Schembri struggled with her weight in high school, but although she’d started exercising, the real challenge came in college. “Every morning when I woke up I dreaded getting dressed because all my clothes were so tight. I wanted to love myself again, both inside and out,” she says. A sobering moment came when a body-fat analysis showed she was at 38%. “That was a serious reality check. All these years I thought I was mostly muscle because I worked out, but that wasn’t the case.” In August 2015, at 189 pounds, Schembri committed to making a serious change and began an 11-month journey back to health and to 137 pounds.


The initial swaps she made to her diet were to cut out dairy, all fruit except for berries, and alcohol. She drank only water, green tea, and coffee and started carb cycling and measuring out her portions. “Reading food labels and looking at sugar content was a tremendous help. People consume an insane amount of sugar without even realizing it,” Schembri says. She now eats about eight small meals a day rather than fewer large ones. “For protein I reach for chicken breast, fish, and occasionally steak. My carbs are green veggies or complex carbs like sweet potato or brown rice—never bread or pastas.” On a cheat day she still looks forward to a burger and fries.


Schembri started working out four to five times a week for an hour, which included heavy weightlifting, plus shorter high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or low-intensity steady state three times a week for cardio. She also started to enter bikini competitions and is now at the gym five to six days a week for an hour. Her favorite body part to train: glutes. “As a bikini competitor your glute and hamstring tie-in is key!” Schembri placed third out of six girls in her first competition. And while most of the other competitors had their own coaches, she did it on her own. 

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Schembri’s road was not without obstacles: She found it difficult to resist temptations like eating what her friends were having. Some days she was so tired from having so few rest days and often felt defeated when her weight loss slowed. “My body hit a plateau around 152 pounds, and weeks went by without that number changing no matter what I did. At those points, you question yourself or compare yourself with other people. But I was proud for being able to reach down and dig deep to fight those demons,” she explains. Her boyfriend was a huge support. On days she felt like giving up, he gave her that push to go to the gym when she didn’t want to. “If you can love yourself enough to give yourself the gift of health, then I see no reason why you won’t be successful.”


  • Shoulder/Triceps split
    • 5-minute warmup: walking on the treadmill, 4 exercises for shoulders (4×10), superset with 4 exercises for triceps (4×10), with a 30-second stretch break in between sets.
  • “I hit the StairMaster for 20 to 30 minutes and do the fat-burning program on Level 8, or I do sprints on the treadmill for 20 minutes.”
  • Supplements: Multivitamin for active women, omega-3 fish oil, probiotic, vitamin C, vitamin D, digestive enzymes, and protein powder. 

SEE ALSO: Fast-Track Your Fat Loss In 4 Weeks