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    Alexandra Byrne
    @allielifts

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Little anterior delt finisher from today's shoulder session. 1+1/2 reps til fatigue sets in (and the half reps look more like 1/8 reps ๐Ÿ˜…), then full reps to finish the job ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ
Anterior delts are often neglected for lateral delt work, but they're important too. Weak front delts can be a limiting factor for bench press, whether you're training for strength or hypertrophy (if your anterior delts fatigue quickly, you won't be able to fully fatigue your pecs). For bodybuilders, well developed front delts can add extra width up top in the side comparison poses, especially in federations that don't allow you to twist at the torso.
Little anterior delt finisher from today's shoulder session. 1+1/2 reps til fatigue sets in (and the half reps look more like 1/8 reps ๐Ÿ˜…), then full reps to finish the job ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ Anterior delts are often neglected for lateral delt work, but they're important too. Weak front delts can be a limiting factor for bench press, whether you're training for strength or hypertrophy (if your anterior delts fatigue quickly, you won't be able to fully fatigue your pecs). For bodybuilders, well developed front delts can add extra width up top in the side comparison poses, especially in federations that don't allow you to twist at the torso.
Joys of being in the off-season, I can fill out a pair of leggings again ๐Ÿ˜…

As much as I love being shredded, I feel much healthier having a little fluff. After having issues at the end of prep, getting back to a normal level of body fat was a priority for me.

Strength is increasing, hormones are normalising, and energy levels are the highest they've been in months ๐Ÿ™Œ

My plan is to finish out the year intuitively eating while tracking protein, which tends to put me in a deficit unless I'm extremely lean (which I'm not ๐Ÿ˜‚). I'd like to be just a touch leaner before I jump on the gainz train come January. Training until then will be somewhat structured, keeping with what's been working for me on my stronger body parts, and trying new exercises and techniques on my weaker areas. 
I've always liked taking a less structured approach to December. In years past, trying to stick to a strict plan has led to stress and feelings of guilt when things inevitably come up. The freedom to experiment with food and training keeps my head in a good place, and by the time January comes I'm craving routine and structure.
Joys of being in the off-season, I can fill out a pair of leggings again ๐Ÿ˜… As much as I love being shredded, I feel much healthier having a little fluff. After having issues at the end of prep, getting back to a normal level of body fat was a priority for me. Strength is increasing, hormones are normalising, and energy levels are the highest they've been in months ๐Ÿ™Œ My plan is to finish out the year intuitively eating while tracking protein, which tends to put me in a deficit unless I'm extremely lean (which I'm not ๐Ÿ˜‚). I'd like to be just a touch leaner before I jump on the gainz train come January. Training until then will be somewhat structured, keeping with what's been working for me on my stronger body parts, and trying new exercises and techniques on my weaker areas. I've always liked taking a less structured approach to December. In years past, trying to stick to a strict plan has led to stress and feelings of guilt when things inevitably come up. The freedom to experiment with food and training keeps my head in a good place, and by the time January comes I'm craving routine and structure.
It will be a long time before I hear the words "quarter turn to the right" again. But just because the stage is several years away doesn't mean I'm not working toward it every day. 
The off season is where the magic happens. Every workout where I want to give up from the pain, every meal I have to force down, brings me one step closer to my biggest and baddest physique yet. We getting nasty in 2019, and that's just the beginning ๐Ÿ’ช
It will be a long time before I hear the words "quarter turn to the right" again. But just because the stage is several years away doesn't mean I'm not working toward it every day. The off season is where the magic happens. Every workout where I want to give up from the pain, every meal I have to force down, brings me one step closer to my biggest and baddest physique yet. We getting nasty in 2019, and that's just the beginning ๐Ÿ’ช
My god it feels good to put some weight on the bar and just lift. First time doing conventional deadlifts since April. 90kgx3, only 30kg off my PB from last year. While these didn't feel too heavy I struggled to brace on the last rep so I stopped.

