Leona Connolly found herself at 222 pounds at age 29. She lacked self-confidence and was slipping into a depression. “I knew my weight was my problem, and if I didn’t do something I was sending myself to a very early grave.” She started training with FF Fitness owner Seamus Fox in September 2013, seven months before her 30th birthday. “I wanted to make my birthday one to remember, so I set the huge goal of losing 70 pounds.” Two days before her 30th, she met her goal. Two and a half years later, she reached 138 pounds.
DIET DOS AND DON’TS
One of her first lifestyle changes was nutrition. “My diet was shocking. I constantly was eating junk food and drinking fizzy lemonade. I cut all that out and went back to basics with loads of green veggies to give my body the detox it needed.” She also added chicken and fish into her diet, drank only water, and eliminated all sugar. “The first week was super-tough, but once I began to see changes in my body I thrived off it,” she says. Her current diet is primarily low-carb and high-fat and protein, with four meals a day.
LOVE THE GYM YOU’RE IN
Along with her diet, Connolly started hitting the gym, lifting weights at 6 a.m. and doing cardio at night. “I’m naturally strong, but the cardio side took a little while longer to enjoy—now I love every minute of it.”
She’s at the gym at least five days a week and competes in powerlifting. “The absolute buzz I have when I get on that platform with my teammates cheering me on is nothing short of amazing! I’m always so nervous, but the sheer joy once I lift the weight is addictive,” says Connolly. In 2015 she won the European Deadlift Championships, followed by two silvers and a bronze at the World Championships.
LEAN ON ME
“You always doubt yourself, but I credit the support I had behind me. Seamus started as my personal trainer. I still train with him every day, but he is now a very close friend. He’s taught me to believe I can work hard for it and then achieve it.”
Her advice to others: “Believe in yourself enough just to start. The littlest change can make a massive difference. I achieved what I thought was impossible and gained the confidence to start an exciting new life.”
HOW SHE DOES IT
- Back Squat 6x60kg
- Jump 6x25kg
- Prowler Push Run 100kg
Multivitamin plus omega-3 oils and a vitamin B complex. Also whey protein post-workout and amino acids before and during workouts.
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