‘Traditionally, strongwomen have had a special appeal, as women involved in demonstrated feats of strength were exceptions’

This month I am so proud to introduce Emma; I am going to let her tell her story but it describes her incredible journey from a young woman with poor body image and disordered eating, to a gold medal winning athlete. She is quite simply, an inspiration to women (and men) everywhere!

This is her story….

“This exact time last year I contacted Rachel as I was seriously unhappy and needed some help. I had taken part in my first Bikini competition, I was underweight, malnourished and suffering with an eating disorder that was controlling every aspect of my life. I was taught how to starve my body leading up to the competition by an ex figure competitor, but I didn’t know enough about food myself to be able to understand the damage a long term low calorie diet and an unhealthy relationship with food can do to not only your body, but your mind.

After receiving a diet plan and a huge amount of support from Rachel to help me understand my eating disorder, and to get to the route of why self esteem had got so low, my weight finally started to settle and my relationship with food improved hugely! However the opinion of what others thought about my body, and how I compared to other girls in the industry still ate away at me and the pressure to increase muscle mass and get rid of as much body fat as possible was still very much at the forefront of my mind. I was craving approval from the judges that my body was of a bikini girl standard and nothing else mattered.

After spending nearly 10 months of scrutinising my body and trying to plan when I would look good enough to compete again I decided enough was enough. I packed my bikini away and decided to concentrate on ME. I truly took on board all the amazing advice Rachel had given me earlier in the year and ate a well balanced diet. I enjoyed guilt free ‘off plan meals’, I started socialising with my friends and I decided to change up my training.

As my calories went up, my energy levels increased, I felt stronger than ever. I was hitting pb’s left right and centre and my self esteem went through the roof. I always knew I was pretty strong for my size, and the competitive streak in me was crying out for a challenge, so when my boyfriend told me about a Strongwoman competition in the area it was a no brainer! I was anxious to get to the gym and train, I made sure I was resting enough, my eating was on point and everything else just fell into place. I had well and truly fallen back in love with my training.

On Saturday 26th July I took home the gold at the Royal County Festival of Strength for the under 63 kilo women’s category. I had the most amazing time, met some beautiful and inspiring women and I’m already planning my next competition in three weeks time.

The moment I stopped seeking approval from others and comparing myself to other girls in the fitness industry was the day I could finally start to lay my body demons to rest. Maybe one day the bikini will re-emerge from the back of the wardrobe, but for now it’s wrist wraps and deadlift straps!”

Emma’s story is an emotional one I know many females will relate too, bikini competitions are a fantastic goal for many women but it is so crucial to seek coaching from an experienced and insured professional who will take care of post contest health too. Physical and emotional wellbeing must always come first.

Written by: Rachel