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Lauren Tickner

Vital Statistics
Height 165cm
Before Weight 68kg
After Weight 51kg

Two years ago, Lauren Tickner had to face up to a very uncomfortable truth with potentially fatal consequences

At just 16 years old, Lauren was in the grips of an extremely unhealthy relationship with food and exercise so much so her friends and family were all worried for her and her health.

Her daily routine would consist of taking nothing but water from the moment she awoke to when she’d go to bed with just a bowl of soup and a rice cake at dinner to satiate her hunger. She’d also workout for 45 minutes daily on the cross trainer in a bid to get thinner.

Lauren began to unknowingly push her friends and family away, something she deeply regrets now, and the thinner she got, the more obsessed she became.

Blind to her condition, it took a frank chat with a good friend to force Lauren to really see what was going on.  This was her turning point and she began to look to the likes of Amanda Latona for inspiration.

She flipped her almost non-existent diet on its head by researching nutrition and she also began hitting the weights room to gain muscle.

Now, 2 years later, Lauren is an Instagram sensation who enthuses thousands of people on a daily basis through her captivating photos and delicious recipes, a far cry from the girl who’d eat bran flakes for tea!

Here’s her awe-inspiring story…

Lauren with Amanda Latona

Meal Plan

I tend not to stick to a strict plan for eating, but a typical week might be:

On top of this I'll have whatever I might want or need at the time – whether it's a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit or a triple chocolate muffin!

Training Plan

My actual training schedule changes week to week, but I try to get 4-5 CrossFit sessions in, or I’ll swap one or two of those for my strength and power programme. I also try to get a run or yoga session in each week… though I have to admit I prioritise these lower than CrossFit, and sometimes even lower than an extra rest day!

Monday: Legs (quad focused)

  • 5x5 squat
  • 3x8 front squat
  • 4x8 each leg: one legged leg press
  • 9 sets on leg extension (8-10 reps): 3 with feet straight forward ; 3 with feet facing out slightly; 3 with feet pointing towards each other
  • 4 x failure walking lunges
  • 3x8 calf raises
  • 3x15 calf raises
  • Finish off on the power plate (high vibration) holding a deep squat for as long as possible

Tuesday: Chest day

  • 5x5 squat
  • 3x8 front squat
  • 4x8 each leg: one legged leg press
  • 9 sets on leg extension (8-10 reps): 3 with feet straight forward ; 3 with feet facing out slightly; 3 with feet pointing towards each other
  • 4 x failure walking lunges
  • 3x8 calf raises
  • 3x15 calf raises
  • Finish off on the power plate (high vibration) holding a deep squat for as long as possible

Wednesday: Back and glute day

  • 5x5: straight legged deadlifts OR 5x5 weighted glute bridge on bench THEN 3x10 whichever exercise I do
  • 3 sets of ten on each leg: cable kickbacks
  • 5x5 bent over row OR bent over t bar row
  • Dropset single arm row: 5 reps into a much lighter dumbbell with slow and controlled reps AMRAP
  • 4x6 lat pulldowns cables
  • 3 sets: Superset: lat pulldown machine and straight arm pulldown

Thursday: Shoulders and arms

  • 5x5 standing/seated overhead press
  • 5x8 dumbbell press
  • 5x8 arnold press
  • 4x6 each arm : dumbbell front raises (hold one dumbbell at the top while you lower the other one down and up then hold that one at the top and lower the arm which was held down and up)
  • 4x12 lateral raises
  • Superset: rear delt machine with rear delt dumbbell flies
  • 3x8: skullcrushers
  • 3x12: tricep pushdown
  • 3x8 each arm: bicep curl with dumbbells
  • 3x12: bicep curl with eZ bar
  • 1 set of 21s

Friday: Active recovery day

  • Swimming or yoga

Lauren Tickner

Hi Lauren - thank you for taking the time to chat with us - first things first, where do you come from, what's your age and what's your day job?

I'm from Surrey... Just south of London. I'm 18 years old and have just finished my A-Levels (Politics, Economics and French). I'm starting work as an asset manager in London in September for 12 months before heading to University in 2016.

So - what made you want to go through a body transformation

I was always so uncomfortable about my body.

I never thought clothes looked good on me and I always felt so much bigger than all my friends. I would always look at photos of myself from the night before and cringe at how large I looked in comparison to everyone else.

lauren before and after

I knew that to change this I had to do something which unfortunately led to me having an unhealthy relationship with food, and exercise became a chore. Again, I realised I needed to change, and I slowly but surely managed to find balance in my life.

You mention an "unhealthy relationship" with food and exercise - could you elaborate further on this?

I would wake up and go to school without breakfast, with the only thing passing my lips all day being water. After school finished, I would go to the gym and do cross trainer intervals for 45 minutes to an hour every single day without fail, no matter how exhausted I was.

When I got home I'd have soup and rice cakes and maybe some bran flakes. This led to me binging some evenings or on the weekends with a whole box of bran flakes or a whole tub of peanut butter, as well as chocolate and even icing sugar.

I would then feel so guilty and force myself to do even more cardio in the gym the next day.

This must have had an impact on your personal relationships too...

I began to push my friends away without even realising. I look back in such regret, not just about how I treated myself, but also my friends and my family. I would snap so quickly because I was so drained and deprived of energy.

lauren after her transformation

When and how did you realise that you were on a dangerous path?

Just before my GCSEs I started getting panic attacks when I started to feel faint. I kept telling myself it was due to stress but deep down I knew it was due to the extreme calorie deficit my body was in. I started eating more to make sure I never felt slightly dizzy, but it was still not enough.

