How these ordinary women became bikini-wearing bodybuilders

Thirsty and exhausted, Clio Austin had become “obsessed” with achieving one thing: Her dream body, for a bodybuilding competition.

In September last year, Austin, 35, stood on stage in a bikini and heels, and competed as a muscled bikini model at an International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA) Queensland competition.

She’s part of an emerging trend, in which ordinary women sacrifice their health and personal lives, all in the name of extreme fitness.

Austin had felt that her body — and life — were “stuck in a rut”. A mother of two young children and new to the city of Brisbane, Austin felt depressed, and missed working as a personal trainer — a career she’d left behind eight years ago.

To radically improve her life, Austin chose to train towards becoming a Bikini Model bodybuilder.

This involved gruelling, 90 minute training sessions at the gym, five days a week. In the evenings, she practised her bodybuilding poses at a specialised bodybuilding gym.

Any spare time was spent in her kitchen, weighing ingredients for meals that she would cook and freeze, as part of her 1500-calories-per-day diet.

As the days grow hotter and longer, many are nervously anticipating the arrival of swimsuit season. Fortunately, two very real moms are here to remind us all that many of the swimwear trends currently being marketed are ridiculous, unflattering, and meant for literally no one.

Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley, the comedy duo collectively known for their IMomSoHard video series, recently debuted a new clip that sees them trying on some of the most absurd bathing suit styles on the market, while verbally ripping the designs to shreds.

In order to better make their point, Kristin and Jen first try on what many consider to be typical beach attire for men, standing in front of the camera while dressed in baggy shirts and even baggier shorts.

Interestingly, the model admitted that because she so rarely sees her body type – which is incredibly athletic – represented in the fashion industry, she finds it difficult to express herself through clothing, explaining that ‘there’s some sort of disconnect between me and what I wear’.

One of the models, Miski Muse, shared the particular experience of being a Muslim, hijab-wearing woman during beach days.

‘I don’t wear a two-piece or bikini, and I haven’t for a very long time,’ she explained. ‘I wear a maxi dress or something loose and comfortable to the beach, for religious reasons and also personal preference.’

Despite controversy surrounding the ‘burkini’ in recent months, Muse said, ‘I love the beach, I love the ocean, and I don’t allow any restrictions to hold me back.’
Self-love is a powerful thing, and it may be all you need to look beautiful on the beach this summer.

As Desseaux revealed, ‘when I started being happier and more confident with my body, I can now say that being on the beach in my favorite swim