A student who exercised daily but didn’t have abs, has revealed the food mistake she fixed to transform her body and become a bikini model.
A student who exercised daily but didn’t have abs, has revealed the food mistake she fixed to transform her body and become a bikini model.

Snack stuff-up behind new bikini body

Welcome to You Got This, news.com.au's weekly slice of fitness inspiration featuring tips and advice from real women who've experienced it all.


Going to the gym was never about looking a certain way or losing a certain amount of weight for Anjuli Mack.

It was about feeling stronger, healthier and managing her stress levels at university.

She knew that if she wanted to lead a life reflective of her new goals, she needed to ditch her binge eating habits and focus on educating herself around nutrition.

The New Zealand fitness coach began her transformation eight years ago when she stumbled across a gym poster while studying accounting. She signed up and started her journey lifting weights - but even then she said she had "no idea" what she was doing.

"I thought that because I was training hard, I could eat whatever I wanted but unfortunately it doesn't quite work like that," Ms Mack told news.com.au

RELATED: Mum kicks $3 drink habit for bikini win

Anjuli Mack, 26, had a diet mainly consisting of quick and easy university-style foods. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife
Anjuli Mack, 26, had a diet mainly consisting of quick and easy university-style foods. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife

"Because of this thought process, I ended up gaining fat which hid the muscle."

She had a "university style diet" of hall foods and study snacks and slowly began to

feel like she wasn't progressing.

"I didn't have a lean core as seen on fitness magazines - not that it was about that when I started - but if you're going to the gym five-to-six times a week, it is natural to wonder why you don't have abs or a lean body like you see online and in movies."

It was during this time the 26-year-old heard fellow uni students question why she "doesn't even have abs" despite going to the gym "all the time".

This led her on a path of trying "quick fix type fad diets" including buying a detox tea.

"Words can really hurt you. I remember taking progress photos in the mirror with my phone hiding my face because I was embarrassed," she said.

After joining a gym and training daily, she noticed her body wasn’t changing. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife
After joining a gym and training daily, she noticed her body wasn’t changing. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife

However, the then 18-year-old didn't let it defeat her and instead allowed it to fuel her determination to build a healthy relationship with her body - abs or no abs.

In 2014, when she met her now fiance Ross in the gym, he changed her life completely after he taught her the benefits of nutrition and training.

"From here I started educating myself more, realising that there are no quick fixes."

She said it took her years to understand nutrition and exercise go hand-in-hand and if she could change one thing about her journey it would be to have someone's help from day one.

"This is why I am so passionate now about what I do because I never want anyone else to feel how I did when I started," the founder of Fit With Anjuli said.

"The absolute key for fat loss is nutrition. You can't outwork a bad diet. Learning how to track my food on My Fitness Pal was a game changer and I still do it to this day."

RELATED: Mum's 'impossible' 60kg weight loss

After educating herself on nutrition and understanding the importance of nutrition, she went on to transform her body. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife
After educating herself on nutrition and understanding the importance of nutrition, she went on to transform her body. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife

 

Her diet today is made up of with 80-90 per cent whole foods and 10-20 per cent soul foods. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife
Her diet today is made up of with 80-90 per cent whole foods and 10-20 per cent soul foods. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife

 

Anjuli has competed in three WBFF competitions where she’s placed second and third. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife
Anjuli has competed in three WBFF competitions where she’s placed second and third. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife

Her diet today doesn't involve depriving herself of foods or binge eating - instead she focuses on eating about 2000 calories a day with 80-90 per cent whole foods and 10-20 per cent "soul" foods.

After educating herself on nutrition and developing a healthier, more confident relationship with her body, the 26-year-old then went on to complete in her first ever bikini-fitness competition in 2017.

"Once I figured out a bit more about nutrition and noticing my body change I felt (competing) could be a new way to challenge myself both physically and mentally," she said.

"I wanted to do it, to see if I could do it. I didn't care about placing or how I looked. I just always love to challenge myself."

RELATED: Woman's dramatic 53kg weight loss

Anjuli when she met her now fiance Ross, compared to now. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife
Anjuli when she met her now fiance Ross, compared to now. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife

 

She said she feels fit, strong and happy but is forever a work-in-progress. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife
She said she feels fit, strong and happy but is forever a work-in-progress. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife

Ms Mack then did 16 weeks preparation for the World Beauty Fitness and Fashion (WBFF) competition which included a restricted meal plan and training most days.

While she didn't place, she said she loved the experience and competed again the following two years, coming second and third respectively.

"It was much better each time I did it as you get better at handling the nutrition and training, but it never gets easier," she said.

RELATED: Bride's lockdown wedding shred

Anjuli launched her fitness business Fit With Anjuli in 2018. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife
Anjuli launched her fitness business Fit With Anjuli in 2018. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife

The transformation coach, who boasts an Instagram following of 150,000, has taken a break from competing for the next two years to focus more on her passion - helping other women achieve their fitness goals through her personal training business which she launched at the end of 2018.

"I have learned to embrace my journey and body shape regardless of the number on the scale," Ms Mack said.

"I am so proud of my body and mind for never giving up. I am forever a work-in-progress but loving the journey.

If you've got a transformation story you'd like to share, get in touch with shireen.khalil@news.com.au

Originally published as Snack stuff-up behind new bikini body

People also made fun of her asking why ‘she doesn’t have abs’ if she’s ‘always training’. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife
People also made fun of her asking why ‘she doesn’t have abs’ if she’s ‘always training’. Picture: Instagram/anjuli_fitforlife

HOT SPOTS: Lockyer's worst streets for break-ins, theft

Premium Content HOT SPOTS: Lockyer's worst streets for break-ins, theft

ARE you worried about break-ins and theft in your area? New data from the...

Qld economy lags but jobs bounce back

Premium Content Qld economy lags but jobs bounce back

Shut state trails all but locked-down Victoria in pandemic recovery

VOTE NOW: Lockyer, Somerset's best real estate agents

VOTE NOW: Lockyer, Somerset's best real estate agents

Here's the list of the region's best real estate agents.