A woman has gone from surgery to the stage having taken part in a bodybuilding competition only a few years after having a full hip replacement.
Jess Duck, 33, from Steeple Bumpstead, had her left hip replaced when she was 29 having suffered from congenital hip displasia.
“It’s usually picked up at birth,” said Jess. “I started to show symptoms when I was 12.
“I used to horse ride a lot and my hips would be very sore afterwards. I couldn’t do PE, I couldn’t even walk around or wear high heels.”
Jess had her first surgery to treat the condition when she was 17. When she was 29, her surgeon told her she would need a full replacement.
“My hip was absolutely ruined,” she said. “Walking across a garage forecourt was like climbing Mount Everest for me.”
The recovery process led Jess to take up yoga at Haverhill therapy clinic and, later, zumba at Real Bodies gym in Haverhill.
This is where she started training as a body builder.
Now, Jess has gone from recovering from surgery to taking part in the Miami Pro bodybuilding competition in Wimbledon, which was held on November 23.
“At first I had to take it easy,” she said. “I had to re-learn how to walk. I couldn’t remember how. They set up these two bars and I just sat on the floor.
“In 2013, I went to a boot camp at (sports shop) Sweaty Betty. The teacher has become one of my best friends. I asked her what she did to look so amazing and she said she did weights.”
Jess then returned to Real Bodies in Haverhill where she was able to find a trainer to help her learn how to benefit from weight lifting.
Because of the hip replacement, doctors had suggested that Jess avoided exercises such as running which would put an enormous amount of pressure on the joint.
Weight lifting, however, actually benefits Jess as the added muscle helps to support the joints and lessen the strain on them.
The process of training to be a body builder is arduous and is accompanied by a strict diet.
A typical breakfast may include porridge with almond milk and a couple of eggs (either scrambled or boiled, not fried).
A snack could consist of a yoghurt while, for lunch, chicken with green vegetables and sweet potato is a favourite. For dinner, a typical meal would be beef with vegetables and rice.
Protein shakes are consumed after work-outs and multi- vitamins and fish oils are taken throughout the day.
“I’m a very goal-oriented person,” said Jess. “I always need something to work towards. I train five or six days a week, concentrating on different body parts, legs, glutes.
“At the beginning, I did get pains in my hips but now it feels amazing. I feel like a new woman.”
The new hip is ceramic and could last for 20 years before needing to be replaced again. Regular exercise and visits to the chiropractor help in the recovery process.
Despite failing to place in this year’s Miami Pro competition, Jess intends to keep training and to take part in more contests in the future. She’d even encourage others to take up the sport.
“I’m such a determined and focussed person,” she said. “As long as you have got focus and determination, it’s a great thing to do. You can’t do it half-arsed.
“My advice is to go for it. Don’t be afraid to get involved.
“Make sure you’ve got a good support network of family, friends and people who will be there at the end of a difficult day of training.
“It’s really important to take care of your body when you exercise.
“It’s important to look after your health.”