Felicity Rosina, 26, works as a PT and lives in London. This is her story of walking away from the world of rhinestones and macros in search of a more balanced life.
The moment I first met a bikini fitness competitor – in the gym, after a weights session – I knew I wanted to try it for myself. I used to dance professionally and was a regular in the weights room and circuits classes, so fitness was already fun for me. Plus, I was intrigued by this glamorous-sounding world.
I found a coach and, in 2017, competed in my first show. I was devastated when I didn’t place, but I found another competition in four weeks’ time and prioritised slimming down. I worked out five days a week – strength-training and on the StairMaster – and upped my step count to 20,000 a day. Then I placed second and third in competitions at the next event and got my ‘pro card’. I was buzzing.
That summer, ahead of my next competition, I went to Ibiza to work as a waitress, but a fear of putting on weight hung over me the whole season I was there and I couldn’t enjoy the social scene at all.
Back home, I put myself on a low-calorie diet and stopped socialising, and my relationship with food became increasingly disordered. I’d wake up and check if I still had abs and pinch the skin on my stomach while I ate.
Unable to relax, I gave myself an ultimatum: if I won the next competition, I’d carry on, if I didn’t, I’d give up. When I came third, I felt worthless. Without a competition to train for, I wasn’t sure who I was. I tried to go back to the gym, but found it hard without a goal.
So, I shelved my fitness ambitions and returned to Ibiza – but, this time, I was able to relax and find my own identity beyond “the girl who did bikini comps”. I stopped counting calories and, when I returned home, started training with a friend.
Fitness became fun again and, a year after my last bikini show, I felt ready to go after another goal and entered the London marathon. Training was tough, sure, but it was about how quickly my body could get over the finish line, not what it looked like.
Now, I run, lift weights and do yoga three times a week. My relationship with food is much better, too. I don’t regret competing; my experiences have shaped the way I help my clients as a PT. But walking away was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
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