Rach White IFBB PRO
“WHEN WHITE LIGHTNING STRIKES”
Rach White Profile
She remains one of the most recognisable faces and physiques in the sport of Women's bodybuilding. With her long dark Raven hair, sultry looks and an incredibly muscular physique Rach White has retained a high degree of femininity making her extremely attractive and appealing even to some mainstream tastes.
Hers is a very unexpected story of success, in the initial phases of her foray into the gym the admittedly skinny Rach commenced her training at 49 kilos; which is indeed a far cry from what this pro athlete we see now. Experiencing quick developments in her initial training phases enabled her to move from the women's section of the gym to a predominantly male section surrounded by the heavier weights. As Rach explains “So it was back in Bendigo... so from there we moved on to the bigger dumbbells and more complicated exercises. One interesting thing was that back then the body building industry was very small compared to what it is now in Australia there was literally no social media as far as I remember there was only Myspace”
Indeed during that era society was devoid of any such channels of social media and therefore the intrepid Rach obtained all of her information from bodybuilding.com as well as various publications such as Musclemag and Australian Ironman. This degree of self-imposed research enabled Rach not only to broaden her own horizons but be free to engage her focus on various methods and styles, much like a mixed martial artist. The extremities of this focus meant she suffered no distractions and was able to commit to her goal using her own methods.
Encouraged by her then coach Danny McQuinn the stage began to beckon the rising star; although amused by the notion of stepping on stage in a bikini, the confident brunette eventually relented and decided to pursue her first show. However being a sensible individual, she did not compete on a whim with foolish immediacy (as is prevalent now in the sport) but instead decided to pursue her first comp after years of preparation. “It (Danny’s suggestion) stuck in my mind' she recalls 'It actually took me 7 years to decide that I did want to partake and give it a go”
Originally Rach enjoyed much success with in IFBB Figure which at the time contained the mandatory poses; these have since been removed from the line ups in the favour of quarter turns - quite possibly to streamline the events and make judging more analytically nuanced. Such alterations, led Rach to consider other avenues prompting for her to foray into the WBFF, a decision that was as practical as it was ambitious. Rach explains “At the time I felt that I had outgrown IFBB figure... women's physique it just came on the scene and they remove the poses; honestly at the time I wasn't too impressed because for me that was a big part of bodybuilding to showcase all your hard work. So I was kind of in between categories; the muscularity of some girls in WBFF got my attention and I decided to give it a go - especially as I wanted to be competitive on a more international basis”
This critical level of thinking is something that sets Rach apart from many other of her contemporaries; her decision to retain a high level of ongoing competitiveness and adapt to changes within the existing framework enabled her to pursue other avenues that would best benefit her pursuits. Evidently, that higher level of evolutionary thinking is definitely something that has afforded her ongoing achievement, something which not many athletes can boast about. The years of experience and knowledge coupled with an astuteness for the sport, enables her the ability to impart invaluable lessons on others seeking to achieve in the sport in the same way she has “Now being a PT, everything I have learned over the years is all just sitting in my brain. I have used this knowledge all on myself, but in many ways there is a lot of knowledge I can no longer use for myself. It is knowledge I can distribute amongst my athletes. I learnt from the very beginning, with very basic but proven knowledge. I guess what sets me apart from the current younger generation is that my methods are very uncomplicated, very old school”
Her recent return to the IFBB (Pro League) was something that many of us, did forsee knowing that her origins began with this federation and it is something that even Rach positively acknowledges “Being the IFBB, I felt it was more of my home” Undoubtedly, the introduction of Women’s Physique into the IFBB Pro League has provided Rach the perfect competitive avenue to pursue, and one that she speaks of most favourably: “The way the IFBB Pro League have tailored it, is absolutely perfect! They have kept Women’s Physique very similar year after year, from Dana Linn (Bailey) to Juliana (Macalarne) and now Shanique (Grant). The girls in physique are beautiful, fresh faced and marketable; but they have that beautiful muscle and conditioning. They still haven’t ventured into something too extreme, not that I supported the removal of female bodybuilding as it is a woman’s choice as to what she wants to compete in – it’s just good to see shows like the Wings of Strength still accommodating Women’s Bodybuilding.”
