‘I’m aiming to be world number one’

The Coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll on everything from day to day life to various sports with a number of events suspended or cancelled as the world tries to bring the outbreak under control.

Despite the situation which has seen all gyms closed, Ballymoney mum of two, Michelle Daly continues to train in preparation for the NABBA World Bodybuilding Championships in Mexico which are due to take place in June.

With her eyes firmly set on the number one prize, Michelle is not only striving to be the very best in the world, she is also keeping numerous men, women and children across the area fit with her online classes.

Michelle set out on her fitness journey in 2013, collecting numerous top titles in the past seven years.

“I first got into the fitness industry when I started training in Altas gym in 2013,” said the 42-year old.

“ I always had a passion for TRX (suspension rope training) but wanted to sculpt my body and add size so started lifting weights.

“Feeling good after weight training and seeing positive changes has stayed with me.

“I then progressed to competing when I was approached by Dave Warner, NABBA NI President whilst training in Atlas gym.

“He suggested that I should think aboutcompeting because he saw potential in me that I didn’t.

“With the support and belief of my husband Bryan and the encouragement from Atlas gym I competed in my first BodyBuilding Miss Toned competition in April 2014, finishing third.”

Since then Michelle has competed regularly with the NABBA Federation.

In 2018 she won Miss NI Bikini Masters, finishing sixth in the British Finals Miss Bikini Masters in the same year.

Last year she cam an impressive secind place in the Worlds Miss Bikini Masters and third in the Universe Miss Bikini Masters. However, now her sights are set on the top step of the podium as she aims to be World number one.

“At the minute the World Championships in June are still taking place in Mexico. But Mexico as a whole is taking a different stance on the fight against the spread of the corona virus.

“This may well change as many teams from all over Europe including the Great Britain team are struggling with preparation as many countries are in lockdown with no access to gyms.”

Michelle, who is a personal trainer as well as taking classes in Ballymoney three times a week, began her preparation for the World Championships at the start of the year.

“I was selected for the Great Britain team in January,” said Michelle.

“In the build up to competition I train up to six times a week with weights and introduce cardio normally about eight weeks out from competition date.

“With regards to my diet I am fortunate to be sponsored by McAtamney’s Butchers and they meet all my nutritional needs.

“I am sponsored by one of the world’s leading supplement companies BiotechUSA and Blu Nutrition which is supplied through NI Supplements. These sponsors meet all my supplement needs for training as well as health and wellbeing.

“The current coronavirus situation has disrupted my preparation, however, I am determined to be the best I can possibly be.

“Just using bodyweight exercises and resistance band exercises doesn’t cut it to be world stage worthy.

“Fortunately, I have my own private gym/studio where I can get my training done but those that compete at the highest levels will understand that having access to a full range of resistance machines and weights which larger gyms like Atlas have is a necessity.

“Being in the gym surrounded with like-minded people with similar goals is a positive environment and I miss this.

“Being World number two and having a goal of representing Great Britain at world level is enough motivation for me as I’m sure it would be for anyone.

“Having short term and long term goals keeps me motivated, passionate and driven and being one of the world’s best bikini athletes keeps me focused.

“I am currently World number two so there is only one way I want to go and that is up!

“I will strive for progression and aim to bring my best package to the world stage.”

Competing in bodybuilding/fitness competitions is about so much more than looking ripped and shredded.

“When it comes to Miss Bikini Masters the judges are looking for ‘a total package’ and for you to present yourself with poise, self-confidence and posture with a series of quarter turns, an I-Walk, comparisons and pose down.

“Aside from being judged on your physique, the overall package of how you present yourself on stage is factored in as well as your hairstyle, makeup, skin, tan, jewellery and even your nails to achieve that flawless beautiful bikini look.

“I am fortunate to be sponsored by Baked Tanning in Ballymoney so my tan and skin will be glowing and sponsored by Bikini Love – Annabelle Edgar who will be designing me a bespoke dazzling bikini for the world and universe stage this year.”

With most of us stuck inside, understanding the different ways to keep active is vital for our physical and mental wellbeing.

Incorporating exercise into our daily routine is crucial to our overall wellbeing, so Michelle has been live-streaming workout classes through her Facebook page.

“The girls at my classes and my PT clients are a great support to me every week.

“I know with the chaos of the coronavirus that it’s not just tough on me but it’s tough for a lot of them too.

“So to keep the class alive and support my PT clients I’m doing my private free live workouts on a Tuesday and Thursday night.

“It lets them still connect with each other and it is good not just for their physical wellbeing but for their mental health too.

“Aside from that I love what I do!

“It’s extremely important to stay fit as possible, virtually everyone has had their lives disrupted in so many ways and you are put out of your routine.

“Exercise is the best anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drug out there.”