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Author Topic: New Article: Interview with Writer Elesa Zehndorfer  (Read 3518 times)
Jon
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« on: October 05, 2017, 03:16:09 PM »

Just a heads-up that I've added a new article to the site today, an interview with writer, sports scientist and figure competitor Elesa Zehndorfer.

Elesa has just released her new book which takes a completely unique approach to the sport by fusing bodybuilding and fitness with the world of finance. More broadly, she goes on to explain the relationship between working out and living a healthy lifestyle, and improved cognitive performance, and how this can be of benefit to all of us.

Check it out here...

http://www.naturalmuscle.co.uk/articles/elesa-zehndorfer/elesa-zehndorfer.shtml

Many thanks to Elesa for taking the time to do the interview with Natural Muscle. Smiley
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DDG
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2017, 12:36:17 PM »

I remember Elesa well. In fact I was judging at the show that she refers to back in 2005: NPA Heart of England.

It's amazing how people's careers develop and the direction in which particular modes of study take them. Good for her. I enjoyed reading the interview Jon, so thanks. I'm sure someone like me would also benefit from reading the book. I know, for sure, that over the years I've undoubtedly benefitted from the lifestyle of health, fitness and weight training to which I've always been so committed. It has been especially helpful at times when there have been other stressors in my life and recognising this I've been able to turn to the sport as a familiar anchor and something that has kept me afloat. Nothing changes in this regard. I take a lot from the culture and the lifestyle ... and competition is merely an ad hoc cherry on the cake.
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SuperSi
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2017, 12:28:03 PM »

I also remember Elesa competing; I was working at Maxi when she was a sponsored athlete.

The book certainly sounds thought provoking - it's an interesting link to make. I'd like to read the whole book to learn more.

One aspect I'm unsure of, is the paragraph below; specifically the bold part.


"Your account of deciding to take on the World Championships actually closes the book, and there is a big reason for that. As you’ve mentioned, the mental benefits of bodybuilding are extraordinary, yet virtually never discussed. People know the basics of how running, say, can boost endorphins, yet the life-changing neurological effects of a natural bodybuilding style diet and lifting schedule has, until this point, been mostly ignored (outside of the natural bodybuilding community, at least). All the readers on this website will know what those benefits are, but you generally never see them quantified properly to Joe Public and communicating them can be tough."

For me, and I've certainly seen countless others comment the same, a bodybuilding diet for competitive purposes seems to be the antithesis of what is being discussed. Instead of mental benefits, positive hormone fluctuations, etc., it's quite the opposite. Competitors often report inability to concentrate, reduced sex drive, strained relationships with those around them, etc.

I may have misinterpreted what's being said, having not seen it in the context of the book as a whole. Smiley
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Jon
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2017, 11:43:47 AM »

Quote
I remember Elesa well. In fact I was judging at the show that she refers to back in 2005: NPA Heart of England.

It's amazing how people's careers develop and the direction in which particular modes of study take them. Good for her. I enjoyed reading the interview Jon, so thanks. I'm sure someone like me would also benefit from reading the book. I know, for sure, that over the years I've undoubtedly benefitted from the lifestyle of health, fitness and weight training to which I've always been so committed. It has been especially helpful at times when there have been other stressors in my life and recognising this I've been able to turn to the sport as a familiar anchor and something that has kept me afloat. Nothing changes in this regard. I take a lot from the culture and the lifestyle ... and competition is merely an ad hoc cherry on the cake.

Thanks for that Dean; glad to hear you enjoyed the article. I'm pretty sure Elesa is familiar with your work too and some of your research papers, so as a fellow writer your comments will mean a lot to her I'm sure. Smiley

I recall being at that same show too where you judged in 2005. In fact I think that was the first NPA contest I attended, where Elesa won the figure class in tremendous shape. I later found out she was a lecturer and writer on sports science and so invited her to contribute some articles to the site; that's how we crossed paths. She has some very interesting ideas and so always happy to publish her work here on Natural Muscle, and was obviously delighted to be asked to contribute a segment to her new book.

Quote
I also remember Elesa competing; I was working at Maxi when she was a sponsored athlete.

The book certainly sounds thought provoking - it's an interesting link to make. I'd like to read the whole book to learn more.

One aspect I'm unsure of, is the paragraph below; specifically the bold part.

"Your account of deciding to take on the World Championships actually closes the book, and there is a big reason for that. As you’ve mentioned, the mental benefits of bodybuilding are extraordinary, yet virtually never discussed. People know the basics of how running, say, can boost endorphins, yet the life-changing neurological effects of a natural bodybuilding style diet and lifting schedule has, until this point, been mostly ignored (outside of the natural bodybuilding community, at least). All the readers on this website will know what those benefits are, but you generally never see them quantified properly to Joe Public and communicating them can be tough."

