Lucy Maisey aged 32 from Rotherham had fallen into the trap of undereating and overtraining, running 6 times a week in an attempt to lose weight.
Then she met personal trainer, nutritionist and bikini model competitor Carly Yue, at Fitness First Clubs, Carly showed Lucy the importance of eating enough and the benefits of weight training.
Over the course of two years Lucy lost the weight, trimmed down and toned up to become a fitness model herself, placing 4th in her first competition.
Lucy shares the story of her achievement…
Comfort eating after a divorce
‘After a painful divorce in 2014 I hit rock bottom and had gained even more weight through drinking and comfort eating. In my efforts to slim down I tried strict diets; Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Atkins, Low GI - you name it!
I basically starved myself and quite frankly, was miserable. I had no energy because I just wasn't eating enough but because I still couldn't achieve the results I wanted.
I ran 5-6 times a week and I was exhausted. Yes, some of the weight came off but it wasn't sustainable and as soon as I went back to eating anything like 'normal' I put it straight back on again.
It really was a miserable cycle and my confidence was very low.’
‘For the majority of my adult life I've been unhappy with my body. Seemingly able to gain weight just by looking at something I considered tasty and in a constant, never ending battle to lose weight.
I wanted to lose weight to look thin; to be skinny and therefore 'attractive'. Because that's what I believed to be true.’
Strong not skinny
‘I met Carly in October 2014. I felt stupid admitting my insecurities and my self-perceived inadequacies but Carly didn't laugh at me and she didn't judge. Most of all, what she said about nutrition and exercise made sense and I mean, you only have to look at her to see she practices what she preaches and by god does it work!
After about 4 months, I was unrecognisable. Physically and mentally. Three years in, I still proudly lift weights... And I love it!
Since day one, my body has changed shape in ways I never thought possible. I'm slimmer yes but I look strong, not skinny. I look taller, stand straighter and have a defined figure I could never even have dared to hope for as the cardio bunny of old. Instead of starving myself and going on stupid diets, I eat more than ever before but most importantly, I eat well.
Becoming a fitness model
As time went by, the stronger, fitter and more confident with my body I became, the more I was interested in just how much I could achieve. Carly herself is an award-winning bodybuilder and I talked to her about setting a new, somewhat daunting goal – competing myself. For six months, Carly designed a complete exercise and nutrition programme that helped me to first gain muscle and then strip away fat in a process known as ‘bulking and cutting’.
In 2016, I competed in a bodybuilding competition and placed 4th in the category ‘Fitness Model’ – something that still doesn’t seem real to me to this day!
Finding mental strength
Fitness First is about so much more than looking good. It’s my happy place! Within the last 5 years my marriage broke down, I lost my mum to cancer, I started a new business, moved house twice and had a couple of health scares. I can say without a doubt that the gym has helped me to not only look and feel better about myself, but to get through what have been some of the worst times in my life.
It doesn’t matter what has happened, what mood I’m in, how busy I’ve been – by the time I’ve finished a workout I feel so much better. It helps to relieve stress, it’s great for taking out any anger or upset and the feel-good factor and sense of achievement after a workout, especially one that you might not have felt enthusiastic about to begin with, is phenomenal. Training improves my overall confidence, I sleep better and have more energy for the things and the people that make my life so special now.
Advice for others
Everyone starts as a beginner... it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It can be really daunting to start something new, especially something like going to the gym.
Try to chat to someone like Carly, who is not only an expert but kind and understanding too. Make a plan, set a goal and celebrate every little step along the way to reaching it. Most of all, have fun because that’s the thing that’s most likely to keep you motivated!
Lucy’s diet before
- Breakfast – cereal or toast, Greek yoghurt and fruit
- Lunch – baked potato with beans and cheese
- Snack – ‘diet type’ yoghurt like Muller light
- Evening meal – chicken and salad
- Glass of wine most evenings
Lucy’s diet now
- Meal 1: oats made with water, banana and a protein shake
- Meal 2: brown rice, salmon or mackerel, 1 whole egg and salad
- Meal 3: protein bar and an apple
- Meal 4: rice cakes and fat free cottage cheese, protein shake
- Meal 5: extra lean beef mince or chicken, veg, 1/3 avocado and brown rice or a wholemeal wrap
- Meal 6: oats made with water