A Leicestershire mum is set to represent the UK in a world-wide body building competition later this month, after being inspired to get into shape during lockdown and shedding five stone.
Blanka Harvey, 31, claimed that her weight ballooned following her second pregnancy, and she reached 13 stone in 2019.
However, after joining a local gym and deciding to ditch the take-aways, she was able to shed five stone. Within a matter of months, Ms Harvey had become a qualified fitness instructor and Zumba teacher.
Off the back of this, she fell in love with bodybuilding and began entering bodybuilding contests – and winning them at the first attempt.
Now, the Ashby resident, is set to compete against dozens of other women from the across the world in the Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF) Championships, which will be held in Los Angeles later this month (November 19 & 20).
She has been eating 3,500 calories a day, and training six times a week in preparation for the competition.
“I’m really proud of myself. I’m not one of those really confident people. It might sound crazy because I’ll be wearing a bikini and standing around in front of hundreds of people! But no, I’m not the most confident,” she told the Leicester Times.
“When I first started body-building, I just wanted to try it out at first – shed a few pounds and get fitter. However, I quickly fell in love with it and actually enjoy the strict process of getting into condition, ready to compete,” she added.
“My diet involves having no take-aways or anything like that, but I’m looking forward to binging on these lovely things once the competition is over!”
Originally from Hungary, Ms Harvey moved to Leicestershire seven years ago.
She said the support from the local community had been “amazing.”
“I’m overwhelmed and very proud, to have been invited to compete,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to it because I’ve been training really hard for the past 6-7 months. And I’ve had great support from the community.”
Asked how she feels about her chances in the competition, Ms Harvey said: “I don’t want to sound overconfident, but to get into the top five would be amazing!
“I’ve never been to the USA before, so I’m really excited about that aspect.
“I’ll be competing against some of the best bodybuilding women from across the world, and even just to be invited is a dream come true!”