own body and health according to your potential and needs. And worry not; you’ll get plenty of proteins with this system. It will boost you with energy, and you’ll feel just a strong as any carnivore would (perhaps even stronger, depending on how much you invest in your exercise). It avoids vitamins deficiency and provides you with a lot of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Instead of saying things like “I think a plant-based diet is good for athletes and bodybuilders,” the V3 Vegetarian Bodybuilding System claims “I know a plant-based diet is good for athletes and bodybuilders, and I have results to prove it.”
To find out more, visit the website at V3 Bodybuilding – Build Muscle By Doing Yoga