Rebecca Halliday is in the best shape she’s ever been in.
The Blackpool 30-year-old has taken part in four bikini fitness competitions in just six months – one of which she won, another she came third and the most recent, she finished in fourth place. And she says she has never felt better.
Rebecca, from central Blackpool, took up weight-lifting and body-building just two years ago and in that time has transformed her physique.
This weekend she was working at the BodyPower Expo fitness convention at the NEC in Birmingham and says taking part in competitions has allowed her to see new places and make good friends.
Rebecca – who trains at Bannatynes Health Club in Blackpool and Brunswick Gym – said: “It started in about July 2012, when I got into clean eating and started enjoying cooking and making healthy, good food from scratch.
“While looking at clean eating stuff online, I came across girls in Australia, who were starting to take part in bikini fitness competitions.
“I felt it was something I’d like to try, but I thought I could never look like that.
“I had been a keen gymnast until I was about 11, then at high school I played hockey for the county. But after that I dropped it off really and just fell into the trap a lot of people do, of doing a lot of cardio training and a few fitness classes. I started doing a workout from Bodybuilding.com and went along to a big fitness event in Manchester, where I saw my first competition and felt it was something I wanted to do.”
She got chatting to TV star Jodie Marsh’s trainer, Eddie Abbew, and ended up being trained by him, too.
“He just asked if it was something I’d be interested in and said I had a good shape for it. So I started off doing some training with him and that was it really.
“I did my first competition in October 2013, the Miami Pro, and I came third.
“I really enjoyed it and ended up doing four competitions within the last six months – including the Miami Pro again, which this time I won.
“My most recent competition was with the UKBFF, on May 4, when I finished fourth. I was really pleased with that result.”
Rebecca, who trains up to six times a week, competes in the bikini fitness class in bodybuilding competitions – a category which, in general, looks for a lean, defined, firm and conditioned physique, including proportion, symmetry, shape and balance, but contestants should not be very muscular.
Rebecca, an area manager in banking, said: “In terms of my next competition, I’m not sure what I am doing yet.
“Some of my feedback was I’m carrying a bit too much muscle for the category, but I like my physique now, so I may look to go up a class.”
When competing, Rebecca does a mixture of weight- lifting and HIIT (High intensity interval training), but when not in the run-up to a contest, she does less HIIT and more steady-state cardio training.
Her decision to start weight-lifting and competing is one she says she will never regret.
She said: “I definitely feel better than before I started training.
“When you’re weight training, you feel great afterwards, you can see the progress. You get stronger.
“And that feeling when you get up on-stage is fantastic.
“Plus I’ve made great friends with some of the nicest girls I’ve ever met through competing.”