Before they were plastering and painting their penthouse in St Kilda's Gatwick Hotel, The Block babes Bianca Chatfield and Carla Dziwoki were burning up the netball court.
With more than 25 years of professional sporting experience between them – with Bianca even taking home gold in the 2014 Commonwealth Games as vice-captain for the Aussie netball team – the girls tackled a six-day-a-week training schedule.
Sitting down with NW, Bianca and Carla dish the deets on how they kept fit before the show, and how they're maintaining their rigs during TV's most mammoth reno.
Girls, you look unreal! How were you keeping fit before The Block?
Carla: I upped my training. I knew I'd be doing a lot of heavy lifting and manual labour, so I committed to hitting the gym four to five days a week and added some stair sessions and long walks.
Bianca: I'd usually train most days – a mix of F45, Pilates or going for a walk. I just love being active, it's so good for my body and my mind.
What parts of your body do you focus on when working out?
C: After two knee reconstructions, I have learnt to love building strength and control in my glutes, quads and hamstrings.
B: I love working my legs too. They're the strongest part of my body, and F45 always gives them a good work out with squats and jumping (plyometrics). I'm not much of a fan of training my arms – I can look [broad shouldered] pretty quickly if I start lifting heavy weights! [Laughs]
How has your fitness regimen changed since being on the show?
C: I planned to continue my gym routine while on The Block but all the stairs and carrying plasterboard is keeping me fit.
B: I had all intentions of trying to go to F45 once a week, but I've had no time or energy. Lots of stairs, carrying heavy things and painting is my exercise regimen at the minute. We have also played some beach handball and basketball against foremen Keith [Schleiger] and Dan [Reilly].
Are there any other of your fellow contestants exercising?
C: Everyone is doing their share of labour on the show, however some are working up more sweat than others.
B: Our "Penty" friends Jess and Norm [fellow contestants] have to climb stairs just as much as we do, and we are trying to help each other with as much as we can. Sliding the timber up between
the stair well rails has been one of Norm's tips.
What's the hardest part about being on the show?
C: The all-nighters are tough – it's getting harder to bounce out of bed in the morning! In sport there's a focus on recovery, and when you're over-trained and tired, coaches adjust the load. Not on The Block!
B: Probably having a consistent routine. I'm not missing physically training because we are doing so much, but I'm missing being able to eat well. Also, some of my netball injuries have come back to haunt me.
My back struggles with all the painting.
But we just have to get it done!