Hardbody Profile: Michelle Brannan The UK’s First Bikini Pro

Michelle Brannan is making her IFBB Pro Bikini debut this weekend at the St. Louis Pro. She has a background in dance and after seeing a video on YouTube she decided to pursue competing in the Bikini division. Michelle made history last year when she became the first woman from the UK to achieve IFBB Pro status. I caught up Michelle to learn more.



Born in:
Hampshire UK

Currently Live in:
London UK

What age did you start dancing?
I started dancing Latin Ballroom at 18 years old

What’s your favorite dance to perform?
I love to dance Lambada, Lambada is a sensual Brazilian partner danced now danced to various Latin and afro Latin music such as Zouk and Kizomba.

Do you have a dance partner for Lambada?
I don’t currently have a dance partner, I took a break from dancing to concentrate on competing. I am hoping to dance again soon.

What’s your favorite dance to teach?
I am UKA certified to teach Lambada and as this is my favourite dance I love to pass on my knowledge.

Have you seen Dancing with the Stars – does the UK have a version of that?
We have Strictly Come Dancing which I think is similar.

Do  you think you could teach someone who has never danced to dance?
I could teach anyone to dance. Every skill is learned and even if you are born with a good sense of rhythm, you are not born knowing the steps. Everyone has to start somewhere.

How did you get started in physique competitions?
In 2009 I came across a video clip on You Tube of a Bikini fitness contest and was blown away! These girls bodies were another level. I decided I wanted to look like that so I researched everything about fitness and bodybuilding. Six month later I entered my first show and won, it was such an incredible feeling I decided to continue to compete. In October 2010 IFBB’s UK amateur federation UKBFF introduced Bikini and I won their first ever show and then placed 1st the British Grand Prix Amateur Olympia. In June 2011 I joined Team Bombshell who helped me improve my physique and I subsequently placed 3rd at IFBB Amateur World Championships in Serbia in October 2011 where I  earned my Pro card.  I am the very first UK athlete to earn IFBB Pro status through the Bikini class

Do you think your dance background has helped you with your stage presence for Bikini?
Dance has been a massive help to me, it has given me  experience of being on stage and performing for an audience which nothing quite prepares you for unless you have been up there.  I used to dance with a Salsa group who were the twice European Salsa Team champions and we performed all over UK and in Egypt and Greece. Latin dance as also helped me with body awareness, I am used to putting my body into different positions and contracting and relaxing certain muscles, it helps that I don’t have to look down on stage to make sure my legs are in the right place!  I am still working on my stage presence, confidence is key, I have done 7 shows now but I still get nerves going on stage.

This will be your pro debut this weekend, what are you most excited about?
I am so excited to be competing as an IFBB Pro, my main goal when I started competing was to get my Pro card so now I have done it, anything else is truly an honour.

For those that don’t know where did you turn pro?
I turned Pro at the IFBB Amateur World Championships in Serbia last October.  Being from UK the only route to pro status is to place 1st at the IFBB Amateur European Championships or Top 3 at IFBB Amateur World championships both of which contests you have to qualify for. At the World Championships there were 28 girls in my class and all the best of their country so competition is tough, I feel very lucky to be an IFBB Bikini Pro.

How does it feel to be the first Bikini Pro from the UK?
I am very honoured to be the first Bikini Pro from UK, I was lucky enough to represent UK at the European and Worlds Championships and at the first ever Arnold Europe. I am hoping to be the first UK Bikini competitor at the Olympia

What’s the biggest difference competing in the States vs the UK?
The biggest difference is that most of the shows in UK are Amateur. In October we will have Pro bikini for the very first time at the British Grand Prix. Bikini is new to UK and Europe but is growing in popularity.

What type of weight training do you do?
When I started I thought I had to lift as heavy as I possibly could; and in the beginning that was not a lot but since joining Team Bombshell, I do a wider variety of training incorporating higher reps. I love training legs but I try to stick to lighter weights as my legs get lean and defined quickly so I need to keep the body balanced.

Any supplements you like and would recommend to women?
I use a whey protein with my oats in the morning and couldn’t live without `good bacteria` tablets for a healthy digestive system

Where can people find more information on you?
My www.michellebrannan.com or find me on facebook.

Thanks Michelle and good luck!
Photos courtesy of Michelle Brannan.

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