Semi-professional bodybuilder and muscle model Louise Plumb is the first-ever UK Arnold’s Sports Festival Female Bodybuilding champion, Miss Britain IBFA Women’s Physique champion 2021.
I got to speak to the inspirational mum of two on her aspirations and what the future holds for her.
What inspired you to compete as a bodybuilder?
“I never actually set out to be a bodybuilder. I started training in the gym as a way to lose baby weight and improve my mile per minute (I was a keen runner), but I soon fell in love with the weight room and my body started changing as I got more toned.”
“I changed gyms to a more weight training focused one and there were girls there that competed. Loads of people told me I should try, so one day I thought I’d set myself the challenge of seeing if I could get stage lean. If I’m honest I never thought I would go through with it!”
You’ve been in some pretty big competitions over the past year. Can you tell us more about them?
“Before this season I had a break of nearly 2 years from competing in bodybuilding. The lockdowns were a huge factor, but also because I decided to try a new weightlifting discipline of strongwoman, and competed in 2 competitions doing that.”
“Unfortunately, I injured my shoulder doing the strength training, so I went back to bodybuilding. At the start of 2021 I talked to my coach and we decided together that I should try out for my pro card.”
“I had gained a lot of size and muscle doing the strength training and I had therefore outgrown most British federations (they tend to have the Trained Figure as their top size class) so I was left with only a handful of competitions I could compete in. We decided to go all out and go for the top one!”
“We picked the show that suited when I needed to start my prep (the diet) and then decided on a ‘warm up’ show before too. It had been a while since I stepped on stage in a bikini so I wanted a practice run before the main event.”
“I did the warm-up show and won, earning me a place in the British Finals, then I competed in the qualifier for the po card and won both classes I entered.”
“I qualified for the first-ever UK Arnold’s Sports Festival where I entered in the female bodybuilding category, and I won! Then onto the British Finals of the warm-up comp, I did…and I won that too, earning the title of Miss Britain.”
“Unfortunately I didn’t earn my pro card as there weren’t enough athletes competing in the class to be awarded one.”
How long does it take to prepare for a competition and what sacrifices have you had to make to achieve the optimum?
“Prep is usually between 12-24 weeks, depending on how much fat you have to lose.”
“This also depends on what class you enter as each one has different requirements in terms of how lean you need to be.”
“I decided on 16 weeks for the qualifier show, so that meant I did my 1st comp of the season after 13 weeks, then 16, then 19 and finally 22 weeks prep.”
“The sacrifices you have to make are things like not being able to eat or drink freely. Everything is on plan, timed and weighed out to the gram. No other food is to be included at all.”
“Also the time to train is a big sacrifice on your day. I can train up to 4 hours per day while in prep. It’s a serious business!”
What has been the most challenging aspect of your training as a female bodybuilder?
“Probably the sheer amount of time you need to dedicate to it while prepping for a comp.”
“The training needs to be done daily, the food needs to be prepared and eaten…all while looking after your children, running the home and holding down 2 jobs. I find myself getting up at 4 am to be able to fit it all in.”
You’ve continued to grow an amazing online following. What advice would you give to any woman wanting to follow in your footsteps?
“The best advice I can give is to be authentic. I have never been one to follow fads or trends when it comes to training, I have always posted what I find interesting and a visual journal of my bodybuilding journey.”
“I originally started my Instagram as a visual diary of my first preps so I could compare year on year to see if I had improved.”
“The following has been organic as I think people have seen how I have changed, and I do try to inject my personality in every post.”
When you’re not training and operating for competitions, how do you like to spend your time?
“The same as everyone else…I love being with my kids, watching movies, going out for food or day trips, seeing friends and family. I am planning a big holiday for me and my kids next year right before I start my prep for the 2022 season.”
With all your amazing achievements during the past year, what does 2022 hold in store for Louise Plumb?
“The year will start with me ‘bulking’. This means putting on extra weight and size to grow more muscle.”
“I have a family holiday booked for Easter, and when home I will be knuckling down in prep for the shows I plan on competing in during the summer. “
“Hopefully I’ll do more photoshoots as I have started modelling for fitness and muscle shots…and then the icing on the cake would be to gain my international pro card. That’s the dream!”