Becky Goodall is living out her dream as a bikini bodybuilder after winning a battle with both physical and mental health issues. Catherine Scott meets her.
Looking at Becky Goodall it is hard to believe that just two years ago she struggled to motivate herself to exercise.
Although only 35, the personal trainer from Sheffield was in need of a hip replacement but was told she was too young. As a result she lived in constant pain, struggled to exercise or even play with her two young sons, which started to affect her mental health.
“I was in a great deal of pain with no prospect of it ending any time soon, as I was told I was too young for a hip replacement. I really struggled with the pain-relief regime, which made me ill,” says Becky, now 37, who trained for three years to become a doctor before deciding a career in medicine wasn’t for her.
“I had always been interested in health and fitness ever since I was a bit of a chubby teenager and wanted to lose some weight but wasn’t really any good at team sports.”
What really started as a hobby ended up being Becky’s career.
“I never planned it, it just happened that way.”
She worked in a gym and then in education teaching children about health and fitness before setting up her own business teaching fitness classes in schools. But it was her bootcamps which really made her business take off after she had her first son.
But then she started to have problems with her hips.
“At first it was dismissed as a sporting injury so it was never really investigated. Then one day I was doing treadmill sprints and I felt something go. It was incredibly painful.”
She had surgery for a tear but then it tore again before she was eventually diagnosed with hip displacement and told she would need a new hip.
“The problem was that because I was so young no one would give me a hip replacement and I was told I would just have to wait until I was older,” recalls Becky.
“I started to become very depressed as I put on weight. I was still able to work but had to learn to shout a lot and get other people to demonstrate for me, but I wasn’t able to work out much myself without being in pain. Chronic pain really starts to take its toll on you.”
Eventually Becky realised that she needed help to get herself motivated.
“Training is a weird thing when you are a personal trainer, because you feel you should be able to motivate yourself, but I couldn’t. I needed someone to take the reins and get me back on track.”
She did some research as she wanted to work with someone who “knew what they were talking about,” rather than someone freshly-qualified.
She came across Chris Mason Performance on Facebook, and as someone who works in the industry herself, was impressed at his level of intellectual knowledge when it came to exercise and nutrition.
Soon after, Becky started training three times a week with Chris at his gym on Cemetery Road, Sheffield, as part of a 12-week transformation programme.
“Chris worked around my hip issues where he could. If something wasn’t working, we could just come back and do something else. It made me realise I was making more excuses than I needed to. There is more than enough you can do if you have an injury – it shouldn’t hold you back, you should work around it and find a different way to train.”
Within four weeks Becky already started to see results, and Chris ‘challenged her potential’ – he was confident he could get her into photoshoot shape.
“I didn’t feel like myself,” said Becky. “Starting to exercise again lifted my spirits and helped me feel like me again. It was a big step. I would check in with Chris daily and that kept me focused and on track. He kept my goals at the fore-front of my training. He reminded me on a daily basis why I was doing it, and what I wanted to achieve.”
As part of the training, Becky was put on a very simple nutrition plan based on portion size. She could be flexible with each meal by altering similar ingredients, which made it easy to fit in as a mother of two young boys now aged seven and nine.
Becky quickly dropped from 62 kilos to 56 kilos, and lost four inches around her hips.
“I would now never not train, even if I am feeling rubbish I know it will help me feel better. It’s a big change to feeling like my old self. I achieved results I could never have imagined, even being a personal trainer.”
She also managed to find a surgeon who would give her the hip replacement she needed.
“It should last between 20 and 25 years and has made such a difference.” Spurred on by her new hip and toned physique she at last had the confidence to do something she had dreamt about for a while – to compete in a bodybuilding competition.
“I had a friend who did it but I didn’t think I had the confidence as I am not really one for the limelight. But after I had my new hip I decided to stop making excuses and give it a go. There was something that really appealed to me about transforming my body.
“I didn’t want to be in the higher category of bodybuilding but they have a Bikini Fit category which appealed to me.”
She came second in her first UK Body Fitness Federation (UKBFF) competition and then travelled to Barcelona to take part in the Arnold Classic Europe competition for Master’s Bikini Fitness. “My aim was to finish in the top ten which I did.”
She also came third in the UKBFF British Finals in her age group and is back in training.
“I just want people to know that there is a way to get fit no matter what level you are at. We all make excuses but if you are determined and self-disciplined you get reach your goals.”