Athlete Profile: Rhonda Purcell

Age:  46

Location: Brisbane, QLD

Years Training: 4

Day Job: Iuih (Institute for Urban Indigenous Health)

Recent Competition History:

  • 2016 INBA / PNBA World Cup:

    • 1st Place Physique Masters

    • 2nd Place Physique Open

    • 1st Place Figure Masters (PNBA Pro Card attained)

    • 3rd Place Figure Opens

  • 2016 INBA / PNBA Natural Olympia:

    • Amateur Day

      • 1st Place Physique Masters

      • 1st Place Physique Overall (Pro Physique Card & Miss Olympia attained)

    • Pro Day

      • 1st Place Pro Figure Masters (Miss Olympia)

      • 2nd Place Pro Physique

What is your background?

I'm aboriginal and my people are Quandamooka (Nth Stradbroke Island & Moreton Island), Koa people of Winton & Wakka Wakka people of Cherboug.

How did you get started in bodybuilding?

I got started as I had put on weight not doing much sport or physical activity. My diet wasn't great and I had a desk job. I wasn't feeling good about myself physically and mentally so I went to a boxing gym in 2011 and started boxing and weights. I lost about 12kgs and started feeling much healthier and happier within myself and much stronger too! I absolutely love boxing and I was a tom boy growing up so loved it!

When did you first decide to compete?

I went and watched a Bodybuilding show in 2012 in May and decided to enter in September 2012 in the Fitness division. 1 was 42 years old and this was my very first competition!

I wasn't sure what was involved with all the different categories so decided to enter into Fitness Opens and was called out 10th! I couldn't believe it and I absolutely loved every minute of it!

What does competiting look like for you so far?

Following my first competition in 2012, I competed throughout all of 2013 in the Fitness division. I also qualified to go to my first Natural Olympia in 2013 and competed in Fitness Masters where I went on to win gold, Fitness Opens I won 4th Place and and Bikini Masters 2nd Place.

In 2014 I continued competing then stepped up to Figure International and Physique in September 2014. In that competition I won Figure International Masters QLD title and 5th Place in Novice Physique. I also entered in Natural Olympia in 2014 and won 1 Gold, 2 Silver medals and a 4h Place.

I took 2015 off competiting to make gains and grow muscle with my goal being to become Pro in Figure and / or Physique and compete at the Natural Olympia and World Cup in 2016 as this is where my body type was more suited to.

I trained hard with a new training plan combined with the correct diet to ensure this. I also had a new coach Mr Olympia 2016 Michael Waddington (he just won this title last week)!

I came back to compete in September 2016 with INBA and ANB and then went onto the World Cup and Natural Olympia achieving the goals I had set the previous year.

There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears but I got there!

What inspires you?

My Mum who I have inherited my strength and drive from and my mob inspire me. 

Also, my hubby is my No1 supporter and I'm very lucky and blessed he's behind me 100%!

What is your advice to a new competitor?

Always surround yourself with people who only want the best for you.

What does a typical training week look like for you?

I train 6 days a week and follow my nutrition plan to a 'T'!

What is your favourite exercise?

My favourite exercises are shoulders and delts

What is your least favourite exercise?

Haven't got a least favourite, I actually love training all body parts!

Do you have a training tip you can share?

Always use correct form and get a qualified Personal Trainer if you are looking to compete. Research Personal Trainers and find someone with a qualification in nutrition behind them.

Also drink plenty of water!!

What is your favourite Cheat Meal?

My favourite cheat meal is pancakes!!

What are you planning on doing next?

Planning to let the last 2 week's deadly results sink in as it still hasn't hit me yet!

I will spend some time catching up with family and friends and of course I will still be training.

How can people contact you?

People can contact me on Facebook ( and Instagram (@Rhonda_Purcell)