Mum ditches junk food to become a bodybuilder
A superfit mum-of-four ditched junk food and hit the gym seven days a week to become a bodybuilder - despite never lifting a weight until last year.
Samantha Brander, 33, took up a gruelling diet and fitness regime to turn her life around - shedding five stone in just 12 months.
The former bakery worker tipped the scales at 13st after binging on takeaways - but is now a ripped 8st after spending hours lifting weights in the gym.
In March 2018, fed up with her weight, Samatha hired a personal trainer after marvelling at transformation pics she had seen of his work.
She undertook a brutal fitness routine which saw her lift weights for more than an hour and a half at the gym, seven days a week - despite never having lifted weights before.
Samantha, from Stirling, said: "I signed up in March last year after seeing the results of a friend who had lost weight using my PT Gregg Thompson.
"At first, I just signed up to lose body fat, tone up and start feeling good about myself.
"Then I saw the bodybuilding competition and asked my husband if he thought I could do it - he said he didn't see why not, so I told Gregg I wanted to.
"Gregg said 'there's no reason you can't do it but it's going to be really hard mentally and physically' because you have to push yourself to places you have never been before.
"I had never even lifted a weight in my life before until then.
"I started building muscle from June to January and then from January to the competition in June I cut my body fat to reveal all the muscle I had built.
"For the first six months, I ate the same thing every day - I even went for a meal for my sister's hen do and sat with a Tupperware of food while everyone else ate the meal.
"During the first six months, I was consuming around 2,400 calories a day while I built muscles and then I cut that right back to 1,600 for the fat burning phase of training.
"I was so dedicated because I wanted it so badly." On June 2 she took part in her first competition in Perth, at one of Scotland's top bodybuilding events with the British Natural Bodybuilding Federation.
And while she didn't make the podium, Samantha said standing on stage in front of a room full of people was a victory for her.
Samantha, who had her proud children and husband Campbell, 34, a high school teacher, watching on said: "I can't believe I did it, I have totally surprised myself.
"I know I didn't get a medal but it wasn't even really about that for me this time, it was just about being able to get up there in front of all those people." Samantha, who now works as a gym instructor, said bodybuilding her helped her cope with mental health issues she has been battling for years.
She has type one diabetes and tried to take her own life in 2014 after years of struggling with anxiety and borderline personality disorder.
But she says exercising and lifting weights has helped her battle her demons and cope with grief, after the death of her grandfather in January this year.
Samantha, who is mum to Owen, 11, Calvin, aged nine, Lexi, seven and Poppy, four, said: "My mental health struggles caused me to binge eat a lot in the past.
"I couldn't just have one bit of chocolate or one cake, I always had to have more and then I would feel really guilty about it.
"But I haven't binged at all since taking up my training for the competition.
"After I had my last child I knew I had to make a change.
I had to be fit and healthy for my children and pick myself up.
"I want to do the competition again next year and I will keep training."