One of the biggest messages we preach at FitMag is that ladies should lift weights in order to achieve a toned, slender and feminine physique. If there was ever a great example to prove this look no further than our guest today, Lydia Rees. Beyond enjoying a successful career as a bikini competitor/model just look at her figure, it certainly isn’t ‘’manly’’ like many would think considering the weight’s she can shift about.
Let’s get into the interview!
Thank you so much Lydia for joining us today, it is a real pleasure.
No worries at all, I am really pleased to be here.
To start with, can you tell us what your first inspirations were which led you into the gym?
I had always been interested in the gym, I studied sport in University, but due to the social side of University life my training took a bit of a back seat. It wasn’t until I had my little boy that I decided that I wanted to turn my lifestyle around and get into training, which was five years ago. I had always wanted to compete but I thought being a mum, being 26 that I was a little “past it” to start thinking about getting on stage. I went to a local show and remember watching a lady on stage, Carmen Marie Knights who was guest posing. We got chatting and her words have stuck with me to this day “It’s never too late” and from that day on, I changed my mentality and decided to go for it
Amazing! Did you always want to compete?
No, not initially at the start I just wanted to get into good shape after having my little boy. I started to train differently after seeing a local show, as the look the girls had was one that I wanted to achieve. It wasn’t until I went to that show, spoke to Carmen and gaining sponsorship from an amazing company such as Gaspari Nutrition that I thought, ‘’let’s do this!’’
Being a lady, were you ever concerned you would get ''too bulky'' like many think they will by doing weights and eating?
When I initially starting training weights played an integral part of my training regime. If I’m honest I have lost count with the amount of women, when I suggest they life weights they seem rather reluctant. The reason being that “they do not want to get too bulky.’’ Some ladies tend to go into the gym, do 40 minutes doing cardio, do a few reps with a light weight thinking they will burn calories and "ton their muscles. " If you want to shape your body, burn more calories and give you the bootie to die for lifting weights is the way forward! You will not turn into the incredible hulk if you pick up a weight; a woman’s body is not naturally able to build large muscles the way a man can. Women's bodies simply don't have the testosterone levels necessary for major muscle gains. So instead of worrying that you will bulk up, pick up the weights and sculpt the body of your dreams!
Couldn’t have said it any better! To date can you fill us in on your achievements as a competitor?
My first show was the Welsh UKBFF qualifier where I placed first. I went onto do the British and placed 2nd, then after that went onto represent the UK in the IFBB World championships. I have also been featured in Flex Magazine, Muscle and Fitness, Muscular Development and have just done a cover shoot for Ultra Fit which will be out in February.
I have also become a media Ambassador for B-eat which is the UK’s leading eating disorder charity. Having suffered from an eating disorder for over 10 years, it was quite poignant that they asked me to do this as I felt helping others who were going through what I did was one of the biggest achievements I had done in itself.
Inspiring! You live the life of a fitness athlete; you own gyms with your partner (Jordan Jones) and inspire thousands. Do you ever feel like you need a break from it all?
After competing from the worlds I had about four weeks off, which I feel my body needed physically and my mind needed mentality. After that break I came back refreshed and had a renewed hunger for it all. In regards from needing a break from it all, the answer to that would be no. I started training because I had a love for it and what has come from it has been a fantastic added bonus. I see fitness not as a hobby but as a lifestyle, one that I enjoy so don’t see it as a chore but I won’t lie to you, a holiday somewhere hot wouldn’t go amiss on times!!
Get on to Jordan!! In regards to training today, what split do you follow and what style of training?
I am very open minded when it comes to training methods and do like to be quite varied but at the moment I am following the Y3T programme. I train weights four times a week, two days on one day off.
For the ladies reading this, what would you recommend they do to reduce body fat and tone up in the gym?
I would recommend that you eat six meals that are spread out over the day; this really does rev up your metabolism and helps your body burn fat! These meals should ideally consist of complex Carbs, lean proteins, healthy fats and veg. As for toning up, pick up those weights and show them who is boss! You are the only person who has control of how your body looks. I love having some muscle on my frame, not only does it give you a firmer & tighter appearance, muscle burns more calories than any other bodily tissue. So in essence the more muscle that you have the faster your metabolism will be! So not only does weight training make you look hot, it helps you lose weight too! So it’s a win-win situation!
In regards to nutrition, how important is it 1-10?
I believe that nutrition is key! You can’t out train a bad diet! There is no point going hell for leather in the gym if your diet is how it should be. I have six meals a day, which are spread out every 2-3 hours. They consist of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and vegetables.
Many ladies will starve themselves and eat the wrong foods - why should you eat frequently for optimum body composition?
Starvation is not the route to fat loss. Six small meals that include lean proteins throughout the day is the way forward. This coupled with the right training will help build lean muscle mass and in turn speed up fat loss and give you the body you desire.
What is a typical's day eating for you?
Oats one with scoop of myofusion /raisins and omelette 2 eggs 3 egg whites
Handful of nuts and organic yogurt
Turkey with Sweet Potato and vegetables
Chicken with whole meal rice and vegetables
White Fish with Asparagus
Myofusion with natural organic peanut butter
You’re a Gaspari athlete, how good are their products?
On a scale on 1 – 10, I would say 10! Gaspari are constantly bringing out new products which keep them on the cutting edge of sports nutrition. One of my favorite products at the moment is Aminolast, you just have to read the reviews to know how good it is.
Which products do you currently use?
As well as Aminolast my supplements consist of Gaspari Anavite for my multi vitamin, BCAAs before my cardio and after my training. I also use Superpump Max before my workout and also Myofusion.
What products should our female customers use?
I would defiantly recommend Anavite for your multi vitamins; I find that they make a huge difference to me. BCAA6000 I take these before and after training to help prevent the breakdown of muscle and also Myofusion as it tastes so good! How much do supplements help? I feel the most important factor is to get your sleep, training and diet right , get those spot on add the supplements and its a winning formula, so in answer to the question I think supplements help a lot as long as everything else is spot on.
Looking forward, what are your goals as an athlete and business woman?
My next step in the fitness industry will be to compete in the Body Fitness Class, hopefully reach the world stage in that category, as I did in Bikini, then get my pro card. I always keep striving to reach my goals; I always set myself them, because without goals it is easy to get stuck in a rut. Business wise, well I am excited to say that myself and my fellow Gaspari Team mate Sarah Mclean have just set up our own online training and nutrition business called Doll Curves. Being both working mums we know the difficulty that can arise trying to juggle everything but we have devised diet and training plans to meet those needs. We will not only be focusing on mums, but ladies who want to get fit, change their lifestyle or even step on stage. Doll Curves is not only for women though, we have tailor made diets for men too. We are also looking to bring out our own clothing range too! Watch this space!
Amazing and inspiring! Lydia, thank you so much for your advice and tips, our readers will be able to learn a lot from this! Ladies you have been told, eat well, train hard, sleep lots (beauty sleep?) and use the right supplements for that dream figure!