A battling mum who was bullied by her controlling boss and branded a ‘wimp’ by her ex-boyfriend has had the last laugh – after becoming a professional BODY BUILDER.
Heather Cowley was mocked as a child by pupils when she went to school because of her love of sports but she became deeply self-conscious after she got divorced at the age of 30.
The 49-year-old was then threatened and abused by a controlling boyfriend, who taunted her because of her looks and called her a “wimp.”
But after plucking up the courage to dump her abusive partner, Heather started going for daily work-outs at the gym and entered body-building competitions.
Last month she took part in the internationally acclaimed Miss Galaxy Universe contest and finished an impressive 5th out of 120 contestants from around the world.
Heather, who lives in Baddeley Green, Staffs., said: “I was bullied at school, then later in life at work and have also been bullied in relationships.
“At school I was always good at sports and enjoyed it but got picked on for that and because I was a happy bouncy person.
“It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I found myself being bullied by a guy that I was in a relationship with.
“He emotionally abused me, called me a ‘wimp’ – he knew how to get at me putting me down, threatening me. He made me feel so worthless and I hit rock bottom.
“I started training as a form of stress relief and finally entered a local show in 1987 and came second.
“But then it all went wrong again when the bullying started at work and my boss harassed me because I rejected his advances.
“He made my life hell, made fun of me and made me look incompetent by laughing at me and taunting me when no-one was around.
“I resigned and had no money or job with a young child to look after and what was worse was I thought it was all my fault.
“Then I got a new job and returning to doing a bit of training to get me out of the house.
“I have always liked training and loved fitness. At 30 I got divorced and started weight training but it wasn’t until last year that I really started to dedicate myself to it.
“I love it, I have a passion for getting the body trained. I want to do more and if someone does a challenge then I want to do it too. If I go running then I always want to run faster.
“Put me in a spin class and I would be bored to death but put me on high intensity training where you see fast results and I love it.”
Heather, who has a son Tom, 23, undertakes a punishing three-and-a-half hour daily gym work which starts at 4.45am, in order to stay in shape.
She is now preparing for the National Amateur Body-Builders’ Association (NABBA)
Universe later this year after she turns 50. She is also going to star in a TV documentary to air next year.
Heather added: “I start with cardio at 4.45am and then after work I will train at the gym from 6.30pm until 9pm.
“I have six to eight meals a day that all have to be prepared in advance. I normally start with oats, egg whites or blueberries.
“I eat a lot of turkey with fresh vegetables like green beans or asparagus.
“I only allow myself a cheat meal on a Saturday and my only downfall is chocolate buttons so I have to make sure I don’t eat too many of them.
“I set myself a challenge to find the confidence to get back on stage 18 months ago and joined a proper bodybuilding gym.
“It took some courage to get there as very few women training on weights but it was the best decision I ever made.”
Miss Galaxy Universe founder Sarah Donohue said: “The girls compete in tests that comprise of things like shuttle runs, bench presses, push-ups, squats and long jumps and then there is a bikini section.
“Heather always motivates the other girls, she pushes herself to the maximum and is a brilliant role model.”