A bodybuilder who transformed her ‘chubby’ figure because she dreaded wearing summer clothes now boasts 46,000 online fans.
At 5ft 1in, fitness blogger Sophie Aris, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, says her size 14 frame left her feeling ‘like a small round ball’.
Determined to change her shape, the 28-year-old took up weightlifting and soon had transformed her physique – losing 3st and slimming to a size six – and won a bikini bodybuilding competition.
Sophie now shares daily health and fitness tips and snaps of her incredible body with her 46,200 Instagram followers across the globe.
She said: ‘I was always a little bit overweight – I felt dumpy and chubby, like a small round ball, and really noticed it because of my height.
‘I had extremely low self-esteem and low confidence and felt my body was really disproportionate – I had massive legs in comparison to my upper body.
‘I couldn’t think of anything worse than wearing shorts or little dresses. I used to dread the summer because all my friends would be in denim shorts.
‘I went on a holiday to Cyprus at my heaviest and I just felt at rock bottom.’
Sophie would do 30 minutes of cardio on a cross-trainer daily but would not break a sweat, and her heavy high-carb diet meant she saw no changes to her body.
But three years ago while on an exercise bike, she was approached by a personal trainer who persuaded her to try lifting weights instead.
Sophie began weight training and noticed an immediate effect but still lacked confidence. It wasn’t until she watched a bodybuilding competition that she was inspired to take her fitness regime even further.
Two years ago when she tagged along to the North West finals in Warrington she told herself she would enter the same competition the following year – which she did, and won.
Sophie went on to compete in the British finals – following a gruelling schedule which saw her get up a 4.30am to train before work before visiting the gym again some evenings.
The secondary school art teacher went part-time last October to focus on online health and fitness network The Way To Glow, which she launched in January.
And Sophie, who is competing in another bikini competition in six weeks’ time, is now also training to be a personal instructor and setting up a YouTube channel.
She said: ‘I had always been interested in fitness and I’d had a gym membership since I was 15 but I didn’t feel comfortable working out.
‘Three years ago I was in the gym on the exercise bike, going at about 1mph and not even working up a sweat when a personal trainer came over and asked me what I was doing.
‘He showed me into the weights area and I felt so self-conscious, but I eventually built up my confidence.
‘Two years ago I tagged along to watch a bodybuilding competition and when I saw all the bikini girls, they just looked incredible.
‘It was so inspiring – I set myself a goal that the next year I would compete in the same competition and when I did I won my category.’
Now Sophie works out for about an hour daily – alternating different muscle groups – and eats five or six small high-protein meals every day.
Sophie, whose Instagram followers are increasing by up to 200 people a day, can deadlift and squat 80kg and said it is a myth lifting heavy weights makes women bulky.
She said dramatically changing her physical appearance by adopting a more balanced lifestyle also helped her develop a more positive outlook on life.
Sophie, who is also a sponsored MyProtein Athlete, hopes The Way To Glow will educate and support users by offering recipes, advice and a support.
She said: ‘I really love changing my body – it is what I am passionate about – but it is definitely not a quick fix and you have to be patient.
‘It is all about balance and everything in moderation. If I want to go out for pizza, I will. It is about changing your way of thinking and finding ways to feel better about yourself.
‘I launched The Way To Glow to inspire and empower women from all walks of life.
‘After my own transformation I realised health and fitness goals are much easier to achieve when you have a support system.
‘I want to inspire normal women to become more confident and self-assured in their own bodies by ditching negative relationships with food, surrounding themselves with like-minded people and having access to the best fitness tips.’
Courtesy of: Daily Mail