I've received a lot of feedback on the story I posted yesterday about my post prep experiences, both good and bad. Thank you so SO much to everyone who messaged me asking how I'm doing ๐Ÿ’• I'm incredibly blessed and grateful to have your support!

And to the people who said I shouldn't compete in the future because I struggle post show (both to my face and not), you'll be my motivation next time around to prove you wrong.

Just to make things crystal clear, I take 100% responsibility for the mistakes I made, both during prep and what I did after. The things that went wrong were down to my own shortcomings as an individual. The sport of bodybuilding isn't to blame, I am.

I've struggled with mental health issues for as long as I can remember, and just about everything that means something to me has exacerbated those issues at one point or another. Should I never try to achieve the things I want in life for fear that it could set me back? I'd rather take 3 steps forward and 1 back every time than live my life too scared to take the first step. Champions aren't the people who never struggle, they're the ones who never give up, even if they've failed multiple times before.

While my post prep experience this year was not ideal, it was still much better than last year's. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm proud to have made progress, no matter how insignificant it may seem to people who don't know my story and what I've overcome.
My god it feels good to put some weight on the bar and just lift. First time doing conventional deadlifts since April. 90kgx3, only 30kg off my PB from last year. While these didn't feel too heavy I struggled to brace on the last rep so I stopped. I've received a lot of feedback on the story I posted yesterday about my post prep experiences, both good and bad. Thank you so SO much to everyone who messaged me asking how I'm doing ๐Ÿ’• I'm incredibly blessed and grateful to have your support! And to the people who said I shouldn't compete in the future because I struggle post show (both to my face and not), you'll be my motivation next time around to prove you wrong. Just to make things crystal clear, I take 100% responsibility for the mistakes I made, both during prep and what I did after. The things that went wrong were down to my own shortcomings as an individual. The sport of bodybuilding isn't to blame, I am. I've struggled with mental health issues for as long as I can remember, and just about everything that means something to me has exacerbated those issues at one point or another. Should I never try to achieve the things I want in life for fear that it could set me back? I'd rather take 3 steps forward and 1 back every time than live my life too scared to take the first step. Champions aren't the people who never struggle, they're the ones who never give up, even if they've failed multiple times before. While my post prep experience this year was not ideal, it was still much better than last year's. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm proud to have made progress, no matter how insignificant it may seem to people who don't know my story and what I've overcome.
Sometimes letting go is harder than holding on... Unfortunately due to health problems I have decided not to compete at Worlds this weekend.

Giving up on a goal I've been working towards all year hurts like hell. I'm heartbroken, but I know it's the right decision. I love bodybuilding and plan on doing it for a long time. Continuing with this prep and risking lasting damage would be counterproductive to my long term goals.

