2016 KNIGHT OF CHAMPIONS ATHLETES' BACKSTAGE PHOTO AND INTERVIEW | Status Fitness Magazine Official Website

2016 KNIGHT OF CHAMPIONS ATHLETES' BACKSTAGE PHOTO AND INTERVIEW

| Posted by Ali Sohrab | comments
 PHOTO Ali Sohrab
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For the second year in a row, the Chandos Pattison Auditorium, in Surrey, BC was home for the BCABBA’s KNIGHT OF CHAMPIONS. Promoter, Tamara Knight and her incredible team did an outstanding job making the show memorable for the everyone, especially for the competitors. Congratulations to all the athletes who stepped on stage and showcased your hard work. You are all champions. 

 

Promoter, Tamara Knight and her incredible team did an outstanding job making the show memorable for the competitors.

 

I had the privilege to professionally photograph some of the athletes backstage during the show, and learn more about their journeys. For me, capturing the competitors at their best is always exciting and inspiring. I know behind each of those well crafted physiques is a story of transformation, and of success. I decided to learn more about them and share their inspiring journeys with others who are walking the same path.

Please check out this lineup of amazing athletes whom I photographed backstage and learn about their experiences doing competitions: Yvonne Adderley, Jeannette Leblanc, Cam McIlroy, Lisa Zizzari, Brian Yuen, Maxine Somov, Michelle Daly, Rhonda Hutchinson, Leah Ewonchuk, Roza Ksor, Shelley Leeder, Tatjana Bandic, Kathleen Gourlay, Juliann Davis, Gary Foltyn, Evgeniia Doronina, Dina Windsor, and Brenda Scott.

ATHLETE PROFILES

 

ATHLETE NAME: Amy De Jesus

"It was a great surprise to see Amy gracing another stage after quite some time. She always brings the most incredible package to the shows. Photographing her backstage was a fun collaboration. She knows well how to use her great look and how to show off her incredible physique."  - Ali Sohrab

How long have you been working out Amy? I started working out when I was in dental hygiene school back in 2009. I was 150lbs and I lost 42 by 2010 all on my own.

Who did you train with? It was a friend, Jennifer Hamson, who got me going to the gym. However I usually trained alone. I didn't get help from a coach until deciding to compete in 2013.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions? I have been "hiding" from the fitness community for about 2 years, since my last competition in November 2014, not for any one reason but I was experiencing a different aspect of life and I had thought that the 2014 competition was my last one. This year, mentally, I felt ready to do a show again. I wanted to prove to myself and everyone else that I could do it, and do it well. I experienced a lot of doubt from past coaches and even my friends, I just wanted to show them I could do it. 

What was your category, and how many times have you competed? I compete in bikini open and I am always in class A. I have competed 4 times: three novice shows and one provincial show.

How was your experience stepping on stage? I don't LOVE prep like some people do, but I really do love stage day! It's exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time. You are in the best shape of your life and the least amount of clothing you have ever worn in public... But you can't help but be proud when you step on that stage. I love posing, I love showing off and feeling confident. There's no better feeling in the world than knowing you've made it and you've done well. Making it to the stage is a huge accomplishment in itself. A lot of people quit before they even make it half way.

What was the highlight of the show for you? The best part of the show was obviously the backstage photos with Ali! The excitement of stepping on stage was an amazing feeling but I won't remember that forever. I'll have those photos forever and there isn't one photo I don't like. I have never had such amazing show/fitness photos before. It will be a great way to remember that day.

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? This show was the first show that I didn't turn completely into a crazy person. I respected my body, my need for sleep and truly did trust the process. I didn't question anything my coach, Darren Toma, gave me to do. I just did it. I also achieved a level of balance at home with my husband that I didn't have before. He was extremely supportive which really helped me keep calm and pushing forward. 

What is your Future Plan? Since I placed 4th at this show I won't be progressing to provincials, but I will compete again, probably in 2017. It is just for fun though, I'm not trying to make a career out of this. I have found that by putting less pressure on myself, in this sport, has actually made it easier for me to be successful in it. So what ever happens, happens. 

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? Do not try to do full time work and full time school while prepping. I had to completely put my schooling on hold and request an extension for my courses. Unfortunately bodybuilding, competitively, is not something you can just do in your spare time. It doesn't matter if it's bikini, figure, physique. They all require 100% dedication and effort. So if you have midterms or finals coming up or if you have something in your life that requires your full attention, you should not jump into a competition prep because you're going to have to choose, one or the other. It is very straining on your resources: time, money and energy. It is also very staining on relationships with friends and family, so make sure you have a good support system when you start.

Who would you like to thank? Of course I thank my coaches Darren and Lara Toma. They helped me achieve an amazing physique. Also I want to thank my makeup artist Kelly Campbell, hair stylist Tamara Karsenti, and the suit Lady Colleen Campbell. All three of these women put me together for my best stage presentation ever. I will never go with anyone other than them. Last and most importantly my husband, Ian De Jesus. I literally would not have been able to do this without him. He gave me 110%. I wish I could have won for him! But I will try again and I know he will be there with me next time.

 

ATHLETE NAME: Yvonne Adderley

"From the moment I saw Yvonne in front of my camera, I knew I was going to shoot a great model. The beauty was that she had no idea how stunning she was. We connected instantly, and in that short time we managed to create some amazing pictures together. I can't wait to see her rocking the BC championship stage ."  - Ali Sohrab

How long have you been working out Yvonne? Five years ago. Started out with bootcamp and crossfit classes. I made the switch to weight training two years ago and never looked back!

