BC Articles

Welcome to the BC Articles library, where you will find academic articles, items written for journals and magazines, personal writings and other published material on the fitness industry and personal training.

We hope you enjoy the read!

The team at Body Conquest

Does the 'fuck cardio' mantra need to be reconsidered?

Ingrid Barclay on Monday, 21 October 2019. Posted in Training

There are many many ways to get lean and prep for stage. With some of my clients yes, we do cardio, with others I don’t. With myself I don’t. And for myriads of different reasons.

Training anxiety – is it real?

Ingrid Barclay on Monday, 21 October 2019. Posted in Training

I had a message recently from a fellow trainee and she asked a great question: is training anxiety a real thing?

Body Conquest Articles | 2019 Nationals and the Triple Crown

Ingrid Barclay on Monday, 01 July 2019. Posted in Training

My Journey To the 2019 Nationals and Attempt to Win the Triple Crown

The GoalI Barclay Nat2019 s
12 months ago, I had set my sights on trying to win my weight class in the sport of powerlifting at the 2019 Nationals. To be the reigning National Champion appealed to my competitive spirit. Excitingly the head of GPC here in Australia announced the addition of what is known as the “Triple Crown”. What does this mean and how do you win it? Great question! The first thing you need to do is win a “stand alone” competition. Then you need to win your state show. And finally, you must cap it off with a win at National Level. As well as collecting the three wins they must be all in the SAME weight class, and there must be 3 people on the podium – so in other words you can’t beat “no-one”!

Body Conquest Articles | Contest Preparations Part 1

Administrator on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

Contest Preparations - Part 1

Contest season is right around the corner with numerous trainees preparing for their assault onto the Australian competitive stage. Preparing for a contest is no easy feat and everyone is seeking extra tips, techniques and advice to give them a winning edge. In a two-part feature I will be looking at certain aspects of competing and offering some solid contest advice. These hints are especially aimed at those who have never competed before, but also to those athletes who seek to make improvements on past stage performances. This month I will look at costumes, posing and routines and next month I will tackle tanning, stage presentation and manipulation techniques to peak on contest day. This should enable you to present your body to the best of your ability and avoid some of the pitfalls that many competitors succumb to.

Body Conquest Articles | Contest Preparations Part 2

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

Contest Preperations - Part 2

I wrote about three facets of competing that included posing, routines and bikini/posing trunks. This month I will focus on carbohydrate, sodium, potassium and water variations the week before the show, as well as tanning and stage presentation on contest day. Dieting and training nuances pre-contest vary so much depending on your category, sex, event and individual physique that it is beyond the scope of this article. However by applying a combination of all the following tips this expose will help ensure that you present an impressive, winning package on stage.

Body Conquest Articles | Fibre Facts

Administrator on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

Fibre Facts

Every self-respecting bodybuilder understands the importance of eating the right nutritional balance for optimum results in the gym. Most fibre talk in the gym is relegated to muscle fibre, i.e. fast twitch, slow twitch, how to recruit more fibre, and how to repair it. However more attention should be paid to the fibre I am talking about, and that's the fibre you can find in some carbohydrates. Eating the right amount of fibre is important to the aspiring bodybuilder and should be paid the attention that it deserves.

Body Conquest Articles | Four Unique Exercises

Administrator on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

4 Unique Exercises You Don't Often See Performed

There are certain "bread and butter" exercises that are a staple in any trainees' programs. Walk into any gym and it's highly likely that the squat rack, the bench press and the lat pull downs are all being used. But what about some alternative exercises that you rarely see? What are they? How do you perform them? Most of all, are they any good?

Body Conquest Articles | How to Overcome the Fat Loss Plateau

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

How To Overcome The Fat Loss Plateau


A couple of months ago I wrote an article on plateaus and how to avoid them when training. However you can also plateau in your efforts at fat loss. As we are now in the warmer months of the year, most of us want to shed our "winter coat" and display a fit, lean physique. For those of us who live the bodybuilding lifestyle, whether competitive or not, this is the time to shine at the beach and get our kudos for all the hard training we have done. So, what do you do if you fat loss has come to a grinding halt? Well, the good news is that there are numerous ways to 'trick" the body and continue to drop those unwanted kilos, even if you have hit a wall.

