GET­TING STARTED in fit­ness

LAURA GULY out­lines her jour­ney from sporty, to un­healthy and then back again to fit and healthy.

New Zealand Fitness - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Laura Gully

Ihave al­ways been a very sporty per­son, grow­ing up as a ju­nior track and field ath­lete and also swim­ming mul­ti­ple times per week. I com­peted in many in­ter­provin­cial and na­tional ath­letic com­pe­ti­tions through­out New Zealand and placed top in my age group for shot put and dis­cus. Shortly af­ter start­ing univer­sity, I quickly slid into a very un­healthy life­style, eating way too much junk food and par­ty­ing hard and of­ten. This went on for sev­eral years but thank­fully I fi­nally re­alised that my life­style was ab­so­lutely ter­ri­ble and I wasn’t do­ing my­self any favours. That was when I de­cided to make the change. I joined my lo­cal gym and started my jour­ney to­wards be­com­ing a fit­ter and health­ier me again.

I usu­ally work out at my lo­cal gym lift­ing weights and spin classes, but when the weather is nice I like to go for long runs to clear my mind and my boyfriend and I love to ex­plore the out­doors by go­ing hik­ing.

I try and work out five to six times a week fo­cus­ing mainly on lift­ing weights with small amounts of car­dio. I make sure I have a rest day or two dur­ing the week to re­cover.

Shortly af­ter I joined my gym, a per­sonal trainer asked me if I had ever thought about com­pet­ing. At that point I didn’t know very much about body­build­ing, so I went home and started look­ing at You-Tube videos of shows and started fol­low­ing bikini com­peti­tors on so­cial me­dia.

These girls re­ally in­spired me and be­came my daily mo­ti­va­tion. I had never felt very com­fort­able with my body and didn’t like wear­ing a bikini in pub­lic, so the thought of stand­ing on a stage in a bikini in front of hun­dreds of peo­ple scared me a lot. I must ad­mit, I am a very com­pet­i­tive per­son so it didn’t take long be­fore I de­cided to take up

the chal­lenge to com­pete in my first NZIFBB com­pe­ti­tion last May. It was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and I was so proud of my­self that I got up there on the stage. It was an even more amaz­ing feel­ing to win my cat­e­gory (Novice Bikini Tall) as well as tak­ing out the Over­all Bikini ti­tle.

I am cur­rently prep­ping for the NZIFBB na­tional com­pe­ti­tion which is be­ing held in Auck­land in Oc­to­ber this year.

I have a De­gree in Per­form­ing Arts / Mu­si­cal The­atre as well as a Grad­u­ate Diploma in Early Child­hood Ed­u­ca­tion, so fit­ness plays a huge part in both of these ca­reers. I need to stay fit if I am go­ing to be danc­ing and per­form­ing on stage as well as keep­ing up with the en­er­getic chil­dren that I teach daily.

My top five work­outs would be: Sumo squats, lat­eral raises, tri­cep dips, jump­ing lunges and weighted glute bridges.

The gym has been a place for me to shut out the world and con­cen­trate on my­self. It has helped me be­come stronger as well as be­com­ing a much more pos­i­tive and con­fi­dent per­son.

I feel so strongly about how much fit­ness has changed my life that I want to em­power oth­ers to take charge of their lives through fit­ness.

My friends are so in­cred­i­bly sup­port­ive of my fit­ness achieve­ments. It’s been hard for me at times dur­ing my prep to at­tend so­cial events due to diet re­stric­tions, but ev­ery­one has re­ally un­der­stood. Un­for­tu­nately I don’t have much of my fam­ily around me so I’m very lucky and thank­ful to have a re­ally sup­port­ive part­ner who pushes me to reach my goals.

My nu­tri­tion regime in­cludes a lot of veg­eta­bles like broccoli, spinach, onion and green beans, lean pro­tein (fish and chicken) and car­bo­hy­drates such as brown rice and sweet potato.

My big­gest goal in life is to be happy! I want to be suc­cess­ful, but at the same time change peo­ple’s lives for the bet­ter. At the mo­ment I am in an amaz­ing place and I am just en­joy­ing what life brings. Even­tu­ally I would love to take up a ca­reer in the fit­ness / nu­tri­tion in­dus­try.

“Fit­ness has helped me be­come stronger, as well as be­com­ing a much more pos­i­tive and con­fi­dent per­son.”

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