Wendy Ally began her sporting journey when she joined Harts Gym in Clowne, and before she knew it she was transforming her body completely.
The hairdressing student explained: “Last year I was doing a lot of running, and I joined the gym in November so I could keep fit during the winter.”
“There are some guys at the gym who do bodybuilding and I had always thought I would love to have a go.”
“One of the guys asked me if I could be interested in competing.”
“I didn’t know if I had left it too late, but last year they introduced a Masters category in the BNBF Championships for ladies over the age of 40.”
In January she began training in earnest, with a strict diet, but it wasn’t all plain sailing.
“I was eating six meals a day and training hard.”
“But I had to have a foot operation, and I was on crutches, but I still trained my upper body.”
Fourteen weeks before the regional BNBF event in Derby, Wendy’s diet became even more rigid.
And she believes it was all worth it, having taken second place in her debut.
“It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s paid off really,” she said.
“It was quite exciting doing my first competition, and the transformation in me has been fantastic, it shows what your body is capable of.”
“It’s given me confidence and increased self belief, and I’ve made new friends.”
“I desperately wanted to take gold, but I was very happy with my condition on the day.”
With the national finals still to come in Manchester next month, Wendy has more work ahead of her.
And she says it wouldn’t be possible without her support network.
“You have to ask for such a lot from your family, you have to give things up and ask for a level of understanding from them.”
“My partner Greg and my kids are very proud.”
“My coach Chris Hart is a bodybuilder himself and he’s really helped with my diet and nutrition.”
“And the whole gym team have been amazing, they’re like an extended family.”