FEATURE: Stevenage bodybuilding sisters on weights, steroid stereotypes and health benefits
- Credit: Archant
If you asked most people what a female bodybuilder looked like they’d probably describe an oversized specimen with bulging muscles, stretched skin and a deep voice.
But Stevenage sisters April Drackford and Hannah Jones are trying to shatter this perception of their chosen sport and the people who take part in it – and they’re living proof that you don’t have to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s little sister to be a success.
When they entered the Miami Pro Universe championships in London it was their first competition – and they admit that there were nerves ahead of the big day.
But after competing in the bikini, fitness model and Yummy Mums sections they are now itching to get back on stage.
Hannah, 31, of Watson Road, said: “There were around 2,500 people watching and I was really nervous – but when I got into it I just loved every minute.”
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The women, who both have three children and work as fitness instructors at Marriotts Sports Centre in Brittain Way, spent a year preparing for the contest.
They trained in the gym six times per week and ate seven meals a day in preparation.
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April, who finished fourth in the Yummy Mums category, said: “It wasn’t always easy and I was really glad that Hannah was there to help me in those dark moments.
“Before I started training for it I didn’t realise how much of it was about diet and how disciplined you have to be.
“In the week before the contest I was eating asparagus with every meal because it helps reduce the water content in your muscles, making them look more defined.
“Even though it was tough the whole experience was fantastic, and we both can’t wait to get back on the stage.”
Despite loving their sport they both admit that there are a lot of misconceptions about female bodybuilders.
“A lot of women think that as soon as they start lifting weights they will instantly get massive which simply isn’t true,” said April, 33, who lives in St Margarets.
“I don’t lift huge weights and I’m not massive. I train to be lean and healthy and that’s what people just don’t realise.
“Being active is vital if you want to be healthy and weights are a great way of doing that.
“It can get really boring spending hours on a treadmill but you can go into the gym and lift weights and spend far less time there and burn just the same amount of calories.
“I’m not saying that cardio isn’t important but weights are beneficial, too, and I hope people will realise that.
“Neither of us take steroids or loads of supplements and we love bodybuilding.
“We’re both now focusing on our next competition in April next year and we hope that we will perform even better than last time.”