A student desperate to look like a catwalk model swapped her excessive workouts and calorie counting for more food and muscle building exercises to bulk up – and she’s thrilled with the result.
Aylish Rutherford, 20, from South Shields, Newcastle, spent years feeling low in self-confidence and often picked apart her looks, but after watching strong women compete in athletics she felt inspired to change her attitude.
Used to surviving on just 1,000 calories a day and extreme cardio exercise to shed unwanted pounds, Aylish – who is 5ft 2in – instead more than doubled her calorie intake to achieve her new muscle-bound body.
But putting in hard work to achieve her transformation didn’t come without negatives as the student revealed that she was criticised by her peers for shunning the party lifestyle for her fitness routine.
She explained: ‘A lot of people I knew didn’t understand why I was so obsessed with fitness and being healthy.
‘Most people my age enjoyed partying every night, so I made myself an outcast to an extent by choosing to spend my time focusing on my health.
Aylish, 20, pictured on the left before her transformation, said she used to hate her skinny frame and was desperate to change. Now, right, she swapped cardio for weightlifting to achieve her muscle-bound body
The full-time university student said she was often criticised by her peers for shunning the party lifestyle to focus on her fitness
‘These people who originally didn’t understand the choices I made, now ask me for advice. So I don’t regret my fitness journey at all.’
The competitive sports-loving student bulked up from a tiny 7st 6Ibs with a top size of six, a bottom of six to eight, and now weighs 8st 5Ibs with a bottom size of eight to 10 and consumes 1,900 to 2,100 calories a day.
While she used to have a slim frame, Aylish was naturally curvy, which made her hate her body and punished herself through excessive exercise and consuming low calories.
After watching an athletics championship on the television and admiring the women competing, she realised that feeling consistently exhausted and ill was not healthy, so she decided to change.
Aylish spent two years hard work to change her skinny shapeless figure, after feeling insecure about her figure
Instead of eating less and working out excessively in an attempt to lose pounds, Aylish doubled her calorie intake to bulk up and began training seriously
She used to consume as little as 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day with strenuous, very long walks three to four times a week as well as five cardio and high intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions a week.
‘I have always had a love for exercise and competition. I was in every sports team you could imagine during my years at school because I loved being active and winning,’ Aylish said.
‘I have worked since I was 16 so I have always had to organise my fitness regime around my education and work.
‘I had very low self-confidence; I used to pick my figure apart in the mirror and if I wasn’t losing weight fast enough, I would continue to cut down my calories.
THE SIMPLE LIFESTYLE TWEAKS THAT HELPED HER ACHIEVE HER NEW BODY
She says she eats more now that she ever did to get her curvy bottom
By simply increasing how much food she was consuming before, making sure she was having lots of fruit and vegetables, she has made a complete U-turn in her lifestyle and body.
‘I try to have a source of protein for every meal and I completely cut out cardio – because I hated it – and replaced all of my cardio sessions with weight-lifting sessions,’ Aylish said.
‘People comment on how strong I look and want to know how I achieved my physique, girls are desperate to know how I grew my bum and I generally get 99 percent positive feedback on my figure.
She advises anyone looking to overhaul their lifestyle to ask for advice from a personal trainer and do lots of research.
Aylish adds: ‘Don’t be afraid to eat. To build muscle, you need to gain weight and that means lots of food, which is a great thing.
‘Balance is my most important tip. I try to attain an 80 percent healthy 20 percent naughty split; it’s important to enjoy life and that means eating the occasional pizza – without any guilt.’
‘I wanted to be incredibly slim – like a catwalk model, even though I’m five-foot-two and naturally curvy. This is why I hated my body the most, because I couldn’t change it to what I wanted to look like.
‘I realised that feeling tired, lethargic and unwell constantly was not healthy, so I needed to change my lifestyle to be happier and confident in my own body.’
After researching different diets of athletes and how the athletes trained, Aylish says that this made her realise that weight training was the key ingredient to building her shape.
‘To build muscle, I had to fuel my body with a huge variety of healthy food. It took two years to build my current physique and although it did take a long time, I enjoyed the process and knew that by being consistent I would achieve results,’ she said.
Aylish says: ‘I look in the mirror and I am so proud of the muscle I have built and the weights that my once weak and fragile body can now lift’
‘It has completely changed the way I view myself and others that I decided to do a degree in food science and nutrition because of how important health became to me through this lifestyle change.
‘By becoming strong and healthy, I found my lifelong passion. I want to help other girls realise that we need to feed ourselves and not restrict ourselves to be happy and enjoy life.
‘I am full of energy, I feel strong, motivated and happy. I look in the mirror and I am so proud of the muscle I have built and the weights that my once weak and fragile body can now lift.’