For me, and I've certainly seen countless others comment the same, a bodybuilding diet for competitive purposes seems to be the antithesis of what is being discussed. Instead of mental benefits, positive hormone fluctuations, etc., it's quite the opposite. Competitors often report inability to concentrate, reduced sex drive, strained relationships with those around them, etc.

I may have misinterpreted what's being said, having not seen it in the context of the book as a whole.

That's a fair question Si and I even mention in the book (without wanting to give too many spoilers) some of the difficulties I had in the later weeks of dieting, as calories are heavily restricted and bodyfat dips very low, combined with a punishing training regime. This could actually be a major subject in itself (mental aspects of contest dieting), although I suspect it might have fallen outside the scope of this title. I suppose competitive bodybuilding can be considered a much smaller part of the pie here (or cherry on the cake as Dean words it), with the book focusing more on the general benefits of working out during the offseason - when bodyfat levels are normal and calories are plenty.

Not sure if Elesa has an account on here, but I'll certainly direct her to the thread. Thanks very much for the feedback. Smiley

For anyone interested, here are some links to her other articles on Natural Muscle...

10 Diet Secrets to Burn Fat and Lose Weight
http://www.naturalmuscle.co.uk/articles/diet-secrets/diet-secrets.shtml

Motivation Strategies to Build a Better Body
http://www.naturalmuscle.co.uk/articles/motivation/motivation.shtml

A Study into the Motivations of Natural Bodybuilders
http://www.naturalmuscle.co.uk/articles/natural-bodybuilding-study/natural-bodybuilding-study.shtml
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Maveric Matt
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2017, 12:33:12 PM »

I enjoyed the article, and get Si's point but I think the extreme, latter stages of the bodybuilding prep  like you mentioned Jon aren't what is generally referred to in terms of 'bodybuilding lifestyle'.
 As mentioned, the extreme stages of a prep are the worst in terms of internal hormonal stresses that effect sleep etc.   
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Moose2016
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2017, 11:03:24 AM »

Thanks for posting the article Jon, it was a pleasure to write! Dean thanks so much - as Jon says, it means a lot to receive positive feedback from yourself. Funnily enough, I'm writing a UKCC coaching review at the moment and I'm coming across your articles a lot!

Simon, good points - I'd agree with all those downsides for sure. As Jon and Matt mention, it's the bodybuilding lifestyle in general that I refer to, not the hardcore period around competitions that can be brutal for anyone. If everyone adopted the general, habitual approaches that bodybuilders do on a week-by-week basis (e.g. higher protein, decent supplementation, regular strength training as well as CV, listening regularly to familiar, uplifting music), we'd see a major uptick in well being. The neurological reasons for that are so fascinating. Although many generic observations (such as a link between running and stress) are commonly known, the depth of detail around it hasn't been mined that well. For example, financial markets traders may be more susceptible to addictions (e.g. gambling, alcoholism) than other professions because of the constant spiking of dopamine and other hormones and neurotransmitters that occurs as a result of their ongoing exposure to trades. When you peel back the layers of effects of a bodybuilding and athletic lifestyle on different sub-groups it's really profound and detailed to a level I don't generally see discussed. But yes, I totally agree that around comp time, as for any elite athlete, it's not a healthy time in many ways and there can be some short-term damaging effects. 

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DDG
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2017, 06:32:19 AM »

Thanks for posting the article Jon, it was a pleasure to write! Dean thanks so much - as Jon says, it means a lot to receive positive feedback from yourself. Funnily enough, I'm writing a UKCC coaching review at the moment and I'm coming across your articles a lot!

Simon, good points - I'd agree with all those downsides for sure. As Jon and Matt mention, it's the bodybuilding lifestyle in general that I refer to, not the hardcore period around competitions that can be brutal for anyone. If everyone adopted the general, habitual approaches that bodybuilders do on a week-by-week basis (e.g. higher protein, decent supplementation, regular strength training as well as CV, listening regularly to familiar, uplifting music), we'd see a major uptick in well being. The neurological reasons for that are so fascinating. Although many generic observations (such as a link between running and stress) are commonly known, the depth of detail around it hasn't been mined that well. For example, financial markets traders may be more susceptible to addictions (e.g. gambling, alcoholism) than other professions because of the constant spiking of dopamine and other hormones and neurotransmitters that occurs as a result of their ongoing exposure to trades. When you peel back the layers of effects of a bodybuilding and athletic lifestyle on different sub-groups it's really profound and detailed to a level I don't generally see discussed. But yes, I totally agree that around comp time, as for any elite athlete, it's not a healthy time in many ways and there can be some short-term damaging effects. 



Hi Elesa, thanks for the compliment. There are a few of those knocking around! LOL
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Moose2016
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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2017, 04:06:31 PM »

I'm enjoying reading them  Grin
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