Who did you train with? I was coached by Darren Toma and trained by Tyler Hennessey! I mostly train alone as it gives me time to shut my brain off and focus! I'm probably the only person I know who trains without music!

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions? After doing my first show last year I made it my goal to be in the first call outs at The Knight of Champions 2016!

What was your category, and how many times have you competed?  2 years in Bikini

How was your experience stepping on stage? Nothing can compare to that moment! It was a whirlwind of emotions. You can't really describe the feeling. It's scary and exciting all at the same time! I felt more confident this time around! I had a stronger support system and a great coach behind me.

What was the highlight of the show for you? The highlight of the show for me was surpassing my goal of first call outs and placing third in my class!

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? Personal life.....what personal life?? For 18 weeks everything else was put on the back burner! Prepping for a show does more for your personal life then you could imagine! It shows you who your real friends are! The ones who are still by your side after all the ups and downs!! If your friendship can survive prep...it can survive anything! 

What is your Future Plan? My future plan is work hard in the off season to bring and even tighter package to BCs.

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? My only tip would be to embrace the process! Prep can be at grueling at times, remember to enjoy it.

Who would you like to thank? I would like to thanks my friends and family who over the last two years have supported me and helped me get through some of my hardest days! To Tyler, thank you for being my Rock! You helped me more than you will ever know!! My coach Darren Toma for his wisdom and guidance during this prep!!  Also a huge thank you to the volunteers at the the knight of champions! You guys Rocked!!! Made my experience backstage memorable! Thanks for all the laughs!!! And last but not least to the amazing team at Absolute Touch! Not only are they amazing at what they do but they are seriously so much fun backstage! Never a dull moment!!!

 

ATHLETE NAME: Cam McIlroy

"When I met Cam for the first time backstage I knew he was going to come out of the competition with hardware. This amazing athlete is full of positive energy and drive. He was great with taking direction, and his personality added so much fun to the shoot. I'm looking forward to watching his appearance at the BC Championships next summer." - Ali Sohrab 

How long have you been working out Cam? I first started working out when I was 15 years old. I started taking bodybuilding seriously when I was 17. I am currently 19 years old and loving the journey.

Who did you train with? I currently train alone. I have been enjoying training alone because my workouts are always focussed without distractions and I can keep my rest times short.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions? I decided to compete at The Knight of Champions because the timing fit my schedule well. I was out of school for Summer vacation so I could focus on the show.

What was your category, and how many times have you competed? I competed in classic physique and won my class and men’s physique where I placed third in my class. This was the third show I did. I was qualified for nationals but as a bodybuilder. With the introduction to the new class, classic physique, I had to start at a novice level show again.

How was your experience stepping on stage? I loved every second being on stage. Bodybuilding is an art and I take pride in showcasing what I have worked so hard for.

What was the highlight of the show for you? I set a goal to place top three in both my classes. Prepping for a show isn’t easy and it will break you down mentally and physically if you allow it. It feels amazing to set a goal and follow through with your commitment.

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? Prepping for a show makes you stronger mentally by resisting food when you’re hungry and doing your cardio when you’re tired. I believe this mental strength translates into your everyday life. Also, there’s so much time spent alone on the treadmill you have time to reflect on your life and what you really want.

What is your Future Plan? Short term, I am going to get ready for provincials in 2017 and try to get some exposure in the bodybuilding community. My long term goal and dream is to get my IFBB pro card.

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? The two tips I have for inspiring competitors are: come in at the absolute best condition possible. It’s not all about size. Conditioning is key. My other tip is having people support you along the way. I find having other people supporting you and that are invested in the process is crucial for staying on track.

Who would you like to thank? I would like to thank my mum and my diet coach Greg Doucette. My mum encouraged me everyday towards the end of prep and always reminded me to stay on track. Without her, this truly wouldn’t have been possible. My coach Greg, gave me an amazing diet and changed my view on nutrition forever.

 

ATHLETE NAME: Jeannette Leblanc

"Jeannette is a wonderfully strong individual who has a big heart and no fear of trying something new. My mission was to capture her true personality that compliments her great look. It was an easy task - she just needed to be herself." - Ali Sohrab 

How long have you been working out Jeanette? In November 2015, I had decided that I wanted to compete.  It was then that I began to train 6-7 days a week consistently.  Prior to that, I had been in and out of the gym for about 2 years.

Who did you train with? I spend the most days training with Tyrone and Dar Ashmeade.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions? I did my first competition in May - Kelowna Classics.  At the time I was preparing for that, I wasn’t sure whether I would continue on with competing.  I wanted to first have the experience and then make decision based on that.  I knew however, going through the weekend of the show, that competing was something I would definitely do again.  I was very anxious and eager to grow and improve.  Doing Knight of Champions, was an opportunity for me to do just that.  Although the experience became so much more.

What was your category, and how many times did you compete? I competed in the Figure category.  Knight of Champions was my second go.

How was your experience stepping on stage? What a wonderful and amazing experience it was for me.  I was a little surprised by my lack of nervousness…quite different than my first time.  I’d have to say that the volunteers backstage play a pretty big role in creating a positive atmosphere and everyone was fantastic.  When I think about how I felt stepping on stage, I am filled with such overwhelming gratitude, pride, happiness and excitement. 

What was the highlight of the show for you?I hadn’t expected to place in the top 3 at all so much to my surprise, a second place win was definitely a highlight for sure.  More exciting than that however was the photo shoot I did backstage with Ali.  Aside from being extremely talented in his craft, he gifted me with new insight about myself.  He showed me a side of myself I had no idea existed, which allowed me to further expand a positive perception of myself, and open my mind to further opportunities and possibilities.  It was a remarkable experience, very exciting for me.

