• We talk to fitness trainer and model Stacey Louise

Three years ago Stacey was walking out of clothes stores because jeans weren't made in her size. Now she competes internationally as a fitness model. Read about her transformation and how to plans to inspire others with tips and tricks she has learned along the way.

When did you first realise you wanted to be part of the fitness industry?

There is a degenerative genetic illness (Huntington’s disease) that runs in my family, and has tragically taken the lives of many of my loved ones far too early in life. Being at high risk myself, and being the main carer for my father in his later stages, was extremely stressful and lead me to a state of depression and obesity through emotional eating.

However, it was my father who inspired me to pursue a passion in the fitness industry, as I watched him fighting for his life through fitness, as he knew that by keeping the mind and body active he could prolong the degenerative illness. He would get up and run up and down the hospital corridors to try and keep fit, and as a result, he managed to live more than 10 years longer than any Doctor had diagnosed.

This inspired me to start my own weight loss journey, losing over 30kgs and developing a deep passion for fitness. After knowing how much better I feel as a result of living a healthy fitness lifestyle, it became my desire to help others by studying Fitness and becoming a Personal Trainer, and now a Fitness Ambassador, Model and Motivational Speaker.

What was your biggest fitness achievement in 2013?

In 2013 I competed internationally as a Fitness Model, and this was a big achievement for me, as it had been my dream when I first started my weight-loss transformation to grace the Las Vegas stage with the bright lights, in the Big Wings like a Victoria’s Secret model. It was a long and emotional journey for me, learning so much along the way, and knowing how far I have come! I used to wear size 20 pants on my cellulite covered backside with two pairs of spanx underneath to try and hold in the saddlebags, and I still remember clearly the day when I was told by the girl in a shop, that “we don’t make jeans in your size.” So in 2013 when I was running around backstage at the WBFF World’s in my bikini amongst some of the most amazing bodies in the world as a Fitness Diva...I had to pinch myself!

Once upon a time I would not have been seen dead in a bikini, let alone walked onto a stage in one! I also made some amazing friends from all around the world who also share a passion for fitness.

What's your favourite meal to make when you are in a hurry?

I feel like I am always in a hurry! I work full-time, and run my own business, as well as being a busy model, so I always have photo shoots or appearances to attend and prep for, and I am always hurrying around between one place and another! But the one thing I always do first, is make time to prepare my food and be organised for the day with my meals on hand. My diet is now very clean and consists of all fresh and un-processed foods, so the only difference in my meals between being in a crazy hurry or not, would be that I don’t get time to cut or grate the fruit/vegetables up or cook them. But a raw carrot stick or whole cucumber is so much easier to eat on the run anyway! ;)

What does your current weekly training routine look like?

I train 6 days a week, heavy weights. I work each body part twice a week in a 3 day split, so just when every part of my body is feeling that satisfying burn I get to start all over again! I look forward to my Sunday rest day and I am then refreshed to start a new week. I try to travel to Melbourne to fit in at least one session with my Coach (Perry Venakis), and this also includes functional training which is something Perry specialises in. This assists with my posture and overall body conditioning to look as balanced as possible for all of the posing I have to do in front of the camera as a model.

I have learned much about my training over the past year, through competing and now with my Coach, and I am really starting to see some great results now with my muscle growth. My training is consistently changing to see gains and to continually grow and improve and I am very excited starting 2014, as I know that I will see my best results to date over the course of this year.

What exercises do you love and hate the most?

I love working my shoulders, and do a lot of cable work like side lat raises. Being a pear- shaped body type, my shoulders are my most difficult area to develop, and so I get a feeling of satisfaction from knowing I have put in a heavy shoulder session, and it is satisfying when I can feel the DOMS kick in from tearing them up! Legs would be the session I dislike the most, those SQUATS are killers! But they just have to be done, and I have learned much about how to get the most benefits from my squats in the past couple of months.

How do you feel is the best way to maintain a social life without hampering your results in the gym?

Surround yourself with people who understand and appreciate your lifestyle and goals.

Since I have started living the fitness lifestyle, my friendship group has also changed. I find that I have now surrounded myself with people who have similar interests and active lifestyles, like fellow Fitness Trainers, Athletes and other Models.

Once upon a time my idea of a social life may have been catching up for a few drinks at the bar after filling up at the buffet at the local RSL, but these days I socialise by catching up with a few girlfriends for a gym session, massage, bush walk or horse ride.

When I do go out, I can still have a great time without drinking, as I am always in good spirits because I can put on a dress and know it looks amazing, which is a feeling that I don’t take for granted. I also have so much energy these days, so when I go out, I usually spend the night on the dance floor!

What do you know now that you wish somebody had told you when you first started training?

I wish someone had just told me to stop being so stubborn and to seek assistance, rather than having to do everything on my own, and as a result learning so much the hard way, usually through my own mistakes. I started training with a Coach at the end of last year, and having someone to support me, through constant feedback and contact, has really helped me to keep on track, and made my life so much easier. If I had a coach from the start, I could have achieved so much more, so much quicker, as I could have been learning through their many years of knowledge and experience.