Body Transformation: Never Surrender

Annemarie suffered the loss of failed training, but when her diet and exercise finally matched up, she achieved the results of her dreams. See how she took the stage!

Name: Annemarie Engelbrecht

Annemarie Engelbrecht Annemarie Engelbrecht
AGE 26
165 lbs
AGE 27
119 lbs

Why I Got Started

I used to be overweight as a child. I never competed in any sport, and I was always made fun of. Nine years ago I saw a Muscle Mania show on ESPN and got hooked.

I decided that one day, I also would like to stand on a stage and accomplish my dream of being a figure athlete. That thought never left my mind.

Immediately I joined the gym and lost 20 kilograms (44 pounds) within my first 3 months, using articles I found in magazines and on websites to guide and motivate me.

I trained for a few years after that, never being satisfied with my body and even lost interest at times, but luckily got back on track after a week or two.

I always bought magazines to inspire me and keep me motivated. That was still not enough, it did not satisfy my need. Then I met my fiancé, a bodybuilder, 6 years ago.

I used to go to shows with him, seeing all the girls made me envy their bodies, what they have and what they achieved.

In 2009 I tried to compete in my first show. I was so eager, but had a lack of knowledge and guidance because my fiancé felt that I was not ready yet. I set out to prove him wrong and end up with a weight loss of 10 kilograms (22 pounds), but only lost 3% body fat because I overtrained and my diet was incorrect. Disappointed, I set off trying again.

I enrolled in ISSA in order to learn more and follow my dream career. 2010 was a busy year with a new job at a local gym and long working hours. I also became sick and picked up 7 kilograms (15 pounds). I felt awful. I started off the beginning of 2011 and never looked back.

How I Did It

January 2011 I reached a turning point. I decided that this would be my year. I gained 7 kilograms (15 pounds) last year while being on medication and not being able to train. I am a personal trainer by profession, but my looks did not reflect that. I set out to get ready for a show in August, giving myself 8 months to shape up, add more muscle to my frame and loose those dreaded kilos of extra fat I've been carrying around.

I read so many articles online as well as in magazines and wasn't quite sure what to do. I bought a well-known publisher's e-book, but felt the foods were improper. 5 weeks before my show I realized I needed help or else I would fail again. My body fat was at 14% but my body still needed a lot of work. I felt like giving up, but reminded myself that by then I lost more than 10kg already, added muscle and dropped nearly 9% body fat. I wasn't going to give up now, no matter what.

Staged events force you into unfamiliar circumstances requiring courage!

I contacted a friend who knows a coach that had a very good reputation among figure girls. He immediately put me on a Keto diet and I dropped weight faster than ever before in my life. My abs became rock hard, I've never seen that before in my life. I felt so proud of myself, the food was little and tasteless but I would stick to it because seeing myself daily in the mirror gave me the strength to carry on.

I worked hard, my driving force being to show others as well as myself that I can do it. The cardio killed me, i.e. 2 hours daily split into two sessions as well as 1-hour weight training session, but in the end it was all worthwhile.

While on the journey, one goes through times where one wants to give up. I even made lots of mistakes along the way, but I educated myself as much possible while learning along the way. It was a learning curve, but I'll never regret making mistakes. It taught me true value of life.


I used a multivitamin daily, as well as extra vitamin c, zinc, chromium to control appetite and l-carnitine from various brands. I took 2-3 capsules CLA on a daily basis. I used 100% Hoodia from South Africa at times to control my appetite.

09:00 & 12:00


I used Karen Session's Figure Competition Prep guidelines and diet from 10 weeks out. Before that I just ate clean and controlled my portions.

My last 5 weeks prior to my show, I worked with a coach who put me on a Keto Diet and then he adjusted my diet the week before my show. My body did a 180-degree turnaround; I nearly did not recognize myself.

Ketogenic Diet for 3 Weeks:

Meal 1
Meal 2
Meal 4
Meal 5
Meal 6


I trained with my husband, a bodybuilder and personal trainer in the last few weeks before the show. My program changed daily, I never did the same things twice. I did my weight training in the afternoon.

My training splits were as follows:

Day 1: Legs/Shoulders
Day 2: Back/Biceps
Day 3: Chest/Triceps
Day 4: Plyo Legs Circuit

Circuit: Repeat 4x

Day 5: Shoulders/Abs Circuit

Circuit: Repeat 4x

Day 6: Cardio Only


Day 7: Rest

5 weeks out I did 1 hour on the stepper on an empty stomach in the mornings, and 1 hour cardio on any machine before my last meal, 6 days per week.

Before that I used to do between 45-to-1 hour cardio daily, different machines and mostly interval training.

Suggestions For Others

Never give up, you are worth it. If you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything your heart desires. Work hard, be committed. Patience is key, and if you fail, stand up and try again. Do not give up.

I motivate myself daily with these words from a very inspirational lady, Pauline Nordin:

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