By Kim Reader
A glam air hostess on a mission to prove ‘girly girls’ can be bodybuilders admits she loves stunning passengers with her ‘small and mighty’ frame by lifting heavy suitcases with ease.
Pink-obsessed Dani Farley is a 5ft4ins, size 4 blonde beauty who can lift 100kg weights and recently took on her first bodybuilding competition in the bikini category.
The self-confessed ‘girly girl’ took up weightlifting 18 months ago after she became tired of her small frame making her look ‘weak’ and like a ‘14-year-old girl’.
Determined Dani, 26, started pumping iron and now loves nothing more than showing off her strength – especially at work when male colleagues and passengers offer to lift heavy items for her.
Defying people’s beliefs that weightlifting would make her masculine, Dani says bodybuilding has given her a more ‘womanly’ figure and boosted her self-confidence.
Now the budding entrepreneur, who has launched her own glamorous sportswear range, wants to show other women what they can achieve if they dare to venture into the weights section.
Dani, of Portsmouth, Hamps, said: “I have always been into fitness. I used to do a lot of cardio and when I was younger I was a professional dancer.
“But people used to laugh at me because I was so weak. I hated having to ask people to lift heavy things for me.
“I’m a big feminist and I wanted to be strong enough to look after myself.
“I wanted to know that if I was walking alone I would be able to protect myself if I needed to and not have to rely on anyone else.
“I started weightlifting about 18 months ago and the changes I have seen in my body and my confidence have been amazing.
“I was always really slim, I’ve got quite a small frame but before I was very straight up and down.
“I didn’t want to look like a 14-year-old girl anymore, I wanted curves – and now I’ve got them. It’s the complete opposite to all the stereotypes.
“Women worry that lifting weights will make them look manly but it is ridiculous.
“My figure is definitely more womanly since I started bodybuilding. Everything seems to be more shapely and exaggerated.
“I feel incredible and I love shocking people with how strong I am. Because I am quite small, people don’t believe me when they find out I’m a bodybuilder.
“Now at work if the other air hostesses need something heavy lifting they’ll ask a man for help but I’ll say ‘don’t worry girls, I’ve got this’.
“And likewise if I have something heavy to lift, male colleagues or passengers will offer to help but I can do it myself. That is such a satisfying feeling.
“I think it is so important for women to feel like they can look after themselves.”
As well as changing her fitness regime, Dani has also had to transform her eating habits since taking up weightlifting with her new diet focussing on a high intake of lean proteins.
The bodybuilding business owner hits the gym six times a week using each session to target a different area of the body.
And just a year and a half in training, Dani took part in the bikini round of the United Kingdom Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation competition on SundaySadly Dani thinks a lot of women feel ‘too intimidated’ to get into bodybuilding as they see the weights section of their gyms filled with muscular men and worry about being judged.
But the former dancer is encouraging every woman to give it a go as it has benefitted her both physically and mentally.
Dani said: “Competing this weekend was such a good experience and it is great to be a part of something so positive.
“Being out on stage really boosts your self-confidence. And the next competition coming up in June gives me something to work towards.
“I hear so many women telling me they feel too intimated to go into the weights section at their gym.
“And it is intimidating. It’s full of a load of big guys and sadly a lot of women are scared they’re going to be judged.
“But I would encourage every woman to give it a go, at least for a month and see how you get on with it. Go to the gym at a quieter time if you’re feeling intimidated.
“It is so worth it. I feel so much fitter and I can see muscles I never even knew I had. Looking in the mirror and seeing that progress is the best feeling.
“I go to them gym six times a week. I think it is really important to have one rest day otherwise it is easy to get a bit too obsessed.
“Each day I focus on a different body part so on legs day I do a lot of squats and leg presses, another day I’ll do lots of shoulder presses.
“I’ll start off squatting with just the bar which is 20kg but then I’ll build up and add on up to 80kg of weights.
“I do have a very high protein diet so I have a lot of chicken for breakfast. It is weird at first but I’m used to it now.”
After getting into weightlifting, Dani realised when looking for gym wear that a lot of it seemed very similar and didn’t allow her to express her glam, girly side.
Determined to embrace being ultra feminine and ultra fit, Dani launched her fashion brand Dani Doll Sport in January this year.
Dani said: “I have always been a very girly girl. I am obsessed with pink. My room is pink, my car is pink, everything is pink.
“And I like to be very glamorous in everything I do. I won’t leave the house without my hair extensions, fake eyelashes and makeup done.
“I like to take pride in my appearance. My mum always told me that if you look good then you feel good and it helps you do anything. It’s so true.
“When I started going to the gym loads I realised that all the women looked the same. Everyone is wearing black leggings and black sports tops.
“There isn’t a lot of variety out there and none of it is especially girly or glamorous.
“We express ourselves in everyday life so why not at the gym too? That’s why I decided to launch my sportswear.
“It’s all really pretty and glamorous. The company slogan is look like a beauty, lift like a beast.
“Wearing it, I feel myself and I feel like I look my best and I think that actually helps me to push myself to be even better at the gym as well.”
DANI’S DAILY DIET:
Breakfast: Grilled chicken and oats
Snack: A post-gym protein shake
Lunch: Tuna salad with rice
Snack: A few pick n’ mix sweets
Dinner: Baked sweet potato, steamed vegetables and grilled salmon
Drinks: Water and one coffee a day