What happens when Crossfit meets bodybuilding?

You might know Jess Coughlan from her Crossfit successes, but things are looking a little different lately.

Join us as we chat about Jess’ progression from Crossfit to bodybuilding, how her training and nutrition had to adapt to this very different sport, and why there has been an increase in dog posts on her Instagram…


Jono: Welcome back to the Bite Me Nutrition podcast guys. Today I've got Jess Coughlan, I'm very, very excited to chat to Jess, cause I'll let her fill you in, but most of us probably know her from her cross fitting background. She's done lots of amazing things in that space, but things have looked a little different for your nutrition and your training, I think for

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: the last few years. So anyway, so welcome Jess. Thank you so much for coming on to chat to us today.
Jessica: Thank you. Happy to be here.

Jono: Awesome, awesome. But first question, who are you? What do you do and why do you do it?

Jessica: Yes, so as you said, I'm Jess Coughlan. I've done some form of competitive sports my whole life. So I suppose that's why I'm still in that sort of sphere. I started gymnastics when I was three and a half. I got put straight into an elite group because my parents took me to a holiday program and I could do so many chin-ups or something like that. I've always been a bit of a nugget. straight into an elite program and I did that till just before my 18th birthday. So in terms of sport and discipline, it's all I've ever really known. I had a few years just sort of doing different things, did some running, did some normal gym work and was introduced to CrossFit in 2011. That sort of changed my life. I was actually a qualified primary school teacher and I specialised in gifted and talented education and met my partner at the CrossFit gym who owned it. He said I can make you an athlete and let you have the sort of gym owner athlete lifestyle, which I didn't even know was a thing obviously, it was very early days of CrossFit still

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: even in Australia. But that's essentially what I did. So I quit my job. I started training with him full time. I started doing the admin for our gym, CrossFit Northwest in Sydney. And yeah, I mean, given my background and given the level of CrossFit in Australia at the time, it wasn't particularly high, obviously, because it was still an evolving sport, particularly here. I was competitive straight away. So I think I did my first CrossFit Open four weeks after starting. I came eighth, I think it was.

Jono: Yeah, wow.

Jessica: and went straight to regional. So that's all I've done sort of for the last 10 or 11 years. I've been to the games twice. I've failed to make the games a lot of times. It's usually top five and I've come sixth about four times in a row. But

Jono: Ha ha.

Jessica: once I sort of got there, it was so difficult for me to get there in terms of my physical ability and had some sort of weaknesses that held me back that I... started to look, I guess, at different things that I could do away from the CrossFit sphere. So COVID was a really big

Jono: Hmm.

Jessica: thing for me in terms of changing my whole mindset. I knew I wasn't going to compete in CrossFit for a little while, given there were no competitions. So I just did bodybuilding style training. It really agreed with my body. Obviously, I'd done CrossFit for 11, 12 years and the body, I was smart about it, but the body definitely takes a beating. It's just part of the sport, if you want to treat it like

Jono: Mmm.

Jessica: a sport. And I found bodybuilding and it was something I never thought I would do. Had you have asked me five or six years ago, I never would have gotten up on stage in a bikini, my worst nightmare. But I sort of took it, most people weren't like this, but I sort of took it at the view that it was a sport, not just a show. And yeah, I did my first comp last year, was my first season. I had a 16 week prep. I won a novice figure nationals and then this year was my second year. So took it a little bit more seriously this year, just sort of had more of an understanding of the sport. And yeah, and so here I am, two bodybuilding seasons in and now I just sort of cross fit for fun and still own my affiliate.

Jono: Yeah, yeah,

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: that's quite the so from the three and a half year old wrapping out chin

Jessica: Yeah,

Jono: ups to

Jessica: I'm in my

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: 30s now, so I've been doing things for a long time. Yeah.

Jono: Yeah, yeah, that's, that's crazy.

Jessica: Mm.

Jono: In terms of the training side of it, did you do much bodybuilding style, you know, accessories or extras during the CrossFit times?

Jessica: I actually did. So I probably did

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: a lot more than what a normal crossfitter would do.

Jono: Hmm.

Jessica: My partner, he coached me all through my sort of crossfit, I guess, career you could say. His background is he was high level in the army and also a chiropractor. So for him, he was always looking at different ways to train. He's a bit of a nerd, so to speak. So, you know, he, I guess, rather than smashing myself with workouts and heavy lifts all the time, you know, very early on in my CrossFit career, I've always done sort of accessories and bodybuilding accessories to bring up weak areas and also to try and sort of stay as healthy as possible doing that sport.

Jono: Yeah, I mean, it makes a ton of sense. I mean, I'm

Jessica: It

Jono: a

Jessica: does.

