Ex Brierfield woman is bodybuilding champ in Australia

Lesley Atkinson

Lesley Atkinson

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Lesley Atkinson (36) emigrated to Australia six years ago with her boyfriend Leon to change her life.

The former Walter Street Primary and Mansfield High School pupil quit her job at Nelson-based company Protec to make the move and started bodybuilding last April.

Lesley says she became unhappy with her body after stopping all sport she took part in during her teens and the lack of exercise combined with eating junk food saw her body fat increase to 34%.

However, since entering competitions in Australia, she says her self-esteem has increased and is to compete in Melbourne next month and then the Australian Championships.

Lesley said: “Around my late 20s I got into lifting weights and used to train at Crow Wood in Burnley but I was going about it all the wrong way so I never looked as fit and strong as I felt.

“One morning in April last year, I logged on to Facebook to see a friend I hadn’t seen for a few months had competed in a novice figure competition.

“She was just like me before, a girl who went to the gym but liked eating and drinking. The transformation was out of this world and I spent the next 24 hours in excitement at her achievements and 48 hours wondering whether I could ever do something like that.

“In September I competed in my first figure competition and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Then in October I had my first photo shoot and took part in the prestigious IFBB Queensland Figure Championships.

“I could barely contain myself when I got my pictures from the photo shoot. I’ve read it many times and thought it was just a saying but we really are in control of our own destiny and if you want something you can make it happen.”

Lesley has the support of family and friends around Pendle, including Gina Hussain, from Iceberg Supplements in Leeds Road, Nelson. She said: “Lesley is getting very popular on the other side of the world and she is an inspiration to our female customers here.”