How bodybuilding saved this Rocky mum of four's life
A "SURGERY gone wrong” triggered mum-of-four Becky McQuarrie's battle with depression; an internal fight which soon took a physical hold.
When she looked in the mirror, the frail person staring back could well have been a stranger.
As a cervical cancer survivor, Becky had no choice but to have a caesarean with all four of her sons.
It was the scars from her second born that fuelled the stress which saw her weight plummet from an already slight 45kg to a staggering 38kg.
At this point the Rockhampton local knew she had to regain control, for the sake of herself and her children.
Someone close to her suggested she try the gym, and so 10 years ago began a love affair with bodybuilding; a sport, love, passion and "addiction” which has transformed her from the outside in.
Now, Becky is officially central Queensland's top "Sports Mumma”, having taken out the title in last month's Gladstone Tropix bodybuilding competition, held for the first time in central Queensland
Becky also secured a number of podium finishes, which included second place Fitness Mumma, second place Fitness 30-plus, fourth in the Sports Model Open Division, and she competed in the Overalls for Sport Model division.
Becky joined a number of Yeppoon and Rockhampton locals who competed in the comp, which was the second in the series for the year.
Becky said it was an opportunity for the region's hard-working gym fanatics to show off their chiselled bodies, as well as an economic booster for central Queensland with plenty of businesses getting on board.
Becky's recent success is made all the more impressive as she juggles life as a mother to four boys, her work as a personal trainer, a job at a local pub and university studies towards a bachelor of nursing.
"It just became an addiction,” Becky said of her bodybuilding passion.
"I went daily (to the gym) and then the possibility of competing came up and from there that was it.
"It's now part of my routine, my days revolve around my schedule, my work and diet works around it, my uni works around it... it's almost like a school drop-off for me.”
Becky, now aged 32, found out she was pregnant after competing in a Townsville competition in 2015.
Her latest achievement came two days after her youngest son turned
one, and having had a C-section meant she needed a 12-week clearance before competing.
With one child in high school, one in primary school and two at home, it's difficult to comprehend where she finds the time for six one-and-a-half-hour workouts a week.
"Somehow it all works in together,” Becky said.
"Any parent will say 'it just works'; you don't know how you've got the time.”
While she doesn't have a morning routine, Becky said she leaves no margin for error when it comes to training.
"I am extremely strict, I did 10 weeks' prep, which was 490 meals,” she said.
"So not once did I go off my meal plans, not once did I have an extra gram of food I wasn't allowed.”
Despite getting her mind in competition mode 10 weeks out, her decision hung in the balance until the Tropix were in sight.
At five weeks to go, she thought she had what it takes.
"I made the call,” she said.
"It's really soon after bub... but I was on track compared to old photos and measurements, I thought I was good enough.”
"Hopefully this is a story that could possibly inspire new mums to get active.
"If you put your mind to it, anyone can do it... you can come from any body shape and can become it.
"You have to be mentally capable to see an end goal and work towards it, and understand it's going to take time.
"One blow-out, two blow-outs, it's not the end of the world.”
Re-occurring abnormal cells mean Becky isn't in the clear from her cancer diagnosis yet, but that's not going to hinder her plans for the future.
Her chiselled body is testament to the hours of training, six days a week.
"I will definitely continue competing,” she said.
"Since my competition I haven't gone off my meal plan, but I have added an extra 1000 calories.”
This is on top of the 3500 calories of food she was already eating, with her goal to gain more muscle to reach about 54-55kg.
During next years Tropix, which are held in Townsville, Brisbane, Cairns and now Gladstone, Becky hopes to come on stage in season A at 52-52.5kg.
Despite her difficulties in gaining weight, eight meals a day are a sure-fire way to achieve her dream.
"A lot of people can have varied meal plans, but I work better having the exact same thing day in day out,” she said.
A typical day for Becky includes pineapple; fish and rice; rice cakes with peanut butter and honey; steak, sweet potato, avocado and green vegetables, yogurt and almonds.
"A lot of people are under a misconception that its salad or chicken and broccoli ... it just has to work for your body type.”