The stage will always be there, and I will be back stronger than ever in 2-3 years time ๐Ÿ’ช But for now, I'll be taking some much needed downtime to get my body back to a healthy state. Looking forward to a nice holiday in LA and cheering on Team Ireland on Saturday โ˜˜๏ธ
Sometimes letting go is harder than holding on... Unfortunately due to health problems I have decided not to compete at Worlds this weekend. Giving up on a goal I've been working towards all year hurts like hell. I'm heartbroken, but I know it's the right decision. I love bodybuilding and plan on doing it for a long time. Continuing with this prep and risking lasting damage would be counterproductive to my long term goals. The stage will always be there, and I will be back stronger than ever in 2-3 years time ๐Ÿ’ช But for now, I'll be taking some much needed downtime to get my body back to a healthy state. Looking forward to a nice holiday in LA and cheering on Team Ireland on Saturday โ˜˜๏ธ
This past weekend definitely was not my best. Simply put, my condition was not where it needed to be for such a high level show. There were a few other factors that came into play, mainly lack of sleep and stress, that didn't do me any favours. My body was more run down than I realised after the back to back shows, as I ended up coming down with a sinus infection the day after I got back.
The reason I've been very quiet on here lately is that I've spent a lot of time reflecting on my last 2 shows, analysing what went wrong so I can learn from my mistakes moving forward. Although I'm disappointed with how I did, I'm grateful to have these teachable moments to learn what does and doesn't work for my body late in the game. And I couldn't be more thankful to Mark and the @nbfi_ireland for the amazing and eye opening experience I had competing in the UK for Team Ireland โ˜˜๏ธ
The plan moving forward is to push my condition as much as I can these next 3 weeks, and use what I've learned to have the best possible peak for Worlds. Despite these setbacks, I'm confident this will be my best package yet ๐Ÿ’ช
This past weekend definitely was not my best. Simply put, my condition was not where it needed to be for such a high level show. There were a few other factors that came into play, mainly lack of sleep and stress, that didn't do me any favours. My body was more run down than I realised after the back to back shows, as I ended up coming down with a sinus infection the day after I got back. The reason I've been very quiet on here lately is that I've spent a lot of time reflecting on my last 2 shows, analysing what went wrong so I can learn from my mistakes moving forward. Although I'm disappointed with how I did, I'm grateful to have these teachable moments to learn what does and doesn't work for my body late in the game. And I couldn't be more thankful to Mark and the @nbfi_ireland for the amazing and eye opening experience I had competing in the UK for Team Ireland โ˜˜๏ธ The plan moving forward is to push my condition as much as I can these next 3 weeks, and use what I've learned to have the best possible peak for Worlds. Despite these setbacks, I'm confident this will be my best package yet ๐Ÿ’ช
#ThrowBACK to my favourite stage look to date. 
Currently 3 days out from the UKDFBA International Championships and I just had my preshow physio session @deeretommy. 
The man is a master of his craft. He used a new technique today to increase my lat spread and I'm super excited to see how it looks on stage ๐Ÿ’ช
#ThrowBACK  to my favourite stage look to date. Currently 3 days out from the UKDFBA International Championships and I just had my preshow physio session @deeretommy. The man is a master of his craft. He used a new technique today to increase my lat spread and I'm super excited to see how it looks on stage ๐Ÿ’ช
Just wanted to pop on here and say thank you to everyone who wished me luck and came out to support me yesterday ๐Ÿ˜Š Unfortunately I didn't get the result I was looking for, but at the end of the day it's all a learning experience. 
Coach @lonewolfkeith and I brought a softer, fuller package with the amount of mass that we thought reflected the standard in the category at the international level. 
Last year my feedback after Universe was that I needed to add mass, and this year I had too much. Although it's frustrating, it's definitely a testament to the hard work I put in the gym, to be able to outgrow a category in one year's time as a natural athlete.
There's no time to mope, it's head down and right back into peak week for the @ukdfba International on Sunday. I'm excited to be able to come in tight and not hold back ๐Ÿ’ช
Just wanted to pop on here and say thank you to everyone who wished me luck and came out to support me yesterday ๐Ÿ˜Š Unfortunately I didn't get the result I was looking for, but at the end of the day it's all a learning experience. Coach @lonewolfkeith and I brought a softer, fuller package with the amount of mass that we thought reflected the standard in the category at the international level. Last year my feedback after Universe was that I needed to add mass, and this year I had too much. Although it's frustrating, it's definitely a testament to the hard work I put in the gym, to be able to outgrow a category in one year's time as a natural athlete. There's no time to mope, it's head down and right back into peak week for the @ukdfba International on Sunday. I'm excited to be able to come in tight and not hold back ๐Ÿ’ช
2/6/18 โžก๏ธ 23/9/18
16 weeks between pictures. Somewhere along the way I learned what to do with my arms ๐Ÿ˜… 
I think my facial expression in the recent pic sums up how I feel after 20 weeks of prep ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด
2/6/18 โžก๏ธ 23/9/18 16 weeks between pictures. Somewhere along the way I learned what to do with my arms ๐Ÿ˜… I think my facial expression in the recent pic sums up how I feel after 20 weeks of prep ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด
When the heels come off, you know it's routine time!

