My Dream Team Competition Journey Part 3
Scroll to the bottom for my final post
Written by Doreen Nicolaou Tabban Trainer and Athlete
An insight into Team Tabban Athlete’s Competition Season
Sunday the 3rd of September 2016
On the eve of our first competition, I would usually be packing my competition bag, preparing food for the day and keeping in close contact with my trainer Michael Tabban but I find myself on my couch with my cat and my blanket updating my blog.
On Monday, all the athletes competing in the AWNBS Victorian Titles were called to be advised that the competition was cancelled. As my diet was tweaked in preparation for the competition this weekend and my first words were
“Oh NO! Now I’m HUNGRY”
When I have my eye on the end result, as advised by Michael, willpower kicks in and nothing gets in my way to give in to any food thoughts, but when you find out that your planned date for a competition you’re preparing for is cancelled, willpower goes out the door for a split moment.
This has happened to me before so I know to have no expectations when competing. Stick to what I am doing until advised by my trainer. We were offered to be flown to Brisbane to enter the Queensland State Titles the week after. If we didn’t enter the Queensland State Titles we would not be eligible to enter the Nationals in October, I could not accept any offer until I had the all clear from Michael. The decision had to be made not just for me, but our whole team. I was in limbo until 11 am Wednesday when Michael called Areti and myself into his office and asked our opinion.
To go to Queensland or not to go to Queensland? We already had another competition on the same weekend but with a few phone calls and feedback from our team the decision was made.
Destiny? Fate? Or just the daring underdogs? Who knows but I never want to die thinking I could have or should have!
I will keep you posted 🙂
Wednesday 14th of September 2016
Five athlete’s, all mum’s and two trainers flew from Melbourne to the AWNBS Queensland State Titles
As athlete’s from Victoria, competing in tough line ups of amazing female competitors, Tabban Dream Team proudly took out one first place and five third places.
I placed 3rd in the Over 50’s and 3rd in the figure short. I can refer to this experience on stage as a battle. I posed and flexed my hardest and felt like I had been horse riding for hours once the adrenaline had faded away.
Here’s a few snapshots from our weekend.
Sussing out the list of competitors in our line ups.
My categories had 8 and 9 athletes and most of them were over 50 and short. So in this shot was the realisation that I was going up against the same women in both categories. My words to Michael were ” I’m either going to win or lose” With very fair judging I cheered as I received my two third placings.
Backstage selfie with my training partner Kaye Swann.
After all our hard training, it was great being backstage together with other amazing inspiring female athletes. Kaye at 62 was the oldest competitor and as her manager I couldn’t be prouder!
My sugar loading before hitting the stage is a good spoon of nutella.
Let me warn all parents, don’t feed your children nutella. The reaction is extremely noticeable in my dehydrated lean body. My veins just filled with sugar and I looked like a road map. Great for comp though!!
Cabin pressure on the flight home was also great for my veins.
This photo doesn’t show how crazy they looked but Bev and Bev the lovely ladies that sat beside me could see that I almost turned into the hulk. The look on their faces were priceless…
We are now off to the INBA Victorian Titles this weekend.
Huge line ups and we will give it our absolute best shot. I’m looking forward to a short break after this weekend to share my thoughts with you, but for now it’s back to hair, tans, weigh ins etc
Friday 23rd of September 2016
From Queensland State Titles we are straight back to Melbourne to prepare for the INBA Victorian State Titles. With no time to rest – posing, flexing and viewings all over again. In preparation Michael Tabban was on a mission to resolve the issue I had experienced in Queensland. All was going to plan, but I could see moments of concern on his face and I knew “Houston we have a problem!” My legs began to hold fluid but he did not tell me as he didn’t want to put me off my game. His silence spoke many words though and I then noticed things were not quite right. He kept telling me that I had to flex my legs as hard as possible and that I did. Placing third twice was hard work holding my legs tight as possible with every pose. I felt like I had been horse riding for a week once I walked off that stage.
The physical pain was a reminder I did all that I had to do against a tough, big line up of athletes.
This week the magical mind of Michael Tabban was on fire. Testing my water, food and rest all week to find a way to prevent this happening again. I had to keep in close contact with him all week and I had to take updated photo’s every hour, face time him and even have viewings in our office at work between clients’ trainings sessions. I even had to ask my cleaning lady to stop cleaning my house as I needed her to take a photo of a rear double bicep so I could send it to Mike.
