I haven’t always had this passion for health and fitness; in fact I used to be quite the opposite.
At school I was very unfit, uncoordinated and self-conscious. I dreaded PE and used every excuse I could to avoid it – I would rather run a bath than a cross country. In my teens I tried everything to try to improve my body from baby food diets to cling film wraps with no luck. My struggles with my body image lead to me developing an eating disorder and becoming very unwell. I was permanently cold, tired and sick and relied on energy drinks and naps to get me through studying for my exams. I also became anaemic and suffered with low blood pressure.
My health and fitness journey actually started as a new year’s resolution, I finally decided enough was enough. I vowed to become healthier, stronger and to love my body…and that’s exactly what I did.
Being so self conscious I didn’t yet feel ready to join a gym so I decided to begin exercising at home where I felt comfortable. I gradually upped the intensity week on week and challenged myself to do more. I soon found after a few months that my fitness levels were improving and I was starting to see positive changes in my body. I then decided to step out of my comfort zone and step into a gym for the first time in years. I found my first few sessions really tough as I had very little strength, but gradually I discovered that I really enjoyed my gym sessions and looked forward to it every day after college.
I also started researching in my spare time new exercises to do and healthy meal ideas to try. In June I went on holiday feeling like a different person. I happily walked around in shorts and crop tops, wore little dresses and sunbathed in a bikini.
But it wasn’t just looking good, I went for a doctors check up to be told that finally I was at a healthy weight with normal blood pressure and no longer anaemic. I left with tears of pride at what I had achieved.
The next stage in my journey came when I began learning about the bodybuilding world. I watched a documentary by Jodie Marsh about female fitness competitions and I was in awe…I wanted to do that.
I pushed myself to new limits physically, mentally and emotionally over 12 weeks in my quest to hit the stage. The training and posing was hard and the dieting even harder but I couldn’t believe how my body was changing and that’s what drove me every day was that I was achieving something I never dreamed I could. I learnt so much about the fat loss process and it helped me to empathise with my clients.
Show day came and despite being a bundle of nerves I had the biggest smile on my face all day, I loved it. I had entered 2 categories and when the results came in my heart sunk as I hadn’t placed in either. My journey could have ended there, but I remembered just what I had overcome to get on that stage and I decided there was no way I was giving up. I took a little time off to enjoy a holiday and Christmas but vowed to come back with a better package and get a trophy.
I had a few setbacks in starting my next prep but I had this burning desire to get back on that stage and prove I belonged on there. When they called my name for 1st place I was absolutely overwhelmed, I stood there, a girl who was once afraid to even step into a gym, in a tiny bikini in the best shape of my life with an invite to the British finals.
After taking a few weeks out to enjoy a much needed holiday I then decided to enter another competition and hours after stepping off the plane I was back in the gym working hard towards it. In just 2 and a half weeks I got my conditioning back and walked away with another 1st place and a 3rd place trophy and 2 more invites to the british finals.
Sadly injury meant my competing journey to an end and I’m currently taking time away from the stage to focus on new fitness goals but I am so proud of my achievements and I’ve learnt so much from the experience. I have learnt to love my body not just for what it looks like but what it is capable of and if I ever doubt myself or become discouraged, I look back at that unhealthy scared girl and remember just how far I have come and how much further I can go.