Body Conquest Articles | Keeping a Training Diary

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

Keeping a Training Diary

In every single competitive sport there is always something that's importance is underrated. In the sport of bodybuilding, body shaping and fitness competitions, the little old diary may be the prime tool that is both underused and overlooked. A diary can be a significant contributor to the efficiency of your training and crucial to your overall success. I think many trainees take an undisciplined approach when they think that they can't be bothered lugging a diary around the gym when they train. This is the single best way to record accurately how your training is progressing and what you are consuming via your nutritional intake.ingrid

Body Conquest Articles | Learn The Fats

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

Learn the Fats

One of the most enigmatic concepts about diet and nutrition concerns dietary fat. Fats have long since been given a really bad rap especially when it comes to controlling levels of body fat. It seems that fats are the scapegoat for those who are overweight. Therefore many are afraid to eat anything with a high fat content and this is true of the bodybuilding fraternity also. Fats in the diet actually has several important roles and care should be taken to make sure that for optimum health and sound results in the gym, your fat intake is as it should be. Don't give the good fats the cold shoulder; they are a necessary component of any good body builders' diet.

Body Conquest Articles | Mass Building Season

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

Mass Building Season

Whether you are a competitive bodybuilder or are purely training for your own personal reasons with no view of getting up on stage, gaining muscle mass is surely the single main focus of your training. (I mean who goes to the gym to "get smaller")? Gaining size is not merely about lifting heavier weights every time you train at the gym, there is a multitude of variables that need to be taken into account when trying to pack on the pounds. So read on and make sure that you are taking heed of these tips to help you grow like a unit.

Body Conquest Articles | Metamorphisize your Physique

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

Metamorphisize your Physique

Bodybuilding has advanced greatly in the past decade or so, and those who take their sport seriously now employ quite a scientific approach to every aspect of training, supplementation and nutrition. Therefore it is easy to get distracted on your path to a bigger and better physique. Magazines provide page after page of training techniques, advanced supplements, new fads and the latest cable exercise designed to enhance the inner-outer,lower pectoral tie-in. When these things don't work we then search some more pages and try something else in our quest to change our genetic destiny and make us become the next Mr Australia in record time. In fact, what we are usually best to do is to stick with the basics that have been tried and tested many, many times, as they always come up trumps when trying to pack on muscle.

Body Conquest Articles | Physique Transformation Competitions

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

Physique Transformation Contests-Good or Bad, Real or Fake?


Physique transformation competitions have been around for a while now. Their popularity doesn't appear to be waning, and indeed the sophistication of the competition rules and regulations is increasing. Whilst they have their merits, they also have their pitfalls. There is no doubt that they can be the catalyst for spectacular results, but is it all what it appears in those "after" photos? Where is the physique transformation contest now headed and why?

Body Conquest Articles | Plateaus and how to avoid them

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

Plateau's And How To Avoid Them

It is perhaps an inenviability that at some stage during your bodybuilding training that you are going to reach a plateau. A plateau is a point where your results just stop coming. It can be a particular weight that you cannot lift over. It may also be that you cannot seem to make a particular body part grow. Nothing seems to make it repsond with the growth spurt that you are urgently seeking. The reasons for this stagnation can vary. Often the finger is pointed at the likelihood that you are overtraining. However this is not always the case. Plateauing can be a physical standstill or it can be a mental block. Alternatively it can be a combination of both. This article looks at the common reasons why trainee's plateau, what you can do to prevent the phenomenon and then provides some soloutions to the problem if you already have.

Body Conquest Articles | Pro Builders Program

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

Pro Builders Program

Effective, workable programs are frequently published and are a dime a dozen. There is an old axiom '1000 trainers', 1000 programs'. There are any number of professional instructors who can design and help implement magnificent bodybuilding programs. However one has to use a great deal of caution if considering using a program pulled from the plethora of bodybuilding magazines on newspaper stands today. I am not suggesting that you shouldn't follow a pro builders program, but rather that you sit down and consider a number of factors before deciding to pursue a program that has not being individually tailored to you.

Body Conquest Articles | Simple Stuff

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

Simple Stuff

Staying motivated when the world is coming down on all sides is a problem many of us face regularly. We don't have to go very far before we trip over an obstacle, encounter a detour or fall into a deep, fiery pit where monsters live. Whether getting to the gym across town, entering the foreboding doors to the iron tonnage in the garage or approaching the bench -- , I mean the torture rack -- in the basement, heaviness in the heart and mind is like lead in the seat of our pants. I want pizza, TV and the couch, you think, but your fat and skinny conscience fights like a rabid dog.

