Darkinjung woman Rhiannon Keith has dedicated her life to fitness and has her mind set on a career in bodybuilding. She’s also a personal trainer at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE).

Rhiannon has trained many celebrities including NITV’s Awaken host and ex CNN correspondent Stan Grant; now it’s her time to shine.

She tells me that she has been training tirelessly for the last 8 months and is physically and mentally ready to compete in the prestigious International Natural Body Association competition being held in Sydney on the 4th of May.

And, in her career to date, she says these 8 months have been her biggest challenge yet.  Especially for a 21-year-old woman, the age at which for many, their social lives are a big priority.

“It’s not hard for me to say no to partying. This is the life I love and partying is no priority or loss to me anymore. I’m committed to training and staying off the alcohol.” Rhiannon Keith

I spoke to Rhiannon at the NCIE Fitness centre and was curious about why she choose a traditionally male-dominated sport that requires extreme motivation, perseverance and a positive mental attitude. I also asked about her goals & aspirations.

Rhiannon says she’s always been a positive, fit and motivated person but in a previous relationship, she experienced domestic violence. She said surviving that has made her realise just how important it is for women in these situations, to have a healthy and strong mind in order to leave their abusers. This combined with the support of her family and friends, enabled her to get out.

“I’m so lucky to have family and friends who had been there for me through the good times and the bad. And looking back at my life, now that I’m out of that violent relationship, I can see that the person I was back then was… someone I never want to be again. I’m now stronger mentally and physically and determined to empower women who are in that situation to leave.” Rhiannon Keith

Rhiannon has an extremely strict lifestyle and fitness regime. She is not just training for the major international competition; she’s also studying exercise physiology at university, along with her work at NCIE Fitness as a personal trainer. Her love of cooking and 90’s Hip Hop music, from artists such as Tupac Shakur and Notorious BIG, keeps her motivated and energised.

Rhiannon trains 2 hours a day just to stay in shape for the competition. This is equivalent to 20 hours per week. That’s on top of the personal training clients she has and the group fitness classes she conducts at NCIE.
At 57 kilos light, she can easily bench press 65 kilos.  That’s a lot of power. To keep her six-pack in shape she does 4 x 20 sets of sits ups at each training session. Humbly, Rhiannon says that well-defined abdominals are made in the kitchen; she watches what she eats and she’s got the body to prove it.

Rhiannon’s strict diet consists of eating exactly 100gm of broccoli and 100gm of chicken 6 times per day. That equals 1200gm per day or 8.4 kilos per week. She says her diet makes her feel weak but that’s what she has to endure if she is to win the competition. To regain energy for the contest, after the weigh-in, she will eat carbohydrates a couple of days beforehand. The carbohydrates will enter her digestive system and break down into sugars that enter the blood. This provides her with instant energy. This process also gives definition and shape to her muscular physique.

As we delved more deeply into her sport, I realised there is a lot more to bodybuilding than just the physical challenge of just lifting dumbbells and eating protein or raw eggs. It’s evident that it’s more a mental challenge; the physical is just a bonus. I asked Rhiannon for some tips to maintaining her focus.

“I’m in control of my life. I surround myself with positive people who are also maintaining healthy lifestyles. My training has taught me to be disciplined in life.” Rhiannon Keith

If Rhiannon wins in the International Natural Body Association competition in Sydney, this will give her an opportunity to qualify for a pro card which is awarded by International Federation of BodyBuilders. Her focus has got her this far, and this weekend she’s looking forward to the challenge and putting all her hard work into her performance. Rhiannon’s ultimate career goal is to one day win the title of Miss Olympia.

Rhiannon is available for Personal Training and you can book her by calling the NCIE Fitness Centre on 02 9310 1033.

Story by Luke Briscoe, NCIE Digital Innovation and Communications Manager