Australian Model Vanesa Puerta shares, "Both of these photos were taken after 14 & 16 weeks of competition prep. You can see a difference in leanness in 2015 but the MAJOR difference is in the way I did it.

What some of you may not know is that I prepped myself the second time round in 2015. I did my own diet and training because I wanted to prove that YOU DO NOT need to do endless hours of cardio, restrict your food groups, cut out fruit/wheat/dairy and stop your social life!

Competition prep or dieting doesn't have to be hell (which is what I was made to believe previously).

Here's the MAJOR differences between my 2 preps....
2013:
- Clean eating/restricted food choices- no gluten, dairy, sweeteners etc./Low carb diet/ 1 cheat meal per week which usually left me feeling like crap/bloated

- I ate every 2-3hrs which meant I had to prep around 6-7 meals. I was constantly hungry and counting down until my next meal.

- Trained 7 days a week/ Weights 1 hour/ Cardio progressed to 1 hour before breakfast & 1 hour after weights.

- During peak week I water loaded/depleted which meant on comp day all I wanted was to chug a 1L bottle of iced water!! I also sodium loaded/depleted and used diuretics. These methods can be dangerous if not done properly ????

- My strength & energy levels decreased. I remember not even being able to get out of bed and slurring my words.

- My mood was a roller coaster ride. I was unhappy most of the time but pushed through because I thought that's just how it was meant to be.

- My social life was non existent…if I went out it wasn’t without all my prepped meals in plastic containers.

I remember coming out of this prep and thinking just how UNHEALTHY bodybuilding really is.

That is until in 2015 when I prepped myself after doing much research using a flexible dieting approach. The main changes I did were:

Flexible dieting/no restricted food choices- ate dairy, gluten, sweeteners etc. the whole way through which meant that I got a wider variety of vitamins and minerals. Unless you are intolerant to these there is no reason to cut them out. My carbs didn't drop below 130g until peek week because they are not the devil and are actually essential in retaining muscle & providing energy. I had 1 planned refeed day every 6-12 days to help boost my leptin levels because cheat meals can lead to disordered eating.

- I ate when I was hungry which was generally every 4hrs because eating more often to boost your metabolism is a MYTH! This meant that I only prepped 4 meals. I had so much more time on my hands to balance my gym/work/study/social/family life.

- Trained 5-6days per week/ 1 hour weights/ Cardio started at 1 x 20min HIIT session per week and progressed to 3 x 20min HIIT sessions within the final 3 weeks. NO FASTED CARDIO! Ever! Because HIIT burns more calories overall and is better for retaining muscle mass.

- During peak week I kept my water & sodium intake the same and used no diuretics because messing with these can be life threatening!

- I hit PB's during strength training & my energy levels were good because I had a good balance of carbs & fats

- My mood remained consistent. No major mood swings because I ensured I ate enough fats to keep my hormones regular

- My social life didn't suffer. I still ate out, attended birthdays and even had a few drinks to celebrate my best friends wedding.