After being diagnosed with a mental health condition, Andrea quit her teaching job and turned to fitness for relief. She is now a world-class bodybuilder and shares her motivation with her personal training clients. She talks to Sundried about life as a bodybuilder.
Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?
I started weight training for the first time in March 2014 because a PT at a local gym suggested I should try bodybuilding. When I first started, I set it as my challenge for 2014. My fitness journey really began in February 2015 when I was diagnosed with a mental health illness; fitness became my daily dose of medication. The doctor suggested I should go to the gym, but by this time going to the gym for no reason was not getting me there. As a result, I set myself a goal, to train for the UKBFF Nationals Bodybuilding competition, which was held in April 2015.
I worked hard to become an award-winning international bodybuilder. I am now the UKBFF Women’s Physique champion 2015-17 and I am ranked 5th in the IFBB World 2016 and European 2017 Championships.
I have recently completed the Leadership in Running Fitness. I am now in the process of putting together a beginner's running club.
I have recently setup a youth fitness mentoring programme aimed at young people in Looked After Care. I take them to the gym to promote good mental and physical health.
What are your training goals now?
I recently competed in the IFBB European Championships 2017 (May), where I placed 5th out of 10 women.
I am now preparing for the IFBB World Championships 2017 (December). Last year I placed 5th out of 16 women.
Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:
I am a qualified business and computing teacher. Due to my mental health diagnosis, I resigned in October 2015 after 15 years in the teaching profession.
What would future you, tell yourself when you were starting out?
Everything happens for a reason, you may not know or understand the reason at this present moment, but the reason will present itself when the time is right and you are mentally ready for the new journey. So, keep working hard in and out of the gym and watch the foods that you eat.
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?
I eat every 3 hours; portion sizes are dependent on how many weeks I have leading up to my next competition and what I look like in terms of body fat and muscle mass.
In an average day, I eat:
- Egg whites
- White fish
- Sweet potato
- Brown basmati rice
- And drink lots of water
What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?
- Keep the session fun.
- Ensure the client feels like they are making progress, no matter how small it may seem.
- Clients love to be praised for their hard work.
Talk us through your training regime.
Monday – Hamstrings and Biceps
Tuesday – Chest and Calves
Wednesday – Quads and Glutes
Thursday – Rest (foam rolling the lower body)
Friday – Shoulders and Triceps
Saturday – Back and Calves
Sunday – Rest (foam rolling the upper body)
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
I do a lot of my own research for when I am working with my clients.
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
- Always start with getting your form correct before going heavy.
- Do not 'ego lift'; lift according to your body type and what your body can manage.
- When performing each exercise, connect your mind to the body part you are working out for full concentration and to ensure the best possible outcome.
If you could only do one workout for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Hip thrusts/Glute bridges, which is a glute exercise designed to improve your strength, speed, and power. The glutes are amongst the most powerful muscle in the body and should therefore not be neglected.
Why work with Sundried?
The values and ethics Sundried promotes are great and I will be proud to be an ambassador and promote the products:
- has the very smallest carbon footprint
- the concept of Every Hour On the Hour (EHOH)
- giving a unique code to charity Water for Kids with every purchase
- delivering premium style and technical function in an ethical way
Favourite fitness quote:
Focus On Creating your Ultimate Self