Jono: dietitian, not not like

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: I definitely train casually. But

Jessica: Yep.

Jono: yeah, the more robust and well rounded the body is. Imagine that generally, the harder
you can push it and the more safely you can push

Jessica: Absolutely.

Jono: it during

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: what obviously is quite an intense sport

Jessica: Yeah,

Jono: in CrossFit.

Jessica: yeah.

Jono: Yeah. So like I said, dietitian nutrition. So that's

Jessica: Thank you. Bye.

Jono: very much one of the things I wanted to chat about today,

Jessica: Yep.

Jono: I guess. Let's start like prior to the big shift around 2020

Jessica: Yep.

Jono: nutritionally for CrossFit. How did you feel for that? Have you gone through different approaches? Did you have a coach? Did you manage it yourself? What did that look like back in the peak CrossFit days?

Jessica: Yeah, so I guess when I first started CrossFit, I came from the sort of typical sort of Australian diet, wheat bix for breakfast, you know, sandwiches

Jono: Yep.

Jessica: for lunch and meat and veg for dinner. And that's how I first took off. My partner was very he'd been in CrossFit since about 2008. He was very into did as I was told and we both did paleo

Jono: Haha.

Jessica: together.

Jono: Yeah, yeah.

Jessica: He still very much eats that way about, you know, 12 years on, but I don't. So I found that I'm very carbohydrate based and in terms of, you know, I love my sweet potato and stuff like that, but in terms of, you know, cross-feeding and getting fuel in fast, I just found that wasn't enough for me.

Jono: Yeah, for sure.

Jessica: So, I mean, I did. for a while there sort of eat as I pleased. Definitely not anything out of control, but I sort of had the justification that I train three times a day and I can eat whatever I like. And I mean, to an extent you probably can, but I probably wasn't factoring in sort of the micronutrients and all that sort of stuff. It probably wasn't until just before I made the games for the first time, so around 2016, that I actually started working with a dietician. And that's when things sort of changed for me. I began to sort of develop my own understanding and education about things that people probably know, but I didn't take very seriously about carbohydrate timing, about

Jono: Hmm

Jessica: sort of where fats were gonna fit into my diet and about fuel sources that were going to allow me to... work harder and getting my system quickly. I was always kind of, well, you shouldn't have this or you shouldn't have that because that's not healthy, so to speak. But I quickly learned sort of what carbs and processed carbs would actually work for me in terms of being an athlete rather than that sort of paleo approach. So when I first learned about macros and got that dietician, that was a really big turning point for me in terms of nutrition. Pre that there were no macros involved. whatsoever.

Jono: Yeah,

Jessica: So

Jono: okay.

Jessica: yeah, I mean, I'm, I'm someone who has always done as I'm told in terms of being an athlete. So I like to think I'm extremely coachable. And that was sort of the same with my dietician. So when they gave me the plan to follow, I followed it to the letter, followed

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: it to the letter, any changes that needed to be made. You know, I took everything on board and Not only did it probably change my performance, before I probably didn't realize that I felt bad until you actually feel good. I realized now

Jono: Yeah,

Jessica: that I was

Jono: for

Jessica: actually

Jono: sure.

Jessica: feeling properly, but also changed my aesthetic for the better, to be honest. I looked a lot

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: better. I looked like I actually trained the amount I did. Obviously there was nothing wrong with me before, but I definitely noticed I was looking and feeling a lot more better. So... I'm glad I reached

Jono: Yeah,

Jessica: out and

Jono: yeah,

Jessica: sort

Jono: that's

Jessica: of

Jono: great.

Jessica: got someone on board who knew what they were talking about because it really has assisted me in moving forward and not having to rely on a dietician forever, but it definitely

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: is something that I've always said to people, even my general gym members, I've said that you should, two things you should do with your nutrition once in your life, you should reach out to a professional and get them to design something that's appropriate for you and educate you. And the second one, if you know, obviously you can't afford that is to track your food for a month at some stage in your life. You'd be shocked at what you're eating or what you're not eating. So, yeah, those two things definitely changed me sort of as an athlete and really as a person, how I approach my day to day.

Jono: Yeah, amazing. I am. I love the comment of you. Before you made those changes. You're like,

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: I'm fine. I'm performing fine. I'm recovering fine. Like what?

Jessica: Yep.

Jono: And then you sort of afterwards, you get that? Oh, like,

Jessica: Yes,

Jono: this is how this is what I can feel like? How

Jessica: it's

Jono: good?

Jessica: insane.

Jono: You know?

Jessica: It is insane.

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: And you do hear people talking about it and you're kind of like, oh, yeah, whatever. Like, oh, yeah, like, they're just saying that.

Jono: Yeah, yeah.

