KNOWLEDGE + SELF-BELIEF = POWER
Skinny, unhappy and unhealthy two years ago to strong, confident and full of life now, Lauren Simpson educated and transformed herself, finding a love of powerlifting along the way.
BY Kirstin Cuthbert | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Dallas Olsen | HAIR AND MAKE UP BY JEN STEYN
Once scared of carbs and only doing cardio most days of the week, Lauren Simpson hasn’t always been the strong and healthy woman she is today. She remembers posting a photo to her large social media following two years ago, considering herself to look very ‘healthy’ in it. Looking back on the photo now, after gaining much nutrition and training knowledge, she realises how underweight she was. Through greater learning and mindset changes, Lauren has gone on to compete in bikini comps and powerlifting comps and even holds the Australian national squat record for the under 57kg class!
Every health and fitness journey has its ups and downs and Lauren’s is no exception. Although she was never overweight, she took things to the opposite extreme.
“I was skinny, exhausted and had an obsession with body image and being lean. I was very underweight, unhealthy and running myself into the ground with hours of cardio and poor nutritional choices,” she says.
Uneducated on the importance of food to fuel her body, pushing herself to the limits soon took a toll on Lauren’s health.
“At the time I didn’t recognise it but I had an extremely distorted view of my body and of food. I wasn’t training because I loved it (it was a chore!) and I restricted myself with food groups and calories,” she says.
“This impacted not only on my body but my relationships with friends and family. I saw the signs of being lethargic, moody and withdrawn.”
It was here Lauren decided to seek out a coach to help her develop a healthy relationship with food and training.
“After having my diet assessed by my coach, I knew that I was not nearly eating the amount of food I should be, and as a result, my metabolism and hormones were being damaged,” she says.
With her ultimate goal to start prepping for a fitness competition, Lauren wanted to get back on track, but it wasn’t always easy.
“It was difficult in the beginning to just ‘let go’ however my mindset slowly changed as I started to see the positive effects of eating right to nourish and fuel my body and not overtraining. I was no longer moody, constantly fatigued, nor having random headaches and feeling weak,” she says.
“I learnt that health and fitness shouldn’t be about punishing yourself to a point where you are unhappy. I aspire to be fit and strong, but most importantly with my health, happiness, friends and family as first priority.”
Her love for fitness soon led her to the world of body building and she found a love for lifting heavy. Lauren recently competed in her first powerlifting competition and now holds the Australian national squat record for the under 57kg class, with a squat of 137.5kg.
“Working on being strong has been very empowering. I can now squat and dead lift over double my body weight which rivals a lot of men in my gym!” she says.
Lauren also came first in Fitness Model for the INBA Southern Cross Championships in 2015 and third in Bikini Diva at the WBFF in October 2015.
Feeling much healthier and happier now, Lauren eats a healthy wholesome diet that is geared towards her goals. Through proper nutrition, she is finding she can not only hit new personal bests in the gym but she’s transformed the way she thinks about herself.
“Working out has given me a lot of confidence. Confidence to me is happiness, being content and believing in yourself and your ability. Over the past couple of years my confidence has built up as a result of being able to step outside my comfort zone and adapt to situations that are thrown my way. My mind is clearer, I am happier, more focused and determined than ever before,” she says.
After going through her own transformation and learning so much along the way, Lauren was driven to change careers. Leaving her human resources job after six years, she completed Certificates 3 and 4 in Fitness and made the decision to dedicate 100 per cent of her time to start her own online training business.
“I want to personally help and inspire people from all over the world to be the fittest, strongest, healthiest, most confident and happy versions of themselves,” she says.
Lauren knows no journey is ever easy and there will be many challenges along the way but she believes the best way to get started is to stop thinking and just take action.
“The hardest part is just getting started.Initially the workouts are going to feel tough and cleaning up your diet may seem near impossible, but in a few months’ time you will start noticing changes in yourself, both mentally and physically, and it will all be worthwhile,” she says.
Lauren says it’s also important to remember that rapid changes don’t happen overnight.
“Good things take time. If you put in the work, you will see results. Most people give up within one or two weeks of training and eating healthy because they don’t see the results they want,” she says.
“Getting into shape is a process that takes time, patience, dedication and consistency. Make sure you recognise the small goals and accomplishments you make while working towards your ultimate goal,” she says.
Like most of us, Lauren too has days where her motivation is low. When she doesn’t feel like going to the gym, she finds it helpful to do some self-reflection.
“At times I feel like this, I always reflect on the reasons why I started this journey and how far I have come. I don’t turn a bad day into a bad month,” she says.
“I try maintaining a positive outlook on everything I do and use myself as my main source of motivation. Of course, looking at other girl’s pictures is super motivating, but seeing my own body transform, as a result of the effort I have put in day in and day out, is what really drives me to continue doing what I love,” she says.
Constantly setting new goals for herself, Lauren is building her ownonline fitness coaching business to inspire and motivate even more people. She’s will also be competing in more power lifting and bikini competitions. Keep an eye out for this strong woman as she’s determined to smash her current squat record very soon!