Over the years she is a recognisable Australian bodybuilding commodity possessing that unmistakable quality in both her physique and in her look, also offering a wealth of information that is well honed and painstakingly curated through years of her own self analysis. Somewhat surprisingly in the offseason Rach just 'wings it', the unstructured spontaneity allowing her to free up her mind as well as take a relaxed yet still decidedly dedicated approach to her training and nutrition. “Over the years I have learnt to adapt” she says “I don't calorie counts in the off-season, a look back at my first years of training and I realised the back then it was to build as much muscle as possible on my skinny frame; so getting the extra calories help me hold the muscle and put on more weight. However the last few years have been essentially me fine tuning different areas (hamstrings and glutes) there is no set training structure it is just heavier compound movement with a focus on bringing up specific areas especially around competition time. I will factor more into my training in the last few weeks of a contest prep”
In a somewhat comparable progressive strategy when it comes to her nutrition Rach will commence her prep on higher calories. “At the beginning of my prep I will start off with approximately 2500 calories, and this will slowly decrease down as the week's progress.” She says “I have learnt from my mistakes in the past when it comes to nutrition and I have paid the price for that but I guess that is the only way... that is to learn from your mistakes”
Being one of the more experienced and decorated champions in the sport today, it is no surprise that Rach is extremely proficient at posing. Possessing marketability as well as grace, coupled with her phenomenal physique makes her a legitimate threat to her contemporaries when she has the stage to herself. Rach explains “For me posing is an art form therefore I like to go for something more graceful and elegant, I have always liked Kai Greene’s approach to posing.” Undoubtedly onlookers judge's audiences can see that Rach has mastered the art of making meaningful transitions between poses and never falling into the trap of becoming to robotic. Indeed, her background in ballet (during her formative years) has contributed to what is essentially a very graceful showing whenever she is on stage. As Rach asserts “Having a background in ballet has helped with my timing when I'm on stage, as well as my choreography'
Surprisingly irrespective of her Pro win at the recent Arnold classic Australia, it was a astounding to discover that Rach had a back injury that did prevent complete freedom in his posing. In true form, this injury was blatantly evident nor obvious to anyone, as the judges and the audience all which marveled at her stylistic approach and superb physique. To achieve greater competitive scope, Rach had to manipulate her physique to not only mask the pain best extenuate her signature parts. “There was a loss of activation through glutes and hamstrings because of the back injury” she says
she says “I was unable to twist my waist from the side, so I had to basically work around those” Yet despite this hardship, it was still a sight to behold seeing her strike her signature pose – a formidable front double bicep with the added tweak of extending her leg to show off the front quad. Yet another example of how an experienced and knowledgeable athlete like Rach can utilise her idiosyncracies to afford her more memorability and pressence “I love the ability to be able to show the lines in the legs as well as in the biceps... it gives you that beautiful traditional shape, it's a real old school bodybuilding look” she says “In fact my experience within the WBFF did help me improve my posing for the ice baby stage when I made my return. There were a few very minor moves such as a flick of the rest that you would see in the WBFF, that I deliberately used in my transitions”
And her uniqueness is not solely limited to her sporting prowess but more of the layered elements, and her traditional approach to the sport that has garnered her acclaim. Citing her 16 year history in the sport Rach refers to the limitations of the era in which she began lifting. It was an era that compelled her own developmental phase as a thinker as well as an athlete. “When I started back then, the information was just from bodybuilders” Rach says emphatically “It wasn't from bikini or sports model athletes, nothing against those... but I learned from old school basics and I still carry on the tradition to this day. It basically makes me who I am in the sport today and you don't get that for many females in the sport as it is today” Her commitment to time honoured traditions have afforded her the ability to craft a physique that boasts more volume in the muscle, with a fullness which is enough to make anyone pause and be in absolute awe. It is indeed a look that we see on the international Circuit but certainly one that is rare within the confines of this Great Southern Land, a look that can be described as ‘Rach White' if we could use that as an adjective.
But even the best of the adjectives also have some sources of inspiration especially at the genesis, where impetus is discovered and inspiration becomes action. For Rach in the early phases, she sought influence from IFBB Figure Pro and business woman Larissa Reis, saying: “It was when I started training I was flipping through the pages of Planet Muscle magazine and I saw Larissa and I said to myself this is exactly what I want to look like! It's important to know that not only is she a fantastic athlete but she's also a very successful businesswoman as well so she is someone that I look up to. She build an empire but also created the ultimate version of herself”
Closer to home however, it comes as no surprise that one name she raises is that of Tony Doherty - the man whose revolutionary and evolutionary approach is to the sport have given greater respectability and scope to the sport of Australian Bodybuilding and beyond. For Rach, there are multiple reasons why the sport needs Tony: “He (Tony) has been so passionate about this sport, he has built-up and enormous Empire... which is now international. He really gives back to the athletes as much as he gives back to the sport. The reason he's so successful is because he walkthrough the gym, he always acknowledges his members, he will strike up conversations with the athletes and they appreciate his time just as he appreciates them. One thing I always respected about Tony is that when he said he's going to do something he actually will do it!”
