By Liana Jacob
MEET the stunning medical student who used to restrict her diet and go on 10K runs a few times a week, leaving her with a skinny physique but has now put on nearly two-stone of muscle thanks to weight lifting.
Final year medical student, Frankie Jackson-Spence (24), from Leeds, UK, was never underweight or overweight, but at 8st 3Ibs, she felt sluggish and tired. After becoming friends with a personal trainer she felt motivated to take a different approach to her diet and exercise, adding weight lifting to her routine and increasing her whole grain carbohydrates, which helped her achieve a figure of 9st 13Ibs.
“When I started university, I was going out a lot and making bad food choices out of convenience,” Frankie said.
“I started to notice that my unhealthy lifestyle was showing in my body and my energy levels, as I often felt sluggish and tired in the afternoons.
“My motivation to start training properly was to become stronger and fitter rather than to seek aesthetic changes in my body.
“Like many girls who are new to the health and fitness scene, I thought the only way to do this was by doing cardio and I began running 10K a few times a week.
“As a result, I became quite ‘skinny’ which was not what I was used to. Then I became friends with a personal trainer who encouraged me to start lifting weights and taking more of a functional approach to training, and that was when I got my curves back and saw positive changes in my physique.
“My physique is purely a side effect of my love for training and fitness and I rarely have aesthetic goals, although they are a very welcomed benefit of going to the gym consistently.
“My focus has always been to become fitter, stronger, move better and I now go to the gym to unwind at the end of a busy day as a medical student.
“Initially, I started out running in the countryside where I live. I got better at running and regularly ran ten kilometres in the mornings and as a result my body fat reduced.
“When I began adding weight training to my routine, I gained lean muscle mass fairly quickly and made the change from cardio to resistance training.
“My training sessions have always been quite simple, focusing on improving the compound lifts such as deadlifts, back squats and pull-ups.
“My energy levels are higher, I sleep better and my long-term cardiovascular and bone health will be improved.
“Getting into health and fitness has really helped me cope with the demands of a busy life and reduced stress. When I have exams to revise for, I look forward to an hour at the gym at the end of the day as the endorphins give my mood a boost.”
As well as increasing her carbohydrate intake and eating more vegetables, Frankie has spent a lot of time educating herself on the right training and nutrition, while adding weight lifting to her gym routine.
“The biggest change has been my attitude to food; whilst I am a huge foodie and love nothing more than trying out a new restaurant with my boyfriend or friends, I have learnt that I can do these things and eat the foods I enjoy and still make progress,” she said.
“I find this balanced approach really healthy and sustainable, and I use it with my clients who I coach.
“I always make sure I am following a programme. Changes in physical performance or physique take time and you have to be consistent and patient.
“I find that if I have a programme, it’s a lot easier to fit in the gym into a busy day as I don’t even have to think about it.
“The hardest thing is not comparing yourself to others. Being active on social media means I scroll through my Instagram feed daily and see an abundance of fit, strong and empowering women.
“Remember that people show their best bits on the internet; we are all humans who have struggles. Take social media with a pinch of salt.
“I think people need to enjoy the journey rather than thinking about the long-term outcome of a body transformation. It’s so much more than that.
“I would recommend finding a style of training that you enjoy because then you will want to put your all into it. This could be weight training, Olympic lifting, CrossFit, running or sports for example.”
For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/fjsfit/