SHE'S the super fit single mum turned business woman and Maxine Dilkes is about to show other women how it's done.
The 46-year-old is fresh off the stage from two female body building competitions, a gruelling 12 weeks of preparation she smashed out while raising three children on her own and keeping her business from closing its doors.
Fuelled with six meals a day, abdominal, butt and thigh workouts nine times a week, and the drive to move forward, Maxine said she wasn't in the competitions to win.
"The best part was learning all the poses and then going to buy the shoes and bikini and knowing you're going to get a spray tan and hair done and look totally different. It's really exciting," she said.
"The thing I was a bit concerned about was showing my backside and sticking it out to the audience.
"The most enjoyable part is the achievement. You have to be in a 100%, or don't do it. I went for the experience and the best of me. That is the best of me.
"The challenge was to move on in my life and to also say to my children you have to have the encouragement to keep going on and not stop and wallow.
"It doesn't matter, win or lose it's about taking part and doing it for me, not anybody else.
Maxine took on Freedom Health and Fitness at Redbank 18 years ago and since then has been fighting the same battles many Ipswich small business owners face - a tough market and plenty of healthy competition.
"It's been hard to get to this point but I'm really starting to push it now, there's a lot going on," she said.
"As a manager of the gym it's my passion to keep it alive and people have noticed it's got a feeling, it's nice and welcoming and friendly. I have my heart in it big time.
"It's a really slow process. As opposed to being out there with all these franchises, we're on our own."
Maxine combined physical strength with emotional strength and positivity to keep the business up and running and help change other people's lives.
"Life is for living for you, not for everybody else. If you can make somebody's life better, that's my job," she said.
"I feel that this gym has more potential than any other gym out there, I really believe in the place and I really want this place to work. I don't want to walk away. I came in and gave it a go. I've put 150% into the business.
"I've tried to lift it up and give it some life back and that's an achievement all by itself."
- Want to get fit? Freedom Health and Fitness is offering five people who weigh over 150kg three months free membership to start their journey. Pop into the gym at 59 Brisbane Rd Redbank or contact 3381 8995 for details.
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