By Liana Jacob
MEET the competitive sports-loving student who turned her body transformation goal into a passion by DOUBLING her daily calorie intake to bulk up her formerly skinny body after watching an athletics championship competition.
Full time university student, Aylish Rutherford (20), from South Shields, Newcastle, UK, always carried the burden of low self-confidence and wanted to achieve the figure of a catwalk model, despite only being five-foot-two.
While she used to have a slim frame, Aylish was naturally curvy which made her hate her body and punished herself through excessive exercise and consuming low calories.
After watching an athletics championship on the television and admiring the women competing, she realised that feeling consistently exhausted and ill was not healthy, so she decided to change.
She used to consume as little as 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day with strenuous, very long walks three to four times a week as well as five cardio and high intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions a week.
She has now changed her attitude towards a healthier lifestyle and bulked up from a tiny 7st 6Ibs with a top size of six, a bottom of six to eight, whereas now she weighs 8st 5Ibs with a bottom size of eight to 10 and consumes 1,900 to 2,100 calories a day.
“I have always had a love for exercise and competition. I was in every sports team you could imagine during my years at school because I loved being active and winning,” Aylish said.
“I have worked since I was 16 so I have always had to organise my fitness regime around my education and work.
“I had very low self-confidence; I used to pick my figure apart in the mirror and if I wasn’t losing weight fast enough, I would continue to cut down my calories.
“I wanted to be incredibly slim – like a catwalk model, even though I’m five-foot-two and naturally curvy. This is why I hated my body the most, because I couldn’t change it to what I wanted to look like.
“I was watching an athletics championship competition on the television and was in awe of the women competing; they all looked so strong and confident.
“I then realised that feeling tired, lethargic and unwell constantly was not healthy, so I needed to change my lifestyle to be happier and confident in my own body.”
After researching different diets of athletes and how they trained, Aylish says that this made her realise that weight training was the key ingredient to building her shape.
“To build muscle, I had to fuel my body with a huge variety of healthy food. It took two years to build my current physique and although it did take a long time, I enjoyed the process and knew that by being consistent I would achieve results,” she said.
“It has completely changed the way I view myself and others that I decided to do a degree in food science and nutrition because of how important health became to me through this lifestyle change.
“By becoming strong and healthy, I found my lifelong passion. I want to help other girls realise that we need to feed ourselves and not restrict ourselves to be happy and enjoy life.
“I am full of energy, I feel strong, motivated and happy. I look in the mirror and I am so proud of the muscle I have built and the weights that my once weak and fragile body can now lift.”
By simply increasing how much food she was consuming before, making sure she was having lots of fruit and vegetables, she has made a complete U-turn in her lifestyle and body.
But despite feeling good about herself, she has been criticised by her peers.
“It’s imperative for your internal health. If you look after your insides, it will show on your external appearance. I try to have a source of protein for every meal and I completely cut out cardio – because I hated it – and replaced all of my cardio sessions with weight-lifting sessions,” Aylish said.
“A lot of people I knew didn’t understand why I was so obsessed with fitness and being healthy. Most people my age enjoyed partying every night, so I made myself an outcast to an extent by choosing to spend my time focusing on my health.
“These people who originally didn’t understand the choices I made, now ask me for advice. So I don’t regret my fitness journey at all.
“People comment on how strong I look and want to know how I achieved my physique, girls are desperate to know how I grew my bum and I generally get 99 percent good feedback on my figure.
“Do lots of research to give yourself confidence. Ask a personal trainer for advice and don’t worry about entering the weights section; it’s scary but nobody is there to judge you, they’re only there for themselves.
“Don’t be afraid to eat. To build muscle, you need to gain weight and that means lots of food, which is a great thing.
“Balance is my most important tip. I try to attain an 80 percent healthy 20 percent naughty split; it’s important to enjoy life and that means eating the occasional pizza – without any guilt.”
For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/aylish_fitness/