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? When I think about my fitness lifestyle, I often reflect on the impact it has had on my physical health.  The biggest accomplishment to have come from this is having overcome a debilitating, crippling disease.  Twelve years ago, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis.  For years I suffered with chronic pain and declining mobility.  Three years ago, doctors informed me that I would be living life from a wheelchair in about a year's time at the rate the disease was accelerating.  I did not accept this idea and I wasn’t sure at the time that I could change it but I was determined to change what I did not accept.  Since preparing for competition, I no longer require medication, my strength and mobility has improved and exceeded any expectations doctors had, and I have put the disease in remission.  Of course other amazing things have happened along the way but this by far is one of my greatest accomplishments. 

What is your Future Plan? My future plans are to continue competing.  I am excited to see how far I can grow physically.  I would also like to compete in the fitness portion sometime in the future.  Although I’d need a third job to fund that project!  I also have made some considerations around personal training and have put some thought into perhaps working with folks with physical limitations similar to myself as well as possibly working with some recovery programs for addictions.  So many possibilities!

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? Be patient, ENJOY the process, but most of all HAVE FUN!!  Stepping on the stage is pretty scary.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the competing side of things, worry about what can go wrong, be overwhelmed and all those scary things but you’ve worked so hard to get to that day, the only thing left to do is to truly enjoy the moment.  And make friends!! 

Who would you like to thank? A big thanks first and foremost to my super awesome coach Tyrone and his amazing wife Dar.   From the moment I met them, they have shown nothing but love and support.  They have encouraged me, held my hand, advised me, and have become embedded in my heart.  I am so grateful to have them in my life. Thanks to my besties Shelly and Maurissa who inspired this journey in the first place….and my go-tos for the carbless meltdowns. Thanks to Tamara Knight for creating such a memorable evening for all us.  Her attention and care to detail was evident. And last but certainly not least, the fabulous Ali Sohrab, for not only showing me a new side of myself but showing me yet another door of possibilities and opportunity.

 

ATHLETE NAME: Brenda Scott

"This stunning grandmaster Figure competitor was truly a joy to work with. Brenda has a humble confidence that is the result of her hard work and self-accomplishments."  - Ali Sohrab

How long have you been working out Brenda? I’ve been training seriously for 2 years now. I started when I turned 52 years young.

Who did you train with? Throughout the two years I’ve been mostly training alone, however I’ve had the pleasure and privilege to be coached and trained by both Kat Sartor and Greg Doucette.

What was the reason you decided to compete at Knight of Champions? Competing in the Knight of Champions was more of a stepping stone to qualify for grandmasters class and attain a first call out in open class.

What was your category, and how many times have you competed? I competed in both grandmasters Figure class and open 5’2” figure class. This will be the third time I’ve competed in a bodybuilding competition.

How was your experience stepping on stage? I felt confident in myself and all the hard work I’ve put myself through to get to the point of stepping on stage. You work tirelessly all year, eatting right, training hard, bleeding, sweating, and crying for those precious moments when you step on stage and show everyone what you did.

What was the highlight of the show for you? A big highlight for me was competing in the open class and placing 3rd, proving that age doesn’t matter, and that it’s hard work and determination above all things.

What did you accomplish in your personal life by preparing for the show? I finally was able to accomplish a personal goal of mine after raising a family.

What is your future plan? After competing in a show I’m always on the lookout for the next step, the next level. I take things one step at a time, above all else my focus is on exercise and staying healthy.

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? Don’t give up, stay confident. Give it a try and take a leap. You will find that you are incredibly proud of yourself when it’s all said and done.

Who would you like to thank? I’d like to start off by saying thanks you to the BCABBA for the incredible opportunity and making events like this possible. Thank you Kat Sartor for pushing me in the gym, Damion Gordon for helping me with my posing, Greg Doucette for his exceptional coaching and nutritional advice. I’d also like to thank my family for always being there for me and supporting me in everything I do. To my husband and love of my life, thank you for taking care of me and always keeping me accountable for my actions, I love you. 

 

ATHLETE NAME: Dina Windsor

"The backstage mini shoot with Dina was absolutely fun and inspiring. Her stunning physique was the proof of living a well-balanced lifestyle. I can't wait to see her journey to the 2017 BC Championship." - Ali Sohrab

How long have you been working out Dina?
 Training and Fitness has always been a part of my life. I decided to challenge myself and focus on the goal of competing 15 weeks before Knight Of Champions 2016.

Who did you train with? I have always trained myself. I am a certified BCRPA Group instructor. After watching the Pro/Am show in July I realized I needed a coach. At eight weeks it, I hired Tamara Knight.


What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions? When I first decided to compete I asked around to other competitors and was told that this show was a great place to start. It’s known for being very well run, not too big to be overwhelming for a new competitor, and an overall great experience.

What was your category, and how many times have you competed? This was my first show. I competed in Bikini Masters and Bikini Open.

How was your experience stepping on stage? Amazing!! I have been on stage most of my life with choir, dance, and pageant, but this was raw and exciting.

What was the highlight of the show for you? The highlight was placing second in both categories. My goal had been a “first call out”, but this far exceeded that.

