Mum who gorged on fast food and doughnuts after giving birth becomes champion bodybuilder

A mum who piled on the pounds after giving birth has become a UK champion bodybuilder just three years after joining a gym.

Blanka Harvey, 31, shed more than five stone after gorging on doughnuts, chocolate and takeaways following the birth of her two kids.

She decided to join a gym after reaching 13 stone in 2019, and within a matter of months, she had become a qualified fitness instructor and Zumba teacher.

Blanka managed to lose an impressive 32kg and dropped four dress sizes in two years before turning her passion to bodybuilding in April last year.

The 5ft 6in fitness fanatic, who trains six times a week, then started entering bodybuilding contests – and winning them at the first attempt.

She will now represent the UK at the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF) Championships in the USA this month after turning her life around in just three years.

Blanka, who now weighs 8 stone, said she was inspired to get into shape during lockdown after putting on weight during her second pregnancy.

But she soon fell in love with bodybuilding and went on to claim two British titles the same year she took up the sport.

Blanka even left her job in hospitality to focus on training others and taking part in competitions.

The professional personal trainer and fitness instructor will now compete against 20 other bodybuilders from around the world at the finals in Los Angeles on November 19.

Blanka, who lives with her four-year-old daughter and three-year-old son in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leics., said: “I joined the gym six weeks after giving birth to my second.

“I was always very active and fit before the children and I gained a lot of weight during the second pregnancy.

“I love doughnuts, I used to have them all the time and I just wanted to feel myself again.

“I went back to the gym and stated doing spin classes. I did a qualification and within a few months I was taking personal training sessions myself.

“When I was a child I used to do ballroom dancing so I wanted to do a Zumba instructor license.”

Her previous breakfast would include a Full English, before tucking into sandwiches with snacks of chocolate and crisps for lunch. Blanka would then have curry, and fish and chips for dinner.

Now, however, her diet consists of three eggs, wholegrain toast and raw salad for breakfast, chicken breast, rice, roast vegetables, and a protein shake for lunch, and fish, beef or chicken with potato and vegetables for dinner.

“During lockdown, I taught from home and I completed my level two fitness instructor license. I tried to use lockdown to my benefit,” she added.

“I left my job in hospitality. I came out of lockdown with an entirely new career.

“Then I’ve got into bodybuilding and I happened to be successful at it.

“I wanted to join the gym to get back to the fitness levels that I had before my pregnancy, to feel a bit better about myself.

“But I haven’t stopped exercising since.

“At my heaviest, I was 83kg. I’m currently at 51kg for my competition prep.”

Blanka started her bodybuilding training last April 2021 before winning her first show in September that year, and then winning the WNBF British Finals the same year.

She added: “I wanted to take my physique to the next level.

“I also wanted to set an example for my clients and to be someone to look up to. I needed help to get there and I decided to get a coach.

“I had my first competition last year and I won my first show, which qualified me for the British finals, and I won the British finals last year.

“I won in two categories – the beginner class and the open height class on November 28 last year.

“I am now a British champion.

“I used to live in high heels so I loved competing in it. Walking in high heels is natural to me.

“It might sound a little bit cheesy but I do love the attention.

“I’m working in the gym 24/7 and I’m sweaty and worn out and it’s so lovely that I can showcase what I’m working for. I have the glam and the tan and the beautiful makeup.

“For the world championship I’m trying my real best to get the training in but I’m just really excited about the whole experience and being part of Team GB.”

When Blanka was in her management role in hospitality, she says there was so much stress and long working hours.

“Now I get to laugh and dance and giggle with the Zumba ladies,” she said.

“My family were really proud of me. My dad thinks I’m a bit too thin, they joke around with me, but they are very supportive.

“I wanted other women out there to get the confidence to get back into the gym and have a better body and have better goals.

“I work now as a personal trainer, I coach about 25 ladies as well as the Zumba classes which people are welcome to come and join my classes.

“And I still manage to fit the school run in every day.”