A mum-of-two who hasn’t eaten pasta in five years has seen all her hard work in the gym rewarded after winning her category in her first ever bodybuilding competition – and now she is set to compete in the national championships.
Michelle Leach, 34, took top spot in the women’s physique class at the UK Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BFF) Muscle Talk Championships in Bedford, earning her a place in the British finals in October.
“It was amazing to win, but also a bit surreal. I have been like a Cheshire cat ever since,” said Michelle.
Michelle had to complete a series of poses as well as a short routine to impress the judges.
“It’s basically about showing off your guns,” Michelle said. “I performed my routine to Terror Squad’s Lean Back and then there was a final pose down before the winner was announced.”
Michelle, who lives in Gadebridge, Hemel Hempstead, balances her training with a full time job in sales, working behind the bar at the Old Town’s White Hart pub and looking after her two daughters, aged 17 and seven.
She works out at the Olympian gym in the town centre, under the guidance of owner, British number one bodybuilder and qualified nurse, Eddie Abbew, who has also trained former glamour model Jodie Marsh in the art of bodybuilding – she, too, has won awards in the sport.
Michelle first joined the Marlowes gym in October 2011 but it wasn’t until August last year that she decided to shape her figure to a competitive standard.
“I just went for it to see what my body could do,” said Michelle. “When the competition got closer I was doing two hours of cardio a day and training four times a week.
“Sometimes I get up early in the mornings and watch Jeremy Kyle while I ride my exercise bike. Sometimes I just go for a long walk.”
The toned champ also follows a strict diet. “I eat six times a day – my diet consists of egg whites, rice, lots of green veg and protein like salmon, chicken and steak. I also drink lots of water.”
The hard work may have paid off but there is no time to rest as Michelle gets straight back to working out with the help of Eddie.
“I am really proud of her,” he said. “She is very focused and I never have to explain anything to her twice. It can be done, it just requires hard work and dedication.”
Michelle said: “Eddie has always believed in me.
“I’ve loved every minute of it. You have to have the right mindset but I feel strong.”