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? Patience, perseverance. In a perfect world we could focus 12-16 weeks on prep with no interruptions. Life isn’t like that. Though you need to become selfish and focus so much more on yourself, I am still a wife, mother of four, and grandmother of one. I still work full time and have to train around everybody else’s schedule. I had to learn to trust the process that Tamara set up for me. To trust that I would arrive ready. The body is amazing and can make amazing changes!

What is your Future Plan? To continue. Am I off-season building, as so many others are. My next step is BCs in July 2017. I also recently left my full time job, and am expanding my Fitness career into Personal Training.

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? Hire a knowledgeable, reputable coach! Trust the process! Stick to the plan!

Who would you like to thank? Tamara Knight for her guidance and knowledge and patience. My husband, Jamie, for supporting this decision from the start in any way possible. My four sons for also supporting me, challenging me to stay on track and encouraging me along the way. I wanted to be a great role model for them, and in turn...they were for me. They accepted that I couldn’t make it to all their events all the time. My family, friends and co-workers for putting up with all the crazy shenanigans that come along with prep!

 

ATHLETE NAME: JULIANN DAVIS

"The minishoot with Juliann was progressive. She gradually transformed from a competitor to a fitness model. I can see how well she can work in front of the camera in a professional shoot. - Ali Sohrab

How long have you been working out Juliann? I’ve always enjoyed working out and have spent the last 4-5 year doing a boxing/kickboxing circuit. I wanted more for my body and decided to start lifting weights last February. I absolutely loved how my body was changing and kept pushing.

Who did you train with? I train once a week with my coach Rachel Cornell at her gym in South Surrey. The rest of the week I train at my local gym on my own.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight of Champions? I had a few people ask me if I was competing and at the time I wasn’t, I hadn’t even considered it. My coach had mentioned it a few times to me and so that planted the seed. When I finally decided I was going to compete I chose The Knight of Champions because it was a local show and wasn’t meant to be as “big” of a show. I was a little nervous about the whole process and felt that starting with a smaller show would be less intimidating.

What was your category, and how many times have you competed? This was my first competition and I decided to compete in bikini.

How was your experience stepping on stage? I was so incredibly nervous! I had to completely step out of my comfort zone to get on that stage. My legs were shaking and my tummy turning. However, once out there it was less intimidating and I felt more confident.

What was the highlight of the show for you? Just being a part of the show was awesome. The backstage energy was amazing, seeing all the competitors in their glory, feeling amazing, ready to bring their best.

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? I have always had a negative image of my body and going through this process has definitely enabled my confidence to grow! The strength it takes mentally to go through prep is something I am very proud of. I don’t think I have ever fully stuck with something like this and seen it through to the end. I have shown my daughter that if you want to achieve something, no matter the struggle to get there, it is attainable!

What is your Future Plan? I would like to compete again next year. I am not 100% sure if I want to do bikini again or aim a little higher and do figure. Time will tell. Until then keep pushing in the gym.

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? Just go for it, and embrace the process. You will learn so much about yourself and your inner strengths. It will get tough but don’t give up! I found that when I was struggling and wanted to eat badly that if I went to the gym my cravings would subside. Reach out to others that have walked this path and absorb as much information from them as you can

Who would you like to thank? I would like to thank my husband for his patience and putting up with me when things got tough. My daughter for always making sure Mommy wasn’t eating anything she shouldn’t be! lol. My awesome coach Rachel Cornell shows so much support and confidence in her girls. She truly cares about us and wants for each of us to do well. She understands the process and gives her all to help us through. Thank you.

 

ATHLETE NAME: Roza Ksor

"Photographing Roza was exciting and easy. No matter which way she turned or what pose she landed on she provided me with that perfect picture.  Looking forward to her next stage appearance." - Al Sohrab

How long have you been working out Roza? I’ve been working out about 2.5 years now.

Who did you train with? I’ve always train by myself, but during prep I have John Le as my coach.  He provided me my macros and workout program.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions? My reason to compete at the Knight Of Champions was to prove to myself that I can build a better physique from last year show, and I did.

What was your category, and how many times have you competed? I competed in Bikini A, and Knight Of Champions was my second show.

How was your experience stepping on stage? To be honest, I was very nervous. Standing back stage my heart wouldn’t stop racing and I couldn’t stop shaking.  Right when Bikini A was called on stage, self-doubt went away.  At the end, I just couldn’t wait to go back on stage again.

What was the highlight of the show for you? Meeting other athletes and being able to hear their stoiesy during prep up to show day.  Also, the overall experience; I loved every moment of it.

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? Learning to be consistent and that applies to a lot of things in life. Most of all was the whole experience; it has definitely improved me as a person, mentally and physically.

What is your Future Plan? As my off season from prep, I’m planning to get into powerlifting for the experience and looking forward to step on stage again next year.

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? Yes, you should definitely go for it.  You’ll get to experience the prep process, being on stage all glammed up and you’ll meet many like-minded people.  An experience that money can’t buy and people can’t borrow it.  It’s okay to have hiccups in the process of prep, it’s okay to think that you’re not ready or not lean enough, as long as you pick yourself up.  Stop comparing yourself to other athletes' progress, focus on you and go shine on that stage.  Ps. Chicken can get pretty expensive.

Who would you like to thank? I would like to thank my coach John Le for his guidance, my family and friends for their support and everyone for their words of encouragement. Mentally I would not be able to go through it without you all, thank you.

 

ATHLETE NAME: Evgeniia Doronina

“When I saw Evgeniia I knew this athlete had great potential to be a model. As the mini shoot went on I could see her playful attitude was turning into a confident celebration of beauty. Can’t imagine the incredible photos I can create with this beauty.” – Ali Sohrab

How long have you been working out Evgeniia? I have been working out almost all my conscious life. I enjoy the gym atmosphere and the feeling of my muscles contracting. I worked out really hard but didn’t notice any visible results. I was dreaming of having a balanced and athletic body.  