The routine round for toned figure scared the life out of me last year ๐Ÿ˜ฑ I've never been a flexible person, I have zero dance/gymnastics experience, hell I'm the reason why they say white people can't dance! I was already struggling with the mandatory poses. But when it came time to perform my routine, it was my favourite part of the whole experience!

You spend months prepping for just a few minutes under those bright lights. To have the whole stage to yourself for 90 seconds, the opportunity to showcase your hard work with poses that flatter your shape best, to a song you love... It's the most exhilarating feeling I've ever had. 
The routine went from being the thing I dreaded most, to what made me fall in love with bodybuilding. It pushed me so far outside my comfort zone, and taught me I am capable of way more than I ever thought possible #knowyourownability
When the heels come off, you know it's routine time! The routine round for toned figure scared the life out of me last year ๐Ÿ˜ฑ I've never been a flexible person, I have zero dance/gymnastics experience, hell I'm the reason why they say white people can't dance! I was already struggling with the mandatory poses. But when it came time to perform my routine, it was my favourite part of the whole experience! You spend months prepping for just a few minutes under those bright lights. To have the whole stage to yourself for 90 seconds, the opportunity to showcase your hard work with poses that flatter your shape best, to a song you love... It's the most exhilarating feeling I've ever had. The routine went from being the thing I dreaded most, to what made me fall in love with bodybuilding. It pushed me so far outside my comfort zone, and taught me I am capable of way more than I ever thought possible #knowyourownability 
Winners embrace hard work. They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they're making to win.

Losers see it as punishment. And that's the difference.
Winners embrace hard work. They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they're making to win. Losers see it as punishment. And that's the difference.
Couldn't be more thankful for these two gents ๐Ÿ™

This is the longest prep I've ever done (21 weeks in the books and another 8 to go, compared to 12 weeks total last year). My body has wanted to give up and break down so many times, but @deeretommy is always there to fix me up, keeping the niggles from turning into season-ending injuries. Not only has he kept me healthy, the work he's done has improved my posing tremendously. Seriously can't recommend him enough! 
And @our_lord_and_saviour_jewpetto has been my rock throughout this entire prep โค๏ธ Pushing me through every workout when my mind starts to fail, helping me eke out those last few reps that matter most. From late night Tesco runs for fish and asparagus, to reassuring me when I start to doubt myself, he's made this prep a thousand times more enjoyable.

Prep can be a struggle at times, it's a roller coaster of highs and lows. But when you surround yourself with like-minded people who have your back, it sure makes the experience a whole lot easier.
Couldn't be more thankful for these two gents ๐Ÿ™ This is the longest prep I've ever done (21 weeks in the books and another 8 to go, compared to 12 weeks total last year). My body has wanted to give up and break down so many times, but @deeretommy is always there to fix me up, keeping the niggles from turning into season-ending injuries. Not only has he kept me healthy, the work he's done has improved my posing tremendously. Seriously can't recommend him enough! And @our_lord_and_saviour_jewpetto has been my rock throughout this entire prep โค๏ธ Pushing me through every workout when my mind starts to fail, helping me eke out those last few reps that matter most. From late night Tesco runs for fish and asparagus, to reassuring me when I start to doubt myself, he's made this prep a thousand times more enjoyable. Prep can be a struggle at times, it's a roller coaster of highs and lows. But when you surround yourself with like-minded people who have your back, it sure makes the experience a whole lot easier.
It's amazing just how much you can change in one year.

My growth as a person goes way beyond my physique.

