Annie will compete for her ticket to bodybuilding paradise America in December

Annie will compete for her ticket to bodybuilding paradise America in December

Annie immediately won all the prizes in her first bodybuilding competition. Photographs: Own collection

VELDDRIEL/ROSSUM – Anne Merks surprised friend and foe alike when she competed in her first bodybuilding competition in March this year, instantly winning all the prizes. The 32-year-old Velddrielse native is now fully preparing for a prestigious tournament in December.

‘A kind of beauty pageant, but with muscles’ is how Ann Merks describes her sport of bodybuilding, for those who don’t know the sport (well) in general. Anne, who now resides in Rossam, has been in bodybuilding for about seven years. Prior to that time, she competed in figure roller skating at a high level until the age of 21 as a member of De Ker-Rolls from Kerkdriel.

From a young age, sport and the associated sacrifices dominated her life at the highest level: “I couldn’t go to children’s parties, hardly any social things; I didn’t know very well. On the other hand, it brought me things that most of them didn’t experience; competitions abroad, creating a bond with mentors , everything really. I learned a lot from it.”

Intestinal inflammation
When she stops figure skating, a bad period begins for her. She is only losing weight and is completely indoors, and doctors have been completely in the dark for almost two years. Eventually the diagnosis is made: chronic appendicitis.

“I was glad we found out what it was, but I thought, ‘What now?’ At the time Anne weighed only 48 kg and was always tired and living in social isolation.

Nutrition plan
“I broke down psychologically and went back to the GP who had previously referred me to the hospital. I told them what I had been told at the hospital and the GP then encouraged me to try exercise.” Anne is happy to take that advice to heart.

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Thanks to the help of a former bodybuilder, he also gets a manageable nutrition plan. It turned out to be a bull’s eye: “My body responded well and I gained six kilos again in the first year. A combination of sports and good nutrition pushed me in the right direction. That’s how it is. Best in years.”

Things are going well and Anne discovers a new sport: bodybuilding. She ‘builds’ her body by exercising and eating a healthy and balanced diet. Her parents and her friend Christa weren’t immediately keen on the development until Anne entered her first bodybuilding BeNeLux competition in March this year.

It’s Anne’s first competition, and it brings some nerves: “It’s fun when you train in the gym, but in a tiny bikini you’re the center of attention in a theater.” “I’ve always had a fear of failure, which I unconsciously brought from figure skating. It was a bigger struggle mentally than it was physically for me, but eventually I took steps to overcome the fear.”

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The jury was immediately impressed by Annie, who promptly won all the prizes she could win during her pageant debut. With this she surprises not only her friends, acquaintances and competitors, but also herself: I thought, “What is this?” she laughed. “I really did not expect it. After completing ten competitions, you have experience and routine, but I won the first competition.” Anne’s bodybuilding career – despite her desire – immediately gained momentum. Slowly but surely she realized that she had given a great performance. It endeared her and her French coach even more.

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Together, they focus on December 3: a new, prestigious competition is scheduled in Schowburg de Meers in Amsterdam, with the aim of moving to the mecca of bodybuilding: America. “If I win the ‘overall ranking’ during that competition in December – I don’t think there’s any chance – I’ll be a professional bodybuilder. Then you can go to America and compete at the top. Bodybuilding. It feels like you’ve suddenly gone from amateurs to the Champions League.”

It will be a dream come true for Anne, who is expected to face foreign competition in Amsterdam, although who will only be announced on the morning of the competition. She still doesn’t know if he’s one of the contestants. The only thing she can do in the months leading up to the competition is to prepare hard and disciplined.

And that’s what she does. He always trains in the morning at the gym in Kerkdriel, and his strict diet consists mainly of rice porridge, proteins, balanced portions of rice, chicken and beef. The same strict regime will continue for another seven weeks. “It’s mentally very hard, but I tick the box every day. I don’t recommend anyone to do this – certainly not without a coach or help – but for me this sport and lifestyle has enriched my life. Maybe even saved it,” Anne concludes.

To finance her sport, Anne is aided by the necessary sponsors, including caterer Albert van den Heuvel, AVN Kerktrial and C-Line Beauty. Anyone interested in sponsoring Anne can contact her at: [email protected].

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