Sophie Austin has rediscovered her fit, healthy body after losing 19kg of baby weight at Ultimate Performance.
Since giving birth to her daughter, Willow, the former Hollyoaks star spent the last two years feeling self-conscious about her baby weight.
The struggle with the weight loss cost Sophie her body confidence and made her anxiety worse, leaving her feeling unsure if she’d ever get fit again.
In the end, it was the necessity to set an example for her daughter that gave Sophie the much-needed push to start taking charge of her fitness.
To help reverse her self-doubt, Sophie turned to Ultimate Performance for professional guidance.
After a few months of personal training at U.P. – during which she had to battle through a series of medical complications, which started with a gallbladder removal surgery and ended with sepsis – Sophie is feeling more comfortable and confident in her own skin than ever.
“I never thought I would feel the way I do now, I never did. It’s been brilliant.
“The last few years I’ve been playing a lot of mumsy roles, so it might be nice to take on different roles.”
Sophie used to lead an active lifestyle until the life of a parent really took over for both her and her fiancé, Shayne – who’s also undergone a U.P. transformation.
“Before I had my daughter, I used to do a lot of running… Long-distance running.
“I put on a lot of weight when I was pregnant. It was a free-for-all – I was eating for four, almost.
“I would always just eat Willow’s leftovers or just end up having biscuits for tea, thinking I wasn’t having a lot.
“Both myself and my partner Shayne were eating a lot and using it as an excuse.
“Then after I had my daughter the weight didn’t go. I didn’t have the time to go to the gym and I was always knackered.”
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As an actress, Sophie lives the majority of her life in front of the camera, but despite being a pro in the limelight, she admits that she’s suffered from low body confidence her entire life.
“I think I saw a picture of myself. I was all dressed up and I just looked really lost and I just looked like I just had no confidence in myself.
“I think everybody has the same insecurities. Everybody wants to feel good in a certain outfit.
“People that are about to get married, they want to look the best they can on their day, and after having a baby, but they want to get back to themselves. They want to get a bit themselves back.
“So no, I think that I never felt very confident about what I looked like even before when I was really skinny.
“I never felt good about myself even then because I wasn’t eating right. I wasn’t eating enough. And then obviously over-eating. So I never felt like me. And I think that having confidence gives you power.”
That lack of self-confidence was carried over into her training. Sophie confesses that upon starting her body transformation at U.P., she was feeling apprehensive about her ability to achieve her goals.
“I remember feeling really scared and thinking I’m not going to be able to do this. I’m not going to be able to do the exercises. But they (the U.P. team) were so encouraging and there was no shouting or ‘Come on, you’ve got to do this!’ It was so relaxed.
“I remember coming away feeling really good about myself after every session and feeling empowered.”
With some gentle encouragement from her trainer, Jimmy, Sophie managed to overcome all her self-doubt in no time.
“As the weeks went on, suddenly it was like, ‘You know that you’ve been lifting this weight?’ And I was like, ‘What? Have I?”
“It wasn’t like we need to get to this, we need to get to that. It was just slowly and gradually. And then I just saw my body change and it got firmer and more shapely and my curves were getting enhanced.”
And that’s exactly what Sophie set out to achieve: she wanted to get fit while accentuating her feminine figure.
Sophie was able to attain all the results she wanted through weight training, which came as a huge surprise for her.
“Weight training for me always went hand in hand with being big muscly men or women to do, like, big competitions. And I just thought, ‘I don’t want to look like that.’
“I didn’t want to lose my curves. I didn’t want to lose that. That was my biggest thing.
“I wanted to look womanly. And actually it was just the misconception of weight training. I mean, obviously if you want to do that, that’s a completely different programme… but it wasn’t.
“It was just about enhancing my own muscles and actually making me look more womanly, and enhancing those curves and stuff.”
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The improvements in her physical and mental health definitely did not go unnoticed by people in her life.
“The compliments I get are that you look happy. You look glowing. And that means a lot to me because it means that my confidence is back and it means I’ve got my sparkle back.
