SURREY, UNITED KINGDOM: Lauren today. laurenfitness /

By Rebecca Drew

MEET the British Instagram fitness sensation who was once plagued by panic attacks as she would starve herself on just 300-calories a day in a desperate attempt to stay slim but has now gained more than a stone in muscle by eating more and training less.

As a teenager, student and YouTuber, Lauren Tickner (20) from Surrey, United Kingdom, was so focussed on staying slim, she put herself through gruelling HIIT workouts in the gym seven days a week which caused her to feel faint and suffer with debilitating panic attacks.

SURREY, UNITED KINGDOM: Lauren before (left) and now (right). laurenfitness /

At just 7st 7lbs, Lauren gradually started to increase her calorie intake in an attempt to gain weight, to 800-a-day and then to 1,200-a-day. Now a super lean 8st 10lbs, Lauren hits the gym five to six times a week, mainly focussing on weights and the occasional cardio session. She fuels her muscle gain with 2,300-calories each day.

“I was doing fifty minutes of HIIT on the cross trainer seven days per week, and eating barely anything,” said Lauren.

“My mental health was a wreck and I was having panic attacks daily because I always felt so faint. After a few months, I realised that something had to change, so I vividly remember googling, at age sixteen, how to gain weight in a healthy way, – and everything I found said weight training.

SURREY, UNITED KINGDOM: Lauren before (left) and now (right). laurenfitness /

“So, I slowly started cutting down the cardio and increasing the weight training, but I was still overtraining massively.

“When I was undereating, I honestly hated not only my body, but also myself. I would wake up every day and dread to look at myself in the mirror.

“It breaks my heart thinking about it because I was only fifteen/sixteen and I know how common eating disorders are, and how many people suffer from hating their bodies so much.

SURREY, UNITED KINGDOM: Lauren before (left) and now (right). laurenfitness /

“I now eat more and train less. I track my macros and train in a way that really is going to maximise my strength, so I stick to really heavy weights and do a low number of reps. For example, yesterday I did 4 sets of 4 on squats with 95kg.”

For Lauren who has 107K followers on Instagram and more than 15K subscribers on YouTube, weight training gives her body a shape she loves but she wants to emphasize the importance of people taking care of their mental health as well as their physical health and looking good. Lauren created her own hashtag on Instagram, #StrengthFeed, for people to share their journeys becoming physically and mentally stronger. It has almost 100,000 posts under.

“Cardio is great for your cardiovascular health, and weight training is awesome for strength,” she added.

SURREY, UNITED KINGDOM: Lauren today. laurenfitness /

“Personally, I find doing gym-based cardio extremely boring, and I just love weight training. It makes me feel strong and empowered, and I love the shape it gives to my body.

“I think now my biggest problem is that I want to achieve so much and feel like there is never enough hours in the day. But that is where it is so important to remember how mental health is half of ‘health’.

“If you do not take care of your mental health, your life in general will suffer.”

SURREY, UNITED KINGDOM: Lauren today. laurenfitness /

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