You know what I think is harder than the challenge of preparing for a fitness modelling competition? Maintaining a ‘bikini body’* in which you feel and look your best month after month, year after year.

Extreme Living
When preparing for a fitness competition or a photo shoot, what you need to do is very black and white: follow your meal plan or hit your macros and be in an energy deficit each day. Tick off every workout assigned to you in your weekly program. Don’t have the piece of birthday cake when offered at the party. You can be very disciplined, extreme and make big sacrifices because it is only for a short period. Yes, it’s hard. You do get hungry and tired at times, but you also have a secret weapon to get you through those times. That secret weapon is the strong motivation that comes with knowing you’re going to be on stage in a bikini in front of hundreds of people!

Balanced Living
On the other hand, it can be really hard to try to maintain a bikini body over a long term period! This way of living is a little more grey. Instead of calorie counting or eating a set list of rigid foods, you’re just living out a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Finding a lifestyle which results in a healthy body you feel confident in and you can maintain over a long period is amazing and something to be very proud of. One of my secret weapons for maintaining a healthy body is creating daily rituals and habits. These are the little things you repeat again and again so you now do them automatically. You don’t debate over whether you should do them – you just do them! For example, I start my day with two glasses of water, I brush my teeth twice a day, I walk my dog daily, and I take a 1 litre water bottle and healthy food in my little cooler bag with me every time I leave the house.

To me, maintaining a fit bikini body year-round is more impressive and admirable than achieving a shredded super lean body for a few weeks. Some of my inspirations who do this are Emily Skye, Sophie Guidoloin, Ashley Bines and Kayla Itsines. This is my ultimate health and fitness goal, too. I have it written on my fitness vision board worded like this ‘My Long Term Goal: To maintain a bikini body year-round through living a healthy balanced lifestyle, not following obsessive behaviours such as calories counting or weighing everything I eat.’ The way I personally look when doing this can be seen in the top left picture. True, I’m not as lean as the picture of me on the right, but do you know what? I’m more proud of the picture on the left because I did it through living a healthy balanced lifestyle.

Holly x

*I just want to clarify what I mean by the term ‘bikini body’. This is the term I use to describe the way your body looks and feels when you are treating it optimally. It is toned, healthy and you feel confident in it. To me a bikini body does not mean specific features like ab definition, a certain body fat percentage or a thigh gap! Why? Because due to genetics and other individual differences, two women who are eating and training similarly can still look quite different.