Jessica: But it is true. It is true. Like, you know, obviously, it's really very common sense thing, but food is fuel. And, you know, you don't you don't know what you're missing out on until you actually sort of approach it properly.

Jono: Well, and especially for something like, well, CrossFit or bodybuilding, or any

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: of those much more intense, you know, I think people look at the Australian guide, the Australian guidelines for diets, which are

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: fantastic, but they

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: are for people doing 30 minutes, five times

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: a week of moderate intensity activity, which

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: is not CrossFit and is not

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: bodybuilding, right. So the, the fueling requirements are very different. And I know you mentioned as well, sometimes the more processed carbohydrates can actually be really valuable and obviously there's a bit of a, or there can be a bit of a stigma

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: around those foods. How did you find those were beneficial for you?

Jessica: To be honest, it was sort of going back to how I'd eaten all through my gymnastics. And I also did a lot of running pre-crossfit. So it sort of took me back to how I ate back then. And

Jono: Yeah, cool.

Jessica: in the crossfit scene, you know, maybe six or seven years ago, processed foods were very taboo. If you weren't eating

Jono: Mm-hmm.

Jessica: paleo, like you weren't taking your crossfit seriously. So. It's changed a lot since then, obviously,

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: as the sports become more professional and dietitians have gotten involved and that approach has totally changed. But about seven or eight years ago, you just didn't have processed foods. You ate the paleo way and that was enough to fuel you for CrossFit, which is insane. But I guess CrossFit was originally developed as a fitness program, not as a sport. The sport came later. So...

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: Obviously that way of eating is appropriate for some people as you know, Gen Pop Health, but it's not appropriate for an athlete.

Jono: Yeah, I've the Crossfitters we've worked with it that if they are maybe still nervous about including those processed foods, it can be well, okay, I need you to eat this much of sweet potato notes. Good luck.

Jessica: Yeah, yeah,

Jono: Or

Jessica: absolutely.

Jono: you could have some some weak picks some toast,

Jessica: Yeah,

Jono: you know, maybe a couple

Jessica: yeah.

Jono: of sneaky lollies before you train and all of a sudden you're hitting those carbohydrate goals

Jessica: Yeah,

Jono: and feeling better

Jessica: I

Jono: and

Jessica: think,

Jono: probably just feeling better in the gut.

Jessica: yeah, well, that's the thing. I think, you know, those sorts of foods, obviously they're really easily digestible. Like you said, you don't need a large volume, but it's also sort of people having that sort of understanding that, you know, away from training times such as at, you know, dinner or whatever, you are eating foods that are giving you those little micronutrients that you need. A lot of people get swept up, oh, you know, I'm having this muesli bar or whatever afterwards. Doesn't mean you're having a muesli bar at every meal. It means you're having a muesli bar to fuel your training and your performance. And then you're getting your sort of vitamins and minerals and stuff like that from your normal foods anyway. So if you think of it like that, it's really not too shocking.

Jono: Yeah, yeah, sorry, everyone. If you're listening and you're thinking you found a loophole where we're saying just eat, you know, we picks and toast all the time.

Jessica: I wish.

Jono: No, those foods. Yeah, right.

Jessica: Bread is

Jono: They

Jessica: my

Jono: can be helpful.

Jessica: hope.

Jono: But yeah,

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: it's,

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: it's tough to beat, isn't it

Jessica: It is.

Jono: as a food, a good sourdough.

Jessica: Yes, I know.

Jono: And so, like you said, 2020 bit of a shift in training goals into still like a high level. Yes, I know you talked about it. Is it a sport isn't a sport. I

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: don't think it matters either way. It's

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: incredibly intense, right?

Jessica: Yes.

Jono: So fueling all of the workouts and that huge transformation physically did much change for you nutritionally? Like, did you continue to eat the sandwiches for lunch, the Weet-Bix for breakfast, or did things have to adjust?

Jessica: Things definitely adjusted. So my coach that I have who does my diet and stuff like that He's a little bit different to I guess a lot of what I've witnessed in the bodybuilding scene. So I very much have a whole food kind of approach to the majority of my prep I get my carbs from things like rice and rice flakes and rice flour And bananas and stuff like that It really only is on comp day that I might have something like a power aid, just to sort of, you know, puff up my muscles and stuff like that. But, you know, I have witnessed a lot of sort of lollies and obviously stuff like that in terms of carbohydrates, but that's just not how he does it. And that's just his personal preference. And like I said, I'm pretty coachable. So I kind of go

Jono: Yeah, yep.

