Meet the queen of quads Anthea Pon

Anthea Pon is known to the world as Quadzilla, and the reason isn’t very hard to see. Her quads are her signature, but how did it reach this point?

“There is something about the complexity of the different muscles in the quads for me that interests me and motivates me to see what my quads can do.”

Anthea was born into a Greek family and her parents kept her very busy with many extramural activities while growing up.

“Over time I noticed substantial muscle growth in my quads and hamstrings. I guess you can say I was blessed with the Greek genetics of muscular legs. At that age, I was too young to appreciate muscle growth. Now, as an adult, I have embraced my lower body and enhanced my workouts to achieve more muscle development.”

Quadzilla is born

When asked about her nickname, Anthea explains that a friend commented on one of her Instagram posts with “Quadzilla” and it stuck.

“My average day would start with me waking up at 3:50am to get to the gym by 5am for my morning cardio session.”

Anthea relies on her morning workout to get her blood flowing for the day.

“Without this morning cardio, I feel sluggish for the day. After gym, I take my children to school and then head off to work, which mostly entails computer work and meetings for 8 – 9 hours a day.”

After work, Anthea heads off to the gym again to complete her weight training program and cardio.

“After gym, I head home and prepare dinner and my lunches for work the next day. I then do some more work and spend some time on my personal training studies.”

Striving for balance

With regard to her busy lifestyle, Anthea reminds herself every day that life entails many different aspects, and one aspect cannot exist without the other.

“I make sure I have healthy family time, quality downtime for recharging, as well as some recreation time. I also make sure that my passion for training doesn’t affect my home life or my commitment to work. I also know what my priorities are and use this as my reference to avoid juggling too many things at once.”

Organising and planning are additional tools she uses to manage her life and create balance.

“Lastly, I remind myself to be kind to myself. I am human and not everything will go as planned and that is ok.”

Feeding those quads

Anthea’s approach to nutrition revolves around eating for energy and muscle growth.

“Healthy food does not have to be bland. There are many healthy, yummy food options and recipes available. I like to change things around often so that I don’t get sick of a certain food type. I include food groups that are high in protein for muscle building and complex carbs for energy.”

These options include white meat, red meat and fish, with lots of vegetables.

I avoid foods that play with my blood sugar levels, such as processed foods and sweets. These tend to make me feel sluggish and unable to complete my training.”

And her cheat meals are not always dirty cheats. Instead, they include hearty home-cooked meals.

“I also listen to my hunger cues to make sure my body is well fuelled throughout the day.”

Self-motivated to succeed

Anthea’s advice to others who want to achieve their goals is to believe in yourself and trust the process.

Do not measure yourself with someone else’s ruler. It’s important to take praise for the smallest progress. There is no specific workout secret that I have. To be honest, I like trying out new workouts, many of which I find on Instagram.”

Anthea believes in the muscle-mind connection and uses this in her daily workouts.

“I find that keeping your reps controlled and slow, and including negative and positive reps as well as some isolation, really works the muscles.”

Ultimately, though, the secret to killer quads is never skip leg day.

Anthea’s top tips for quad development:

  1. Eat more carbs on leg days to increase energy levels for maximum output during your workout.
  2. Include exercises that work all the muscles in the quad to ensure uniform muscle development.
  3. Include hamstring workouts with your quad workout.
  4. Include negative and positive reps as well as some isolation holds.

Falling in love with competing

Anthea loved the build-up of the 12 weeks until you reach “peak week” and then finally competition day.

“The spray tan, hair, makeup, sparkling jewelry and, of course, the stunning sparkling bikinis, and the experience of meeting like-minded people that motivate you and support you were also highlights.

“The high you feel on the day is a mixture of gratitude, bewilderment, excitement, confidence, nervousness, and a sense of pride of what you have gone through and achieved to stand there showingcasing your body and what you achieved from the hard work, Dedication, and commitment.”

A common misconception about competing that Anthea shares is that you need to spend a lot of money to compete at a professional level.

There are ways and means to reduce your costs. For example, you can borrow a bikini from a friend, buy second-hand or even rent a bikini and competition heels. When registering your entry, enter early to qualify for the early-bird discounts and consider going for the bundle deals to save some money. Save costs by styling your hair yourself and shop around for the best deals from service providers.”

Another common misconception about competing is that your competitors will be standoffish ‘clicky’ and judgmental.

“In fact, my experience so far has been that of support, understanding and friendship. I have made some close friends with the like-minded competitors I compete against. We support and drive each other to be our best.”

COVID-19 changed our world

As someone who practically lived in the gym, COVID-19 had a significant impact in Anthea’s lifeespecially because she relied on all the gym equipment to get her training done.

“During COVID-19 we’ve had to get more creative and explore different types of exercises with different types of instruments as well as bodyweight exercises.

“We have become independent in our training and now our programs at home has become more popular and normal. I believe this has peaked more of an interest in competing for many and the quality of the athletes has been phenomenal.”

Anthea’s focus now shifts to achieving her goal and dream in 2022.

“I am currently working on a bigger, better package. My goal and dream for 2022 is to hopefully get my Pro Card and have the opportunity to represent South Africa overseas. I also aim to complete my personal training diploma this year and hopefully secure some sponsorships.”

Would you rather

  • Joggers or leggings – Leggings – definitely… I live in leggings
  • Tanks or crop tops – Crop tops
  • Oven-baked or air fryer – Air-fried
  • Oats or granola – Oats
  • Instagram or TikTok – Instagram

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

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