Who did you train with? One day I just decided – it's now or never! I found a wonderful trainer - Yelena Yermolenko, and she offered challenge myself at Knight of Champions. I doubted a lot - wasn’t sure that my body was ready for the stage, but Yelena was very persistent.  

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions? I've always admired bikini athletes, but I had never thought that I could be one of them. It was great motivation – new super powerful push to exercise harder and follow meal plan more strictly. In four months - voila - I was standing on the stage Knight of Champions – my first bikini competition.

What was your category? And how many times have you competed? My category was class C up to 5'4. Girls at this category were amazing. I placed fifth in my category.

How was your experience stepping on stage? Appearance on the stage made me forget about all sufferings that I had during the preparation. There are no words to describe how excited I was; I felt like Cinderella. The night before I decided that no matter what the day of the show would be celebration for me.

What is your Future Plan? Now I’m full of enthusiasm to work on my weak points and to improve my proportions. If I manage to grow my glutes I will take part in show next year. I don’t like to plan everything, instead I prefer to leave some things to chance.

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? Do your best but try stay positive! As told my trainer – squeeze it and smile! 

Who would you like to thank? I would like to thank my trainer – Yelena Yermolenko, nutritionist - Leanne Babcock, and of course, my dear husband who been through all my hungry days and depressed nights, and still loves me. 

 

ATHLETE NAME: Gary Foltyn

“Gary’s presence was energizing. He was full of life and positive attitude that made our mini shoot enjoyable throughout.” – Ali Sohrab

How long have you been working out Gary? I’ve always been active in sports, though I started weight training and eating clean 20 months ago.

Who did you train with? I trained and show prepped with Tamara Knight.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions? The timing. The show was just a few days before my 40th birthday, so I thought “what a great b day present to myself!” After spending the past two decade trying to get Crohn’s disease under control and then  watching my wife take two 1st place trophies at LBMC, a 3rd at Provincials and a top 10 at national, all in under 7 MONTHS, you’d have to be totally out to lunch to not be remotely inspired!

What was your category, and how many times have you competed?  My categories were Men’s Physique and Masters Men’s Physique. This was my first show.

How was your experience stepping on stage? Amazing! Such an absolute blast! All the competitors were so supportive and made the experience truly enjoyable!

What was the highlight of the show for you? Easily, the highlight would have been hearing my kids screaming from the crowd, as they watched their dad take First place in Master’s Physique! I’ll never forget the sound!

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? I leaned a lot about myself. My limits, Strengths and weaknesses. Oddlly enough, prepping for the show made me stronger in my relationship and also in my business. This was way outside my comfort zone and I learned that when you challenge yourself to do something you never imagined doing, you may just discover that your preconceived notions of what something may be like, couldn’t be further from the truth. There is great growth and a sense of self accomplishment in that.

What is your Future Plan? My plan is to continue training and working on my mind and body. I plan to compete in BCs either 2017 or 2018.

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? Fall in love with the process. Know that each and every decision you make either in the gym or in the kitchen, will compound into the end results. And when show day comes, just keep smiling, relax and enjoy every single minute, because it goes by so fast! If you put the work in, you have nothing to in peak week but be proud of your efforts.

Who would you like to thank? Firstly I must thank my beautiful wife of 15 years, for inspiring me to get fit. She’s a walking example of dedication and work ethic. My kids for keeping me accountable each time I opened the treat cupboard! Lol And of course my amazing coach Tamara Knight for being the straight goods when it comes to what one needs out of a coach!

 

ATHLETE NAME:  Leah Ewonchuk

"Leah is a true professional. She is solid and elegant. It was a pleasure to photograph her in a brief session during the show. Looking forward to see her best at the BC Championship next year." - Ali Sohrab

How long have you been working out Leah? I started working out off and on 13 years ago when I was 16 years old. I have just been serious about bodybuilding for 3 years now though.

Who did you train with? I have been with my coach Lori Mork since I started training 3 years ago. I mostly train on my own, or with my husband.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions? I did Vancouver pro/am show 8 weeks prior to KOC where I tied for 5th and the head judge broke the tie and gave me 6th. That then sent me back to a regional level show where I decided to stay on season and do the next show which was KOC and I really couldn’t have picked a better show :)

What was your category, and how many times have you competed? I compete in figure. I have competed 4 times. My first show was Kelowna 2014 where I competed in bikini. My second show was Victoria 2015 where I was going to compete in bikini again but switched to figure 1 week out from the show and placed first there. My third show was the van pro/am show 2016 and fourth was KOC.

How was your experience stepping on stage? My experience stepping on stage was absolutely amazing. I love stepping on stage and everything else behind stage.

What was the highlight of the show for you? The highlight from the show for me was meeting a lot of really great people and having my son watch me walk on stage and earn a trophy.

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? I have accomplished so much in my personal life prepping for these shows. It has made me more goal-orientated and driven to achieving my goals. It has made me more confident, a stronger person not just on the outside but on the inside and best of all I know that I can do anything I set my mind to.

What is your Future Plan? My plan is to train my heart out for provincials 2017 and hopefully qualify for nationals. And the future plan is to one day earn my PRO Card :) All while building a macro-friendly baking business.

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? Tips I have for others who want to compete for the first time would be to Trust your coach, Love yourself and enjoy the process. It will be tough. You will have good days and bad days. Just Take one day at a time and in the end it will be so worth it.