Body Conquest Articles | Summer Cardio

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

Fun Summer Cardio Activties

Looking to take your training outdoors this summer? If so, then your options for cardio activities can become considerably more creative and adventurous. If you are sick of the lack of thrills that the treadmill, rower and stepper offer, then read on, and take up one or more of these more unusual and heart starting, fat burning cardio alternatives. With only four months or so of truly fabulous weather you may as well get out of the gym and into the outdoors for a totally new stimulus. There is nothing like a complete change to your routine to totally recharge your spirits and energies.

Body Conquest Articles | Symmetry

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training


A well proportioned physique with lots of muscle should be the overall concern of a bodybuilder. As a judge I look for the development of evenly distributed muscle mass as that will usually mean a symmetrically pleasing physique. It shouldn't matter whether you are training to compete, training to have a beach body or training for fun, either way your program should complement and enhance your weak points, exacerbate your good points and create the illusion of a perfectly symmetrical body.

Body Conquest Articles | Train Smart and Hard

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

Train Smart and Hard, Not Long and Dumb.

Champion bodybuilders, I mean the true-blue, dinky die, unadulterated champions do things differently to the average gym junkie. I mean, they have to if they reach the upper echelons of this great sport. One of the things that separate them from the wannabes is their preparedness to do the things that others shun. Titleholders put themselves out there and do the hard yards, whether its within the training, dieting or preparation phase, put simply they will go the extra mile that the hacks just wont. This article concentrates on exercise choice. Exercise choice is a major variable in exercise prescription and your choices of exercises should be given careful consideration. Too many trainees choose exercises that they like, that stroke their ego or that they feel are easy and comfortable to do. Sound familiar? The problem is, it's at the expense of muscle development. So perhaps it's time to sit down and re-assess the exercises that you do for particular body parts and ask yourself whether you could be making more wise choices.

Body Conquest Articles | Training at Home

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

Can you Train Effectively at Home?

Is it possible to train at home and achieve the same results as if you trained in a commercial fitness centre? You may be interested to know that yes, you can, and that it is perfectly feasible to achieve brilliant results and within a reasonable budget. It doesn't cost the earth to set up your own playground of iron without burning a hole in your pocket-you just need some useful tip and savvy purchases.

Body Conquest Articles | Water

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training


Water is absolutely essential for life. While we can go for long lengths of time without food we would not survive long without water. If you don't drink enough of it some functions of your body will suffer. If you feel a little off, or you aren't training well, you might not even be sick, you are probably just thirsty! Everyone, even medical practitioners preach about water intake. Chances are, you are dehydrated right now, as you read. So, put down that cappuccino and ask yourself.....are you really drinking enough water?

Body Conquest Articles | Weight Training Cardio Balance for Fat Loss

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Training

Weight Training Cardio Balance for Fat Loss

Its already that time again. The warm weather is fast approaching, days will be spent at the beach, balmy evenings catching up with friends and time spent in shorts, singlets and bathers. We all want to look great whilst doing so. As summer draws closer everyone duly considers giving more thought than usual to dropping their body fat levels. You know, that little extra that snuck up in the middle of those cold winter nights where you thought you were better off tucked up on the couch in front of a good DVD and some accompanying chocolate, rather than doing that extra cardio to keep lean.

Shoulder Issues - Ingrid's Solutions

Ingrid Barclay on Thursday, 03 October 2019.

There was a day where abdominals seemed to be the drawcard to the judge’s eyes, but I believe nowadays shoulders are where judges look to accurately assess the quality of a competitor’s muscularity and shape. To have a balanced physique, you must have balanced shoulders. This means all three heads should be as even as possible. In terms of structure and symmetry, the shoulders in my opinion are the most fundamental body part because they are visible from every angle and because they are a visual reference points for establishing your v taper. Everyone from bikini girls to physique ladies are expected to have great delts to offset their whole frame and if you lack width especially you aren’t going to achieve that “wow” factor.

Shoulder Issues - Ingrid's Solutions (Copy)

on Thursday, 03 October 2019.

