FOR Rachael Middleton, exercising constantly and eating six meals a day is a normal part of working towards a perfectly sculpted body.
The 25-year-old Bundaberg paramedic became interested in body building last year and has since placed in state competitions.
She is now getting in prep mode for her first 2017 competition in May, the INBA Rookie Titles in Brisbane, and said the sport had taught her the benefits of moving and eating right.
"I originally started exercising for a healthier lifestyle and to make things a bit easier at work," she said.
"I started gaining a bit more strength and got into the competing side of things because I thought it was a good challenge and I like to push myself to see how far I can go."
Rachael said the competitions were not for the faint hearted, with lots of strict dieting and workouts involved in the lead up to each event.
"There is a very strict diet and training program involved to get lean enough and gain enough muscle for the competitions," she said.
"When I am competing I will start a prep diet where I eat six small meals a day.
"I try to limit my junk food and I get a certain amount of calories I can consume and I watch my carbs, fats and protein. I try not to cut out too much."
To begin with it is hard, she said, "especially with cutting out snacking.
"You do get used to it and it becomes more of a routine and you start to learn that food is there to nourish your body rather than a treat or something fun to do."
The body builder said she also pumps out hours at the gym every week.
"I do weights five days a week," she said.
"At the beginning of the week I do heavy workouts and then lighter weights with higher reps at the end of the week. I do an hour and a half each day and more if I am close to competition."
With some serious training, her paramedic full-time job and a university degree in nutrition to study for, how does everything fit into her life?
It's all about being organised and motivated, according to Rachael.
"At the beginning of each week I try to plan out my whole week. I always have meals prepped because that is one less thing to think about," she said.
"It is really all about time management and being very organised."
Rachael said she had two more tips for those who wanted to get into bodybuilding.
"Try to find a good coach and have supportive friends and family," she said.
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