My journey into fitness started when I was a teenager. I always had an ability to train hard and achieve a degree of success in sport whilst in school. In those days my dreams were more focused on competing in an Olympic sport, like sprinting or hurdles. My dreams of going further in this direction were scarpered when I became unwell. For a long while I couldn’t exercise properly and I became rather disinterested. When I reached 18 I started attending a gym with my sister. Ironically my sister was training to be a fitness instructor but she was too young to enter the gym on her own so I had to accompany her. Without too much effort I quickly lost some weight and started enjoying exercising again.
After finding enjoyment from attending the gym with my sister I decided to study to become a personal trainer. I figured it would be a great way to earn some extra money whilst at University and I figured it would be fun because I enjoyed training. Soon after I qualified I went to work for a local gym – this was back in 2003. Whilst in the gym I was partnered up with a gentleman training for powerlifting. He introduced me to ‘proper’ weight training and at last I felt that I had found something I could possibly pursue further, although in which direction I wasn’t certain.
One day we were sat at the desk in the gym and my colleague was reading the ‘Muscle and Fitness’ magazine. Despite my enjoyment of training I hadn’t bought the magazine before. He was reading about the Miss Olympia competition which I hadn’t heard of. He began to show me pictures of a new class which had been introduced called Professional Figure. To this day I remember seeing Monica Brant and Davana Medina and thinking – this is what I want to do, “I’m going to be a professional figure competitor”. Although I could not comprehend how they looked so incredibly fit and how this was possible. I immersed myself in the sport – including the diet, training, learning about the class, learning my route to compete and become a pro. It was certainly a learning curve and I tried various training methods, wacky diets all in a hope to improve myself.
Years past, all the while training and dieting hard. During this time I planned to do a local bodyfitness competition. This would be my first step into competition. During my first attempt to diet down for a competition I caught the flu and I remember feeling rather disheartened. However I rescheduled it and began working towards another competition. Again, with most aspects of my life if I am committed to something I will absorb myself in it totally. I trained ridiculously hard and whilst nervous I just hoped I could give a good account for myself.
It came to my first competition – 5 years after I had first discovered Pro Figure… I competed and won the bodyfitness qualifier which meant I qualified for the British National Championships. I suppose my preparation for it took over my life to some extent, although appreciate I was studying another degree at this point and also working full time. I prioritised my life and everything worked around my training. During this time I kept my physique under wraps and privately tracked my progress with my coach and my partner. Everything remained a secret until the British Championships. I prepared everything meticulously, although I had not expected to win by such a large point score. I clearly remember winning the British Championships in slow motion. To some extent I had made one dream come true, but my goal was to turn professional.
After this point I was given a few opportunities to compete internationally and due to my University exams I opted to compete at the World Championships. This is arguably the most difficult amateur competition in women’s fitness/figure/bodybuilding. You’re competing with the best amateur athletes in the world and I made it my mission to try and give it everything I had to win a pro card. I know I was up against incredibly talented women and I was aware that so far no woman had managed to win a pro card at this level from the UK. In some ways I didn’t expect anything, but at the same time I could not accept failure. Reaching this point had taken me 6 years, 6 years of consistent training and commitment to a goal.
The World Championships took place in Italy in 2009… I went there proudly representing the UK with a small, but great team! The competition was held over several days and we went through a number of rounds to reach the finals. My surprise came when I was on the coach back at the hotel with the other competitors and they mentioned that when we get back to the hotel we will find out who is in the finals. At this point I realised I would know whether I had turned professional. It was the most nerve racking moment when I walked into the hotel and realised our names were pinned to a board indicating if we had reached the finals. Even now I can be tearful when I recall the moment; I could not check my name because I was fraught with nerves. My partner went up to the board and came back to me with tears streaming down his face, he said “you have done it my girl – you’re a pro”. The words stunned me and for a few moments I sat down quietly, a little tearful but feeling very proud of myself. It took time to realise what I’d achieved and that I had accomplished a goal I’d been working towards for so many years.
After this I realised that I would be starting a whole new journey into the professional figure scene. From this point I would eventually like to compete on the Olympia stage… whether that will happen I don’t know. But I have enjoyed the journey so far.
My dream eventually became my reality, although it’s not happened with luck. I have worked hard, remained determined and I committed myself to a goal. I truly believe that if you work hard enough and don’t give up you can achieve success in everything you wish if you just want it enough.