Eglish fitness coach scoops top model award

Rebecca Irwin
Rebecca Irwin

After several months of gruelling training and dieting, an Eglish woman has won an international fitness model competition.

Former dancer and international table tennis player, Rebecca Irwin won the formal wear event of the Miss Bikini Body category of the Fitness Model Awards, which were held in Belfast on June 7.

She was up against 80 competitors from across Europe.

Now a fitness trainer after completing a degree in Sport Studies at the University of Ulster, Rebecca set herself a life-changing challenge in February, one that ‘really surprised and educated her’.

“I wanted to see how long it would take me to achieve the perfect bikini body that all these glossy magazines go on about. How difficult was it?”, she said.

“I was reasonably fit before I started. So I put myself in the shoes of one of my clients and went to a personal trainer myself. It was strange as I’m used to being the one giving out instructions rather than taking them.”

“I entered the NIFMA competition in the Devenish in Belfast and I was thrilled to win the Formalwear event! I’ll definitely take part in another competition in the future.”

Rebecca’s diet consisted of lean meat and vegetables and she says her dad Johnston- who’s a farmer - couldn’t get over her turning down his offer of potatoes at dinner time.

“I had to be super-prepared when it came to food, ” she said.

“I couldn’t just come home at night and eat anything. About eight weeks into my programme I decided to have what is called a skip load day’. I ate anything I wanted for a whole day! I’ve a sweet tooth so I went mad on chocolate bars, pick n mix and ice-cream plus a full three course meal. Oh my goodness, it was awful! I was dying with stomach cramps and had to lie in bed. It was the worst I’d ever felt. My body wasn’t happy with the bad food!” she laughs.

Rebecca says the buzz she gets from being on stage makes the hard work worthwhile.

I’m used to being on stage with my dancing so that wasn’t a problem for me but posing in high heels really took it out of me! My muscles were aching, ” she laughs.

“The girls taking part were lovely and I like the atmosphere at these events. My ambition is to enter the NABBA competitions in the future. (National Amateur Bodybuilders association.)”