Mercia Howard Gained The Motivation To Shed 50 Pounds And Begin Competing!

Mercia had completed her personal training qualification, but she didn't feel comfortable teaching fitness to others when she wasn't living the lifestyle herself. Read on to learn how she dropped 50 pounds and stepped on stage for her first competition!
Before Before:
151 lbs
After After:
101 lbs

Vital Stats

Name: Mercia Howard
BodySpace: merse

Age: 27
Height: 5'3"
Weight: 151 lbs

Age: 28
Height: 5'3"
Weight: 101 lbs

Why I Got Started

I had always been interested in health and fitness but I had never really given 100% to keeping myself healthy. I completed a Personal Training qualification a few years back and had worked at various gyms and studios but was never in the right shape and didn't feel I was good enough to be telling people how to make themselves fitter when I wasn't the best example.

After moving into the city I got into the lifestyle of being good Monday to Friday, then come the weekend I'd blow it all out with alcohol and bar food. My weight increased and increased. After re-finding, I found my motivation.

Mercia Howard's Weight Loss Progress.
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Mercia Howard's Weight Loss Progress.

After reading through a bunch of the Transformation of the Weeks as well as various BodySpace profiles, I became addicted to making a change. After reading the transformation of Tiffany Forni who won Transformation of the Week after making amazing progress, her story gave me the motivation and inspiration to start my own transformation.

I wanted something to help motivate me to get to my goals. I looked around for a competition later in the year to enter and found one locally in 3 and a half months time. I wasn't giving myself a lot of time to get into competition form but I believed that I could do it. I had my date set and on June 22 I started my transformation.

I took my first progress pictures and planned my journey with a training and diet program I put together using the information on Throughout the next 3 and a half months, I was addicted. I never missed a session and pushed harder and harder each session at the gym.

I Never Missed A Session And Pushed Harder And Harder Each Session At The Gym.
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I Never Missed A Session And Pushed Harder
And Harder Each Session At The Gym.

It was hard and I had to sacrifice a lot, but it was well worth it. On September 27 I competed as a Sports Model at the INBA Vics placing 4, and on October 10 I competed in the ANBs Vics placing 5th. For me I had made it.

At the ANB competition, I won an award for most inspirational competitor for my impressive transformation story; it was so awesome to be noticed and I thanked everyone for their support. I can't wait until the next round of competitions next year!

How I Did It

It took a lot of hard work and determination. I was at the gym every single morning at 6 a.m. for my cardio session and then again after work. I knew it was going to be a tough journey as I had a lot of weight to lose but I had set my goal and wasn't going to fail.

I had the support of my friends and family as well as all the people on that I chatted with regularly for help and ideas. The whole process I did on my own. Having undertaken the qualification to be a personal trainer I knew a fair amount in regards to training programs already and was able to set up one on my own.

I Had Set My Goal And Wasn't Going To Fail.
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I Had Set My Goal And
Wasn't Going To Fail.

My diet plan was tough. I pretty much cut out all dairy and fruit. I cut out all alcohol, junk and processed foods. It was hard to begin with, but I managed to stick to it. This meant no more Friday night after-work drinks, instead I was slogging away in the gym.

I didn't allow myself any cheat meals at all as I'm someone that needs the cold turkey approach and with a small amount of time to get show ready, I needed to be as strict as possible. However, during the 16 or so weeks I did allow myself 2 re-feed meals, where I just increased the amount of carbs I was allowed for the day.

This refers to a process used in Ketogenic type diets. After a week of strictly limiting the intake of carbs, you will load back up over the weekend to restore muscle glycogen levels. Usually you will take in 10-12 grams of carbs per kilogram of bodyweight in a 24-hour period.

These 2 days were a life savior. I indulged in crunchy white bread and low fat cereals. I kept my calories in control during these meals and dropped my protein and fat intake for the day as I upped the carbs. I believed these helped me through the long hard weeks of low carb.

After my first show it felt awesome having people come up to me as well as post fantastic messages on about my amazing transformation.

The compliments made me feel fantastic. All my hard work was paying off and I was feeling so much better for it. I now need to buy a whole new wardrobe as none of my clothes fit me anymore. Even some clothes I bought just on a month ago are now too big.

All My Hard Work Was Paying Off And I Was Feeling So Much Better For It.
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All My Hard Work Was Paying Off And I
Was Feeling So Much Better For It.

My next step is to help others reach their goals. I have decided to get back into the personal training business and work with as many people as I can to get to their goals.



I followed a low carb, high protein and moderate fat diet, which changed as I got closer to competition. My basic diet at the beginning is as follows:


Superset - Two exercises are performed consecutively without any rest.

Tri-Sets - Three exercises are performed consecutively without any rest.

I lift as heavy as possible, failing at around the 10-rep range. Although as I get closer to the competition and my diet gets changed up, I'm lifting a little lighter.

    Day 1: Shoulders And Legs

    Day 2: Chest And Triceps

    Day 3: Cardio

    Day 4: Back And Biceps

    Day 5: Shoulders And Legs

    Day 6: Chest And Triceps

    Day 7: Back And Biceps


      I do cardio every morning before breakfast for an hour and then again after each weight session. I make sure I have a water bottle at each session with some BCAAs. As I got closer to competition, I increased my evening cardio to an hour so I was doing 2 hours of cardio per day.

Suggestions For Others

Plan your meals in advanced. Cooking up all your meals on the weekend saves so much time and stress during the week. Go out and buy a bunch of Tupperware containers and label exactly what is in them and what days they are for.

Make sure you write down everything. Keeping a food log of everything you eat everyday shows you exactly what you are putting into your body and helps you work out the correct marcos for your needs.

Take progress pictures and measurements every 2 weeks. These are fantastic to look back on and see the changes you are making. Nothing is more motivational than seeing the changes in yourself through your pictures. Believe in yourself.

Believe In Yourself.
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Believe In Yourself.