There was a day where abdominals seemed to be the drawcard to the judge’s eyes, but I believe nowadays shoulders are where judges look to accurately assess the quality of a competitor’s muscularity and shape. To have a balanced physique, you must have balanced shoulders. This means all three heads should be as even as possible. In terms of structure and symmetry, the shoulders in my opinion are the most fundamental body part because they are visible from every angle and because they are a visual reference points for establishing your v taper. Everyone from bikini girls to physique ladies are expected to have great delts to offset their whole frame and if you lack width especially you aren’t going to achieve that “wow” factor.

Troubleshooting August 2013

on Thursday, 15 August 2013.

Ingrid I am looking for a program to utilise as a de-loading part of my periodization plan. What would your thoughts be on using the Matrix system and if you think it would be beneficial, could you perhaps include a possible 4 day program? Thank you.

The Matrix Training System
The Matrix Training System is a training programme that focuses on a variety of full and partial rep movements within sets to stimulate a different response to lifting weights. It was created by Dr Ron Laura, who has continued to develop even more advanced adaptations of the Matrix Principle that are published in his books.

Troubleshooting December 2012

I hear a lot about "training to failure". Is this the approach I should be taking?

I am often saying that the one place that it is ok to "fail" is in the gym. Personally I am a fan of training to failure. How "hard" you work out or the amount of effort that you put into your training is also sometimes referred to as "intensity". If you have selected the right weight, and you are training hard enough, the last two or three reps in your set should be damned difficult. You will often feel the pain of the lactic acid build up, also sometimes referred to as the 'burn". This is not to be confused with the pain of injury. There is the pain of training until it hurts...or injurious pain. The pain of the burn and complete muscle fatigue is actually considered to be good pain" by bodybui9lders. If you complete your set of say 6-12 reps and it felt easy, then I'm afraid to say the weight you chose was too light. Don't baby yourself.

If you have selected the appropriate weight you should reach a point where you momentarily cannot do another repo. That point in bodybuilding is known as reaching 'failure" Whether you push yourself this hard is another topic of great controversy. However among champion bodybuilders and fitness competitors, there's no question-every set is taken to failure, or close to it.

That's why it's so handy to have a PT or a training partner-to keep you safe and spot you on that last one or two to ensure that you have totally maxed out.
I believe in training hard with high intensity, and that means often training to failure or just short of failure. I don't believe in stopping a set when I really feel that if I dig deep I can get three or four more reps out. Push yourself- you are supposed to be out of your comfort zone.

Although most bodybuilders train to failure the majority of the time, there's one more thing more important than going to failure- that is progressive resistance which I have often written about as the key to bodybuilding. Just because you didn't train to failure doesn't mean that your workout was somehow unproductive.

For example say you do Bulgarian split squats for 3 sets of 8 repetitions with 70 kg's on your back. If you stop short of failure on those three sets that fine. But what you MUST do is perform at least 9 or 10 reps with 70 kg's in your next workout. Then your next workout you build to 11-12. This way you are ensuring progressive resistance and above all else this is what makes muscles grow!
Are diuretics necessary in order to compete? And what exactly do they do?

Firstly diuretics are banned in most federations and aren't legal and certainly aren't necessary in order to get up on stage! Diuretics are drugs that promote the formation and excretion of urine. Clinically they are used in the treatment of hypertension, fluid retention, and congestive heart failure. Side-effects from their use include dehydration, hypertension, muscle cramps and electrolyte disturbances.

Athletes use diuretics in order to lose weight rapidly prior to competition in sports where weight limits are set, or in the case of bodybuilding to obtain that very hard, dry look. The use of diuretics can be used in combination with other techniques such as the use of the sauna, exercise in hot conditions and food and water restrictions 9again which a lot of bodybuilders practice leading up to a show). These practices may result in rapid dehydration and electrolyte in balance, which may be harmful to the bodybuilder, particularly if practiced on a regular basis. Diuretics are also used to aid the excretion or dilute the presence of illegal substances in the urine. The use of diuretics is banned by the IOC.

I have a nasty hamstring strain in my left hamstring and any kind of hamstring exercise seems to aggravate it. Any ideas on how I can make a quick recovery to hamstring training?

