UKBFF ATHLETE OF THE WEEK – DANIELLA SCOZZI
For a woman who never started lifting weights seriously until her 40s, Daniella Scozzi has come a long way. She competed in strongwoman and powerlifting with distinction and last weekend became Welsh champion in women's physique.
Here's how this determined athlete does it.
HEIGHT: 170 cm / 5 ft 7
CONTEST WEIGHT: 62 kg / 137 lbs
COMPETITION HIGHLIGHT: All of it!
AMBITION: I'd like to start a YouTube channel, which will inspire mature women to take up a healthy lifestyle. There aren't many resources out there for us mature ladies so I'd like to produce content and materials that are specifically aimed at this age group.
How did you get into training?
I was never really that interested in bodybuilding because I didn't think I would be able to follow the strict regime of dieting. I started training in 2011 just to get into shape really and one of the boys at the gym remarked that he thought I was strong and I should enter a strongwoman competition that was coming up. It appealed to me as it wasn't about aesthetics, just performance, so I so I said I'd give it a go. He put my name down – little did I know it was the UK's Strongest Woman! Anyway, I came 4th and loved it. I continued to compete and was invited to compete at the Arnolds in Ohio in 2015 but unfortunately I broke my foot and couldn't go. During this time I also competed in powerlifting and won several British and international competitions and also competed at the world championships in Las Vegas. I love strength training but I kept getting injured and it was becoming detrimental to my overall training and health. So I needed a new challenge.
I knew virtually nothing about bodybuilding and the diet required but decided to enter a competition in 2015 – two weeks before the actual competition. Needless to say I didn't place and it was a complete disaster but I loved the experience and looking at all the amazing physiques around me I knew I wanted to improve. Since then my training has changed, my diet has definitely changed and I'm loving seeing how my body has developed and changed over the last couple of years. I still have loads of work to do to get the physique that I want and I wish I'd started years ago but it's a great challenge and I'm loving it – well, most of the time!
What have been your best results so far?
4th UK's Strongest Woman
3rd Britain's Strongest Woman
1st South Coast Strongest Woman
1st Tamworth Strongest Woman
1st Qualifier for Arnold Classic Strongest Woman
2012 (u67.5kg), 2013 and 2014 British champion (u75kg equipped lifter m1)
2012 2013 and 2014 International champion (u75kg equipped lifter m1)
U75kg m1 deadlift world record raw
2018 Welsh women's physique champion and qualification for the British finals.
How do you find time to fit everything in?
It can be difficult. My youngest son gets up around 4.30am every morning so I have to start my fasted cardio at 4am. I train during the day whilst he's at school and prepare all of my food – then it's all go again when he comes home. Bedtime can be anytime between 8.30pm and 11pm so my evening cardio is sometimes very late. I'm so used to my life that it just feels normal to me. I do get days when I'm tired but most of the time I try to stay happy and positive. They're both loving affectionate and gorgeous and I love them too much. My girls are fantastic. One is a doctor and I am super proud of her and my other daughter is following in her footsteps. I wouldn't have my life any other way.
What's your training split?
I train six times a week. Two days are dedicated to hamstrings and glutes, one day to quads and calves, shoulders and arms, chest and then back.
Tuesday: Chest and triceps
Wednesday: Quads and calves
Thursday: Back and abs
Friday: Glutes, hamstrings and biceps
Saturday: Shoulders and calves.
I sometimes do a little shoulder work on back day too, concentrating on rear delts. I don't do too much for my arms as they grow very quickly so that's why I don't dedicate an entire session to them alone.
Do you go heavy?
I try and keep the load as heavy as possible for as long as possible into prep and always start each workout with a solid compound movement pertaining to the particular body part I'm training. So for quads I might start with front squats, after warming up obviously, and then move onto exercises which hit more specific or smaller muscles.
How has your training evolved as you've got older?
I am finding as I get older that going too heavy hurts me more. I try to go as heavy as I can without losing form and I've found that using an undulating programme has helped as my loads/reps/volume change regularly. I don't feel as though my age is a massive barrier but I am a realist and I know that recovery and repair is a little slower so I ensure I take my BCAAs and glutamine as well as joint supplements, omega 3 and a general multi-vitamin.
How much cardio do you do?
During prep cardio starts at just 20 mins post-workout and increases to twice a day, fasted and post-workout. I do 45 minutes for both sessions. I also try and get in at least 120,000 steps a day to ensure my NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) is optimised.
Does your training change much during the offseason?
Offseason I do train quite heavy and do powerlifting-type training with hypertrophy as the accessory work. Rep ranges change according to the exercise being performed and what week I'm on. I like to use undulating periodisation training as it keeps training interesting.
What is your goal at the British finals?
My main goal at the a British finals is to bring my best package. I have no control over how the other ladies look but I can give my prep 100 per cent in all aspects. Obviously I would love to win - and I will train and prep with this in mind but I'm also realistic and know that there are women out there with incredible physiques. It sounds corny but if I feel my best and I've given it my all I'll be happy.
How long do you plan to continue competing?
How long is a piece of string? I keep saying I'm going to stop but I haven't got my physique where I want it to be yet so in all honesty I don't know.