Jessica: along with what I've told. But I guess what I found really interesting, which, again, common sense is that When I did CrossFit, obviously as the work demands increased, the amount of calories I had increased, whereas in bodybuilding, it's quite the opposite. So as you get more towards the show, your work demands increase, you start your prep with maybe 40 minutes of cardio three or four times a week. By the final week of my prep, I'm doing two hours of cardio a day and then about an hour of weights on top. And yet I'm eating next to nothing. So...

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: It's quite different in terms of that and mentally hard to wrap your head around it. This year was a lot better for me. The first year I really struggled in terms of, you know, I guess coming from a Western society, I've never starved myself before, you know, I feel like we don't really know what hunger is.

Jono: Totally.

Jessica: So, sort of experiencing real hunger for the first time really messed with me. So,

Jono: Mm, yeah, yeah.

Jessica: This time I knew how to handle that a lot better. So, you know, the mood swings and the feeling a little bit fuzzy, you know, it really does show you, it's incredibly fascinating to show you how much we do rely on food and we do need food to fuel us. Because when you take it away, you know, mentally my partner said I was a little bit slow and stuff like that and I was definitely angry.

Jono: Hmm.

Jessica: Whereas this time I was a little bit more aware of that, but it is just, it is crazy just to see, you know, how removing food can affect the body and the mind.

Jono: Yeah, well, it's I guess, you know, just side note, no one's saying that bodybuilding is healthy, not the

Jessica: No,

Jono: last

Jessica: definitely

Jono: stage of the

Jessica: not.

Jono: prep, right? We know that's

Jessica: No,

Jono: not the goal. The goal

Jessica: not sustainable.

Jono: I get. My argument is always like running 42 kilometers isn't super healthy, you know,

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: playing football and running at 120 kilo front rower isn't necessarily

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: healthy. Anyway, I think elite level at most of those things, it is kind

Jessica: Nothing

Jono: of that.

Jessica: is healthy.

Jono: Yeah, you're mitigating risk, you're

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: controlling the damage as best you can. And, you know, that's why you prep, you get lean,

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: you do a bunch of shows while you're lean and then

Jessica: Yep,

Jono: you get

Jessica: get

Jono: out

Jessica: out.

Jono: of there, right? Yeah. Which you're close to doing.

Jessica: Yes, yes,

Jono: Yes.

Jessica: looking forward

Jono: Yeah. That's

Jessica: to it.

Jono: just, yeah. Exciting. Exciting. Did you, I guess, how did you find the shift of CrossFit is performance based, whereas bodybuilding is, obviously you're still focusing on performance, but

Jessica: Yeah, it's

Jono: you're

Jessica: aesthetic.

Jono: not judged on how you look in CrossFit, right? So

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: did that change your training or your nutrition at all?

Jessica: Um, to be honest, it was kind of refreshing. So I feel like I've done performance based sports and eaten for performance,

Jono: Hmm.

Jessica: you know, for so long now, my whole life. Um, it was really nice to go to something else that I really didn't know anything about, I was a complete beginner, um, and to train with a completely different goal in mind, um, I feel like, you know, once you've been involved in a sport for so long, you can get a little bit stale. Um, and it also sort of helped with my own learning. You know, I wanted to learn more about how bodybuilders eat and I wanted to know more about their training and it just made my own training and nutrition so much more exciting because it was kind of like a study on myself. In terms of the training, I still crossfit sort of probably twice a week throughout my prep, just sort of fun stuff with my members at my affiliate, just using those as kind of fitness sessions. But obviously aside from that, I'll do a lot more sort of long steady state cardio and you know, sort of with the weights, a lot more, a few compound lifts, but generally more isolation movements sort of in that 12 to 15 rep range. In the off season with bodybuilding, my coach did say to try and focus on performance goals. You do find in your off season that you're a little bit lost. Obviously you go from being not that it's healthy, but you go from looking... really aesthetic and shredded

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: and you know you feel like you might feel like shit on the inside but you feel like you look great and you sort of get that external validation for how you look and then all of a sudden you know you're seven or eight kilos heavier again you've got no shows coming up you don't look anywhere near as good it's really hard mentally

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: so you know we did focus on my training in sort of you know, performance based on my lifts. So even though it doesn't really matter anymore what I can squat and what I can deadlift, you know, I set myself sort of lifts that I wanted to hit and you know, we did percentages based off those lifts and that sort of thing keeps you going. So I guess there's a little bit of a performance aspect but it's really only to keep you motivated.

Jono: Gotcha.

Jessica: But it's probably more the diet in the off season that was probably the hardest thing for me. So. I didn't know what reverse dieting was. And for those listening, obviously reverse dieting is coming out of a diet safely and in a sustainable way just by slowly increasing your calories rather than sort of going from no calories to doubling those

Jono: Especially

Jessica: overnight.

