Mention bodybuilding and my eyes glaze over. The image that springs to mind is of a hugely muscled, steroid-enhanced Arnold Schwarzenegger type. Not the sort of person you’d want to engage with.Manakau’s Paula Signal doesn’t quite fit that mould, despite the fact that she’s just won the Miss New Zealand title at the national Bodybuilding championships in Christchurch.
Paula has had a stellar year, winning titles at the regional bodybuilding champs in Napier and Wellington, before her triumph in the Nationals. This was Paula’s ninth year of competition, and she’ll represent NZ in Australia next March, and is quietly optimistic.To compete in the 50kg class, Paula had to lose 10kg, with careful dieting, concentrating on protein carbs and good fats: six tiny meals a day, coupled with a strenuous exercise regime. Having made the 50kg weight limit, the next step was carb-loading and ingestion of liquids to prepare her for the competition.
Back in the real world, for the last decade Paula has worked as a Personal Trainer. Born in Wellington, she’s been based in Ōtaki for the past 15 years. Professionally, she had three years at Massey university including courses in nutrition. She has a client base of over a hundred, some of whom are remote, but accessible via the internet. Her forty regulars she sees 2-3 times a week. They cover housewives, self-employed, and a wide range of ages and aptitudes. Her oldest regular is 74.
Paula began at Body and Soul, and with Joseph te Wiata’s encouragement, she developed her Personal Training business, which operates out of the gym in Waerenga Road, although she also sees clients at Nga Purapura. Personal Training involves helping people overcome their obstacles, whether they be diet, fitness or both. Gymnasia can be daunting places, and Paula recognises the need to help people find a fitness regime in the gym that suits them, and meets their objectives. Not everyone knows how to use a gym, and Paula can show you how to do so without being turned off. Repetitive exercise can be boring, so there’s a need for regular reviews and challenges to make attainment of fitness fun and worthwhile.
I asked a friend about Paula’s skills, and got an enthusiastic endorsement. She had been told the only solution to her troublesome knee was surgery. Paula devised an exercise regime, with the result that surgery was averted, and a happy customer who now walks without pain.
A one-on-one half hour session with Paula costs $35, and there’s a lot of people who think it’s a worthwhile investment in themselves.