By Ben Wheeler
MEET the woman who has overcome the body confidence issues that left her unable to wear a bikini to become a muscular Ms Olympia Amateur champion.
Images show personal trainer and professional bodybuilder Anna Banks, 30, from Liverpool, UK, working hard on her body in the gym, to competing at some of the biggest shows on the national and international stage.
Before finding bodybuilding, Anna wasn’t satisfied with her looks and was extremely body conscious, longing to look more like the fitness models in her favourite magazines.
Since entering the fitness world Anna has never looked back, becoming a British Champion and Ms Olympia Amateur which have seen her earn professional status, allowing her to compete with the best in the world.
“I was very body conscious and would always wear a one-piece swimsuit instead of a bikini as I wasn’t very happy with my body, especially my mid-section,” recalled Anna.
“I wouldn’t say I was out of shape, I just wasn’t completely satisfied with how I looked. I remember seeing these fitness models in magazines and thinking wow I wish I looked like that and is that even possible.
“This is what motivated me to start out on my own journey and see what I could achieve. I’ve made significant progress, but the job is never done, it’s a continuous process and the search and hunger for the best condition of your life is never ending.”
Anna went on to detail the diet and gym routine behind her amazing body, whilst also discussing the opportunities and achievements she’s had through bodybuilding.
“The secret is simply just a balanced diet, weight training, consistency and patience,” she said.
“My typical daily diet is five to six regular meals a day, I don’t tend to count calories but instead focus on macro nutrients, making sure I get the right amount of carbs, fats and proteins.
“Depending on what regime I’m on at the time, I’ll do four to six days of weight training, incorporating two to three days of cardio vascular with each session lasting for one-and-a-half to two-hours.
“I’ve had some amazing experiences and massive achievements from this lifestyle, I managed to become British Champion and Ms Olympia Amateur in my first year of competing, earning me the coveted pro status.
“This, subject to qualifying events, has provided me with the opportunity to tug it out with the best of the best in the world on the bodybuilding super stage, Olympia, in Las Vegas.”
Finally, Anna talked about the pros and cons of displaying her lifestyle on social media and gave advice to anyone else looking to start their own fitness journey.
“There are two sides of the coin with social media, a love hate relationship so to speak,” she said.
“It provides a platform to connect with like-minded people to network, exchange ideas and motivate each other.
“On the flip side, it can go the other way with jealously and harsh critique from people that don’t necessarily understand the process or appreciate what it takes to lead this lifestyle.
“Everyone has an opinion on social media and they’re not afraid to voice it, most comments are positive, and a lot of people tell me I look amazing.
“Occasionally you get people saying it’s not for them, I’ve got too much muscle and asking if I’m surgically enhanced, but that’s ok, my look and lifestyle isn’t for everyone and you have to understand and respect that.”
“To anyone looking to get into bodybuilding I’d say impossible is nothing, all you have to do is start.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t have to jump straight into a bodybuilder diet and start smashing weights six days a week.
“Start paying attention to what goes into your body, what you eat and when and start doing some sort of activity, literally anything.
“Once you get going, it gets easier and will just start to come to you naturally.”
For more information see https://www.instagram.com/b4nksy1/