Jono: a bodybuilding, like

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: the end of a bodybuilding prep, which

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: yeah.

Jessica: Yeah, it's very

Jono: Sorry.

Jessica: hard to do, very hard to do.

Jono: Yeah. Yeah.

Jessica: Last year I sort of acted like all the food was going to disappear and I ate like my mouth was a vacuum and couldn't stop and I'd been given a reverse diet to do but I Mentally was so obsessed with wanting to eat everything Even to the point that it was very shameful at the time But even to the point that my stomach had trunks so much that I would stuff my face in the first couple of weeks and I'd feel full, my stomach would hurt because it had shrunk, but I still wanted

Jono: Hmm.

Jessica: to keep eating. So

Jono: Yeah, yeah, it's

Jessica: it's

Jono: hard.

Jessica: quite wild, it's sort of obviously borderline disordered eating, so it's obviously something you need to be really aware of. But once I went through that and realised

Jono: Mm-hmm.

Jessica: that I didn't have to starve myself anymore and I can eat those junk foods that I want to eat just in a more controlled manner, this year's sort of been... a lot easier mentally in terms of knowing the food won't disappear. And you know, I'm hopeful that I can sort of reverse diet out of it quite nicely without having a sort of implosion like I did last year. So, but you know,

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: it's all learning. So no one's no one's perfect. And you know, I've spoken to a lot of people about it since when I was sort of a bit more willing to admit it. And they said it's quite common in your first year just knowing how to approach food. normally again and knowing that you can sort of reverse diet out but still enjoy treats and the food's not going anywhere.

Jono: Yeah, it would be such a hard transition. I think, well, I mean, prepping is a skill, right?

Jessica: Hmm.

Jono: And so, you know, like any skill, the first time you do it, it's going

Jessica: Absolutely.

Jono: to be some bumpy bits.

Jessica: Yeah. Yep.

Jono: And the thought of like prep actually kind of finishes six weeks or four to six weeks after your show. Hey, not

Jessica: Yeah,

Jono: on the

Jessica: and

Jono: show day because you've got that

Jessica: that's

Jono: journey

Jessica: definitely

Jono: ahead of you.

Jessica: the mindset you need to have.

Jono: Mm.

Jessica: You know, it's you want to take care of your body. You know, obviously, I do blood tests before my prep and I do blood tests sort of right at the end just to see how sort of messed up I am. And then do

Jono: Yep.

Jessica: blood tests. We're very into blood tests in this household and then do blood tests sort of four or five weeks later. So, you know, you've kind of got to take that approach that... I'm going to reverse out of it safely with reasonably good foods just to, because now I've got a lot of work to do to get my hormones and all my sort of

Jono: Hmm.

Jessica: levels all, you know, back in order and make sure my insides are all healthy again before I even attempt to think about, you know, what my next endeavor might be.

Jono: Yeah, yeah. Well, it sounds like this time we've got, you know, well, last time exactly, like you said, a very normal and natural

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: part of that process. But it sounds like this time, a bit more smooth sailing.

Jessica: Should be, we'll see. I'll let you know in a few weeks. If I don't post

Jono: We're

Jessica: on

Jono: all

Jessica: Instagram

Jono: friends here.

Jessica: for a while or old photos,

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: you'll know that something probably

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: went wrong.

Jono: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I can't imagine. But it's like, obviously, it's very impressive and very, yeah, very intense in terms of like, I'm really into nutrient timing, you know, I really like discussing it. Obviously if you're eating too much or you're eating the wrong. things or like, you know, the wrong funny macro split, I don't really care when you eat. But when you're looking at, you know, the high level performance that you're shooting for both in bodybuilding or crossfitting, how do you manage that training window for nutrition? And did that change when back in CrossFit, you could probably kind of eat whatever you felt you needed before and afterwards in bodybuilding, you felt like you probably needed this, but you're only allowed this

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: did pre and post change much between the two?

Jessica: Yeah, well definitely obviously in terms of for both of them my maximum carbohydrate intake is always based around training. So even when I'm you know when I'm about a week out I'm virtually having I actually wrote it down when I was a week out I was having 30, 33 grams of carbs a day. So Absolutely nothing. So it really

Jono: Use wisely,

Jessica: didn't apply then

Jono: budget that.

