I was active from a young age but, coming out of my teens and into my early 20s, I struggled with weight fluctuation and constant yo-yo dieting. I guess I was quite athletic, but I still carried some excess body fat. In continuous attempts to try to lose weight, I would barely eat all day then smash out hours of cardio in the gym. I then backed this up by binge drinking and partying on the weekends. The result was this constant weight loss/weight regain cycle that was not only bad for my health, but my self-esteem too.
I don’t know exactly where my insecurities stemmed from, but I know they were definitely there. I was never really happy with how I looked on the outside and I especially didn’t feel confident within myself.
With all the insecurities I had, I confided in a friend of mine who was a trainer, and he helped me find comfort in lifting weights in the gym. The gym gave me an opportunity to escape. It was my ‘me’ time. My passion quickly changed and I started educating myself as much a possible on nutrition, supplementation and training.
I then decided to enter a fitness contest with the IFBB and won my first bikini contest in 2011. After two years of consecutive fitness shows, both domestically and internationally, I won my IFBB professional card, which was a huge dream of mine.
However, the two years leading up to that moment I had, without knowing, done some major damage to my body – both physically and mentally. I had been pushing my body to crazy extremes, eating less than 1200 calories a day, doing hours of cardio every morning, and all this on top of my weight training.
Not long after winning my pro card I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism and hypothalamic dysfunction (a syndrome very common in female athletes). And to top it off, due to chronic tendonitis and bursitis, I had to cease all training for a while. My body was shutting down at the same time as I had reached the pinnacle of ‘fitness’ with a professional athlete status. My world came crumbling down. My metabolism began shutting down and I started gaining weight dramatically.
I had hit rock-bottom in terms of my health and my mindset. The extreme lifestyle I was leading was not only unsustainable, but it had already taken its toll massively. I knew this was not the way to keep living and I decided to take control of my life, my health and my mind.
I also realised that being unhealthy comes in all forms and it’s not always about how you look on the outside, but also how you function and feel on the inside. I have been at both extremes, where I was super fit and extremely lean, to where I was 15kgs overweight. In both instances, I was an unhealthy person. Luckily enough, I found my saviour with flexible dieting, where I was able to nourish my body with the right foods and build a healthier relationship with food and a more positive mindset.
This is why I decided to make Body by Nina and to help you understand that you don’t have to starve yourself to see results and you don’t have to spend hours on end at the gym. I will teach you to be healthy and achieve your goals by implementing the same principles that help me sustain a healthy, fit body and mindset. I promise you that it will give you a much better quality of life.