Home » 'I had a traumatic childhood... I used bodybuilding to change my life"

'I had a traumatic childhood... I used bodybuilding to change my life"

May 6, 2024

How NHS nurse Zoe Miller took just two years to transform her future

MANY people hope their childhood years are filled with joy, hope and a feeling of invincibility. For Zoe Miller, nothing could be further from the truth. Little did she know then that bodybuilding would change her life.

She only picked up a weight two years ago but today she is the IBFA Granite City overall champion, the BPA Scottish Grand Prix overall champion and has just become a new professional with the NFMUK, after winning the AM & PRO Figure Toned class. Bodybuilding, she says, has saved her life.

"I came from foster care and had a very hard upbringing with a lot of trauma," she says. "I wanted to change my life.

"After I had my daughter, I spent the past 10 years raising her on my own and working to give her the best life and upbringing I could.

"Once she got older and started to get her own life, I knew I could now get some of mine back, because I had her young.

"I joined the gym to give me some discipline and routine... some purpose in life. When I first started it was just to get more healthy and take better care of myself.

"Within the first three months I knew I wasn’t exercising like everyone else. I naturally started bodybuilding – I had always looked up to the sport – and found it fascinating. It was like a work of art – I never imagined I could actually do it.

"I coached myself for a year and a half and thought, 'maybe I can do this'. So now my daughter is 12, I knew this was a perfect time to try my first prep. I’ve never looked back – it’s totally saved my life."

'I was broken – but bodybuilding changed my life'

Miller admits she was drifting through life, struggling to maintain a normal outlook because of how she had been mistreated as a youngster.

But alongside her daughter, the discipline of bodybuilding had given her additional purpose.

She said: "It has given me a proper focus. I spent years of my life trying to numb my pain as I was a broken soul. This is why I’m so passionate about the natural side of the sport.

"My health and well-being now is like night and day compared to how it was before. I eat whole foods, rarely drink, love training and cardio. I've never even touched a fat burner.

"I could write a book about my life and things I’ve been through but I truly owe this sport a lot, it’s honestly the best thing to have happened to me – aside from having my daughter."


Name: Zoe Miller

Height: 162 cm

Occupation: Assistant practitioner for NHS community nursing and personal trainer and coach.

At what age did you start bodybuilding and why?: 28 – and to change my life.

Competition titles: See Zoe Miller's profile

Hobbies: Travelling and visiting new places, helping people, going out with friends, spending time with my daughter. Love documentaries and learning about things, travelling and visiting new sights.

What did you look like before bodybuilding? I was out of proportion. Overweight slightly, no muscle mass, weak – and couldn’t run to save my life.

Current training routine: I work out four to five times per week, with cardio seven times a week.

What is your off-season diet like? I was about 3400 calories or just over.

What is your prep diet like? I started prep in January, with my lowest calories about 1200.

Favourite music: I love all genre of music depending on my mood. Spotify has 20 different albums of various stuff.

Favourite films: Anything funny, anything scary – and maybe the odd chick flick.

Favourite foods: Mexican or Italian, love Chinese and Indian too, but for prep it’s chicken and rice lol.

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