Jessica: but

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: Sort of a you know at the start of my prep about 20 weeks out of having about 230 grams of carbs and the majority of those carbs would be pre intra and post training And then sort of the little bit that was left I would have sort of with my dinner just because I personally find that Carbs really helped me sleep I definitely noticed if I don't have something sort of carby before I go to bed that my sleep really tends to suffer. So that's something that I've spoken to my coach about and it's really important to me. But yeah, sort of in terms of fuel sources for CrossFit and for bodybuilding, they were reasonably similar. I'm a big sort of oats person. We did shift to rice flakes with bodybuilding and it's much of a muchness to be honest. It's just that rice flakes quite often sit in people's bellies a little bit better. So that's

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: the only reason I had them. Intra workout, I have some sort of shake. There's a pre-workout from True Protein that's pretty good. Got a bit of carbs, got really a bit of everything that you need that I take. And then post-workout, I'll do things like in CrossFit, I would generally have a big carb meal. Whereas in bodybuilding, it's a little bit lighter. I'll generally do an Apple or post-workout shake something. Obviously that's a little bit less calorie dense.

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: And generally, I don't really need it. The intensity of the session hasn't probably been the same as what a cross-bit session would be in terms of intensity. Duration

Jono: Hmm.

Jessica: the same, but intensity quite different. So that sort of pre and post-carbs are definitely still a big thing. It's just obviously the volume of them is a little bit less.

Jono: Yeah, and would you adjust carbs elsewhere in the day as well? Like as your budget produced throughout prep? Was it those other meals that suffered first? Or maybe

Jessica: Yeah,

Jono: not dinner like you mentioned but...

Jessica: yeah, definitely. So, you know, as sort of towards the start of my prep, I'd be having oats or rice flakes for breakfast with some eggs towards the back end of the prep, even about sort of from maybe five or six weeks out. The carbs were gone at breakfast. I was having things like eggs and obviously spinach, which wouldn't classify as a carb that's going to do anything for you.

Jono: Nope.

Jessica: But yeah, the those meals would obviously suffer

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: and I would find, you know, sometimes we shift day to day. So on a day where I'm having higher carbs, I'll go really low fat and then obviously because it is all about manipulation of the body and keeping it guessing on, you know, we might do two days of high carb and we'll do one day of low carb and on that day of low carbs, we'll sort of introduce more fat into the diet and still whatever carbs are left stay at training and every other meal is generally just sort of protein and fat, a little bit of avocado, something like that.

Jono: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, definitely a shift I imagine. And you said, we're speaking before I hit record. So you've completed two shows in like the last previous two weekends. And then you've got one more. When's that one?

Jessica: That's in two and a bit weeks time. So That'll be maybe my last one depends how I go it connects to a show overseas So if it goes well, I'll keep going But

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: then it's sort of another only another three weeks after that. So You know, I was saying to Jono before I came on that The different one of the major differences between CrossFit and bodybuilding is that you really don't get to show much of your work in bodybuilding for very long. So obviously with CrossFit, you might go do, you know, you're open and you have quarterfinals, semifinals, lots of time out on the competition floor. You might go do local competitions, all that sort of jazz. Whereas in bodybuilding, there are obviously less shows. And when you are doing a show, you really only have about five to 10 minutes on stage. So you

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: think about, you know, 23 weeks of work and it's literally over within 10 minutes. So this year I was really determined to get I guess some more bang for my buck I've worked hard. So I want to do a few more shows So I wasn't the plan to do this next show in two weeks, but we've sort of added it on And then I feel a little bit more satisfied doing that rather than sort of 20 minutes on stage this year. We got 30

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: minutes

Jono: Yeah, it's

Jessica: Slightly

Jono: such

Jessica: better

Jono: a, such a mismatch, hey, the time

Jessica: Yeah,

Jono: prepping versus the time,

Jessica: absolutely.

Jono: I guess, showing your body of work literally.

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: What are you doing in between? Like, obviously not specifics, but are you continuing to push a little deeper for the next couple of weeks? Or you just kind of looking

Jessica: Um,

Jono: to

Jessica: no.

Jono: maintain?

Jessica: So I had a, obviously I had my last show was on Saturday. That's just been, um, I spoke to my coach about what do I do in terms of eating? I wanted to eat something. Um, he said I could eat what I wanted, obviously without being an idiot. Um, on that weekend and then, um, on Monday, get back into it. So over the weekend, I. Really didn't have anything too bad. It was more the volume of food change. So I was really craving obviously having some meals that would fill up my stomach When

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: got like really nice Lebanese food with lots of rice and some Turkish bread and stuff like that And it was stuff that I didn't feel guilty about having in terms of because I've got another show coming up But I felt super satisfied and oh just warm and fuzzy from

Jono: Excellent.

Jessica: from Monday From the Monday that's just been I got back into my diet, but we are not quite on the calories we were on pre the show. So the week leading into the show, you do what's called a decarb, sort of towards maybe say the Monday to Thursday of the week of the show. Obviously as it sounds, you pull the majority of carbs out. So I was on 30 grams of carbohydrates, which is obviously terribly low. You walk around like a zombie for a few days, but the purpose of that is to really make you nice and dry and nice and flat and then you enter a phase that's obviously called carving up and I went from 1200 calories in my decarb to the first day of my carb up was 2500 calories and the second day of my carb up was 3200 calories and it's all predominantly carbs

Jono: Is that all carbs?