Who would you like to thank? I would like to send thanks to My Husband and son, coach Lori Mork, My sponsors; Supplement king Chilliwack and rec excellence Chilliwack, and Family and friends. Without these people what I do would not be possible. Also a big thank you to Ali Sohrab for snagging me for a backstage photoshoot and this amazing opportunity.

 

ATHLETE NAME: Maxine Somov

"Maxine with no doubt took the spotlight at the show. I remember her running back stage to have her professional photograph with David Ford's Choice award trophy. When I showed her the picture she wanted to come back for more and that was a great feeling." - Ali Sohrab

Knight of Champions Overall Bikini Winner and David Ford Award Recipient

 

How long have you been working out Maxine? I’ve been casually working out for about 6 years, but I've been training properly with proper nutrition and a workout plan for about a year and a half.

Who did you train with?  I am part of Team B3 (BodyByBrandt) coached by Dean Brandt and Leigh Brandt.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions?  First of all, I am addicted to this sport! I love everything about competing. I love the discipline, the sacrifice, the determination, and I love the feeling of accomplishment while being up on that stage. I qualified for BC championships last year at my first show, and competed at BCs this past summer. Unfortunately I just missed qualifying for nationals by 1 placing! So I decided to compete at The Knight of Champions in hopes of re-qualifying myself for Provincials 2017.

What was your category, and how many times have you competed? I compete in the “Bikini” category and The Knight Of Champions was my 3rd show. I’ve done one other regional show, and I also competed at the BC Championships Vancouver Pro/Am show in July.

How was your experience stepping on stage?  I love being up on stage. I don’t get nervous at all, I just get really excited! I love getting all dolled up, and showcasing all my hard work.

What was the highlight of the show for you? This show was definitely a success for me! I still can’t believe everything that happened. I won my class, and went on to winning the Bikini Overall title. I was also very honoured to be presented with the David Ford Most Marketable person award. The whole show was just an amazing experience.

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? I feel like with each and every prep, I learn more and more about myself. All the discipline and hard work transmits into my daily life, and I feel that I am so much more motivated and determined in all aspects of my life, due to the experience of competing. Many people think that prepping for a show is just a physical challenge, but I believe it’s just as much mental as it is physical.

What is your Future Plan?  My long-term goal is to win my Pro Card and to be crowned Miss Bikini Olympia! But for now, I’m just working on improving myself each and every day physically and mentally, and bringing a better package to the stage next year so that I can move on to the National stage. I am also trying to break out into the modelling industry, which I’ve had lots of success with the past year… so I’m really excited about that! Outside of the competition world, I’m studying at UBC to become a Licensed Dietician, so that I will one day be able to help others with their health and fitness goals.

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? Just do it! It took me a couple years of thought before I finally decided to step on stage, and it has completely changed my life for the better. Also, make sure you hire a good coach. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into as well! Prep is hard, physically and mentally. You really have to give it your all, and make lots of sacrifices in your daily life throughout the process. But when it comes down to show day… have fun! You’ve done all the work and show day is all about enjoying yourself.

Who would you like to thank? I would like to thank my amazing coaches, Leigh and Dean Brandt, for their constant support and help. Best coaches ever! I definitely would not have brought the package I did to the stage without them. Also, my amazing boyfriend, Mike Tobiason, who has been there for me every step of the way, not only during this prep, but for the past 7 years. And of course I’d like to thank the whole BCABBA and Tamara Knight for putting on such an amazing show, and David Ford and Status Fitness for presenting me with the David Ford Award. 

 

ATHLETE NAME: Kathleen Gourlay

"Kathleen was a perfect combination of look and physique. She stood in front of the background and made everything look great." - Ali Sohrab

How long have you been working out Kathleen? Staying active and fit has always been a huge part of my life and an essential part of my career as a competitive gymnastics coach but I started prepping/training for Knight of Champions May 1st  2016.

Who did you train with? I was coached and trained by Cody Heinrichs and Nicole Hall from Muscular Performance Fitness in Port Coquitlam BC.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight of Champions? As a former competitive gymnast, competing comes naturally to me. Watching my best friend, who is also a former gymnast, compete at the 2015 Popeye's Fall Classic inspired me to do the same.

What was your category, and how many times have you competed? This was my first ever bikini competition and I was measured into Class A.

How was your experience stepping on stage? I was the first one out on stage in my class for both the morning show and the evening show! Making first call outs gave me the extra confidence for the evening show, and it showed!

What was the highlight of the show for you? The highlight of the show was being on stage, hearing my friends cheering me on and getting that top 3 spot in my class.

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? I accomplished finding a balance between meal prepping, training, having a social life, working full time, and most importantly spending time with my 3 year old son.

What is your Future Plan? I qualified for BCABBA Provincials which will be in 2017. In the mean time I plan on having an incredible off season and an even better prep for that show.

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? Do it for YOU and trust the process!

Who would you like to thank? HUGE thanks to my coach Cody Heinrichs and trainer Nicole Hall, Vancouver Fitness for bringing me on as VNFT ambassador, Mountain Fitness Center in Squamish BC for making me a sponsored athlete, and my amazing friends and family who supported me every step of the way!