In a truly momentous achievement Rach was awarded her Pro League Pro card at the Arnold Classic Australia 2019 in front of hundreds of people. Yet despite this incredible achievement carrying praise and adulation, the ever humble and gracious Rach White valued the pressence of her family and friends, as much as she savoured the victory. She explains “When you compete overseas it can be isolating because you don't have your loved ones around you but at this event it was so nice to be on home turf and seeing friends and family supporting you. coming off stage and seen my Mum and Dad there, was by far the best part for me...but being awarded the Pro card was a real surprise too! I went in on the day not knowing and not expecting to win the division; especially since the women I was up against of the day presented me real challenge and a true competition to be proud of. I have been of the mindset that if you go in with expectations you may be disappointed. But on the day it worked out well'
Rach is currently coached by the founder of Alpha Ethos, the genius mind that is Chris Thomas. For Rach, having the highly accomplished and highly intelligent Chris Thomas in her corner is a perpetual blessing and someone that she also considers a close friend as well as valued mentor. “I have known Chris for a number of years even being on a number of his training camps to Thailand and I'm proud to call Chris a great friend as much as he is a great coach. We've always had a very agreeable relationship; his thought processes are exactly in sync with the way I'm feeling and therefore he knows how to gauge what is best for my body. Because of this we never have had any disagreements and we work extremely well together. Whenever I need help from him he's always there he's so punctual; he's logical and very knowledgeable, he always offers something constructive and that has made me the athlete I am today. Whenever I am going through a period of self-doubt he always uplifts me with encouragement, he's an incredible man”
With her reputation and the level of success that it is no surprise that various companies would be vie for her ambassadorship; by choice and by design Rach has most notably remained with ATP SCIENCE for the last few years, speaking enthusiastically of the founders Matt Legge and Jeff Doig “Every year whenever I'm at the Arnold Classic the one thing I look forward to the most is working at the ATP Science Booth with Jeff, Matt and the rest of the team because they always make me laugh and I always have a great time.”
Having been with the boutique company now for just over 4 years, she has seen the company grow exponentially over the years from humble beginnings into a true industry juggernaut. Seen by many as the poster girl for this company, Rach speaks highly of this lucrative partnership and their impact on her competitive career. “They (ATP) have always supported me with whatever I needed, they are a fantastic company” Rach says “It's impressive to see the amount of information they offer to their consumers as well. Just like with Mick I only use products that I believe in and that work well for me, that is why I have remained with ATP. I am extremely happy to promote their products because they do work very well for me.” Of particular importance to Rach is ATP’s revolutionary GUTRIGHT product as she explains: “The main reason I like GUTRIGHT is that I do suffer from body inflammation and that does stem from stress; even with a little stress, my body reacts dramatically to the point where a somewhat of a chronic fatigue sets in and it can result in being bedridden. It is something that I have dealt with over the years but I have found that monitoring my consumption of red meat, which in larger amounts increases inflammation, has helped; this is something that Matt Legge determined through a fecal matter test. Coupling this with GUTRIGHT, and managing my stress levels through various strategies, I have found that this has really reduced my body inflammation overall, as well as improved my digestion”
She is, paradoxically, a modern athlete with vintage sensibilities one who has retained her own sense of self and never compromising her ideals to fit with perceived external norms.
The drastic changes in the sport over the years have seen the introduction of new divisions and logistical changes, such presenting the obvious obstacles to the more established champions like Rach. However it is not a challenge to which she will yield “I was thinking about this the other day, initially I struggled with the changes in the sport and felt a little bit isolated and was doubting who I was. I guess I was trying to fit in with the new age of the fitness industry... I even thought that it was no longer bodybuilding and I need to refer to it as purely the ‘fitness industry’. I thought my look, my approach and my mindset was unrelatable to everything else. But then I realized in thinking this way I might have been trying to change myself as a person, trying to get everyone’s approval (especially through social media) it wasn't until recently I decided to take a step back and look at myself as a person; I realised that I had never allowed this industry to change me as a person, and I never will. There is a minority of female athletes that still hold the values of old school bodybuilding and I want to remain part of THAT minority”
In many ways Rach's own philosophical self-evaluation had yielded an important epiphany that has in many ways pushed her towards the upper echelon is of the sport. At no juncture has she enabled environment to alter her individuality, as that self belief and respect for tradition enables her to remain just as she is – an acclaimed champion and IFBB Pro, whose electrifying talent truly has the world at her feet.