DANCER Bridget Flakelar will embark on a very different type of performance when she competes in the INBA Canberra and Country Natural Physique Championships this Sunday.
The 23-year-old took on the challenge in July last year after she grew tired of not being happy with the way she looked.
“I was bigger, I was getting injured more and I wanted to be a good role model for the kids that I teach dancing to, because they need someone to look up to,” she said.
“Especially being young teenage girls, you don’t want to be leading an unhealthy lifestyle and not be someone they can count on and look to for advice.”
Her training regimen has included cardio and “weights, weights and weights”.
“I can do men’s push-ups, I can run - I hated running before, now I actually enjoy running,” she said.
“I feel a lot stronger when I dance, when I’m jumping or when I’m lifting someone or holding someone, I can tell there’s a difference.
“I certainly stand up straighter.”
It has also meant a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, including lots of chicken, egg whites and tuna.
“I’m looking forward to having some bacon,” she said with a laugh.
While Arnold Schwarzenegger was known as a body builder for his giant muscular frame, Ms Flakelar will compete in the less-developed fitness model section, but a six-pack is a must.
Absolute Family Fitness trainer Mel Bradley is a body builder herself and has been working with Ms Flakelar in recent months.
“We don’t so much focus on how much she can lift - that’s training for strength - we’re training for muscle size, so it’s a different type of training but she has developed strength over the months,” she said.
“Every now and then, we’d look back at an old photo and you can see the change from week to week, even in the beginning stages, where we’d say, ‘Oh my goodness, there’s a line there and that’s turning into a shoulder muscle’ or, ‘hello bicep’.”
“She’s a breeze to train.”
Ms Flakelar will have to walk and perform poses in a bikini and heels, followed by a crop top, shorts and sneakers.
“I’m a bit of everything, stressed and excited and nervous,” she said.