A 38-year-old mother from Northampton who decided to swap slimming down for a life of competitive bodybuilding, says the move gave her ‘more confidence’ than she’s ever had before.
Sherolyne France, 38, who now boasts over 1,000 followers on Instagram, lost 83lbs by swapping fad diets for the goal of building muscle.
She went from weighing 224 pounds (16 stone) in 2020, to 141 pounds (10stone, 1lb) by the time she took part in her first show in 2021.
The wellness bodybuilder first hired a fitness coach three years ago, with the intention of losing weight – she never expected to undergo such a huge transformation.
Sherolyne told MailOnline: ‘I cannot describe how much happier I am now – and it is not only with my body.
‘Building muscle to be competitive takes time and it is a process. You have to embrace the off season where you are not shredded and several lbs. heavier as this is where the hard work is done.
‘However, the happiness comes from the sense of achievement knowing that the transformation is a direct result of the hard work you put into every session week in and out.
‘It took me decades to find my “thing” and all the time being unhappy with my body so to find a true passion for something at 35 years of age and still love it as much as I do now I am 38 is amazing – the physique is just a bonus.’
The mum first suggested the idea to her coach, after being a typical ‘yo-yo’ dieter who ‘tried everything’ and struggled to not put the weight back on.
She told The US Sun: ‘I had always admired bodybuilders over the years, but never thought I could do it.
‘When I’d lost about 10 pounds, I was feeling really confident and actually being consistent, I was seeing the changes.’
After seeing great results, she first competed in 2021 as a bikini athlete at PCA (Physical Culture Association) in Birmingham, before realising her body was more suited to the wellness category.
Wellness is one of the newer categories in International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness (IFBB) league.
The division is for females with athletic physiques who showcase more body mass in the hips, glutes, and thigh areas.
Since then, she’s competed in many shows, with one coming up in Milan in a few weeks time, after proudly placing second in her first competition of 2023.
Sherolyne said: ‘This will be my first competition abroad and I am so excited.
‘It is more than just the competition day, it is the whole journey – just the thought of standing on the stage in Milan makes my heart so full right now.
‘It has been a tough year as my younger sister passed away in July a few weeks before her 28th birthday so I am not too focused on the future but just being grateful for every day.
‘After Milan and the immediate future it will be about recovery and some down time before I sit down with my coach Erin Thomson, to plan the next season.’
She currently balances her glamorous lifestyle with a full time job in HR, but hopes to transition into the industry full time in the future.
Bodybuilding also doesn’t come without it’s challenges – Sherolyne also has a daughter and a partner to ‘trying to fit everything in’ can be tough.
She explained: ‘You have to train, daily steps, cardio, meal prep, time with my family and then there’s the household and also full time work.
‘I am fortunate that my daughter and partner are my personal cheerleaders and they take on more around the house especially as I get close to a show and fatigue is high.
‘I also have a great support network, the people at my gym Dallington Fitness are super encouraging, and my colleagues where I work at Billing Finance will literally come with my on my lunchtime walks, accomodate me for food and meeting times.’
She added: ‘My friends and family are also really understanding as they know how much this means to me, they understand that sometimes a catchup will be a walk in the park with coffee so I can get steps in or they do no pressure me to eat non prep food.
‘It is very normal for me to go to a restaurant with them and have either a bottle of water or whip out my tupperware and eat that instead.’
The 38-year-old couldn’t be happier with her life now and wishes she could ‘ bottle up’ how body building makes her feel and’ distribute it as its so hard to put into words.’
She explained: ‘The changes to my physique have had an absolutely amazing impact on my mental health, self esteem and confidence – it is like every area of my life has levelled up since taking control of my physical health.
‘I feel more motivated to do everything and do it with intent. I feel lighter and not just because I am currently literally lighter due to show day approaching
‘Years ago I would give into the pressure to do the what is perceived as normal things like having alcohol on social occasions, saying yes to the office cakes and pizza on special occasions because I didn’t want to seem boring or the odd one out.
She reflected: ‘Now I don’t think twice about it, I never really enjoyed nights out so to say no is actually like a breath of fresh air.
‘With food, for the most part I am also not fussed – yes we all have those days where you fancy a slice and if the schedule allows I will have some but I am also just as happy eating my oats and berries.
‘The lifestyle has given me the confidence to be my authentic self and I couldn’t ask for much more’.
Encouraging other women to give a try, Sherolyne said: ‘A lot of women may be scared about what others will think and I was the same at one point too.
‘You have to think about what makes you happy. People will always have something to say about almost everything you do so you cannot let this hold you back.
‘Life is too short and too precious not to try the things you want to do. Anyone who lifts weights frequently is essentially building their body – some just do it more consistently with a goal in mind than others.
‘If you are worried about it – remove the label and just say you are working on a career in the health and fitness industry’.