Bodybuilding couple Gina Petrie and Richie Aholelei were both nominees in our Go Figure Transformation of the Year last year - and with good reason.  They both lost an amazing amount of weight and made themselves into one of NZ's hot couples in the process!

In this article we find out what motivated them into making the change and how being together has helped them keep motivated to live their new bodybuilding lifestyle.


Occupation: Senior Makeup Artist         Age: 24


Height: 173cm                 Contest Weight: 62kgs           Off season Weight: 67kgs

Have you always been into fitness and exercise? What did you do before bodybuilding? 

No, not bodybuilding. But I have always been into sport. I played a lot of netball throughout school etc. I sort of let it all go when I moved to Auckland from Christchurch 6 years ago.

Hard to believe you were overweight. How heavy were you at your heaviest?
How long ago was that and how did you try to lose weight before bodybuilding became part of your life.

I was 86kgs when I saw Tarren the first time (couldn’t believe it) and was sitting at 39% body fat. I only had a goal of losing 10kgs before a party, and gave myself 10 weeks to do so, I ended up losing 10kgs in 8 weeks. I never saw my ‘before’ picture until the night of the party. I couldn’t believe my eyes and how much my body had changed, I actually cried!

How much did you weigh when you stepped on stage at North Harbour?

I was sitting at 62kgs and was at about 14% body fat.


Did you and Richie start the weight loss journey together.
Yes, we both saw our ‘Mamma Tarren’ together – Richie was at 101kgs and at 26% body fat – I was 86kgs at 39%.

Did you meet while you were both heavy?

I guess so in a way, I was not in shape at all but Richie was into bodybuilding when I met him.

What motivated you to start getting into shape and eventually compete in your contest?
I was doing all of our teams makeup and hair for competitions, I was constantly asking questions and seeing how each of the amazing women changed into these stunning works of art on stage, I wanted that!

So I went out and got it! I decided to just try to keep dropping in weight, went to do posing on and off with Naera and trained like an animal haha - and finally made the decision that I was going to really do it.

Was it easier that you and Richie went through the journey together? Could you have done it without him and vice versa?

Gina -Absolutely!! I could never have done this without him! Not only my support person, my alarm clock, my food prep person, but also my personal trainer and loving boyfriend – although when we are both carb depleted – its more like a love/hate relationship.

Richie – the journey was definitely easier than what I could imagine without her. It was hard at times, testing mentally and physically, but she was always my rock and always kept me grounded. When you both have the same goals, cooking, cardio, training all becomes a lot easier especially with the psychological changes that happen throughout the lead up to comp.


Could you ever imagine you looked the way you did?

No way! I still can’t believe it, but now that I have done a competition I can’t wait to change my body and get better and better!!

You looked awesome at your NABBA North Harbour comp, Have you got the bug to do more shows in future?!!

Yeah for sure, and I can’t wait to bring a much better package to stage this year J


What has bodybuilding taught you about eating, training and managing a healthy lifestyle?

Time Management – and efficiency. Making everything in your day – count! Body Building is a journey, it doesn’t happen overnight. It relates to life itself, you have to make everything count and go out and get what you want! You can’t sit there and expect good things to happen, you need to go out and make it happen!

Tarren and Gina

Who’s been the person/people who’s been instrumental in your change to healthy living and eating?

My amazing Mamma Tarren – I could never thank her enough for what she has done for me, had my turning up all hours of the day and night, crying, texting “im over it I cant do it im too fat” – she brings me back to reality and makes me see exactly what I HAVE achieved.

Such an inspirational person and love her to pieces! (that answer goes for Richie too) and also Richie – he keeps me grounded, motivated, on time and he makes me realize that I CAN do it! Along with being my amazing personal trainer – even when he is extremely busy with clients, always makes time to push me to my absolute limits! Of course my Champion Team and my training buddie Brooke who I absolutely admire! Finally my loving family!

What comp goal are you working towards now? What improvements in your figure are you working on for your show?
I am aiming for Nationals this year so in terms of Competitions, I am still unsure of which I will do, I would love to bring a complete package to stage and just look the best ME possible! There may even be a sneaky couples class in there somewhere


Have you had a role model who’s inspired you?

Richie – Kai Greene

Gina – I have many, there isn’t any one person – as I want to be the best me. The people who I admire are those who live breath and love the lifestyle.


What’s your ultimate goal in Bodybuilding?

Richie – to compete Professionally.

Gina – to compete professionally, and to give it my all.


What advice would you give to women who want to compete?

Be patient and PLAN! Plan your food, your training, your cardio, your sleep, your eating everything. Consistency is the key to success! Make sure you have a good nutritionist along with a good personal trainer – it makes all the difference.

What’s your advice to young girls reading this who might’ve been in your overweight situation? What would you say to them to get off the couch and into training and dieting?

Stop wishing – start doing! Its so worth it in the long run. I never ever thought I would have done this, I was off the chart! And if I, Miss- eating mcD’s pretty much every day, sitting on my ass doing nothing “I hate the gym” Gina – could do it, you can too!!

Gina (and Richie)
March 2013


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