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Sammi Spinks


Vital Statistics Before Current
Age 25 -
Height 5 feet 8 inch -
Waist 47.6 kg 57.1 kg

Meet Sammi Spinks – A 25-year-old that has fought against the odds (and four open heart surgeries) to make an incredible transformation…

At ten days old she was rushed into the hospital, where doctors found three holes in her heart, which required 12 years of surgery and care to repair. After this ordeal, they recommended that she doesn’t exercise at the risk of making her condition worse.

And that’s exactly what she did – shying away from PE at school throughout her childhood. Surprisingly though, she found it impossible to gain weight and achieve that ‘dream look,’ no matter how much junk food she ate to try and achieve it… She would just remain incredibly slim to the point of protruding bones.

But then she met her fiancé Tom, and everything changed.

He introduced her to a healthy eating plan and lifting weights. Initially, doctors were terrified of this development, but as they started to see how happy this made Sammi and how positively this affected her health, their opinions began to change!

It’s been an incredible journey for her so far, which is continuing with a wedding in August and the eventual launch of her own vlogging channel on YouTube…

Sammi Spinks - Before & After

Training Plan

I love training, especially weights – going 5/6 times a week with each session lasting around an hour. I concentrate on one or two body parts per session and like to change my training routine every 6 weeks.

Due to my heart problems I am unable to lift extremely heavy weights, so training with moderate/heavy weights for a high amount of reps and sets is how I like to train my muscles. I also like to do super sets and have minimal rest periods.

I don’t like doing cardio at all… But I know it is important to do, especially for my heart health, so I do 5 minutes of cardio before each training session and plyometrics once a week.

  • Monday - Chest and triceps
  • Tuesday - Rest day
  • Wednesday - Plyometrics and legs
  • Thursday - Shoulders
  • Friday - Back and biceps
  • Saturday - Abs
  • Sunday - Legs and shoulders

I like to train shoulders and legs twice a week, as they are my weakest part.

Meal Plan

I love my food and always try to have something different every day, to help stop boredom. As long as I hit my daily macros (protein 180g, fat 53g, carbs 300g) for gaining mass and muscle, I am happy.

However, everything I eat is 'clean'. I do obviously have a cheat meal once, maybe twice, a week which is usually a take away pizza, curry or Chinese! 

To get an idea if what I eat on a daily basis, here is an example of day of eating with me:


Interview with Sammi Spink

Hi Sammi! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Let’s set the scene – tell us your full transformation story.

sammi before here transformation

My transformation story really started 3 ½ years ago when I met my fiancé Tom.

Before I met Tom I was incredibly slim - so much so that I had protruding bones and people would actually ask me to my face if I had an eating disorder!

Even though I was so skinny, I ate so much food but just could not gain weight. I was not happy or confident in myself at all as I wanted to be bigger but thought the only way I could achieve my 'dream look' was through eating junk.

I also did no exercise what so ever, and due to my heart condition I was not allowed to do much PE at school throughout my childhood – ending up in the hospital every time I tried. Because of this I never established any base line muscle or strength.

When I met Tom he could not believe how much food I could consume… On our second date I challenged him to eating a whole cheesecake for four people- and won! As we became closer I opened up to him about not being happy with my figure and wanting to gain weight. I didn't want to get fat as such, but I thought that was my only option.

Tom then educated me about healthy eating and lifting weights- of course my first response was “uh I don't want to look like a man!”  

He then went on to show me women like Paige Hathaway and how muscles could give women lovely and sexy curves- I was game from then as these women were beautiful!

Tom also explained to me that women don't produce enough testosterone to build as much muscle as men do, so getting 'bulky' and 'manly' would be naturally impossible.

From there I started eating right and training alongside Tom, seeing all the improvements in myself almost immediately. Not only was my body and strength changing and improving, but my mood and confidence were also improving… I can now say I am hooked on lifting weights!

Tell me about the surgery you’ve received for the multiple heart defects, and how (if so) they affect day-to-day living.

Everyone thought I was born a healthy baby; but I collapsed in my mums arms and was rushed into the local hospital at 10 days old.

Now, I am originally from the Isle of Wight, and at that time they didn't have any in-house cardiologists at the islands hospital (there is only one hospital on the island) so after doing a few small tests and realising there was something wrong with my heart, I was sent urgently over to Southampton General Hospital where I underwent my first heart surgery.

