By Catherine Reid
A woman who gorged on takeaways and necked pints of cider has shed five stone to become a bodybuilder.
Nikki Harvey spent two years travelling Australia and ballooned to a size 16 after indulging in daily takeaways and regularly binge drinking.
The 24-year-old – who also smoked 20 cigarettes a day – has now swapped shots for squats after hitting ‘rock bottom’ and deciding things needed to change.
She can deadlift an impressive 100 kilograms and has shrunk to a tiny size six, weighing just 8st 1lb.
Nikki, from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, said: “I absolutely hated the gym, I’d never step foot in one.
“But as soon as I lifted a weight I fell in love with it.
“I train twice a day, six times a week and I’m down to 10 per cent body fat.”
Nikki is a self-confessed yo-yo dieter who struggled with her weight for years.
At her biggest, she weighted 13 and a half stone, but it wasn’t until she saw a photo of herself in a bikini that she realised she needed to lose weight.
She said: “I graduated from university and went travelling around South East Asia and Australia for two years.
“I’d always been a yo-yo dieter – I was do milkshakes for four weeks then binge for four weeks, so I was up and down all the time.
“For the two years I was travelling I never really had a kitchen, so it was just a constant supply of takeaways and alcohol.
“I was out five nights a week and I’d always have a takeaway on the way home, as well as drinking four pints of cider and a bottle of wine.
“I wasn’t aware I was putting on weight though because I was having such a good time.
“But then I saw a picture of me in a bikini next to a waterfall and I didn’t recognise myself.
“I couldn’t believe I was looking at me – I’d piled on the weight and I was in a really bad place.
“I would break down and cry every time I saw myself in a mirror and for the last six months of my trip I refused to be in any photos.”
Bordering on obesity with a BMI of 30, Nikki had already started dating rugby player Jordan Burgess, who she then asked to help her lose weight.
The 5’5″ stunner said: “I just said that he needed to help me because this wasn’t OK anymore.
“I have no idea how he fell for me as he was really physically fit and I was a 20-a-day smoker who was a size 16.
“He introduced me to weights and I was so relieved I’d finally found something I enjoy.”
Nikki started exercising while she was still in Australia in 2015, and found the first 20lbs dropped quite quickly.
By the time she came back to the UK in September 2015, she was down to a size 12 and stepped her training up even more.
She said: “I wanted to get into it a bit more seriously so I had my body fat measured as well, which I’d never done before.
“I was 39 per cent body fat, now I’m 10 per cent body fat and down to a size six.
“I’ve lost 50lbs overall which is crazy because I never planned to lose that much weight.”
The fitness fanatic now trains twice a day, six days a week and can deadlift 100 kilograms.
Nikki has quit smoking and doesn’t drink, except for the odd gin and slimline tonic at a wedding.
She is currently training for her third bodybuilding competition, so has spent the past three months ‘shredding’ – burning fat to define muscles.
Nikki said: “My first competition was April 2016 which was really overwhelming.
“Winning a trophy was the best feeling, and to be here and look back is amazing.
“It’s quite emotional when it all comes together and your hard work has paid off.”
She added: “I’m so proud of everything I’ve achieved and it’s really empowering.”
NIKKI’S BEFORE DIET
Lunch: A meal deal or a Subway
Dinner: Sausage and mash, or spaghetti bolognese with garlic bread
Snacks: A large bag of Haribo every day and a kebab or takeaway after a night out
Drinks: Three to four pints of cider and a bottle of wine
NIKKI’S DIET NOW
Breakfast: 30 grams of oats with blueberries
Lunch: Chicken and vegetables
Mid-afternoon snack: Tuna with salad and avocado
Dinner: Chicken and vegetables again
Supper: Yogurt with protein powder