I recently chatted with Tayla, EHP Labs athlete and WBFF pro on what it takes to succeed athletically at such a young age!
Who is Tayla?
An online coach and sports nutritionist, Tayla Hicks has a number of athletic achievements in her name! Having experience as an international cheerleader, competitive surfer and even competing at age 17 in her first bodybuilding show, which she also succeeded in as a Junior champion!
March 2021 saw her winning first place and WBFF pro status, an amazing feat for a young athlete. Her main focus is now the WBFF World Competition in Las Vegas, this September.
Growing up with sports-focused parents:
Tayla is blessed to have both parents being athletically minded - with a surfer for a dad and an IFBB bodybuilder for a mum, Tayla has managed to succeed and learn key skills at a young age. In fact, it was her mum who first introduced her to the gym and training.
Alongside her coach, Rob, she has managed to succeed quickly in the world of bodybuilding. She credits Rob for teaching her much of what she knows and giving her the ability to be a knowledgable online coach, helping other women to be the best they can be.
What does a bikini bodybuilding prep look like?
Depending on the federation you are aiming for, there will be different requirements. We spoke about Tayla's experience in WBFF (World Beauty Fitness and Fashion) versus IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness).
Those in the world of competing will be well aware of both of these, but if you're not and you're curious about them, read on!
Competing in IFBB, Tayla found that it was all about 'glutes and shoulders' - she was even marked down for her legs being 'too big'! With WBFF, she's found a different approach (that allows her to train as much legs as she likes!). In WBFF, 'you train the way you love and grow the body parts that you love', she says.
With her training, she has a fairly even split in lower and upper body. While she's in maintenance mode, she has a little more flexibility in how she eats and trains but as soon as comp prep comes around, that's when everything becomes more regimented, with metrics such as step targes (up to 12-13k steps in her case).
Shorter versus longer time frames:
A longer prep allows you to have more food and diet breaks, and of course, keep your health as high as possible! At least 22 weeks for prep means that you can 'ease into it, so it doesn’t have to be stressful’, Tayla says.
With a longer prep time, you get to have more food and diet breaks!
A 17-18 week prep is still doable, but means that you may be facing stricter behaviours and struggle more. Staying healthy is something that Tayla values for herself and her clients - especially having had the personal experience with tons of training and super low calorie diets. She tells me that after her IFBB show, she lost her period for 9 months, which is unfortunately not uncommon in the world of bodybuilding. "I would hate for anyone to have to deal with that", she tells me.
How can you get the best results possible?
Work with a coach! Tayla uses a coach to help her get in the best shape possible for her competitions - not only is it someone giving you direction, but it's accountability and motivation as well. With her own clients, she uses a consult form to ensure she's working with the right people who will be dedicated to their goals, and get as much insight as possible to help them in the most effective way.
With regular check ins, clients can keep her updated on progress and she can make adjustments where necessary so that there is a clear path to success. As a coach, not only will you provide the next steps to take, you will be there to help explain everything and be supportive. 'Online coaches are more than online coaches', Tayla comments. Only a phone call away, she is there to help you when you need it most.
When Tayla was younger, she saw an image of someone she wanted to look like, but didn't know how to get there. By getting a coach and educating herself, she was able to achieve her goals the most effective way possible. By having a coach you will learn about training, nutrition and supplementaton so that you're not relying on short term fixes like fad diets.
Top mindset tips from Tayla:
1. Just get up and do it! Source a coach, source the educaiton you need to succeed. There's always someone working harder that wants what you want.
2. Journalling feelings and achievements - be open and honest with yourself!
3. Prioritising self care - get a massage, take time off your phone. Having the right nutrition and supplements also goes a long way.
Final words on embodying confidence:
Body image confidence comes and goes - Stay loyal to each stage of your journey. E.g. if you're in a building phase, you may be feeling a bit uncomfortable with gaining extra body fat - just remember that everything you're doing is for a purpose!
Struggling with social anxiety? Tayla says though she may seem confident, she does struggle with social anxiety. If you're in this boat too, having a support system is key - having someone to lean on when you need it will help you feel more at ease and open to being the most confident you can be.
Tayla's TOP 3 EHP supplement faves: