Looking at IFBB Bikini Pro Sophie Guidolin, you would think that her results are the legacy of a lifetime of clean eating, hours at the gym and commitment to her sport. What you wouldn’t guess is that it was only a few years ago that she overcame her aversion to exercise…
Growing up, I hated exercise and never stepped foot in a gym. I didn’t like to sweat, I didn’t like the breathlessness of cardio, and I came from a non-competitive family. I would actually get my mum to write notes to get me out of school sport. With my first pregnancy then, I gained almost 30kgs through inactivity and poor nutritional choices. (Moving away from home as a young wife meant I was solely in charge of my groceries and my kitchen for the first time – and mum’s whole food philosophy got kicked to the kerb in favour of the fast food I missed out on as a kid!)
I developed gestational diabetes with my first son, Kai (11) and fell pregnant again soon after with Ryder (9), so I never really lost that first pregnancy weight. Suddenly I was almost 30kgs heavier and needed the energy to care for two babies. I started walking while pregnant with Ryder and grew to love the feeling exercise gave me. After becoming a mum, I focussed my energy on health and wellness, studying fitness and nutrition while working two jobs and looking after my boys. The more I learned, the more I loved it and the more I wanted to share my knowledge and experience with other women, which ultimately led to me creating THE BOD.
It wasn’t a straight-forward path to the competitive stage though. I suffered from ‘gymtimidation’ and had absolutely no idea how to train when I started. I grew massive shoulders and carved obliques because they were the only body parts I knew how to train! I burned up hours on the treadmill in a bid to get leaner, and I under-ate (though I didn’t know it at the time).
Then I got smarter. Once I incorporated weight training and tracking macros, my life transformed. The rush I got from weight training was more than anything I had ever experienced (and I still love that feeling of completing a hard training sesh, and the body confidence that being strong brings). I realised I could eat the foods I loved and still achieve the physique I wanted. It was like a magic trick – all of a sudden, exercise transformed from a drudge to a passion, and I could eat anything I wanted. Yes, I eat chocolate, burgers and ice-cream. I just track it and am aware of what I put into my body.
I reverse dieted up from 1200 calories to more than 2500 calories a day, and actually dropped my training to 3-4 times per week. I was eating more, training smarter, and getting leaner than ever before. My body composition changed, I was able to manage my lordosis and scoliosis, and I was hitting PBs on the gym floor and on stage. I stopped fighting my body and learned to trust the process, and trust that my body could do what I asked of it – whether that was squatting twice my body weight, delivering amazingly healthy twin girls two years ago, or winning Gold at the Arnold Classic one-year postpartum.
I never did this to ‘win’. My body transformation has been six years in the making, and started not with the goal of winning a trophy but to prove to myself and my kids that you can do anything you set your mind to.
Sophie is a nutritionist, master trainer, gym owner, author, mother of four, world-renowned fitness model and IFBB Bikini Pro. Founder of THE BOD body transformation programs, Sophie adopts a macro-led nutrition approach, which combined with weight training contributed to her winning Gold at the Arnold Classic (2017) just one year after giving birth to twin girls, and winning her IFBB Bikini Pro Card (2018). Sophie and her husband, elite body builder and powerlifter Nathan Wallace, developed THE BOD Men’s following the success of their female-focused program, adopting evidence-based training protocols and body recomposition methods to achieve results with clients around the world. THE BOD Men’s caters for all strength and fitness levels, from Starting Strength to advanced D.U.P Powerlifter.