I was found to have 3 holes in my heart: a narrowing in my aorta, a narrowing in my pulmonary vein and a faulty heart valve. In between the ages of 10 days old and 12 years old I have undergone 4 open heart surgeries and have suffered from numerous bouts of septicaemia, pleurisy, heart failure and pneumonia.

sammi after her transformation

Things got so bad that after my first operation I was christened in the hospital as my parents were told I would not make it… Well I showed them!  I was in and out of hospital and missed quite a huge chunk of my childhood- but my parents and family made sure I never felt left out and spoilt me with love. 

My heart defects affected my day-to-day living dramatically. As a teenager/young woman, I was still in and out of hospital on a regular basis until the age of about 22. This was mainly due to suffering from health based anxiety attacks, which would give my heart palpitations and breathlessness… Scary stuff!

However, after a lot of tests, they put it down to anxiety which I continue to handle to this very day without medication. Because of my anxiety, I was very clingy to my parents and did not really like to be without them. This made socialising very hard, but with the help of my family and close friends I grew out of it in early adulthood before I met Tom. 

When did the turning point come, that pushed you to change?

It was probably when I met Tom, and became educated on how to change my body and mind-set in a healthy way. Like I said before, I was never able to do much exercising growing up so doing physical activity was strange for me!

I, of course, was ridiculously weak when I started… I couldn't even bicep curl the smallest weight, which was 2.5kg for more than 4 reps.

I would have been easy for me to have given up right at the beginning, but luckily I had Tom, who himself had gone through a transformation of gaining a lot of mass from being naturally slim (plus he also had a health issue, which caused him to have brain surgery and stent placed into his skull).

Tom pushed me hard and I will be forever thankful to him because he saw my potential and still does. When I told my heart consultant what I was doing (a year and a half after I started) they were not happy at all, as they did not want me to be putting and pressure on my heart.

At that time I had a personal trainer and had managed a 70kg squat as a personal best! My heart consultant and his team limited the weight I could lift to only 5kg… Now that hurt - I felt like I had found the one thing I and it had been taken away from me because of my past.

I remember I went home and stayed in bed for 3 days - feeling depressed and not knowing how to move on from it. Tom, my family and friends were so supportive, but it did not matter to me what they said… I wanted to lift weights as it made me feel good!

sammi working out

After emails were sent back and forth from me to my consulting team, they overlooked my case and agreed to up my limit to 30kg. It wasn't perfect but I could work with this weight! I got back into training and continued on my path.

I have recently been in touch with another consultant who says as long as I am not “grunting,” I will be ok… So I am currently exploring this. With my heart health, I do have to undergo frequent tests and my consultant said I am the healthiest I have ever been!

Who has been the most inspirational figure during your transformation?

I started with joining Trugym Plymouth which is part of the building which I live in. I started with CV, bicycle, cross trainer and treadmill but the treadmill had to stop because even a short run was uncomfortable.

I also started to lift a few weights.

What did you find to be the most challenging thing about your transformation?

Of course I am going to say Tom as he was the one who got me into training and has stuck with me through it all!

And as I mentioned before, he had health issues as a teenager so he knows how it is to be different in a way. He also knows the struggle of weight gain so has been a great supporter in that.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I am quite easily motivated I think… When I do hit points of feeling like wanting to give up, I just look at how far I have come and how much of a change I have made in myself.

Also, I don't think it would be that easy to go back to how I was, because I have made a lifestyle change. I also keep my social media and YouTube swarming with fitness models and motivational stuff, so I am constantly looking at it!

Let’s talk food! What was your diet like before your transformation?

Diet was horrendous, like I said I ate a lot but it was all horrible processed fatty food. I make it sound like I grew up around bad food which is not the case! My mum always prepared fresh and healthy food growing up… But once you can drive and have your independence fast foods become so much easier and convenient.

I would have happily eaten a whole pizza and cheesecake to myself for dinner. Lunch would normally be a big bowl of pasta and breakfast would be a bacon and egg sandwich. I was also hooked on Diet Coke- I still have it now but more as a treat! I would also snack on chocolate and sweets throughout the day and late at night.

sammis muscle food favourites

Do you have any Muscle Food favourites?

