Fitness first for inspiring Ipswich mum
TO SAY Lisa Blackburn lives an active life is something of an understatement.
The 38-year-old mum of two works as a paediatric physiotherapist, incorporating health and physical activity into her day-to-day professional life.
Before and after she steps into the office however, Blackburn is usually hitting the pavement for 10km runs, in the ring honing her striking abilities, or at the gym building lean muscle.
Twelve months ago she took up Muay Thai, pushing jiu jitsu - in which she is a blue belt - to the periphery.
Blackburn was a quick study. Within six months she had won her first fight, and was two wins from three bouts when she decided to take on a new challenge at relatively short notice.
Two weeks ago, Blackburn placed second in the Fitness Novice - Short category and fourth in Fitness First-Timer at the Australian Women's Natural Body Sculpting (AWNBS) competition in Kedron.
She backed that up with another second and fourth placing at the Australian National Bodybuilding state titles on Saturday.
Her stellar results on the stage came after just 12 weeks of "prep" and almost no prior knowledge of the sport.
"Basically, I had my last fight and went straight into prep for this," Blackburn said.
"It's been something I've wanted to do for a while. With other stuff going on, I didn't have the opportunity.
"This year I had a lot going on emotionally, so I just wanted to do something for myself. I decided to give it a crack, and here we are."
As a fighter, Blackburn entered prep ahead of the curve in some aspects - the extreme levels of cardio meant she was already quite lean prior to the 12-week process.
"I was told it was a short prep from what others normally did, but I'm fairly lean to start with anyway, and with fighting I'm used to cutting weight - although normally in a very different way," Blackburn said.
But her background also provided some hurdles.
"The training is very different," Blackburn said.
"With Muay Thai I was running 5-10km a day and training three hours in the afternoon. It was very cardio-based.
"I went straight into no cardio, just weights. Then at the end (of prep) I would be so tired - doing a walk I thought 'I can't even lift my legs up this hill, I don't know how I could ever run again'."
Blackburn had to completely reshape her physique in just three months.
The "blocky" torso with strong obliques which Muay Thai required was not desirable on the fitness model stage.
"I had to lose all my obliques - you're supposed to have a narrow, not thick waist. I had to change my body shape," Blackburn said.
"I started prep at 55kg, and by comp day I was 49kg. I had lost something like 25-30cm in total body measurements - 6cm around my waist."
There was also less functional training. Her trips to Corporate Box Gym for fighting were replaced by visits to World Gym Ipswich, where regular weight sessions were required to build lean muscle.
When the day finally came to step on stage, Blackburn admitted she was more than a little nervous.
"I didn't really know what to expect - I was worried about the posing, because I wasn't a dancer, I hadn't been on stage before like some of the other girls might have," she said.
"But I got up there and I just loved it. I surprised myself, because (posing in a bikini) wasn't really me. Even my trainer was nervous, but she said I looked amazing."
Blackburn flew to Phuket this week, mixing business and pleasure while still juggling her preparations for a third consecutive weekend on stage, preparing for the nationals titles in Sydney.
As she prepares for her final trip to the stage for the season, Blackburn admitted she is yet to make a decision on whether juggling Muay Thai and bodybuilding is realistic.
"That's the question I'm thinking about right now," she said. "Because the trainings are so different.
"From a fitness perspective, to do kickboxing if you're not fit you just get smashed basically. But then if I do too much cardio, I can't build the lean muscle (for bodybuilding)."
Regardless of her eventual outcome, Blackburn is proud of the example she has set for her children.
"I wanted to show my boys that having goals, and showing dedication and motivation to follow through on things is really important," she said.