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Haggerston bodybuilder Michelle Fredua-Mensah: I want to inspire women to love their bodies

PUBLISHED: 13:00 19 November 2018

Michelle Fredua-Mensah. Picture: Charis St. Clair Fisher

Michelle Fredua-Mensah. Picture: Charis St. Clair Fisher

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In Michelle Fredua-Mensah’s Haggerston home sits a large silver trophy and a giant, sparkling tiara.

Haggerston bodybuilder Michelle Fredua-Mensah on stage at the Pure Elite World Championships earlier this year. Picture: Daniel FroshHaggerston bodybuilder Michelle Fredua-Mensah on stage at the Pure Elite World Championships earlier this year. Picture: Daniel Frosh

Dotted around the room lie more gold and silver medals than you could count on one hand, alongside various other trophies.

From her accolades, Michelle looks like a veteran in the bikini fitness world.

But the 30-year-old gymnastics instructor started out less than seven months ago after hearing other people’s success stories – and she only began competing in September.

“I think these competitions allow us to be confident,” she told the Gazette, “to say: ‘This is our body, we are happy with it, we’re proud of it, we like to show it off.’

Before and after: Michelle Fredua-Mensah's transformation. Pictures: Daniel FroshBefore and after: Michelle Fredua-Mensah's transformation. Pictures: Daniel Frosh

“I’ve got so many messages from women and they seem to be inspired so I do want to live up to that.”

November 10 marked Michelle’s fourth competition, where 250 athletes entered the Pure Elite World Championships.

Michelle won the overall title, first place in “mums who lift” and second in “international model” and “fitness” categories. To prepare, Michelle – with the help of coach Lucy Chase – stuck to a detailed plan: weight training five days a week at Legends Gym Dalston in Ridley Road, walking 20,000 steps a day, posing for 15 minutes a day, a macro diet and mindset training.

Before slowly cutting her calorie intake before the competition, Michelle’s typical bulk-up training menu consisted of six egg whites and bacon medallions for breakfast; pre-workout oatmeal; a post-workout protein shake; turkey with potatoes and salad for lunch; and lean mince with green vegetables for dinner.

Haggerston bodybuilder Michelle Fredua-Mensah on stage earlier this year. Picture: Daniel FroshHaggerston bodybuilder Michelle Fredua-Mensah on stage earlier this year. Picture: Daniel Frosh

After her victory, Michelle enjoyed a small diet “splurge”, but said: “Surprisingly, after that, I still wanted to go back to eating healthily.”

Michelle hopes the industry will inspire women, and especially mums, to love their bodies.

And now she’s has gained pro status by winning amateur titles, she can go on to compete against the best in the world, with her eye already on two international contests next year.

“I started this journey,” she said. “I may as well continue and see where it leads to.”

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