A mum-of-four reveals she ditched junk food and hit the gym seven-days-a-week to become a bodybuilder – despite never lifting a weight until last year.
Samantha Brander, 33, from Stirling, who lives with her children Owen, 11, Calvin, nine, Lexi, seven and Poppy, four, and husband Campbell, 34, took up a gruelling diet and fitness regime to turn her life around – and shed a whopping five stone in just 12 months.
The former bakery worker tipped the scales at 13st after binging on takeaways – but is now a ripped 8st after spending hours lifting weights in the gym.
‘My mental health struggles caused me to binge eat a lot in the past,’ she explained. ‘I couldn’t just have one bit of chocolate or one cake.
‘I always had to have more and then I would feel really guilty about it. But I haven’t binged at all since taking up my training for the competition.’
Samantha Brander, 33, ditched the junk food and hit the gym seven days a week in a bid to become a bodybuilder – and shed a whopping five stone in just a year. Pictured, in 2015 at her heaviest, 13st
Samantha is now a ripped 8st after spending hours lifting weights in the gym. Pictured, Samantha Brander with her husband Campbell, 34
In March 2018, fed up with her weight, Samatha hired a personal trainer after marvelling at transformation pictures she had seen of his work. Pictured, Samantha with her husband Campbell
In March 2018, fed up with her weight, Samantha hired a personal trainer after marvelling at transformation pictures she had seen of his work.
She undertook a brutal fitness routine which saw her lift weights for more than an hour and a half at the gym, seven-days-a-week – despite never having lifted weights before.
‘I signed up in March last year after seeing the results of a friend who had lost weight using my PT Gregg Thompson,’ she said.
‘At first, I just signed up to lose body fat, tone up and start feeling good about myself.’
To get into shape for a bodybuilding competition, Samantha lifted weights for more than an hour and a half at the gym, seven days a week. Pictured, the mother-of-four in competition
The former bakery worker tipped the scales at 13st in 2015 after binging on takeaways. Pictured, Samantha before weightlifting
The superfit mum swapped her usual greasy sausage sandwich for breakfast with oats, and traded in her lunchtime pie for chicken sweet potatoes and asparagus. Pictured, Samantha now
‘Then I saw the bodybuilding competition and asked my husband if he thought I could do it – he said he didn’t see why not, so I told Gregg I wanted to.’
She added: ‘Gregg said: “there’s no reason you can’t do it, but it’s going to be really hard mentally and physically’ because you have to push yourself to places you have never been before.”‘
Samantha had never lifted a weight before until then – and hit the gym every day in a bid to get into shape.
‘I started building muscle from June to January and then from January to the competition in June I cut my body fat to reveal all the muscle I had built,’ said the mother-of-four.
Breakfast – Roll and sausage
Lunch – Pie or sausage roll and a cake
Dinner – A takeaway
Breakfast – Oats
Lunch – Chicken, sweet potatoes and asparagus
Dinner – Cod, veg and potatoes
Snack – Two eggs and a slice of toast
‘For the first six months, I ate the same thing every day – I even went for a meal for my sister’s hen do and sat with a Tupperware of food while everyone else ate the meal.’
Swapping the greasy sausage sandwich for breakfast with oats, and trading in a lunchtime pie for chicken sweet potatoes and asparagus, it wasn’t long before Samantha started seeing the rewards.
‘During the first six months, I was consuming around 2,400 calories a day while I built muscles and then I cut that right back to 1,600 for the fat burning phase of training,’ she explained.
‘I was so dedicated because I wanted it so badly.’
On June 2 she took part in her first competition in Perth, at one of Scotland’s top bodybuilding events with the British Natural Bodybuilding Federation.
And while she didn’t make the podium, Samantha said standing on stage in front of a room full of people was a victory for her.
Speaking of her past diet, Samantha (pictured before weightlifting) said: ‘My mental health struggles caused me to binge eat a lot in the past,’ she explained. ‘I couldn’t just have one bit of chocolate or one cake’
Samantha Brander with her husband Campbell and children (front l-r) Owen, 11, Calvin, 9 Poppy,4 and Lexi, 7
Speaking of her weightlifting competition, Samantha explained: ‘I know I didn’t get a medal but it wasn’t even really about that for me this time, it was just about being able to get up there in front of all those people’
Pictured, Samantha Brander with her daughters Poppy,4, (left) and Lexi, 7
‘I can’t believe I did it, I have totally surprised myself,’ said Samantha, who had her proud family watching on.
‘I know I didn’t get a medal but it wasn’t even really about that for me this time, it was just about being able to get up there in front of all those people.’
Samantha, who now works as a gym instructor, said bodybuilding her helped her cope with mental health issues she has been battling for years.
She has type one diabetes and tried to take her own life in 2014 after years of struggling with anxiety and borderline personality disorder.
But she says exercising and lifting weights has helped her battle her demons and cope with grief, after the death of her grandfather in January this year.
‘After I had my last child I knew I had to make a change,’ she said. ‘I had to be fit and healthy for my children and pick myself up.
‘I want to do the competition again next year and I will keep training.’
The 33-year=old has praised lifting weights for helping her battle her demons and cope with grief, after the death of her grandfather in January this year. Pictured, now
Samantha now works as a gym instructor and said bodybuilding has helped her cope with mental health issues she has been battling for years. Pictured with her husband Campbell and children (l-r) Calvin, 9, Poppy,4, Lexi, 7 and Owen, 11
Samantha (pictured) plans to enter another bodybuilding competition next year and says she will will keep training