I first knew about Joelle Christine when I was preparing for my last fitness model competition back in 2013. She was prepping at the same time (in the same federation, INBA), but for the bikini model division. She is a pocket rocket, and have always identified with her ‘cut the crap’ mentality, and honest and open blogging and transparency about her competition prep on social media.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a 21 year old university student who got into health and fitness about three years ago. My journey started with a desire to lose weight and get in shape, and then it turned into competing in bodybuilding competitions (in the bikini division) and now I’m on a path where I’m trying to learn to balance everything in my life – my fitness and health, university studies, work, family, friends and hobbies outside fitness. For a while I was so focused on competing that I abandoned a lot of things outside health and fitness and now I’m working on maintaining a balance.
What is your blog ‘Femme Fitale’ about?
It’s about everything related to fitness – I talk about the generic things like training and nutrition but take it a step further and address more “controversial” issues like drugs in the fitness industry, the use of photoshop in “fitspo”, why teatoxes aren’t doing any good and the sexualisation of the fitness industry.
Four words to describe yourself?
I’m studying a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Bachelor of Law at university, I work in a law firm and I’m also studying my Cert 3 & 4 in fitness on the side.
What’s your story? How did you start living an active life?
I started training because I didn’t like the way I looked and I realised my lifestyle choices were making me lethargic and lacking in energy. So I joined a gym in 2012 and started training. Towards the end of 2012 I decided to compete in an INBA competition so that I would have a goal to work towards.
I first competed in March 2013, then again in April 2013 and then traveled to Greece in June 2013 to compete at the World Championships. I won my PNBA pro card there and in November 2013 I traveled to the US to compete at the Natural Olympia, where I won the Bikini Pro division. It was a crazy year! Although I achieved a lot, I had tunnel-vision that year and was so focused on competing that I missed out on a bit of “regular” life.
So in 2014, I took a more balanced approach to fitness and only competed once in November at the Natural Olympia (in the US). I placed 6th and was quite happy with that but I realised that my heart wasn’t into competing as much as it had previously been. So this year I’ve been working on training and exercising in places other than the gym (like doing ocean swims or plyometrics in the park), balancing parts of my life more and taking a step back from the aesthetically-oriented fitness world into a place where I place my personal happiness before my appearance.
You had a fantastic year in 2013, competing in two INBA competitions and one INBA/PNBA competition. What is your next fitness goal?
I don’t have a definitive goal – at the moment I just want to enjoy my training, build more muscle and perhaps I’ll compete again in the coming years but I have no plans to do so at the moment.
Can you share with North of Here readers a few training tips that work for you?
- Do exercises that you enjoy and feel comfortable with. A lot of trainers and fitness personalities try and “push” certain exercises as being better than others. Just do what works for you! For example, I hardly ever squat (gasp!) because I’m very quad-dominant and would rather target areas I want to grow, like my hamstrings and glutes, through other exercises.
- Have fun while you train! Training with friends is a great way to motivate yourself and you can learn from your friend while they learn from you.
- Don’t be intimidated by the weights room. Weights help to build and sculpt your body and are a great addition to any workout regime. I know the weights room can look intimidating but once you know your way around, it will become a place that you look forward to visiting. And if you’re new to weights, training with a friend can help to remove any insecurity you have about walking into the weights section!
- Have some good music and an iPod handy when you train by yourself. Music can be so motivating!
What’s your ‘mantra’ – your fitness philosophy?
Fitness should be a part of life – it’s not the “be-all” and “end-all” of life. And, fitness is not about how you look, it is about how you feel!
You are quite transparent on your blog Femme Fitale about your lifestyle, diet, training and being a “natural” Pro Bikini competitor – what are your thoughts on the increased interest in “fitspo” accounts on instagram and ‘fitness models’ as inspiration for young women and girls?
I have a real issue with a lot of fitspo accounts. Many of them are simply “thinspo” accounts disguised as “fitspo” and they promote a body-type which is not attainable for all people. I also think many fitspo accounts and fitness models are too sexualised, with many fitness photo-shoots and video shoots becoming more like soft-core porn scenes. Young women and girls are so impressionable and being constantly presented with pictures of overly-sexy, lean models is going to damage their self-confidence and self-esteem.
A picture can very easily lie and shouldn’t be relied upon as a “goal” – photo-shop is so common nowadays, many fitness models take drugs to help them look the way they do and most photo shoots are done when the models are at their most lean. The models only look the way they do for a few days and that is definitely not a realistic goal for people and should not be the definition of “fit”. Many fitness models, despite being labelled as “fitness models”, are not very fit at all –they are often lean, weak, depleted and hungry and unfortunately our society sees them as the picture of health when they are far from that.
You follow “IIFYM” style of eating and follow macro’s quite closely, what would we find in your shopping basket every week?
I’m currently at a point where I’ve stepped away from counting my macros every day because I want to find a way t live a balanced life that doesn’t involve tracking all my food every day for the rest of my life – I don’t see it as a sustainable goal. IIFYM is great at teaching you what is in your food but I don’t believe it is necessary to track food every day unless you have a specific goal such as weight loss. That being said, I eat a lot of the same foods. My staples include: oats, bananas, strawberries, various salads, cucumbers, capsicum, avocado, nut butters, chicken, steak, eggs, protein power and the occasional treat like a few lollies or a doughnut (my weakness is doughnuts… mmmmm)
What is your favourite type of exercise/movement/style of training?
I love a variety of training styles and exercises but one of my favourites at the moment is a superset of a weight-exercise with a plyometric-based exercise. For example, I will do one set on the leg press and move directly onto a set of kettlebell swings, then rest and repeat. I love mixing the two training styles together because it keeps my heartrate up and makes my workouts more interesting.
How do you stay motivated?
I wish I could say that I’m always motivated but my motivation comes and goes. Having a clear goal that I need to achieve is a good way to ensure I’ll stick to my training and nutrition. My goals change from strength-based ones (like trying to achieve a deadlift PB) to more aesthetic based ones (like preparing for a photoshoot). I also become motivated when I train with my partner and my friends because they push me and inspire me to keep on trying to better myself.
My next training session is:
a shoulder & ab weight session tomorrow afternoon! I’ll be doing about 5 sets of shoulder exercises and finishing the session off with 2 ab circuits, with each circuit consisting of 3 or 4 exercises.
1. Sweet or savoury: SWEET! (I love lollies!)
2. Music or Reading: Reading
3. AM or PM workout: I feel more efficient in the AM but most of my workouts end up being in the PM because of my schedule.
4. Your favourite movie: The Count of Monte Cristo
5. In your gym bag: My gym towel, gloves, wrist straps, lifting belt, PES AminoIV (BCAAs), an iPod, Beauty Bum, water bottle and a jacket. It’s a big bag!
Thanks so much Joelle! If you liked learning about Joelle, her training and fitness tips, be sure to like her Facebook page to keep up with her latest blog posts!