 

ATHLETE NAME: Brian Yuen

"Brian is a dedicated athlete with great presence and personality. Can't wait to see him again at the 2017 BC Championship". - Ali Sohrab

How long have you been working out Brian? I’ve been working out since I was 17, once I finished high school.  I started out at Fit City at BCIT downtown.  How I got started was I read magazines.  After one year at Fit City, I then signed up to be a member at (Steve Nash) Fitness World on Howe Street in Vancouver.  I’ve been a member ever since.  Nowadays, I workout at the Steve Nash Sports Club on Granville Street during the week, and at Golds in Burnaby on Saturdays

Who did you train with? My workout buddy is Robert Dul.  We have been training together since November 2015.  We typically train 4-5 days together.  For competition prep, we rely on our coach, former IFBB Pro Dan Dufresne in Calgary.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions? To be honest, I never thought competing was something I could do given my busy schedule.  But after meeting Rob, and hearing about his competing success, including one where he competed during law school, I decided that time was not going to be an excuse anymore.  I am a lawyer myself but in the past, I didn’t have a lot of balance.  I was only able to do the bare minimum workouts each week without a lot of time to devote to meal prep, cardio, or intense training six days a week.  Now that I have been practicing for some time, I have my practice under control, and I have a supportive firm, with a trustworthy and reliable assistant named Amy.  I decided to give competing a try, especially since I now have a great training partner, who also introduced me to our coach Dan.

What was your category, and how many times have you competed? Knight of Champions 2016 was my first show.  At first, I was competing in bodybuilding.  But part way into our training, my coach suggested that I also do classic physique, which was a new category.  My coach told me to watch the movie “Pumping Iron”, and to buy Arnold Schwarzenegger’s book, “The Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding” in order to learn the poses.  I fell in love with the category, and started watching lots of YouTube videos, practicing the poses while on the treadmill, and hiring a posing coach, Mr. Tai Newsome.  I ended up placing first in my weight class in bodybuilding, and third in Classic Physique in my height class.

How was your experience stepping on stage? I felt prepared stepping on to the stage because I knew that I had done all the training, I practiced my posing regularly, and also rehearsed my routine many times.  I was excited to step onto the stage.  I only got nervous a little bit when I was on the wings of the stage, just before I went on.  But I knew I had to do well as I had a lot of friends, colleagues and supporters who were cheering me on.  They were very loud; I had the largest and loudest cheerleading pack in the house.  I think my background in public speaking, and piano performance prepared me for the show a lot.  Friends and other spectators alike told me that I had confidence, poise, a nice smile, and that I looked the most comfortable up there. 

What was the highlight of the show for you? The highlight was definitely meeting new friends who were other competitors.  We have become social media friends and supporters of each other, often encouraging each other, “liking” each other’s posts and updates, and exchanging friendly jabs.  Now that I go to the gym, I have new friends, and also the random person coming up to me and saying “Congratulations”.  The volunteers were also amazing.  They were very professional and understanding that competitors were hungry, dehydrated, nervous, and thirsty. I got a random facebook message from one of the volunteers who told me that in her ten years of competing and volunteering, I was one of the nicest athletes that she had to keep in line!  We too have become social media friends, supporters, and fellow volunteers.  I was so in awe of the great volunteers, I have signed up to be a volunteer at the Vancity Showdown on October 15, 2016 in New Westminster, BC. 

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? I’ve learned a lot about dieting, nutrition, and importance of cardio.  I’ve also learned a lot about the human body, anatomy, and more about exercising and training.  Time management has also been something that I’ve further honed because you have to eat every three hours, while training three hours a day, six days a week. Competing for the first time was also a significant accomplishment.  There were days when I hated it, wanted to quit, or thought I would not want to do this again, but after competing, I couldn’t wait for the next event, and decided that I love it and will definitely step on stage again.

What is your Future Plan? Due to my placing at my first event, I am now qualified to enter in both bodybuilding and classic physique at the 2017 BCABBA Provincial Championships, which is taking place from July 8-9, 2017 in Vancouver.  My plan is to compete at that time.  I will begin dieting and training when I return from a previously planned trip to Korea and Australia, on March 7, 2017.  Feel free to track and view my progress on Instagram: brian604yvr

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? Definitely hire a prep coach, posing coach, watch YouTube videos, and find a supportive and understanding training partner to keep you in line.  Also, don’t give up.  Your body will change during the prep phase, and you will think and feel that you aren’t doing it right, or that you don’t look good, or something is not turning out the right way.  What I also learned is that if you feel like you are tired, fatigued, or about to collapse, then you are doing the right thing.  Also, trust in one coach, one system, and one prep program.  Others will want to advise you, give you tips, and offer suggestions.  Just stick to the program and you will be fine.  If you start altering things or incorporating things that are not on your program, then it will not work out.  Your coach has designed a program customized for you because that is what will work.  If you don’t follow it, then the desired result won’t take place.  Finally, you must be honest and frank with your coach about your weight, what you eat, what you missed or omitted, and everything that is going on with your body.  Your coach is experienced, has been through it all, and will guide you back to where you are supposed to be.  Finally, get some photographs done so you can track your progress and document all of your hard work. 