All this preparation ended up with a master plan for the competition eve and morning. It was like no previous preparation that I had ever done before. Timing of food, water and rest was crucial.
Competition morning began at 4am breakfast, style my hair, leave home at 5.45am get to make up artist by 6.15 am and then to venue by 8am to be tanned.
I had entered 3 categories for the first time ever and I was first to step on stage for the over 50’s. Nervous? Who me? Hell yeah!! No matter how many times I have competed the nerves don’t subside – I could call it an overwhelming adrenaline surge..
Before stepping on stage, warming up (or I should say pumping up) backstage with the other athletes preparing to compete
At this point you’re on your own, no trainers, no team mates just yourself and your thoughts. Have I done everything possible to give this my best shot? Now is the moment you can have no regrets or negative thoughts. Just give yourself a hug and walk on stage proud of your efforts thus far.
Once on stage, you have a fair idea if you’re in with a chance if the head judge calls out your number and asks you to stand in the middle of the line up.
Bang! 203! That was me! Can you stand between competitors number whatever… Well blow me away, I was in with a chance in the over 50 line up. My eyes went straight to Michael and Areti as I looked for a little guidance and support to get me over the line. We posed over and over again so I knew it was close, betting that I may have placed 2nd.
Then when they called out 2nd place it dawned on me that I may had won. In that moment I didn’t know if I was going to laugh or cry. Let me tell you why…
My cardio was a limited part of my training but it was extremely difficult. I found what I would call my mountain, which really was a road that entered my local parkland. This was one of my hardest training challenges. This road was where I would spend an hour 3 times a week flexing, lunging, squatting, posing and also walking forward and backwards. During my training at my mountain I would have music blaring and I would sing at the top of my voice.
What a feeling by Irene Cara was my most inspirational song!
“First, when there is nothing but a slow glowing dream, that your fear seems to hide deep inside your mind…”
I would sing and visualise myself winning the over 50’s and Michael Tabban coming on stage to receive the trainers award.
My mission was accomplished with two more divisions to go. I was then up back on stage competing in the under 50 kg and short open, where I was compared to a 21-year-old girl. This was interesting as she was as old as my youngest son and I was as old as her mother. Golden moment as we posed together I was chuffed to think that there was a competitive comparison between us.
Placing 2nd in the open short and 3rd in the under 50kg was a fine way to end my day.
I could not be happier and felt accomplished. With a week of celebrations, its head down, bum up and back to training with 3 weeks of competitions to go and no time to lose focus. Victorian, Queensland and Sydney competitions three weeks in a row – no time to rest.
I must say Michael is a magician because I couldn’t have achieved any of this without him.
Tabban Dream Team Congratulations
INBA Victorian Titles
1 x 1st, 2 x 2nd, 3 x 3rd and 3 x 5th places congratulations to all our team you made your trainers very proud!
Wednesday the 2nd of November
After a hectic month of competing I had to put my blog on hold as training, practicing and preparation for travel has consumed my world. I also have juggled my work and family commitments so in a nutshell this sport is a huge addition to anybody’s usual busy lifestyle.
If I told you that I was absolutely content and felt accomplished after the first time I stood on the stage at the INBA State titles when I won the Over 50’s and Michael Tabban won the trainer award, you may ask as my husband may, why continue?
My answer would be that once I committed to be on The Dream Team, no matter what, I would see it through to the end of the season until there were no competitions left to do.
I previously had placed 3rd twice at the Queensland State titles
I also placed 2nd for Open Short and 3rd for under 50kg at the Inba State Titles.
1st for Over 50’s and 2nd for open short at the ANB State Titles
2nd for Open short and 3rd for Over 50’s at the INBA Australian Titles.
I am waiting for the day when I can stop and smell the roses to process the season I have had. Many people have different expectations from their competition journey. Some just want to win, win and only win. Others are happy to just reach the stage and celebrate their own transformation to get there. Whatever your goal is you need to know that when you’re up on that stage that you did your absolute best to get there and enjoy yourself.
