One On One With IFBB Arnold Amateur Competitor, Marcelle Collison

Quick Stats

Name: Marcelle Collison
Age: 26
Height: 1,72 m
Comp weight: 62 Kg
Current weight: 65 Kg
Current City: Johannesburg, South Africa
Occupation: ISSA qualified Personal trainer, ITEC qualified therapeutic Massage & Beauty Therapist. At the moment I do a lot more personal training and management.

How did you get started with your training?

I had always been very active at school. I started training at a very young age too. I grew up in a very health conscious family. My father use to train me after school.  I use to go to the shows as my father prepped a few athletes too. Watching all the ladies really motivated me from a young age.

About 2 1/2 years ago I started taking it a lot more seriously and met up with Louise Van Der Nat. She helped me get started on a 10 week program.

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How do you manage to stay motivated & consistent throughout your training and eating?

I work with a phenomenal coach and check in every week. This really helps keep me on track.

“Every year I make a vision or goal board of what I would like to achieve within that year, this reminds me everyday what I am ultimately working towards.”

I surround myself with like minded positive gym bunnies and health conscious people, creating a good support structure.

What made you decide to enter your first competition? Was it difficult to get into?

I worked with Louise, and we aimed at a 10 week challenge to see what I could achieve. From there I had such good results that Louise encouraged me to enter. It was difficult to get into in terms of eating but my training was the fun part! Louise would do my check in’s, meal plan and training program and I would train myself.

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You have done extremely well in a relatively short period of time, already being chosen to compete overseas in Poland and at the Arnold Amateur in Ohio Columbus. How did you manage to stick to your meals with all the traveling?

It can be very difficult if you are not prepared. When I travel I prepare all my meals for the flight to see me through until we land, from there I would go to the local market and buy food and make it myself. I prefer staying in self catering accommodation as I can cook all my own foods, therefore knowing how it’s made.

As for Poland, when we got to the hotel, they really catered well for the athletes so we were very fortunate. They would lay the food out in a buffet fashion and label what the food was and if it had salt or not, so they were very particular!

When we went to the states I was allowed to take all my food on board even when changing flights as long as there wasn’t chicken or beef.

What are your future plans?

“After competing at the Arnold’s in Ohio Columbus recently, my goals are definitely to get back there!”

The whole experience really opened my eyes to how big the fitness industry is in the States!! I would love to relocate to the States for a while to learn and grow in the industry and to be an Ambassador to a top supplement brand. I am ultimately working hard towards a Pro card one day!!

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Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your diet, pre contest and during off season:

  • As we all know healthy eating/dieting plays the biggest role in reaching your goals!!
  • I eat small regular, balanced meals (eat every 2 1/2-3 hours)
  • I believe that our diets should contain protein, good fats and complex carbs. Just change your ratio according to what you are trying to achieve.
  • “Off season” isn’t a time to let loose and go mad and eat what ever you want, as we would say, eat clean or eat lean! No OFF season!! (eating clean = off season) (eat Lean = pre comp!)

What are your top nutrition tips?

  • Keep a balanced ratio between proteins, good fats and carbs in you meal plan, don’t eliminate one, just change your ratio between the three.
  • Get your greens in!
  • Don’t rely on protein shakes to get your nutrients / protein in; eat good solid meals where you can!!
  • Feed you body healthy balanced meals every 2 1/2 – 3 hours.
  • Drink plenty of water!
  • Keep a journal and log your meals and progress!
  • Preparation is key!!

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When someone asks you about supplements, what is your response?

“Supplementation,” exactly what the word says, it’s an add on to what you are already doing.

“You have got to be training regularly and eating healthy, then only add on to that to help you with what you are trying to achieve.”

The basics I would use:

  • Optimum Nutrition Hydro Whey after training,
  • Glutamine, Optimum Nutrition CLA daily, Optimum Nutrition Multivitamin daily.
  • As for fat burners etc, once you have been eating healthy and training consistently and you have hit a bit of a plateau then yes add a fat burner to move to the next level.

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What do you think are some of the biggest mistakes or myths that many girls fall prey to when starting out with training and dieting?

  • MYTH #1: In order to lose weight they need to eat less?

False, you need to feed you body small healthy meals regularly to speed up your metabolism. Food is fuel!! If you want to operate/function at an optimal level, you have to feed your body good, balanced nutritional food!

  • MYTH #2: Training with heavy weights is going to turn you into a body builder overnight?