In the timespan between these pictures I:
๐Ÿ”น Quit my dead-end job I hated and started a career that I love
๐Ÿ”น Went from not thinking very highly of myself to being confident in my abilities
๐Ÿ”น Stopped letting other people's negativity bring me down
๐Ÿ”น Learned how to manage my anxiety and depression better, and realised its okay to ask for help to get through tough times
๐Ÿ”น Walked away from a relationship with someone who didn't see my worth and no longer shared the same values, to finding someone who shares my passions, supports my endeavours 100% and treats me like a queen ๐Ÿ‘‘

I also did grow some sick lats and made a few booty gainz too ๐Ÿ˜‰

The next year will bring even bigger changes and opportunities for growth, and I couldn't be more excited ๐Ÿ’ช
It's amazing just how much you can change in one year. My growth as a person goes way beyond my physique. In the timespan between these pictures I: ๐Ÿ”น Quit my dead-end job I hated and started a career that I love ๐Ÿ”น Went from not thinking very highly of myself to being confident in my abilities ๐Ÿ”น Stopped letting other people's negativity bring me down ๐Ÿ”น Learned how to manage my anxiety and depression better, and realised its okay to ask for help to get through tough times ๐Ÿ”น Walked away from a relationship with someone who didn't see my worth and no longer shared the same values, to finding someone who shares my passions, supports my endeavours 100% and treats me like a queen ๐Ÿ‘‘ I also did grow some sick lats and made a few booty gainz too ๐Ÿ˜‰ The next year will bring even bigger changes and opportunities for growth, and I couldn't be more excited ๐Ÿ’ช
*insert generic motivational quote because it's Monday*

To be completely truthful, my motivation has been pretty shit the last couple of weeks. Always happens to me between shows, the body dysmorphia kicks in after seeing how dry I was on stage. I know I haven't put on fat as my weight is still the same as before peak week, but I do feel like a whale most of the time now that foods that make me hold water and bloat are back in.

My body is definitely feeling the effects of maintaining my condition. Digestion and recovery are both very slow. Starting to get niggling aches and pains all over my body. I've had to drop the weight I lift significantly not due to loss of strength, but for the sake of preventing injury. Lifting heavy has always been my therapy, and having to hold back makes training not as enjoyable.

This point of this post isn't for sympathy or to wallow in self pity. I chose to prep, I knew exactly what I signed up for, and I'm thankful and grateful to be able to do this. But I do think it's important to show people who are considering competing that it's more than just picking out a sparkly bikini and getting glammed & tanned.

The best bodybuilders are those who can suffer the most. Where others give up, I give more.
*insert generic motivational quote because it's Monday* To be completely truthful, my motivation has been pretty shit the last couple of weeks. Always happens to me between shows, the body dysmorphia kicks in after seeing how dry I was on stage. I know I haven't put on fat as my weight is still the same as before peak week, but I do feel like a whale most of the time now that foods that make me hold water and bloat are back in. My body is definitely feeling the effects of maintaining my condition. Digestion and recovery are both very slow. Starting to get niggling aches and pains all over my body. I've had to drop the weight I lift significantly not due to loss of strength, but for the sake of preventing injury. Lifting heavy has always been my therapy, and having to hold back makes training not as enjoyable. This point of this post isn't for sympathy or to wallow in self pity. I chose to prep, I knew exactly what I signed up for, and I'm thankful and grateful to be able to do this. But I do think it's important to show people who are considering competing that it's more than just picking out a sparkly bikini and getting glammed & tanned. The best bodybuilders are those who can suffer the most. Where others give up, I give more.
Triple drop-set V-bar pulldowns, with 1+1/2 reps on the last drop for that extra tension ๐Ÿ’ช Vid is sped up 3x, so yes that's a 3-minute long final working set. 
V-bar pulldowns are my favourite back exercise for width (close grip underhand is good too but I have a dodgy rotator cuff and rhomboid so V-bar is much safer for me)