Well I LOVE cheese! So any of the Muscle Food's cheese is great as is high protein and low fat so you don't feel so bad eating it - my favourite has to be the halloumi.

Were there any particular foods you found it hard to give up? If so, how did you motivate yourself to make the change?

Sugar - it was so hard to give up, but I knew I had to do it! I was ready to make a real change. I say to anyone who wants to give up sugar that the first week is hell (or it was for me, but I was eating a lot of sugar). However, after that your body adjusts and you don't feel the need for sugar anymore. After 2 weeks of zero sugar I stopped craving chocolate which I thought was incredible!

Muscle Food Protein Pizza

What’s your cheeky cheat meal?

Has to be either a chicken korma or a takeaway pizza!

Have you received any words of wisdom that have stuck with your during the transformation?

It wasn't quite words but there is a quote that has stuck with me which is: “The only thing that stands between you and what you want out of life is the will to try and faith to believe it’s possible.”

 That really stuck with me because I do believe that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. I never dreamed that I would be healthy enough to live a normal life!

You talk about how your heart condition limits what you can do at the gym. What is your exercise routine with that in mind?

Yes, like I said I had one consultant limit me to lifting 30kg, and another saying if I don't 'grunt' then it’s fine. Obviously my heart health is extremely important, and I understand that I have scar tissue in my heart that could be weakened by putting pressure on it.

With my exercises currently, I like to do moderate/heavy weight but quite high reps (12-15) with the addition of short rest periods (normally around 30 seconds). I also do plyometrics and super sets, to really fatigue my muscles. 

Do you have any favourite workouts?

I am actually really enjoying the plyometric training at the minute - because it’s different and you really feel it in your legs & bum! It’s also a fun way for me to get my heart rate up.

What is your favourite body part and why?

I love training biceps and back, and they have been the muscle groups that responded the quickest. I get a nice little pump on after training!

before and after her transformation

How important is weight training to your workout – something you thought would make you “manly”?

A majority of my training is weights and I love it. There is something about lifting a heavy weight that makes you feel so great and empowered! I wish a lot more women would do more weight training as it is something you can challenge yourself with as well, and get great results from! 

You met your now fiancé 3 years ago, who proposed to you after a skydive! How much has he helped in motivating you?

He has been my motivator throughout this whole experience! When I’m down, he picks me back up - he helps me with my form and teaches me new techniques.

He also helps with my diet, but doesn't let me get too obsessed with it as that is not healthy. He also motivates and inspires me outside of the gym by supporting me through University.

Even the skydive was something I never in a million years thought I would be able to do, but he was determined to get me to break through this barrier of fear and I did it (he even had to get my consultant to sign to say I fit enough to skydive).

sammi after her transformation

Do you feel that motivation is neutral? Do you help him?

Yeah I feel I motivate him as we sometimes do go to the gym together and workout together. Sometimes I will do his training regime and sometimes he will do mine. Other times we do our own thing, but cheer each other on in the background!     

Now that a ring is on the finger, and you’re pushing your own mental and physical barriers, what are your plans for the future?

Yes, well we get married this August which is very exciting (and another thing to keep me motivated) and I am also currently in my final year of University, studying Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.

My future plans are to set up my Acupuncture business and help as many people with their health as possible. I am also going to keep pushing myself in the gym to get to where I want to me. My dream would to break into the fitness industry and I would love to become a fitness model.

So my step before that would be to start up a Youtube channel of my own and start vlogging- I want to do this to share my story and inspire people. I want to tell people that even if you have a barrier, physical or mental, there is always a way around it, it may take longer but with work you can get there! But I obviously need to get there first before I start telling people.

And finally, do you have any advice for people who are looking to transform?

Life is short and full of surprises and now will never be the “right time.” Invest in yourself and you can achieve more then you or other people think! Also, surround yourself with positive people who are going to help you grow and get to where you want to be!

Muscle Food Final Thoughts

Every transformation story featured on Muscle Food outlines that a good diet and a good workout plan are essential to achieving the results you desire. All transformation stories, exercise routines and diet plans are provided by the customer and have not been checked by a nutritionist or doctor. Results may vary for different individuals.