Client Spotlight: Amy Hurrell

By Ange

Meet Amy

Amy has been a 23W babe since January 2018 and she is definitely well known around the place.  Of course, this is largely due to her bubbly, friendly and outgoing nature but also because she is a huge inspiration for other women in our community.

Amy has lost an impressive 20kg since starting with 23W, built lean muscle mass and has demonstrated to herself, and other’s, that anything is possible with hard work and commitment.  What started as a mission to feel more confident and lose weight has evolved into a mission  to compete in her first fitness body building in March next year.

This is an exciting time for Amy, as she is now entering into the business end of her fitness journey as she prepares to become 23W’s first bikini trained athlete on the ICN stage.

To get long-term sustainable results, we love teaching our clients how to build their own meal plans through flexible dieting. While this system can take a little time to get your head around, it ensures the long-term success and coachability of our clients as we can easily tweak and adjust plans as goals shift and change, along with life circumstances and training.

In this blog, we wanted to share Amy’s progress so far, how we look to transition her from general population fitness to the stage and explain why traditional dieting methods are flawed in building long-term success.

What is flexible dieting?

Flexible dieting is not a diet. It’s more of a lifestyle. It puts you in control of choosing what to eat. There are no rigid meal plans or crazy food restrictions. When you’re following a flexible diet, your calorie and macronutrient needs are calculated according to your goals.

Setting Amy’s Macros

Macros are not an exact science. It is only through coaching, reflection and adherence, can you truly start to see results. It is preferable not to start a in deficit calories when you first start out. The goal initially is to build a humming metabolism and build good nutritional habits. For some clients, learning how to eat enough protein can be a struggle while others new to weight lifting might struggle with higher carb intake and fear what this means for weight gain.

Flexible dieting encourages you to get rid of dietary restrictions. There is no such thing as ‘bad food’ if you are able to hit your macros. Having said this, we encourage our clients to choose whole, unprocessed foods where possible and ensure that fibre intake never drops below 25-30g per day. Nutrient dense foods should still make up at least 80% of your daily intake.

Hitting Macros

When clients first start out tracking macros, they generally report difficulty hitting calorie targets and feel quite full. This is because preplanning foods will lead clients to choosing foods that are more nutrient dense, higher in protein and fibre. Some worry that they might be over-eating, but the truth is this style of eating encourages you to hit a set target for 7 days of the week, rather than underrating Monday to Friday and then over consuming on the weekends. The truth is, if you are not losing weight with your current daily calorie intake, you are in fact eating at your maintenance.

Building and Cutting Phases

So far Amy has had 3 main phases in her body composition journey. When she first started, our main goal was weight loss. Over a 6-month period, we applied a caloric deficit to see her weight drop from 91.1 to around 75kg. During this time, she trained 4-5 times per week in our Strong classes and played netball 1-2 times per week. As the weight started to come off, Amy realised her dream to compete in a bikini show was not as unrealistic as she first thought which then helped us to transition her to her next phase; to build muscle mass.

Everyone builds muscle mass at different rates, with many variables involved. When someone first starts lifting weights building muscle mass can happen at the same time as weight loss, but as time goes by, fulfilling both of these goals at the same time can be difficult.

In August 2018, we started Amy’s next phase to build muscle mass. This involved a slow steady increase in calories over a 4-month period until we hit her ceiling around 2500 calories. When building a client’s calories, we keep a close eye on body fat and unnecessary weight gain. It is normal to put on a little extra body fat when in a building phase, but through careful tracking and review, this can be minimised. Building calories is a fantastic way to also give your body a rest, rebuild metabolic function and ensure that there are ample nutrients to fuel the body. During this time, we mostly saw Amy’s body weight stabilise around 75kg.

Heading into the new year, Amy was keen to reveal her hard-earned work and as her coach, I was keen to see how Amy’s body would respond to a cut in calories. From Jan – May, Amy’s body weight has dropped below 70kg and her body fat percentage is now around 14%.

We can’t stress enough the importance of diet in weight loss. To lose 20kg, we have manipulated diet on many occasions and cardio has never played a role to see changes on the scale. Weight training 4-5 times per week, has ensured that Amy was able to preserve and build muscle mass and ensure that at lower body fat percentages she looks shapely, strong and lean.

Amy’s Next Phase and Goals

We now have around 7-8 months to get Amy stage ready. We are excited to prepare Amy for her first photo shoot next month, which will help her build confidence in front of a camera (which will help tremendous when she gets on stage) and to celebrate her achievements. With Amy’s body fat percentage already quite low, we will be re-building her calories with the aim to increase muscle mass as much as possible before the end of the year. Amy has also moved into our StrongHer Online Academy with an individualised training plan. This will help us to build areas of her body that are needed to be help her score well as a bikini athlete (hello glutes, quads and shoulder).


We are beyond proud of this lady! By sharing Amy’s journey, we hope to inspire others to understand that weight loss is only one part of your fitness journey.

If you would like more information about the W squad or our StrongHer Academy, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at

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Our founder

Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.

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