Plymouth woman ‘worried about going to the gym’ achieves her dream as a champion bodybuilder

Plymouth woman ‘worried about going to the gym’ achieves her dream as a champion bodybuilder

Melissa Worboys has been competing in bodybuilding shows since 2017 and finally achieved her dream of being named Miss NABBA Universe.

An inspiring woman from Plymouth finally achieved her dream after years of hard work and was crowned the winner of an international amateur bodybuilding competition. melissa workboysThe 29-year-old was named Miss NABBA Universe 2022 after wowing the judges at Bradford’s St George’s Hall.

NABBA, which stands for National Amateur Bodybuilders Association, has featured competitors from all over the world. Among those who have competed in NABBA tournaments in the past are bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger and even James Bond star Sean Connery.

Melissa began her bodybuilding journey in 2017 when she joined Revolution Fit, a women’s gym. She says that weightlifting had always interested her, but that she had initially felt “nervous” because she “didn’t have a lot of confidence in her body at the time.”

“I was also concerned that the gym was not a friendly place for newcomers or people with no experience,” Melissa said. “I was sorely mistaken and found myself making new friends through the gym and gaining confidence as I began to enjoy my new hobby. Today weightlifting is very open to everyone and their individual goals, it has many benefits for health and fitness, but it’s also great for improving your body composition.”

After a few months of training, he began to build his confidence and decided to participate in my first show, where he met his trainer. dennis phillips. Dennis previously won two Mr Universe titles and was known to be a top amateur bodybuilder.

As soon as the pair agreed to work together, Dennis put Melissa on a strict competition diet and after just 11 weeks of preparation, she won the bikini class at the Plymouth show. That first win was what really got Melissa hooked.

She said: “After winning my first show, I ended up really falling in love with the bodybuilding process and it became my passion and hobby. I started training more seriously and also paid more attention to my diet for optimal muscle growth. Watching intake of protein and generally cleaning up my diet, as well as eating more regularly and fueling my workouts and body properly.”

In 2018, Melissa competed in her first NABBA competition where she placed third, but more importantly, she got her first invite to the NABBA Universe. The best amateur bodybuilders from Mexico, France, Germany, Austria and more came to compete. Unfortunately, she says she didn’t place well, but competing at such a high level only further fueled her passion for the sport. In her next year, she placed well in various competitions, but was unable to get an invite to the Universe show.



Melissa Worboys and her trainer Dennis Phillips
Melissa Worboys and her trainer Dennis Phillips

After ending 2019 feeling a little down, she left and worked even harder. She said: “I took it in my head. Competitive bodybuilding isn’t easy! It takes a lot of your time, effort and dedication, but nothing is ever certain and it’s hard to keep going sometimes when you’re not up to it.” the competition.

“All you can do is do your best and listen to the judges’ feedback if things don’t go your way. I analyzed my physique, the bikini class criteria, took the judges’ feedback and along with the help from my coach Den, I worked and made improvements for two years.

But then Covid came. The world stopped and with it all the gyms were forced to close. Melissa said, “I started to wonder if I would ever reach my goal and it started to feel so far away. I was also worried that I wouldn’t be able to progress during this time, but Den encouraged me to keep my head up, to keep believing.” on myself and just do what I could.

NABBA competitions were also halted for three years. But fast forward to 2022 and the shows are back. The 29-year-old said: “I felt that fire and passion in my stomach to compete again after Covid took that opportunity away from many athletes in various sports, including bodybuilding, but since it had been so long, I wondered many times if i would be good enough and if my goal was dumb should i just let it go am i cut out for this maybe i should be content with what i did before and leave it at that.

“These thoughts swirled in my head often, but deep down I knew I couldn’t give up on that dream of the Universe that I told myself I would achieve all those years ago, life is too short to give up something I was so passionate about.” “. So after three years away from competitive bodybuilding and a very long off-season, I made the decision to go back and pursue my goals once again.”

Dennis put together a plan and with 20 weeks of lead time, he and Melissa got to work. It meant strict training and dieting from May to October.

She then went on to become Miss NABBA England, which she described as “an incredible feeling”. It also meant that she could qualify for the “big” one, the Nabba Universe, that she had been dreaming of.



Melissa got involved in bodybuilding in 2017
Melissa got involved in bodybuilding in 2017

“I was absolutely thrilled because I felt like all my hard work and belief in myself over the years had finally paid off and I was so excited to go to the Universe again,” Melissa said.

Just two weeks after being named Miss NABBA England, she traveled to Bradford, where the international NABBA Universe was held.

Describing the preparation for the show, Melissa said, “Before I knew it, it was time to go to bed and I felt myself getting a little nervous. I told myself that it didn’t matter what happened the next morning at the show, I knew I had done my best and brought my best show physique to date, and I had to be proud of that achievement.

“I was also grateful to be doing something I really enjoy and competing at a high, competitive level. I thoroughly enjoyed backstage that day and on stage showing off my hard work and competing with the other women who looked amazing.” It’s great to be surrounded by other female competitors who have the same passion for training and particularly competitive bodybuilding.” But all of her hard work was about to pay off when she was announced as Miss NABBA Universe 2022.

She said: “And then it happened, the magical moment where we were called back on stage to announce the results. It was up to me and another lady from France for second and first.”

“I remember preparing in my head for my name and my country to be named 2nd, just so I didn’t feel disappointed and started to think a Universe runner-up was a great result.

“But then I heard them call France and that was the moment I knew I had done it – I had won!



Melissa has encouraged any woman thinking about starting weight lifting to give it a try.
Melissa has encouraged any woman thinking about starting weight lifting to give it a try.

“Moments later, I was announced as the winner and Miss Nabba Universe 2022 Bikini Champion. I was in total shock and pure happiness. I had finally achieved my goal and it was the most wonderful feeling.”

Talking about her overall bodybuilding journey, Melissa said that getting involved in bodybuilding has taught her to never give up and always believe in herself if she really wants to achieve something.

She said: “No matter how long something might take, if you keep working at it and keep going, you’ll eventually get there. This goes for everything in life and bodybuilding can give you a very resilient and defense mindset.”

Melissa says that if any woman is thinking about getting involved in bodybuilding or just lifting weights then she should 100% consider it. She said: “Weightlifting is great for women and is always worth a try for anyone considering it. You don’t have to be a competitive bodybuilder, you can just go to the gym and do a weight class and there are so many other sports consider also involving weight lifting if bodybuilding isn’t your thing.”

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