Former bodybuilding champion now transforming others
FORMER female bodybuilding champion Marian Leonard is changing people's lives one rep at a time.
The 51-year-old, who has represented Australia in the International Natural Bodybuilding Association's Olympia contest, has hung up her bikini to help others achieve their own fitness and physique goals.
Her Ipswich-based business, Body Boutique Personalised Training (BBPT), has become so successful it now draws clients from as far as Brisbane, Gold Coast and Toowoomba.
"It's great to have people travelling here because they've heard we're the best," the mother of three said.
"I started off with a team of one, then it was four, then it was 14 - now I'm struggling to fit in all those who want to train."
As a testament to her training, Ms Leonard recently had 13 of her clients win awards at the Queensland INBA bodybuilding competition.
One was Bundamba chef Levaopolo Bruce Lauano - known around the fitness studio as 'The Hulk'. When the father of four started out at BBPT two years ago he weighed more than 130kg. Within six months, he had stripped down to 82kg of lean muscle.
"I have always enjoyed going to the gym and lifting heavy weights," he said.
"One day Marian approached me and said 'you're lifting all this weight, why not get rewarded for it?'
"That's when I decided to take it to the next level and adapted to her strict diet and training program."
Another winner was Megan Axelsen from Karalee who began training as a way to overcome her eating disorder of 17 years.
The 35-year-old, who suffered from anorexia, now eats six to seven times a day to keep her body healthy and her muscles growing.
"I started this as an experiment to see if it could help me beat my disorder and it actually did," she said.
"And that's been the most liberating thing for me - to finally not classify myself as living with an eating disorder."
Ms Leonard said the decision to take part in personalised training rarely involved ego.
"Instead clients are motivated by overcoming adversity or shyness or a personal challenge," she said.
"Anyone who walks in my door, no matter who they are, has potential to reach whatever fitness level they want."
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