Fitness first for Courtney
"WHAT I love about fitness modelling is the fact that your body becomes a piece of artwork. You are constantly trying to get the perfect symmetry."
For Courtney Barbera, spending seven hours a day training, eating eight meals every 24 hours and drinking six litres of water is not unusual, it is simply part of her competition preparation routine.
The 21-year-old Bundaberg woman is a seasoned bodybuilding competitor who treats her body like a temple to achieve optimum health and perfect fitness form.
"I love the process the best. You get to learn exactly how your body works. Everyone's body is individual and reacts differently, it is very interesting," she said.
"It is really good to see that growth happen."
The fitness enthusiast, who co-owns Improvements Gym, recently competed in her first event for the year, the INBA Brisbane Classic, in which she made the top 10.
"This competition was to start off my season, just to see where I am at. I got in the top 10 with minimal prep, so I am pretty happy with that," she said.
Normally it takes about 16 weeks to prep but I did it in eight. I lost 15kg for it and put on about three kilograms of muscle.
Ms Barbera said when it came to competition preparation, it was all about training the body and mind to be motivated.
"I train anywhere from six to seven hours a day. It's a lot of training. My horse riding is included in that as well," she said.
"I do about three hours of horse riding, an hour of weight training, three hours of fast walking and 30 minutes of solid cardio a day."
She said 70% of her competition preparation was a scientific diet based on portion sizes and eating times.
"When I started I was on six litres of water a day and having quite a lot of salt and carbs in the morning," she said.
"There is also lots of protein and vegetables involved. No sugar at all and absolutely no processed foods."
Ms Barbera said the hard work and determination was well worth the pay off of experiencing the world of bodybuilding.
"I have done about six competitions so far, competing in nationals and state titles and I love everything about it," she said
"The positive energy at each competition is amazing. The atmosphere is awesome. The events attract large crowds of thousands."
"Yes, it's about being successful, but more so it's about the amazing people you meet."