I would also binge and while doing so I'd tell myself over and over that I needed it. I certainly did, but these binges were causing me to feel guilty which worsened my bad relationship with food. After that summer, given that my panic attacks were not stopping, I increased the amount I was eating even more and started lifting weights.

What inspired you to change your ways?

I knew what I was doing was unsustainable. I realised I looked unhealthy after a good friend of mine told me I did and from then on, in photos, I no longer thought I looked good being that thin.

I started researching ways to gain weight healthily and almost everything I found advised lifting weights. I was a little scared to at first because I knew that that part of my gym was crowded with massive, Hench men, and because I had no idea what to do, but fortunately with further research and advice from some of my male friends I managed to conquer this fear and start lifting.

What was the toughest challenge you faced during these early days of your transformation?

At the very beginning, when I was losing weight, I found it hard to know what to eat. When I look back with the knowledge I have now, not only was I evidently not eating anywhere near enough, but I was also eating the wrong things. I ate almost no protein and fats, and so many carbohydrates. My meals were neither balanced nor frequent enough, which is so vital when it comes to weight loss.

When it came to the second part of my transformation: gaining weight, again, I wish I knew what to eat. To begin with I was eating FAR too much protein (250g+ a day)... the amount someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his hay day would eat.

This meant I wasn't at my optimum performance when I was training in the gym, as these calories weren't in their most efficient form (which would have been in the form of carbs/fats). If I'd had known how much and in what ratios to eat my food in, I would have found it a lot easier to firstly lose and secondly gain weight in a healthy way.

Tell us more about the role Muscle Food played in helping you get fit and healthy…

Muscle Food is honestly the best shop I have found.

I have stumbled across so many health products I'd never have thought of buying or would find in a supermarket (Wheyhey ice cream, Reflex R Bars, protein pastas and protein pizzas to name a few).

Lauren Favourite Foods

Muscle Food is great because you can add whatever you need or whatever catches your eye to your basket and get it all in one delivery, for an unbeatable price.

Top 3 Muscle Food goodies you simply couldn’t live without?

How has your training changed since you began your transformation?

I used to do hours upon hours of cardio a week. Now I weight train 6 times a week, doing some light cardio (e.g. swimming) on the 7th day if I feel like it.

I also now eat according to my training. I always think of what would be the best fuel for my workout, or what would help me recover the best, which is one of the reasons why I don't particularly eat any 'junk' food.

What body part have you seen the biggest transformation in?

Definitely my stomach.

Previously, my tummy was the place which I was most self-conscious about because it wasn't at all flat. Now, my abs are visible and I am super confident about it.

And the one you think needs a little more work?

Lauren Instagram

I'm working hard at bringing out my shoulders at the moment. I've never had visible delts and it's something I'd love to have, so I'm pushing hard on them!

In general, how is your relationship with food and exercise nowadays?

My relationship with both food and exercise couldn't be better! I love to eat and if there's something I want, I will have it, just not the whole tub! I follow IIFYM which means that I never ever binge because I always feel satisfied as I'm having a little bit of whatever I fancy.

Equally, my training is going so well because I'm fuelling my body correctly and adequately for the level of activity I'm doing!

If you could go back in time and give yourself just one piece of advice, what would it be?


I would always put myself down for not losing enough weight or not fitting into a size 6 or 8 dress but why?! Why did I do that? I could have been having fun or actively and healthily working on changing myself for the better and to my goals rather than taking the quick fix and putting myself on the path to destruction…

And FYI, the quick fix of cutting carbs or stopping eating is NOT sustainable in the long term! If I hadn't fallen in love with weight lifting and healthy eating and had kept up my restrictive diet I dread to think what state I would be in now, if I'd even still be here.

It's so important to treat both your mind and your body in a way that is sustainable in the long term by NOT restricting and NOT hating yourself! Trust me, it will pay off for the future.

Now that you've made a positive change, how has your transformation affected those around you?

Lauren Working Out Shoulders

I started an Instagram account where I document some of my healthy treats and my fitness journey: @_laurenfitness.

At first, I didn't tell my friends about it, but now they all follow me and I often get people telling me how I am motivating and inspiring them, which touches me so much and makes me so happy. Of course, some people, particularly the boys who were in my year at school, ridicule my account, but I honestly couldn't care less!

I am so happy and comfortable in myself now that I've changed for the better that people who hardly know me putting a downer on my success doesn't bother me in the slightest.

I have helped a few people including my mum and auntie with their weight loss, as well as also helping a couple of my friends with eating disorders. Every now and then, girls inbox me on my fitness Instagram asking for help with improving their body image and relationship with food/exercise, and of course I offer them advise, given that I've been there. The feeling of them telling me how much I have helped them is honestly so, so rewarding.

Lauren in the gym

Mine has to be Amanda Latona. She was one of my main motivations when I began lifting weights because her curvy, healthy body was something I desired to have. I was fortunate enough to meet her at Bodypower 2015 where I chatted to her for ages and she was just SO lovely and so down to earth: something that a lot of famous bodybuilders aren't.

Having met her, I am even more motivated now to keep up the lifestyle I live and love.

Just quickly - favourite Disney movie?

Has to be The Lion King: my brother is epileptic and absolutely loves it (he watches it about 5x a day) and seeing him enjoy it while singing along to Hakuna Matata makes me so happy.

What's next for you?

I'm starting work in September which is going to be an exciting adventure for me given that I'm fresh out of sixth form!

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Never ever believe a quick fix will work: it won't. Transforming your body WILL be hard but that's what makes the 'after' so satisfying. Having to work for what you want is so rewarding both mentally and physically, and makes you realise what you truly are capable of.

And PS... Carbs are not the enemy.

Lauren in the Pool