Bodybuilding career shapes up
Gutted after suffering a debilitating knee injury, Jess Coates struggled to see what else the future could hold.
Turns out, it now holds a very promising career in the sport of bodybuilding after the Hamilton personal trainer came second in a world bodybuilding championship in Germany at the weekend.
Miss Coates, originally of Wellington, came second in the women’s shape class at the NAC Universe Bodybuilding Champs - after only 14 months in the sport.
"I’m so excited," she told the Times from her Hamburg hotel room last (sunday) night. ‘‘I haven’t been able to sleep. I’m so stoked."
She edged out all but one of the other 28 contestants in the new shape category to grab the second place.
There were three women’s categories: shape - "it’s more about muscle tone and symmetry of your body and the look of a more athletic body", figure - "you have to come in quite a bit leaner" and physique - "which is about more muscle".
She chose the shape class to keep a more feminine physique and don’t have to cut down as much as the figure competitors.
An avid sportswoman - playing under 21 netball for Wellington and keen player of touch rugby - she was suggested bodybuilding by a fellow trainer at her workplace, First Place Fitness.
She competed in her first competition - the Counties-Manukau regional champs, which she won - only to carry on competing in back-to-back events until the weekend’s Universe competition.
"I’ve competed about eight times, just this year. I wasn’t planning on it. I was only planning on for the shape class at Counties Manukau then the Asia-Pacific in Auckland. But then quite a few others popped up."
That has meant having only four weeks off her rigorous dieting schedule - weetbix, protein shakes, chicken, salads, tuna, kumara and black coffee - since mid January.
She’s slightly surprised at adapting to the painstaking diet regime that comes with the sport so quickly, and isn’t too mournful of boozy nights out on Hood St.
"The thing with bodybuilding, it’s a lifestyle. You can compete in other sports, and have a life outside of that and it doesn’t matter if you have something bad or have a drink with your mates. You live the bodybuilding life and it’s just how it is.
"Don’t get me wrong, it is hard when you go around to your friends and they’re all having a drink and food ... I just plan and cook all my food and meals and take them everywhere I go."
With such a successful, yet whirlwind, introduction into the sport she plans to take a well-earned break before contemplating her next move - turning professional, with her key sponsors The Protein Shop and Jake Campus Nutrition.
But in the mean time, she’s looking forward to a few days relaxing in Dubai with her number one supporter - Mum, Manu Coates - before arriving back home in Hamilton on Sunday.