Jessica: so

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: yeah so the breakdown I wrote down, it's fun, it's also interesting. So the breakdown on the 3000 calorie day was 117 grams of protein, which is obviously the lowest it is for me all season, 440 grams of carbs and 87 grams of fat. So that's to make your muscles pop and everything's nice and puffed up. And also mentally to make you feel good and give you the energy to get on

Jono: I'm gonna

Jessica: stage

Jono: go.

Jessica: and do your thing. So I went from that decarb to that carb up and now I'm... doing a diet that's about 1700 calories. So we haven't quite gone back to that sort of 1200. I'm in really good shape, so I won't have to diet quite as hard. I'll still go through that decarbon carb up process, but I'd say maybe this time the lowest I'll probably get is about 1400 because I'm already in condition. I'm in show condition.

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: I've just got to sort of maintain it to an extent and then push hard that sort of final week. So it's actually a little bit easier, you know, once you have done a show, your body knows what to do and you're really just holding condition. You're not trying to get into that sort of show condition.

Jono: Yeah, I had the body and the gut go going from 30 grams of carbs to 440 grams of carbs.

Jessica: So the last few times I've done it totally fine.

Jono: Yeah, awesome.

Jessica: This time when I did it, I was actually, I did actually have some gut issues. So I was a little bit constipated, which I've never had issues with before. Nothing a few licorice teas couldn't fix, but I didn't really feel that great, which for me was very interesting because I'm queen of carbs and I always say I need carbs and how good carbs are.

Jono: Hmm.

Jessica: But I think it was just such a big difference this time around. One of the major things is that the numbers always change. So people talk about how expensive bodybuilding coaches and stuff like that are. But if you look at what they actually do, particularly leading into a show, they're making adjustments daily and hourly based on how you look. So my diet was changing all the time. We were putting carbs back in or pulling them out. Um, there's really a lot involved to it. So, um, when I did start to feel not so great, you know, we did make a few little changes, um, that had never been an issue before. So I think sometimes the body just gives you a warning.

Jono: Yeah,

Jessica: Says what the hell's

Jono: yeah.

Jessica: going on. And yeah, so, but overall, not too bad.

Jono: Yeah, yeah, great. Yeah, it's at that level of leanness and like that, you know, everyone is gonna react slightly different to stuff.

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: So you have to do that adjustment. You can't just sort of go, oh, here's your plan for the next four weeks, you know?

Jessica: Yeah,

Jono: Good luck.

Jessica: yeah, I really didn't appreciate how much was involved in bodybuilding until I did it. I kind of thought it was a little bit silly, you know, people overly tanned on a stage and whatever, did not float my boat at all. But since doing it, yeah, it's incredibly fascinating. But I mean, I kind of find that I'm really always interested in different sports and, you know, ways of eating and being. So I

Jono: Mm.

Jessica: think probably for me, like I said earlier, it was just being a beginner at something and learning about something that I had zero idea about. But yeah, it's very, very, very intricate, but it does show you that

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: you can do whatever training you like, but whoever you are, regardless, it always comes back to diet and nutrition. So I just feel like bodybuilding is a prime example of that. It really just shows how you can manipulate the body with food and the impact that the addition and removal of food has on you. Obviously we can all train like beasts and stuff like that, but to me it's just been a real, I knew it, but a real eye-opener of that nutrition really is the key. If you have specific body composition goals or you're trying to even achieve health and longevity, it really is all about nutrition. The training is really a side note, unfortunately.

Jono: I'm, as a I'm very, very biased and very glad to hear you say that. No,

Jessica: Mm.

Jono: you know, I think it's it's, um, you know, it's, especially in a sport like bodybuilding. I imagine the training was the easy bit. Well, easy.

Jessica: Yeah, absolutely.

Jono: I'll use that word

Jessica: Yeah,

Jono: lightly.

Jessica: it is.

Jono: But you know,

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: compared to the food. Yeah.

Jessica: Yeah, absolutely.

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: Train training is enjoyable. And that nutrition is really where you make the most serious changes, if you're willing to stick to it, which that's the hard part. So

Jono: Yeah, or we'd all be, we'd all be doing it, but we're not.

Jessica: Hahaha

Jono: Yeah, so absolute like hats off. So much respect for that process. Cause again, that 23, it's such a long process.

Jessica: It is a

Jono: And,

Jessica: long time.

Jono: you know, you think about how much time you spend in the gym versus how much time you spend eating.