False! Ladies, we do not have that much testosterone in our bodies to do this as men do! The more muscle we have the more our bodies will use fat as a source of energy! What training hard and using weights will do, will give us a beautifully toned body!!

  • MYTH #3: I have heard ladies complain about fat burners not working but when I ask about their eating, they tell me they eat what they want and just take a fat burner to cancel it out?!?!

Um… Nope, you are wasting your time and money!! When you start training  and dieting/healthy eating I wouldn’t recommend a fat burner until you have stuck to your program for a few weeks!! Don’t rely on fat burners! Do the hard work in the gym and in the kitchen!!

  • MYTH #4: The more cardio the better/faster you will lose weight??

Nope! I like to think of it as the quality of my workouts not the quantity (Time!)! If you are eating clean/lean you shouldn’t have to spend hours on the treadmill!! Be consistent with your training and healthy eating and you will get results!

Some people find it really difficult to stay away from the gym and from training, do you believe in scheduling some time off during the year AWAY from the gym??

Rest plays a vital role in what we do!! I train 6 times a week and rest on Sundays. After a competition I would definitely rest, if it was a small one I would take two days off, but at the end of the year and after the big competitions I would generally take about a week off from training! This time allows for the body to recover!

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Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your training and on average how long do you workout for?

  • Train for what you want to achieve…. If you want to be a bodybuilder train like a body builder, if you want to be a fitness bikini athlete, train to suit/meet your goals!!
  • Be smart about the way you train, if your problem area is your legs and booty then add another session in during the week instead of spending an hour on biceps and triceps! (Ladies)
  • Keep a journal for your training to keep a record of your progress!
  • I train up to 6 times a week, cardio in the morning (usually 45 minutes)and weight training in the afternoon (usually 1 hour max depending on the body part I’m training).
  • Stretching is very important so make time to stretch before and after your sessions!!

How do you measure your progress ? And how often?

I check in with my coach on a weekly basis. I take pictures of my body, front, side and back. I weigh myself once a week and do tape measurements as well as a 9 point caliper measurement once a week.

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What advice will you give the ladies who want a flat tummy?

When they say “Abs are made in the kitchen,” they aren’t lying!!

My tips for a flat tummy:

  • Be consistent with your healthy eating as well as your training!
  • Do you stomach crunches/core stabilisers in the gym!
  • Avoid Alcohol!!!
  • Avoid bread and excess dairy!!

What are your 3 favorite exercises?

I love training in general but thoroughly enjoy:

  1. Heavy dumbbell or barbell shoulder press! (shoulders)

  2. Weighted Curtsey lunges (legs and booty)

  3. Lying/seated leg curls (hamstrings)

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What are some of your strategies for the final week before a photoshoot or a competition? Do you believe in the hype of using sodium and water loading/ de loading to look more shredded?

It all depends on the look you are going for and what your category requires! If you prep well you shouldn’t need to do drastic water drops, but again this depends on what you are trying to achieve. I generally include sea salt/Himalayan salt in my diet but coming closer to competitions or a photo shoot I would cut it out, as well as sweeteners and sauces. Closer to a competition/photoshoot I would really tighten my eating plan and eat as lean as I can! Protein and veg and good fats! The night before we usually start carbing up.

Fitness models or body builders?

I have a tremendous amount of respect for body builders and my Favourite bodybuilder is Kai Greene!! But personally I prefer the “Men’s health,” athletic male fitness model look!

Favourite Female fitness icons:

“The Reis” – Larissa Reis (Hardcore Reis), the beautiful Erin Stern and Nicole Wilkins.

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Favourite Quote:

“Obsessed is a word the Lazy use to describe the Dedicated!”

Advice for someone wanting to change their lifestyle and achieve their ideal physique?

  • Set realistic goals!
  • Get a good coach and work with a plan specific to what you are trying to achieve!
  • Be patient and consistent!
  • Train hard and Eat Clean!!!
  • This is a lifestyle change so it’s not going to happen over night!
  • Track your progress and take photos!
  • Prepare all your meals before you go to bed, all ready for the next day!

What competitions have you competed in and your placings and divisions?

I am a Body Fitness / Figure athlete over 168cm.


  • Arnold Amateur in Ohio Columbus | 7th

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  • IFBB SA Extreme | 2nd
  • IFBB SA Champs | 2nd 


  • IFBB Novice Provincials | 1st
  • Miss SA Xtreme | 2nd
  • IFBB Senior Provincials NW | 2nd
  • IFBB SA Championships | 1st
  • Worlds in Poland

Where can people get hold of you?

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