Whatever Their Reason For Committing, These Women Are Truly Inspirational
Some are here for the challenge. Others join to get themselves in the fittest shape of their lives. A few noted it was something they wanted to scratch off their bucket list.
Their stories may be different, but there is no question these women are becoming the collective force that will encourage bikini bodybuilding.
In Canada, bikini bodybuilding is slowly picking up steam as seen in the recently concluded GNC Live Well Henderson Thorne Natural Classic.
“We’ve seen an increase of 20 to 30 per cent participation year over year in the bikini category,” says Ron Hache, president of the Ontario Physique Association, the governing body in the province.
Eighty per cent of the 500 athletes competing at last year’s nationals were women, she says, including 160 in the bikini division.
29-year old Alexandra Howard spent months of training for the competition. But before she shaped herself for the contest, Alexandra was not so sure if bikini bodybuilding was a perfect fit for her.
“I always wanted to compete, but I was fixated on the realistic barriers that made it impossible,” says Howard, taking the last bite of her precompetition meal. “Then I decided I wanted to be more of a ‘yes’ person.”
Single mother Lori Cook, 37, says bodybuilding, in general, has become a routine she doesn’t want to change.
“I get up at 4 a.m. to train, then I go home and wake my daughter for school,” says Lori Cook, 37, a single mother who also competed in the bikini category in Hamilton on July 11. “After work I’ll hit the gym again. It’s been a real grind.”
While women competing in bikini bodybuilding contests is not new, it took a while and a few changes before many seriously considered it as a legitimate competition.
“The sport is attracting more serious athletes now,” says Pamela Knight, 43, a Pilates studio owner who entered the sport last year. “The OPA recently removed certain poses so it’s not an oversexualized flirt show. Judges want to see a strong body without the extras. The sport has really evolved.”
For some competitors, the challenge of staying fit even at an advanced age is simply both the motivation and the goal.
For Mary Dinner, a 52-year old grandmother from Brantford, everything is answered by one simple question.
“Who wants to be skinny and frail and starve themselves?”
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