“And I thought I’ve got myself back and I’ve got a bit more, and I’m forever grateful for that. And that was always what it was about for me. I just wanted myself back.
“See when I first came here, I just like a little lost soul. My skin wasn’t great, it didn’t look great, I didn’t look happy.
“And now, I feel good and I feel powerful, and I feel like I know what I’m doing and I feel like the first time in my life I’ve just got a bit of control back over myself. So I’m really, really grateful.”
Unfortunately, the journey of getting her mind and body to reach this point in her life was not without its obstacles.
Throughout her transformation, Sophie has had to overcome quite a few hurdles outside of the gym too.
Starting with a cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal surgery), followed by her battle with sepsis, one of the UK’s biggest silent killers, taking more than 40,000 lives every year.
“So I had my gallbladder removed. After the gallbladder removed, I was out of the hospital, but I contracted sepsis, which was not a very nice time.
“It was scary because I lost a lot more muscle when I left the hospital and I was in the middle of my training and obviously with the hard work I’d put in and I was like, ‘Oh, this is all over.’
Luckily for Sophie, the lessons she learned at U.P. helped her keep her diet and exercise on track during recovery, and she was eventually able to resume her body transformation.
“When I came back here, Jimmy adapted my training sessions, so I was doing a lot more gentle stuff.
“I couldn’t lift the weights I was lifting. But gradually over the course of a couple months, I’ve gradually, slowly built myself back up.
“So I was really, really grateful and always been checked in on with them. And Jimmy always checked if I was okay and exercise that I could do at home.”
Now that her darkest days are behind her, Sophie can get on with her gym life, carrying all the knowledge and tools that she’s required throughout her transformation.
Looking back at when she first started personal training at U.P., even Sophie is flabbergasted by how far she’s come and how much she’s achieved in such a short space of time – regardless of all the adversities she’s faced.
“When I look back at videos of myself when I first came in to U.P. Fitness, I don’t know, I just look really lost and really sad and just not myself, no confidence, the way I held myself, everything.
“When I look at the transformation and you can see gradually throughout the weeks my confidence building. I just feel like I got some power back and I feel motivated, I feel good about myself, just the confidence, but I feel like I’ve got control and power.
“I feel like me again, which I haven’t felt for a very long time.
“So, I’m really, really proud of myself. Proud of what I’ve achieved, proud of what my body’s achieved, I think it’s phenomenal.”
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Even though it was Sophie herself who put in all the hard work that contributed to the incredible results, there was no way she could’ve done any of this without the support from her trainer.
Speaking of having a support system throughout the programme, Sophie has also been particularly fortunate that she got to experience the transformation alongside her fiancé.
And when it comes to the improvements she’s seen in Shayne, Sophie couldn’t be prouder of what he’s accomplished at U.P. and how it’s benefitted his personal and professional life.
“We have been spurring each other on. I will say to Shayne that I can definitely see a difference in him – not just physically, but his attitude.
“I feel like he’s got his confidence back. It just shows when he goes for meetings, and when he goes to do performances and stuff.
“You see in him, he’s just got that confidence back and he’s nailing things because he’s got that confidence and he believes in himself again.
“I’m just so proud of him because I think he’d got to a point where he was unhappy with what he looked like and people commenting on his appearance. And it’s hard being in this industry, where people are always talking.
“And the fact is, I think he could take it so much, but because he wasn’t happy himself, it’s harder.
“I think he looks great no matter what. I’m so proud that he’s achieved that and he just looks happy. That’s what makes me happy.”
Since completing her body transformation programme and losing 19kg by the end of it, Sophie has never felt more positive in herself and her ability at the gym.
With the new-found confidence, Sophie is mentally and physically equipped for anything that the future has in store for her.
“I’m looking forward to next year in different projects coming up next year and taking my knowledge into the new year really.
“Now, I’ve found my way with the gym, I can do that and it can be part of my life now. So just living a good, healthy life and keeping up with U.P. Fitness.”
Sophie’s life as a new mum has been completely transformed thanks to U.P.
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