Bikini competitor Julia Woodford lives to inspire by example.
BSN Athlete Julia Woodford grew up competing in gymnastics. Now 24, her passion for health and fitness has extended beyond her own life, and on to helping others achieve their goals.
“My vision was clear growing up that I wanted to be in the fitness industry and help people,” the personal trainer and online lifestyle coach says. “I started to share my journey on social media and was blown away by the impact I had on people – not just ones close to me but all over the world.
“I want to send a powerful message to girls and woman to strive towards being fit and strong, that there is no limit to your goals if you’re willing to work for it.”
Woodford completed her Certificate 3 and 4 in fitness in 2009, and has been building her brand ever since. As well as working to improve the lives of others, she is also now a Bikini competitor, aiming for her Pro card. Last year she placed third overall at the Arnold Classic and first at the QLD IFBB state show.
“Being involved in competitive gymnastics for eight years gave me the motivation to continue to push myself in everything that I do,” she says. “I competed in my first Bikini show in 2012 and fell in love with the sport. I love the journey, hard work and dedication involved. I get excited about bringing my best to the stage and being able to share it with everyone around me.
At the time of writing, Woodford was in preparation for the NZ IFBB PRO/AM show on March 11, to be held in Auckland.
“Each week my food and training changes slightly according to how my body is responding,” she says. “At the moment I weight-train six days a week, along with morning and afternoon cardio sessions as well as HIIT three times a week. I have weeks where I focus on compound movements such as heavy deadlifts/squats and overhead presses and then switch it up to higher volume training where I drop the weight right back and increase the reps.
“I love the feeling of really pushing myself to the limit in my training. My goal for my next show is to come in with my best overall package to date. To feel strong and proud on stage knowing I’ve given it everything I have.”
As each individual is physically different, discovering what works best for your own body can be quite challenging. And as Woodford knows, you need to have an open mind and give things a go.
“If you try something and it doesn’t work, don’t take it as a negative or a setback,” she says. “Use it as motivation to keep going. Trust the process and don’t give up. Find a mentor who genuinely wants to work with you to help you achieve your goals.”
Living the dream
Discipline is essential in the lead-up to a show, and sweet-tooth Woodford knows how important it is stick to the program – nutritionally as well as in the gym.
“When in prep for a show I make sure I’m prepared and have my meals with me to stay on track,” she says. “I don’t use food tracking apps as I find them too time-consuming, but I do track my calories and weigh my food, even when I’m not in comp prep.
“I believe that having a balance is the key to a healthy life. When I’m not prepping I still eat clean during the week and treat myself to a treat night on the weekend.”
As a BSN Athlete, Woodford has had the opportunity to travel the world, attending the 2016 Olympia in the United States and the 2016 Sheru Classic in India.
“I’m very grateful to have the support from my amazing sponsors BSN,” she says. “The past year they have given me the opportunity to travel doing what I love – helping motivate and inspire people to live a healthier, more active lifestyle and sharing my passion for fitness. I’ll be attending the Arnold Classic in Melbourne this year to be a part of the BSN booth, and I am so excited to be at this event again with the team.
“I have also been given an amazing opportunity to work with Neil Hill and start his Y3T training method after my show in March. I am so excited and honoured to work alongside the legend himself!”
Stepping on stage and rubbing shoulders with huge names in the industry is a massive thrill for any competitor, and Woodford finds it hugely rewarding to show off her hard work.
“The feeling of being up on stage is incredible,” she says. “A mixture of nerves, excitement and passion for the sport really shines through each athlete in a unique way. It’s so great to be able to connect with people who I look up to. One day I hope to create such a positive impact on people’s lives the way they do.”
Thanks to her hard work and dedication, Woodford is sure to continue to succeed in her chosen sport. But she is also equally determined to help others be the best they can be.
“I enjoy pushing myself and making progress, but I also love the feeling I get when I hear that I’ve helped motivate or inspire someone, even if it’s in the smallest way,” she says. “I love that I can help people live a healthier lifestyle or challenge themselves by sharing my experiences.
“There are definitely no shortcuts! I believe that nothing worth having comes easy. You need to stay consistent. Ask yourself if you really want something. If the answer is yes, then DO IT and commit to it 100 percent.