A woman who used to be too self-conscious to wear a bikini due to her wobbly tummy has managed to overcome her body confidence issues – to become a bodybuilding champion.
Anna Banks, 30, from Liverpool, embarked on a gruelling new fitness regime after being left unhappy with the way her body looked.
Since then, she hasn’t looked back and has been crowned British Bodybuilding Champion and Ms Olympia Amateur.
Anna is now a personal trainer and professional bodybuilder, competing at some of the biggest shows on the national and international stage.
Anna Banks, 30, from Liverpool, has described how she overcame her body confidence issues to become a bodybuilding champion
The bodybuilder explained how she had previously suffered with body confidence issues before embarking on a new fitness regime.
‘I was very body conscious and would always wear a one-piece swimsuit instead of a bikini as I wasn’t very happy with my body, especially my mid-section,’ she said.
‘I wouldn’t say I was out of shape, I just wasn’t completely satisfied with how I looked.
‘I remember seeing these fitness models in magazines and thinking wow I wish I looked like that and is that even possible.’
Anna (pictured before her transformation) said she used to be too self-conscious to wear a bikini due to the way her body looked
However, she decided to embark on a new fitness regime after being inspired by pictures of fitness models in magazines
She continued: ‘This is what motivated me to start out on my own journey and see what I could achieve.
‘I’ve made significant progress, but the job is never done, it’s a continuous process and the search and hunger for the best condition of your life is never ending.’
Anna said the secret to her sculpted figure was simply a balanced diet, along with hard work at the gym.
‘Depending on what regime I’m on at the time, I’ll do four to six days of weight training, incorporating two to three days of cardio vascular with each session lasting for one-and-a-half to two-hours,’ she said.
‘My typical daily diet is five to six regular meals a day, I don’t tend to count calories but instead focus on macro nutrients, making sure I get the right amount of carbs, fats and proteins.’
Anna is now a personal trainer and bodybuilder, and does four to six days of weight training in the gym a week
She says the key to sculpting her body is patience and consistency, as well as a balanced diet
Since embarking on her new regime, she has competed in a range of competitions in the bodybuilding world.
‘I’ve had some amazing experiences and massive achievements from this lifestyle, I managed to become British Champion and Ms Olympia Amateur in my first year of competing, earning me the coveted pro status.
‘This, subject to qualifying events, has provided me with the opportunity to tug it out with the best of the best in the world on the bodybuilding super stage, Olympia, in Las Vegas.’
Anna has been documenting her journey on social media – but said there are both pros and cons with doing so.
‘There are two sides of the coin with social media, a love hate relationship so to speak,’ she said.
Anna has won several bodybuilding titles, such as British Champion and Ms Olympia Amateur
The personal trainer said she wasn’t completely satisfied with how she looked before
Anna says that despite the titles she’s won, her bodybuilding journey is a ‘continuous process’
‘It provides a platform to connect with like-minded people to network, exchange ideas and motivate each other.
‘On the flip side, it can go the other way with jealously and harsh critique from people that don’t necessarily understand the process or appreciate what it takes to lead this lifestyle.
‘Everyone has an opinion on social media and they’re not afraid to voice it, most comments are positive, and a lot of people tell me I look amazing.
‘Occasionally you get people saying it’s not for them, I’ve got too much muscle and asking if I’m surgically enhanced, but that’s OK, my look and lifestyle isn’t for everyone and you have to understand and respect that.’
Anna has been documenting her journey on social media, but said there are both pros and cons with doing so
The fitness star said she’s had some comments from people saying she’s got ‘too much muscle’
Giving her advice to anyone that was interested in body, she added: ‘[A]ll you have to do is start.
‘It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t have to jump straight into a bodybuilder diet and start smashing weights six days a week.
‘Start paying attention to what goes into your body, what you eat and when and start doing some sort of activity, literally anything.
‘Once you get going, it gets easier and will just start to come to you naturally.’
Despite the negative comments, Anna said that social media also allows her to connect with like-minded people
Anna advises others interested in bodybuilding that it’s a ‘marathon, not a sprint’
The personal trainer said that once you start on your new fitness regime, it becomes easier over time