A Marton mum who turned her life around after taking up bodybuilding now hopes to inspire other women to get involved in sports.
Anita Cottam, 37, once struggled to keep fit.
Now she is in with a chance of winning gold at the Bodybuilding World Championships this autumn.
She said: “I have always been into fitness but it was five years ago that I decided to take up bodybuilding.
“What I want to show people is that fitness can change your lifestyle.
“I’d like to get more females into bodybuilding as well. A lot of women feel uncomfortable going into the weights section.”
Inspired by her new lifestyle, Anita took up work as a fitness instructor at Tuff Training in Blackpool after 22 years of working in high street shops.
She participated in her first ever bodybuilding competition in Newcastle this year, where she placed second in the ‘athletic’ category.
Her success means she now qualifies for a place in the World Championships in October.
She said: “I was up against people who were competing for years and it was my first time.
“I’m working hard from now until October, so I’m hoping that I will place somewhere in the top three.”
To maintain her athletic figure, Anita follows a strict training regime, eats no less than six meals per day, and drinks an incredible 10 litres of water each day.
She said: “I do cardio from 6.30am for 50 minutes. Then I do weight training at 2pm, then after that I do 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training.
“It’s not easy at all, and my diet is extremely strict.”
She added that she has already encouraged her 15-year-old daughter, Chloe, to take up a healthy lifestyle, and that she hopes to inspire more women of all ages to pick up the dumbbells.
She said: “I used to be quite a negative person, but now I’m quite positive.
“It’s completely changed the way I think.
“It’s for any age. I’ve got clients aged 20 and I’ve got a client aged 63 who is doing weight training as well.
“I don’t drink alcohol or go out partying and neither does my daughter so we lead quite a healthy lifestyle.
“She wasn’t sure at first, seeing her mother gain muscles’ but soon her friends was calling me ‘Hench’! She kind of liked the idea and says she is very proud, and that means a lot to me.”