Athlete's insane diet to become world champion
THE Sunshine Coast's female version of Popeye has revealed the incredible lengths she's gone through to be crowned a world champion body builder.
Belinda Dare-Cracknell claimed gold in the ICompete Natural world titles on the Gold Coast on Sunday.
She said a "prison-style" diet consisting of spinach and nothing much else, and a radar-like focus in the gym gave her the edge.
The 48-year-old has been all-conquering in her field with the weekend's competition her fourth this month.
As the name suggests, the competition is all natural, and athletes are regularly drug tested.
Mrs Dare-Cracknell said her diet was so strict, even water intake was monitored.
"I can't have salt or pepper and only three litres of water per day," she said.
"I constantly have to carry an esky in the boot of my car with food in it."
While she diets 365 days a year, it's the two months leading into competition she dreads the most.
During that time, her calorie intake is a maximum 1100 grams a day to be in peak shape.
It transforms her into a lean 57kg machine, with just five per cent body fat.
"It is like prison, you go into lockdown. No social life, no hanging out with friends, you don't see anyone," she said.
"I don't know how much spinach I've eaten, but it's a lot. Probably 500 grams of it a day.
"For breakfast I get 80 grams of strawberries and some yoghurt. If you break the rules it can really cost you.
"The last six weeks I've gone crazy. Just from hunger, I fidget, can't sleep. It's terrible."
To say the hard work has paid off is an understatement.
She's still on cloud nine.
"It is worth the struggle. You have to be so committed," she said.
"It's like the Hunger Games. You don't go there for second."
The 157cm power athlete trains at least five times a week, fitting it in around a helter-skelter lifestyle.
Even 3.30am starts are not unheard of to ensure the weights are lifted.
"In prep I have to do six days a week. It is pretty intense," she said.
"I'm doing three to four sets of high reps, heavy weights. That's the only way to bulk up.
"Even through injuries you have to push yourself and get through it."
Having ticked off her biggest goal, Mrs Dare-Cracknell is unsure for what the next step holds but vowed to defend her title.