PERSONAL trainer Gemma Hallatt is looking to the future and has competition success firmly in her sights.
In fact, she is aiming for the top in her chosen field.
Whilst most people would baulk at the idea of parading in front of an audience and being judged on their body, 36-year-old Gemma is more than happy to do it — in a micro bikini.
For the Parkgate resident is an up-and-coming name in the field of bikini athletics and fitness modelling, which has close links to bodybuilding.
In October, she was placed fourth in Britain in the Ultimate Bikini Model over 163cm category at the UK Ultimate Physiques (UKUP) British finals in York and hopes this will be a springboard to even more success.
Indeed, she has done well with 12 placings between first and fifth in competitions since 2014.
Gemma said that she hoped her success would spur on others to get involved.
She said: “I would like to think I am a role model and make girls think I can do that.”
Gemma has been involved in personal training since school and has worked in gyms and on cruise ships across the world.
The difference between traditional bodybuilding and bikini fitness is based on body shape. Bodybuilders have big physiques whereas bikini fitness enthusiasts have a different body look.
There are different federations with different criteria but Gemma is more than happy to stand and be judged. In fact she enjoys it.
Gemma said: “I like the challenge, it’s something different.
“The idea if going onto a stage in a micro bikini and being scrutinised – at first I thought ‘can I’ ?
“The first time I got a dry mouth and nerves but then got on stage and did my poses and walking. I stumbled through it.
“I came off and thought I cannot believe I did that.
“I did not want to come off. I could not stop smiling. It’s an incredible feeling – I can describe it as addictive.”
When she first thought about fitness modelling, somebody told Gemma that she couldn’t do it because she was “so broad” like a swimmer but she was not going to be put off.
The opening up of fitness modelling in recent years has meant that more women have been able to get involved because it requires different sorts of body looks than traditional bodybuilding.
Gemma said: “You have to look at the shows and see what to do to fit into their categories.”
She said that the competition scene is “massive” now and even mums and office workers are getting involved.
“We have seen it change massively in the last four years,” said Gemma.
“Before women were scared off as it was all about cardio but now it is more towards weights.
“It’s a very specific look.
“My mum does not like it. She’s not a fan of the look. She thinks I don’t eat but I eat six or seven meals a day so I probably eat more than her.”
Gemma admitted that getting prepared for a show is hard work, but she has a strong fitness regime anyway because of her PT background.
When she has a contest, Gemma starts “beautifying” herself a few days before.
She has five weight sessions a week, two treadmill sessions, three faster power walks, and does extra cardio if needed.
“I can eat anything but I’m careful about what I choose,” she said.
“I have been in the industry so long I know how my body works.
“We are all in there to look so glamorous but we may be dehydrated or hungry beacause we have not eaten a lot of carbs.
“In the last few weeks before a competition I can make some drastic changes to my body.”
Gemma also walks many miles a week with dog Harley and “loves bikes”.
Gemma’s aim is to qualify as a pro and gain an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) showcard.
“That’s the goal. It’s a very big goal next year,” she said.
“It would be great to be a personal trainer at IFBB.”
Gemma has been sponsored by Ziggy’s Workouse Gym since 2016 and was recently selected to be spray tanned by Get Bronze, a big deal in bikini fitness circles as very few are chosen.
In five years time Gemma hopes to be competing overseas, such as at the Olympia competition in Las Vegas where Arnold Schwarzenegger started out as a body builder.
Gemma said that a great many people — men and women — are involved in the various competitions, ranging from juniors aged 17 to 21 or 23 upwards because there is no age limit. She knows of a 73-year-old bodybuilder who is still having success.
A lot of couples get involved in the contests – indeed there are couples’ categories in competitions.
Gemma said: “Anyone can have a go if you are willing to put the work in.”
Her bikinis may be brief but they are a big price, coming in at £300 each, so Gemma is looking forward to the day when she earns money from competing.
She said: “The goal is that I can compete for money. I have not won anything as such but I have got sponsorship.”
Gemma does part-time modelling and has appeared in the magazines Darkus and Twisted Edge this year, and has gained clients for her personal training business PT Suite.
She has provided sports massage for British Surperbikes riders for ten years, as well as nutrition plans, and has been a grid girl for Superbikes for nine years.
Contrary to common belief, the competitions are happy events to be part of, said Gemma.
“The atmosphere is so nice and friendly. I have made lifelong friends from doing this,” she said.
But her biggest fan is husband Phil who has competed in competitions as well.
She admitted that he is her “number one fan”.