You don't mention whether you did this in the gym or playing a sport where hammy tears are common such as football, sprinting or hockey. There are a number of possible predisposing factors to a hamstring injury such as what I mention below:
• poor hamstring flexibility
• hamstring weakness-concentric or eccentric
• inadequate rehabilitation of previous injury
• reduced hamstring muscle endurance
• muscle imbalance (quads to hamstrings)
• lumbar joint stiffness
• sacroiliac stiffness
• increased neural tension
• inadequate/cold warm up
• Biomechanical factors such as excessive anterior tilt.

Really the only things I can suggest is immediate treatment largely by using the RICER protocol. Then stretching, which should begin with static stretches in order to encourage full range of pain-free movement. Then depending upon the appropriate time and severity of the injury, soft tissue techniques can be used in the treatment of hamstring strains.

Strengthening of the hamstring muscles in as essential component of rehabilitation and may be commenced immediately post injury. The functional level of the injury will determine the intensity and volume of the strengthening program that may initially be in the form of isometric exercises and progress to concentric exercises, then eccentric and then ultimately to a more functional strengthening program. I would be working closely with a doctor and rehab specialist and or physio to help sort you out and give you practical guidelines.

Really, I can't believe this question still gets asked. It is a myth that high reps burn more fat. In fact, quite the opposite is true. If a high lean mass means burning more fat at rest because of a higher basal metabolic rate, wouldn't you want to be using the rep range that builds the most muscle???

The actual performance of a repetition is not what burns fat. Calories are burned with every repetition, of course, but the fat burning process from weight training comes into play after the exercise from the increase in post workout calorie expenditure (EPOC) and the increase in BMR from having more lean muscle mass.

Weight training burns the most fat after the workout. Cardio training burns the most fat during the workout. The real fat burning value in weight training is the increased metabolic rate after the weight training workout, which has absolutely nothing to do with the number of repetitions that you perform. Building more lean mass increases your metabolic rate and keeping your repetitions in the 6-12 range appears to be the most efficient way to build lean mass.

What would your best 'blueprint" be for building maximum amount of muscle in minimum time?

Because program design is a science within itself and is such a complex subject what I would rather do is give you a list of excellent training resources that I can only urge you to read as I have. As you begin your quest for further knowledge, read the books with an open mind and never feel that you have to accept any one teaching uniquely completely or REJECT IT. Take what you feel is relevant to you and your unique goals and body type and test it.

Keep what works for you and throw away the rest!

The Poliquin Principles by Charles Poliquin
Modern Trends in Strength Training by Charles Poliquin (A technical look at sets and reps)
Understanding bodybuilding Nutrition and Training by Chris Aceto
Beyond brawn By Stuart McRobert (the best explanations of progressive training you will ever find)
Hardcore bodybuilding a Scientific Approach By Fred Hatfield
Unleashing the Wild Physique by Vince Gironda
High performance Bodybuilders by John Parillo
Designing Resistance training Programs fleck and Kraemer (textbook and reference guide)
Encyclopaedia of Modern Bodybuilding
Super training by Mel Siff (a long and challenging read; worth the effort!)

There are some examples of some super books with a wealth of knowledge, motivation and technical expertise, happy reading!

Troubleshooting December 2013

on Wednesday, 04 December 2013.

Ingrid I competed for the first time a couple of months ago and some of the feedback I was provided was that my posing was sub-standard. I didn't really have any help as I live in a small country town and there is no-one close to me who have ever competed let alone knows how to help with posing. In particular I couldn't really seem to get my lats out properly. Can you provide some hints on posing that might help me?

So what purpose does posing serve during a bodybuilding competition? Well, the various poses performed onstage help to:

Troubleshooting February 2013

on Friday, 01 February 2013.

What is the point of using chains when training with weights?

Chain training requires chains to be hung from the ends of conventional barbells and to drape on the floor. The conventional barbell with attached chains then is used during exercises such as the squat, bench press, deadlift, and Olympic lifts. Theoretically, chains provide a valuable resistance unlike conventional barbells alone.

Troubleshooting February 2014

on Monday, 03 February 2014.

Ingrid if you had a build a strong, functional and aesthcially pleasing, balanced physique using only 15 exercises which one’s would you use and why?

Challenging question but a good one. So below I have come up with my choices in order working backwards from 15 – 1 that are chosen to address strength, balance and symmetry.

Troubleshooting January 2013

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013.

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