Muscle-Munch talks with fitness model: Emma Louise Burrows

Muscle-Munch talks with fitness model: Emma Louise Burrows

How did you get started?

I competed as a gymnast in my younger years and after having to give it up due to injury, I qualified as a coach in the sport. I have always been a fitness fanatic and had to seek out further ways to train and keep my body in form. Over the years, I have practised dance, yoga, boxercise, circuit training, cardio work, core work, plyometrics and muscular endurance/strength.

In terms of turning my passion into a career, I guess you could say it stemmed from heart break. Like all good things in life, I often find that a negative turned into a positive is the way to endure the sweetest of rewards in life. I was in a long term relationship with my childhood sweetheart who was a professional mixed martial artist. His passion for his sport became my passion as I supported him by spending a lot of time watching him train but also training with him. I enjoyed becoming super fit so much that when I heard about fitness competitions, thought I should learn more. I went to a seminar for the Fame UK competition in April 2011 and the very next day I broke up with my boyfriend. I had initially thought that I was nowhere near ready for the competition which was to take place in June, but after such heart break I couldn’t help but think it was the perfect opportunity to stay focused and strong.

Boom! I went onto place 2nd in both Fame UK Ms Bikini in June 2011 and Fitness Britain Ms Bikini in September 2011. I changed careers and have become a personal trainer and fitness model. As far as I am concerned the sky is the limit, there is so much more I want to achieve. My dream would be to make it in the states as a full time fitness competitor and model. Watch this space….I intend on working very hard in 2012!!!

What your diet consists of and why?

High sources of protein (fish, steak, chicken and eggs): It may be a bore to hear but the simple fact is protein is a wonderful way to develop and repair muscles. Grass fed organic meats are the best and for the sake of a few extra pence it’s organic all day long when it comes to my eggs.

Nuts nuts and more nuts: I vary the nuts I eat and don’t read too much into some being too high in fat. Fats are not the devil, it is carbs and sugars that need avoiding.

Deep green vegetables: A great example is spinach….remember Popeye!?

Root vegetable: Veggies that come straight from the soil tend to be full of nutrients; my favourite is carrots as they are an easy thing to snack on when out and about.

Berries galore: Fruit in general is quite high in sugar so I try to opt for the more sour of fruits and berries are perfect, especially blueberries.

Milk and cheese: Some people are not aware of just how important dairy is in the diet. I always opt for full fat as it holds the most goodness, low fat/light options are put through processes which draw out the goodness and usually hold additives in order to maintain the taste.

I have a cheat day once per week whereby I ignore all my nutritional knowledge and enjoy. My sweet tooth makes this a very fun day indeed!

What supplements do you use?

I  try to achieve what I can by taking in natural goodness. However, I will opt for a protein shake or bar on occasion for a quick pre/post workout boost. As an LA Muscle sponsored athlete, I of course opt for the fabulous products they have to offer, the LA Muscle Flapjack Bar is particularly yummy.

Example of diet

  • Meal 1: Cheese with natural peanut butter on top
  • Snack: Soya nuts
  • Meal 2: Tuna salad
  • Snack: Natural yoghurt with raspberries
  • Meal 3: Steak with mixed vegetable
  • Snack: Brazil nuts
  • Meal 4: Scrambled eggs mixed with spinach and mushrooms
  • Drinks: coffee, green tea and water

What does your current work-out routine look like?

  • 1 x Upper body per week – mix of muscular strength and endurance.
  • 1 x Lower body per week – mix of muscular strength and endurance.
  • 1 x Abs and core per week.
  • 3 x Cardio / interval training per week.
  • 2 x Plyometrics workouts per week – usually performed in a circuit format.

What are your max lifts?

Purely on a 1RM scale, I can lift the following:

  • Bench press: 45kg
  • Barbell squat: 80kg
  • Leg press: 120kg
  • Bicep curl: 15kg

What’s your favourite cheat meal?

Pancakes with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream on top!!!

Free weights vs Machines, what are the pros and cons and which do you prefer?

Primarily, I am a free weights girl as I believe that using big compound and freely moveable exercises achieves more by working more of the muscles at any one time. Why train one muscle group when you can work lots at once? Freely moveable, compound exercises activate far more nerves and muscle fibres which develops size and tone. That is not to say there are not some good compound exercises to be done with certain machines but just on a general basis. I do love the cables which you would class as a machine as they actually allow for plenty of freely moveable exercises.

How do you stay motivated?

I believe that a healthy mind leads to a healthy body. I look for the positive in everything and remember how blessed I am in life. Plus, I love what I do so it is not hard to stay motivated when you are reaching for goals you are passionate about achieving. As a personal trainer, I am lucky enough to enjoy aspiring to achieve other people’s goals also, it is such a rewarding job. Yes, sometimes it’s cold and dark and I feel like wrapping myself up and snuggling at home in the warm, but I remind myself that there is a huge and beautiful world out there and so many things yet to learn.

What music do you listen to when training?

I am generally happy to listen to whatever is playing in the gym whilst I train as it’s not what I am concentrating on. However, if I need some extra push for a tough set, I might turn to a Michael Jackson classic to get me through.

What has been the highlight/s of your career so far?

The highlight of my career so far was coming 2nd in the first competition I entered. I had no idea what to expect from the day and had no clue I might place in the top three. It was a huge shock and the lift I needed to realise I should be following my passion in life and making a career out of fitness. There is something about that naivety I had which made it a truly special moment.

Who is your favourite bodybuilder, strongman or powerlifter?

Sarah Donohue is my favourite athlete. She no longer competes in fitness competitions as she is now setting up one of her own, but when she did, she was at the top of her game in the states as a fitness champion. To top that off, she managed to participate in another sport and is an olympic powerboat racer. I respect her greatly for the changes she is trying to make in the fitness industry and given everything she has been through in life (e.g. she was once on a life support machine before going on to achieve fitness title after title in the states), I adore her outlook on life. She has achieved so much and always maintained an addictive positive ‘anything is possible’ attitude. I consider Sarah a friend as well as someone I look up to.

If you could give someone any advice, what would it be?

My favourite quote is one of my own actually – ‘reach for the stars because one of them belongs to you’.



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