A woman who had never exercised in her life has dropped four dress sizes to become one of the UK’s top bodybuilders – after taking up POLE-DANCING to lose weight.
Samantha Ellis, 37, had spent decades regularly tucking into takeaways but decided to make a change after seeing “frumpy” pictures of herself on holiday in Dubai.
She decided to go along to a free pole-dancing class in a bid to get in shape and find herself a hobby and soon gained enough confidence to take up bodybuilding.
And just 12 months later Samantha won her first competition having made an incredible transformation to her body.
The phone shop manager has since slimmed down from a size 14 dress to a svelte size 8 and weighs 8 st 4 lbs (52kg) having lost two-and-a-half stone.
She now goes to the gym twice a day, six days a week, eats five meals a day and can bench press 55kg – the equivalent of a 14-year-old boy.
The fitness fanatic was crowned Welsh champion at the Ultimate Physiques competition and recently finished fifth in the final – less than two years after taking up the sport.
Samantha has now enlisted the help of one of Europe’s top bodybuilding coaches in a bid to enhance her rippling frame and bring further success this year.
Single Samantha, of Wrexham, North Wales, said: “I never did any exercise at all when I was younger – the word didn’t exist in my vocabulary.
“I just ate what I want when I wanted, if I wanted pizza I’d eat pizza, if I wanted chips I’d have chips.
“I’d have takeaways for dinners in work, I’d have a poor diet at home, I’d have chocolate whenever I wanted, I wasn’t really bothered about my diet at all.
“It changed in 2015 after a holiday with my girls to Dubai where I saw pictures of myself looking a bit frumpy and out of shape.
“I had never really had a hobby so went along to these free pole dancing classes, which I loved. I never thought I’d enjoy it so much, but it was fantastic.
“It didn’t really help me lose weight but it have me loads of confidence.
“I remember going to a workshop about a year later and I saw a girl there who does bodybuilding and I loved her body.
“I changed my diet and started bodybuilding in June 2016 – a year later I had my own coach and won my first competition.
“I’ve got the bug, I find it so therapeutic and it’s given me more energy.
“I’ve learned that with motivation and determination it really is possible to achieve the body shape you want, no matter how daunting it seems at first.”
Samantha enjoyed pole dancing so much that she became a registered teacher and now hosts high-flying aerial hoop fitness classes two nights a week.
She also trains six days a week around her shifts at the EE store in the Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre, in Wrexham.
She gets up at 5am for pre-work gym sessions, before returning in the evening when her day job finishes.
She is now being mentored by Michelle Brannan, who runs the Showgirl Fitness training organisation, as she continues to build up her impressive muscle power.
She added: “Since I’ve taken up bodybuilding my life has been non-stop, especially in the run up to a competition.
“It’s exceptionally hard work but I love it. It has changed my life completely.
“I have weightlifting which is my training but I have my fun fitness which is my pole dancing and aerial stuff.
“It’s handy for my job as well – if the lads at work ever need anything heavy lifting from the stores, they always call for me.
“It’s hard work but knowing I can do this, that I have the willpower and stamina to meet the challenges I set myself, is extremely uplifting.
“The fact that I’ve achieved so much in just two years, from a standing start, is a real boost to my overall well-being.”
This year’s big challenge for Samantha is to step up from the Under 35s Bikini Class to the Fitness Model class which requires building up even more bulk.
She has her eyes set on two major UK competitions: the Ultimate Physique Wales heats in August and the Physical Culture Association challenge in Manchester in September.
She said: “I’ve already set to work on my new regime – this one needs a lot more arm strength, which wasn’t so important in the bikini class.
“I’m working on growing my upper body, biceps and triceps.
“I can’t wait for them both, but I am especially looking forward to the competition in Manchester, as I grew up in nearby Oldham.
“So lots of my old friends and family have promised to come along and cheer me on.”
Kevin Critchley, manager of Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre, said: “We are all so impressed with Samantha’s athleticism and her commitment to training at such a high standard.
“It is not easy to succeed at this level in such a tough international sport while also undertaking a full time job.”
Breakfast: Bacon sandwich / cereal
Lunch: Sandwiches and cake
Dinner: Pie and chips
Breakfast: Oats and yoghurt
Lunch: Green salad , salmon
Dinner: Steak, chicken, omelettes, vegetables