I am a firm believer that you learn nothing from winning and more from losing. You can walk away with a bag full of trophies or maybe just a medal for participating, but if you have no expectations, you certainly won’t be disappointed. We all enter a competition to win but no one can take away the feeling of self-accomplishment. I was contacted by a competition photographer and he told me “every time I see you on stage you just keep getting better and better.”
With these words I am a winner!
It dawned on me that it has been my goal to get better each competition. I can’t always control how my body looks at every competition, as I leave all that to Mr. Tabban. All I can do is continue to be the best I can on stage. I do believe my persistence to shine on stage has helped me get over the line. Smile, flex, pose, be grateful and again ” don’t forget to smile” has been my biggest challenge. Areti has actually stopped yelling from the crowd
“Smiling!!!!” God love her
I didn’t expect to achieve what I have and haven’t had the time to acknowledge it yet. It has been a race to just keep up with all the opportunities that Tabban Gym has given me. To be able to enter so many competitions with the support of Michael and Areti by my side, it has been absolutely priceless.
There has also been a special lady by my side and that is my amazing teammate Vanessa Stanford! She is my partner on competition day which is always filled with strategy, focus, support and lots of laughs. Vanessa has also achieved a long list of wins and placings. We have very different physiques, height and age groups. We say if they don’t like my body they will like yours… and together we step on stage with a huge smile. Vanessa has taught me to be super confident, even when the voices in my head are telling me that I am nervous.
Now for our most testing journey yet, with our rock Areti Anagnostellis we are preparing for the biggest challenge to end our season. We are off to the USA to compete in Las Vegas at the INBA Olympia and the WNBF World Titles in Los Angeles. We keep each other focused, lift up each other’s spirits and never ever forget to have fun!
We have booked flights to Los Angeles and a car for a road trip to Vegas. This has proven to be a very expensive trip and we haven’t even left yet. So to everyone that donated to our extensive expenses we say THANK YOU!
Can’t end this here until I once again thank my dearest friend Michael Tabban for allowing me to compete and fulfil my dream to compete at 50. When I accepted the position at Tabban Muscle and Body Shape I was told that staff could not compete. I was able to convince Michael that my preparation for comp would not affect my work. He never doubted me and I didn’t want to disappoint him. We did it together! I stuck to my promise and he has no regrets allowing me to compete. Michael is one in a million and I am a lucky girl to have him in my life.
6th of November 2016
The day we have set our sights on has finally arrived. Filled with excitement and not much food we are off to the USA for our biggest challenge yet. Two huge competitions in two states over two weeks!
Three inspired women travelling overseas to achieve their goals. Call us crazy but you have to be to give up 6 months of your life to chase your dreams. Thank you also to my family for supporting me. To my boys… while I’m gone keep your rooms clean, help your dad around the house and don’t forget to feed my cat! xx
Back in three weeks to write my final chapter of my blog.
Thank you for following my journey this far!
30th of December 2016
As 2016 draws to an end, I prepare to spend the final hours of the year at a beautiful restaurant with my husband, sister and brother in law. This is when we look back at the year that past and set goals for the New Year ahead. No resolution talks just plans and goals that we dream to achieve.We begin with the past years goals we set and see if we achieved them. My 2016 goals were to be on the Australian Series of Survivor and turning 50, my other ambition was to step back on the stage to compete. As I had applied for Australian Survivor I had to put my 50th year competition on hold as I have wanted to be on Survivor for over 20 years. I received an email from the casting crew of the show to tell me I was chosen for further interviews, phone calls and auditions. This process began in January and continued until May 2016 when I received the news that I made it to the Top 50 in Australia out of 15,000 people but I was not successful please try again for the next season.
My world was shattered for a couple of weeks knowing that I got so close. I then came to the realisation that when something you really want passes you by get excited! This was not what you were meant to be doing and look for the signs as your path is leading you in another direction.
By mid-June 2016 I placed a bet with Michael Tabban that the winner of a table tennis match will be get granted a wish.
I won so Michael then granted my dream to compete at 50.
In my blog I have spoken about the dedication, will power, hard training, strict eating plan and suffering every time my family would eat ice cream in front of me. The season was the toughest I have ever endured. I still continued to train my own clients, cook for my family, train, pose, flex, walk etc. With such a long season, my diet was altered weekly and sometimes daily which tested my willpower and my social life was none existent for 6 months. After having my most successful season ever, I traveled to the USA with my team mate Vanessa Stanford and the dedicated Tabban trainer Areti Anagnostellis. Areti followed Michael Tabban’s instructions to get us as lean as possible and that she did.
