GETTING STARTED in fitness
LAURA GULY outlines her journey from sporty, to unhealthy and then back again to fit and healthy.
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.”