Definitely could have gone a little heavier on some of the drops, but I'm still only a week post comp so I'm not trying to be a hero and get hurt ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ
Triple drop-set V-bar pulldowns, with 1+1/2 reps on the last drop for that extra tension ๐Ÿ’ช Vid is sped up 3x, so yes that's a 3-minute long final working set. V-bar pulldowns are my favourite back exercise for width (close grip underhand is good too but I have a dodgy rotator cuff and rhomboid so V-bar is much safer for me) Definitely could have gone a little heavier on some of the drops, but I'm still only a week post comp so I'm not trying to be a hero and get hurt ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ
#Throwback to show day shreds the morning of NBFI Nationals โœ‚๏ธ
After my monstrous cheat day on Sunday, I sure as hell don't look like this today ๐Ÿ˜‚
But I'm back on plan ๐Ÿ’ฏ and working my ass off just like I have been since prep started 19 weeks ago. Just 5 weeks left to dial things in again and bring an even better package to NABBA ๐Ÿ’ช
#Throwback  to show day shreds the morning of NBFI Nationals โœ‚๏ธ After my monstrous cheat day on Sunday, I sure as hell don't look like this today ๐Ÿ˜‚ But I'm back on plan ๐Ÿ’ฏ and working my ass off just like I have been since prep started 19 weeks ago. Just 5 weeks left to dial things in again and bring an even better package to NABBA ๐Ÿ’ช
My goodness, what an amazing couple of days this has been! I'm overwhelmed by all the love and support from everyone, I really appreciate all of your sweet messages and comments โค๏ธ
Massive thank you to Mark Lee and all of the @nbfi_ireland officials & volunteers who organised such a fantastic and well-run show ๐Ÿ™Œ This was my first time competing with the federation and I couldn't get over how helpful and supportive everyone was! I'm absolutely honoured to have the opportunity to represent Ireland at the @wnbfofficial World Championships in November ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช
โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–
๐Ÿ“ธ: @kestphotographer
๐Ÿ‘™: @muscledazzle
My goodness, what an amazing couple of days this has been! I'm overwhelmed by all the love and support from everyone, I really appreciate all of your sweet messages and comments โค๏ธ Massive thank you to Mark Lee and all of the @nbfi_ireland officials & volunteers who organised such a fantastic and well-run show ๐Ÿ™Œ This was my first time competing with the federation and I couldn't get over how helpful and supportive everyone was! I'm absolutely honoured to have the opportunity to represent Ireland at the @wnbfofficial World Championships in November ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž–โž– ๐Ÿ“ธ: @kestphotographer ๐Ÿ‘™: @muscledazzle
Still on cloud 9 from yesterday after winning my class and the overall!! ๐Ÿ† Thank you all so much for the sweet messages before and after the show โค๏ธ And the people who sent me pics/videos, you're absolute legends! I'm still working on getting back to everyone but I will soon ๐Ÿ˜Š
I have many people to thank but I'm going to save that for another post, when my head isn't sore from all the cocktails so I don't miss anyone ๐Ÿ˜… 
But of course the biggest thank you of all goes to my coach @lonewolfkeith ๐Ÿบ I never in a million years thought I could make so much progress in just a few short months. The work he puts into making sure his clients look their absolute best on stage is insane, serious inspiration for myself as a PT/coach. The man didn't sleep for 3 days making sure everything was spot on! Enjoy your lie-in today, you've more than earned it. Then it's business as usual come Monday cuz ya girl got more shows to win ๐Ÿ’ช
Still on cloud 9 from yesterday after winning my class and the overall!! ๐Ÿ† Thank you all so much for the sweet messages before and after the show โค๏ธ And the people who sent me pics/videos, you're absolute legends! I'm still working on getting back to everyone but I will soon ๐Ÿ˜Š I have many people to thank but I'm going to save that for another post, when my head isn't sore from all the cocktails so I don't miss anyone ๐Ÿ˜… But of course the biggest thank you of all goes to my coach @lonewolfkeith ๐Ÿบ I never in a million years thought I could make so much progress in just a few short months. The work he puts into making sure his clients look their absolute best on stage is insane, serious inspiration for myself as a PT/coach. The man didn't sleep for 3 days making sure everything was spot on! Enjoy your lie-in today, you've more than earned it. Then it's business as usual come Monday cuz ya girl got more shows to win ๐Ÿ’ช