Areti also had to put up with our competition brain which consists of a lot of vague moments. My first moment was not paying for my USA visa and having to reapply at the airport or I could not enter the USA and Vanessa coming to join us in the audience at The Olympia when she was meant to be on the stage. I can’t tell you how hard this competition journey was. I also had my best friend pass away after the INBA Australian Titles and news that my beloved cat was sick while I was away.
My husband was able to keep him alive until I arrived home but he recently passed away.
There is no right time to achieve your set goals, you just have to set emotions aside and follow your planned journey while being tested the whole way through.
The day finally came when I was going to once again step on the world stage. With Areti in full competition mode I felt a force of confidence. Backstage there was unease as athletes felt nervous with the pressure of competing in a competition with athletes from all over the world. Especially when all we heard over and over…
“This is the Olympics of our sport” Really?? I thought wow, I always wanted to be in the Olympic Games. This was the closet I was ever going to be..
My competitive attitude kicked in and I felt focused. The more I noticed the nerves backstage I continued to focus on Areti’s words “This is just another competition.” Not having Michael Tabban there by my side was difficult for me but Areti was my rock. I knew Michael wanted me to spread my wings. He prepared me mentally and physically to stand strong without him and that I did.
I stepped on stage without a shake or jitters. I posed with ease and not once forgot to smile proudly. This was prejudged and the Top 3 were announced in the evening. When I later walked through the audience I was stopped by people in the crowd and was told I was a pleasure to watch. Still never got my hopes up that I would place, just then knew my goal to do my very best ever was achieved.Later that evening I was back on stage and the top 3 was announced for the over 50’s and totally surprised I was still standing on that stage. Within a split second 3rd was announced and I was still standing there.
Before I had a chance to acknowledge where I was and what had just happened my name was called and Areti jumped onto the stage. Considering I was fulfilled at my first competition in Victoria when I won and Michael received the trainer’s award and now 2nd in the Olympia with Areti now on stage was mind blowing. This was a day I will never forget. Just when I thought I pushed my luck as far as I could I accomplished my greatest achievement ever.
With one more competition to go at the WNBF World Titles in Los Angeles back to training and diet. This was going to be a real challenge for me as I had entered 3 categories: figure, fit body and body building. Not only was posing different in each category, I even had to change bikinis back stage with no time to spare. I was focused once again but with no height, weight or over 50 category I knew it was going to be tough. Never competing in USA figure and bodybuilding since 2008 the fun factor had to come into play with a little bit of acting and winging it. I didn’t place in the Top 3 of either division but found out later I placed Top 5 in figure and body building. Considering I am actually a fit body athlete I was kind of impressed that the judges placed me 5th in the World.
To end my competition blog I want to leave you my final thoughts that I want to share with you..
I still see my life through the eyes of a little girl with big dreams and at 50 I continue to surprise myself. We choose our own destiny and our thoughts limit our beliefs. I’m just an Aussie/ Greek chick that believes in having fun, loving life and surrounding myself with positive people. I prefer to motivate people rather than put then down .I only compete against myself to be the best I can be. I try and see the positive side of everything rather than the negative. I am not born under a lucky star I just continue to rise even if I’m kicked down, never giving up. I am not special and no different to you, so if you have dreams go out and make them happen. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I know that for a fact after being run down by a car last year. Don’t be scared of change and live with no regrets.
Thank you for continuing to read my blog and following my journey. As this year comes to an end my greatest wish is that I hope I have inspired just one person. If I have inspired more of you I’m blessed.
I have always wanted to record a competition journey and thank Tabban Gym for allowing me to share this on their website.
To Michael Tabban and Areti Anagnostellis thank you, thank you and thank you. Not only for supporting me but for all the athlete’s and members that you have helped reach their goals over the past 30 years. I came back to Tabban in 2014 as an athlete to be trained by the best and now at the end of my 2nd year as a trainer I am grateful for the opportunity you gave me, to give your members the best of me. Micahel Tabban promised to mentor me as a trainer that he did.
Signing out for now back on stage in 10 years when I’m 60!
Doreen Nicolaou xxxx