Back in 2012, I made the decision to train for and compete in my first physique show with the help of an online coach. Twelve months earlier, I had set myself the goal of getting in the best shape of my life to have a fitness photo shoot. I had loved the process of being dedicated and committed to working towards a goal. The feeling of pride, satisfaction and accomplishment upon reaching my goal was very rewarding, so I was keen to set myself another fitness challenge.


I got half way through the sixteen week competition preparation phase and then made the decision not to continue. I was feeling horrible, and decided it wasn’t worth feeling this bad for another eight weeks for that one moment on stage. I was extremely tired all the time, very moody, constantly starving and not enjoying the experience at all. I had imbalanced hormones, where I would feel dizzy and light-headed if I didn’t eat every two and a half to three hours. I missed getting creative in the kitchen and cooking healthy nutritious interesting meals. Instead, I had to eat the same thing every single day, according to my meal plan.

One good thing that came out of this experience was that I became determined to prioritise health and optimum nutrition more in my life. I met with an amazing holistic strength coach who taught me so much. I found out I was gluten intolerant and that my body had trouble managing my blood sugar levels. I made some incredibly positive lifestyle changes including:

  • Excluding all gluten from my diet
  • Having a weekly delivery of organic fruit and vegetables to reduce toxins in my diet
  • Trying to buy most foods organic, unless they were significantly more expensive (I was a poor uni student at the time)
  • Replacing all makeup and beauty products with paraben-free ones
  • Only have canned tuna once a week max (before I was having it every day!)
  • Doing more weight training. Doing less cardio.
  • Eating more fat to help satiate me.

I think this experience really started me on my journey to finding a way to be fit and toned, but healthy and well, too. I learnt there’s no point looking amazing if you don’t feel incredible too. I decided I would only decide to compete again in the future if I could find a way where I could do it in a healthy and enjoyable way. I’m so glad I had the courage to put my pride aside and pull out of this competition and start on my journey to holistic health and wellness.

Holly x