Jessica: Mm.

Jono: And so the amount of effort and I guess, decision-making you have to put into nutrition is just, it's constant, right? It's, you know, it's 20. two hours of the day, okay, maybe

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: sleep as well. But you know, it's for 18 hours, 16 hours

Jessica: Absolutely.

Jono: of your day, you're constantly making

Jessica: Yeah,

Jono: that call, so

Jessica: and for me food

Jono: yeah.

Jessica: is a really, I don't drink or I drink very rarely. So all my social outings, occasions are all based around food. I'm not a late night person

Jono: Mmm.

Jessica: or anything like that. So it's really hard. But obviously it's, you know, you make those sacrifices for an end result and you just

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: realize that it's not something you're going to be doing year round. It's not sustainable to do that. So you just got to be disciplined in the short term and and you can go back to normal.

Jono: Yeah, well, you made it you're in it. You're in the you're in the block of showing

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: people that the hard work so

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: Yeah, look we're taking up too much of your time. Thank you so much for chatting I love the intersection of the CrossFit and the and the bodybuilding and then they just do the different shifts in nutrition and hearing all about that So

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: like you said, it's fascinating right and it's amazing what? training and food seemingly fairly straightforward things, but how varied

Jessica: Absolutely.

Jono: they can be depending on what you're trying to do.

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: So where's the best place to find you on the internet? Point people in some directions.

Jessica: Really just Instagram these days to be honest and I'm even probably a little bit slack with that so but

Jono: You've been prepping, it's right, we'll forgive you, we'll forgive you.

Jessica: my Instagram you know when you feel tired and shit the last thing you feel like doing is putting a smiling photo on Instagram I'd

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: rather

Jono: Yeah.

Jessica: put a photo of my dog so that people don't like that as much. My Instagram is Jessica C Coughlan Um, and that's where I try and upload, I guess, you know, little snippets of my life, um, all my animals, my training. I do the majority of my training at home. I've got two sheds on my property. So we've got a functional fitness kind of shed and then a bodybuilding shed. Um, so you can see sort of all those little bits and pieces and snippets there.

Jono: very jealous

Jessica: So,

Jono: of the home gym.

Jessica: yeah,

Jono: I've definitely,

Jessica: yeah,

Jono: yeah, I'm sure I'm not

Jessica: it's.

Jono: the only

Jessica: That's.

Jono: one either.

Jessica: Yeah, it's crazy. But like I said, we're really, um, We're not super social people, so we spend our money on our home gym instead.

Jono: It sort of sounds like a better investment to

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: me, but yeah. Yeah. Awesome. I'll plug some, you've got some plug you plug the programming. What's.

Jessica: Uh, yeah, I do a, just through a passion project, I write a program called garage athlete program, it's just 10 Australian dollars a month and you get three different programming streams. So engine strength and functional fitness. And you can just go and choose, um, what you like and match mix and match as desired, but its purpose was just, uh, for people to be able to train anywhere, not just at home, but it's really sort of, uh, a bit more minimal equipment based. Um, and just cause I'm, I'm really passionate about my home training and my garage set up, so it kind of came from that and it's just a little, uh, side hustle, but it's honestly just more about enjoyment. I love coming up with cool, um, training and workout ideas that are healthy. It's not for the competitor. Um, you might

Jono: Hmm.

Jessica: be competitive. It's definitely for someone who's competitively minded. Um, but also someone who wants to sort of take care of their body in terms of longevity and, and look good at the same time, cause you all want to look good. vain beings at heart. So there's nothing

Jono: Yeah,

Jessica: wrong with admitting that.

Jono: I've got a few clients who just randomly through no links, because I'll ask about, oh, are you doing

Jessica: Yeah,

Jono: any

Jessica: yeah,

Jono: training? And yeah,

Jessica: yeah.

Jono: I've got a number of clients doing the garage, the

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: programming. So yeah, I'll link

Jessica: Yeah,

Jono: that

Jessica: cool.

Jono: as well. I'll link the Instagram. Hopefully,

Jessica: Awesome.

Jono: we'll start seeing a few smiley pictures

Jessica: Yes,

Jono: and a few less dog pictures, and we'll use that as our gauge for how you're

Jessica: sure.

Jono: going.

Jessica: Things are going. Absolutely.

Jono: Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, again, thank you so much for your time. And best of luck for. two and a half weeks for that final show, or at least for that, the second last show.

Jessica: Yeah.

Jono: But yeah, thank you again.

Jessica: Thank you so much. Yeah, it was fun. I love rambling on about sort of training and nutrition and stuff. So yeah, it's really cool.

Jono: Thank you and thanks guys for listening. I'll chat to you next time

Jessica: See ya.