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Bulking, shredding, flexing, and protein shakes – you’re used to seeing the typical bodybuilder, headphones on, music blasting, strutting from bench to lifting platform, piling on the plate weights, stringlet hanging loose with a look of pure concentration plastered on their face.

But I bet you didn’t picture a woman, did you?

Forget thigh gaps and waif icons – strong is the new skinny, with a muscular figure fast becoming #goals.  The social stigma and body shaming associated with female bodybuilding is disappearing fast, with #chickswholift and #strongwomen leading the social media charge to make the sport mainstream.

What does it take to be a female bodybuilder? We chat to Tiahna Prosser, Miss Australia, to get the inside scoop on how she pushes her body, and her mind, to the limits before a competition.

Miss Australia – wow! We cannot even imagine the hard yards you’ve smashed to win such an empowering title. How did you come to fall in love with lifting weights?

I fell in love with the idea of weight lifting when I was quite young. I have always been very slim but very unfit and very unhealthy. After concerns with my health and diet, I decided to take a new approach to the way I see my body. Instead of seeing myself as thin, I wanted to see myself as FIT!

Tiahna Prosser competing for Miss Australia

What’s involved in a Miss Australia competition, and what made you want to compete?

The Miss Australia title comes from the WFF (World Fitness Federation), and I had to place at a state  show in order to qualify for the national titles before representing Australia – hence the status Miss Australia. Then I started to compete worldwide as an international athlete.

I have always aspired to be better than I was yesterday, and after months of prep and training, of course your goal is to win the big title! It was a last-minute decision to compete in Miss Australia, but it was the best decision I have ever made. I will always improve, I will always aim to beat my past self, and I will always achieve my goals.

What does your typical training week look like?

At the moment I train twice a day, six days a week, including cardio and weights every day. I’m currently in between competitions, so my training is intensified, but in my off-season I still train six days a week because it’s my passion. If I can do what I love every day, I will!

Six days a week is an extraordinary commitment – how do you fit your workouts in amongst your daily life?

I work part-time and also do online personal training, so I have the convenience of working from home most days. Although training to compete feels like a full-time job in itself, the gym has become a second home and is really the only time I put my phone down and focus on myself. It’s what I look forward to most in my day! It is both physically and emotionally draining, and it’s not for everyone, but with motivation and a great support system, it’s very possible.

Tiahna visiting the Grand Canyon in Arizona while taking a break from her intense workout schedule

Working to such a demanding gym regiment, we can only imagine your diet it just as strict. What’s usually packed in your lunchbox?

I maintain a very strict diet but with a lot of variety. My food changes daily to keep me satisfied, on- track and to avoid boredom. I follow a series of macro nutrients numbers which are broken down into carbs, proteins, fats and sugars. I can design my own diet and keep it creative as I feel needed.

On a usual day, I’ll eat:

  • Breakfast: oats with almond milk and blueberries
  • Mid-morning snack: sugar-free jelly
  • Lunch: turkey mince with high protein pasta and homemade pasta sauce
  • Dinner: tuna and peas fried into patties
  • Dessert: chocolate fibre bar with sugar-free maple syrup

What’s your go-to healthy snack when naughty cravings hit?

My go-to healthy snack would have to be broccoli chips! I love the spicy flavour, and they pretty much have no carbs. Sometimes I’ll find myself eating two packs a day – no regrets! They keep you feeling full and are the first low-carb snack that I actually enjoy eating.

Training six days a week while sticking to a strict diet plan must be exhausting – how do you push yourself through motivation plateaus?

Not every training session is easy, and not every day do I see results. I take each day as it comes and know that every time I lift a little heavier, or do a couple more reps, it will be easier to do tomorrow. I have plenty of idols in the fitness industry and I always stay up-to-date with their progress, which always motivates me. But above all, having a goal and a set time frame pushes me the most, and setting smaller, achievable goals are also important to reaching your overall goal.

What piece of advice would you give to other women aspiring to break into the weightlifting scene?

Set yourself reasonable and short-term goals, and start smashing them. The more you can achieve, no matter how big or small, the better you will feel about yourself – and self-confidence goes a long way! Everyone has to start somewhere so there’s no better time to start than right now!

Follow Tiahna on Instagram for a healthy dose of fit-spiration!

New to lifting weights? Try our BODYPUMP® or ABT Dynamo Group Fitness Classes for an easy-to-follow, choreographed workout to challenge every major muscle in your body.

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