November 10, 2021 8.22 am

Lincoln bodybuilder dreams big after first year competing in shows

She will represent Team GB in the Universe show

A Lincoln bodybuilder continues to go from strength to strength after competing in four shows this year before being selected to represent Team GB at the Universe Championships.

Ashleigh Fiedler currently works as a business support assistant for Lincolnshire County Council, but away from her day job her passion lies with fitness and bodybuilding, and she has enjoyed a very successful prep and show year.

The 28-year-old’s interest in the sport first began back in 2018 after reading an article in The Lincolnite about North Hykeham bodybuilding champion Jenna Beckworth, who is now Ashleigh’s coach.

Ashleigh now trains five days a week, both in the gym and at home, whilst having online and face-to-face training with Jenna to get her ready for shows.

Ashleigh finished fourth at the BNF Show in October this year. | Photo: Karl Morris

Ashleigh has always been into fitness and going to the gym, but was initially scared to go into the weights section as she felt it was quite male dominated. As she got more confident and began using different weights, she decided to try competing as a bodybuilder.

The first show she competed in was PCA First Timers at the town hall in Birmingham in October last year. She competed in the Toned Figure category, which involved going onto the stage and performing in front of judges, posing from the front, back and both sides to showcase her figure and physique.

The PCA is a non-tested event allowing a mixture of natural athletes and those who are assisted (on cycles of medications/steroids).

After a second-placed finish, Ashleigh was invited to the British finals in Birmingham, which took place last month. She finished sixth, which led to being invited to represent Team GB at the Universe Championships at the NEC in Birmingham in May 2022.

In August, she competed in a ‘natural’ qualifying show in Birmingham where all competitors are unassisted. She finished second and was rewarded with an invite to the BNBF Show in October this year where she finished fourth.

Ashleigh won the amateur category at the NFM UK European Championships in October 2021. | Photo: Matt Thomas

Ashleigh will compete in more bodybuilding shows in 2022. | Photo: Matt Marsh

She also competed at the NFM UK European Championships in Leicester in October 2021, winning the amateur category and being awarded with a pro card under the Global bodybuilding Organization (GBO). Having a pro card means Ashleigh can now compete in America and in shows across Europe.

Ashleigh told The Lincolnite: “I’ve absolutely loved it. It can be quite stressful sticking to the set plans and you do have to sacrifice your social life a little bit, but I’m competitive with myself and having goals has really helped me to push through it.

“I was absolutely ecstatic (after winning the European Championships). It was a shock, but it fuelled the fire in me even more and made me realise how passionate I am about bodybuilding and professing my own physique.

“I’ve been invited by judges to go to Universe who think I’m good enough to represent Great Britain which is exciting and gives me butterflies too. I’m really looking forward to it.

“I do want to compete in more shows again next year too and, now that I have my pro card, I am hoping to go over to America in 2023 and do a natural show over there.

“The feedback I had this year was that my shape was spot on, but I need to increase my muscle size and mass, so I want to give myself as good a chance as possible by giving myself that extra year (before going to America).”

Lincoln bodybuilder Ashleigh competes in the Toned Figure category. | Photo: Karl Morris

Ashleigh competes in the Toned Figure category, which she said means judges look for a typical x shape, broad shoulders going into a thin waist, and back out with muscular quads and glutes.

She said after the first show she ever did in October last year, she struggled mentally with the food side of things and binged a lot on extras like sweets and chocolate, but is now in a better place in her life.

Ashleigh competed at four bodybuilding shows in 2021. | Photo: Matt Thomas

Ashleigh previously struggled with body confidence, but now feels like she can achieve any goal she sets her mind on. | Photo: Matt Marsh

Ashleigh, who attends Anytime Fitness gym in Lincoln, added: “I put on a lot of body fat that I shouldn’t have done. It made me realise how much harder I had to work to get to the point I am now.

“I still struggle mentally at times, but I know why I feel like that now, and I can look back on the past experience I’ve had and say to myself that it is okay to feel that way and there is nothing to worry about.

“I did struggle when I was younger with body confidence and how I looked. Doing bodybuilding and seeing how far I can push myself and what I can actually achieve, especially during COVID when gyms were closed, I now feel that if anybody has a goal they can achieve anything that they set their mind to.

“The bodybuilding community is so supportive between each other and you know you’re not feeling things on your own. More stage time and experience has also improved my confidence and, after doing shows for different federation, I am more confident on stage and know what works for me.

“I do sometimes feel like people automatically think you are not natural if you are muscly, especially with women, but there is a whole process behind it – eating, training, bulking, prepping, and a cycle to build your muscle up. There is a misconception on that side of things that bodybuilders aren’t natural, but there are more women competing now which is really nice to see and if anyone doubts me it fuels me even more to prove them wrong.”

Ashleigh was initially scared of using weights, but is now more confident with her body image in her so far successful career as a bodybuilder.

Lincoln bodybuilder Ashley wants to help others with their mindset, body image, and mental well-being.

Ashleigh, who is in the final year of her degree in Health and Social Care at the University of Lincoln, wants to help others with their mindset, body image, and mental well-being.

In the future, she would love to work in online and in-person coaching to help people achieve this. She is currently charting her bodybuilding journey on Instagram and said: “If it is able to help anyone else on their journey, or with their confidence in the gym, then that is a bonus.”

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