Who would you like to thank? First and foremost, I would like to thank my workout buddy Rob, because if I had not met him, I would not have competed.  Rob took care of me before, during and after the show.  I owe a lot to him for being such a good friend.  Second, our prep coach Dan.  Third, my posing coach Tai.  I would also like to thank my firm, Jiwa Law Corporation for being supportive of my schedule, and for coming out to cheer and support me.  Next, the friends and colleagues at my business networking group, BNI Marinaside, and my classmates at Certified Networker 3.  I would also like to thank the wonderful photographers that I had the opportunity meet and work with:  Tim Campbell in Ottawa (gymnast1981 on Instagram), Yusuke Mori (moriyusukephotography on Instagram), Rommel Ramirez (Ramirez_creative on Instagram), Harry Leonard (harry.leonard.imagery on Instagram), Ali Sohrab (alisohrab_bam on Instagram), and David Ford (davidfordfoto on Instagram).  I’d like to thank the BCABBBA, Tamara Knight the promoter of the event, my first sponsor, Body Energy Club, and also my first classic physique idols: Billy Danh and Cody Drobot of Alberta.  Finally, my friends who came to the show and who brought me treats (donuts, cookies, muffins, brownies, cakes, and the signs with my name and competitor number), thank you to Ada, Tam, Sarah, Jennifer, Bruno, David, Amy, Marek, Michael and if I have missed anyone, I’m sorry but do know that I appreciate you and value your support and friendship.  I look forward to showing you the best I can bring in July 2017!

 

ATHLETE NAME: Michelle Daly

"This stunning athlete is a bundle of beauty. She loves the camera and the camera loves her. Michelle is a truly a joy to work with." - Ali Sohrab

How long have you been working out Michelle? I am a fitness and yoga teacher and have taught many classes over the past 6 years.

Who did you train with? Go Yoga & Fitness, and Yelena Yermolenko.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions? My trainer Yelena Yermolenko wanted me to enter into this competition.

What was your category, and how many times have you competed?  First time ever competing, bikini masters and open I entered into.

How was your experience stepping on stage? It was a new experience; I was nervous the first time and got used to it as the day went on.

What was the highlight of the show for you? The whole experience was a highlight for me.

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? Discipline and never giving up.

What is your Future Plan? Nationals competition.

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? Go after everything you want and have a great trainer.

Who would you like to thank? Go Yoga & Fitness for all their support! My trainer Yelena Yermolenko and my partner and daughter for their continued support!

 

ATHLETE NAME: Rhonda Hutchinson

"I have known Rhonda for few years now. I must say she inspires me more and more every time. When I saw her at the show I was stunned by her elegance and beauty." - Ali Sohrab

How long have you been working out Rhonda? I’m a late bloomer and never started weightlifting until I was 46 years old which was 3 years ago but now that I’ve started, I’m never stopping!  I love it and I love what it has done for my overall health and wellness.

Who did you train with? We moved to Vancouver only a year ago so I am used to living rurally with no gym in my town so I have only trained with my husband Grant and by myself in our home gym for my entire lifting time. I am blessed with an awesome online coach, lots of family support and a huge online support group of people who motivate me each and every day.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions? I found out that Tamara Knight was hosting the Knight of Champions late last year after the first competition was over and heard it was a fantastic show so I decided right then that I wanted to be a part of that experience and I set the goal of having the KOC as my first show of 2016.

What was your category, and how many times have you competed?  I compete in Grandmasters Bikini as well as the open category for more experience and the KOC was my 7th show to date.

How was your experience stepping on stage? Oh my gosh, my hair/makeup/tan appointment ran really late so when I arrived at the theatre I had to go directly onto the stage without a pump up but when I stepped out there, I took a deep cleansing breathe and had the best experience ever! I felt fully present to my environment, the judges, the audience, my daughter and friends who were watching me and for the first time, I felt that that I did really well with my posing so that was really enlightening experience for me. I felt confident and beautiful!

What was the highlight of the show for you? I have so many answers for this question! I loved the theatre and surrounding greenery, the environment felt really good, I loved that the pump up area was so large with TV’s so we could watch our fellow competitors on the stage and the fact that it was large enough for all competitors to mingle around and visit. I loved that the volunteers were really attentive and punctual. I loved that we had the opportunity for backstage photos and to be in the presence of the guest posers. I loved the backstage friendships that I made and that Tamara Knight was backstage with us. And finally I loved that I had time to attend the sponsor’s booths and to visit with people and take photos of my experience.

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? My preparations for this show were excellent and I am really proud of what I achieved. I did a 20 week prep and lost 28lbs and 20 inches off my body in the easiest and most relaxed prep ever! I stayed focused on one day at a time, lifting as heavy as I could to bring the best possible me to the stage. My goals were to truly enjoy my journey, to remain injury free, to grow mentally and emotionally and to celebrate the fact that my body is allowing me to push it to this level. I love how much nutritional knowledge I have gained and I am very proud of my accomplishments to date.

What is your Future Plan? My future plans are to continuing chasing my dream of competing at the Provincial and National levels with the ultimate dream of receiving a Pro card. I plan to continue my quest of excellent health and fitness. I’m also very close to completing my Personal Trainer Certification to go along with my already completed Sports Nutrition Certification. I would love to coach and train people in my future!

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? I never started weight lifting until I was 46 years old so it’s never too late to start! I have so many people tell me that it is their secret dream to compete and I always highly encourage them to chase their dreams no matter what. I’m always open and honest about my story and the challenges they would face during prep and suggest they have a great family and support network around them. I also highly suggest that they find an excellent coach who believes in them. I love helping and paying it forward so that another person can also achieve their dreams of competing for the first time.

Who would you like to thank? Firstly my greatest appreciation is for my husband who is my biggest supporter and is very proud of me. A huge thank you goes to my family and friends who support my crazy goals even though the competition world is foreign to them. I send a big thank you to my IFBB Pro Coach Tammy Patnode who believed in me from the very beginning and to my online fitness family who have pushed me forward with countless messages of encouragement and love. I am eternally grateful for all of the blessings in my life. 

 

ATHLETE NAME: Lisa Zizzari

"From the moment I met Lisa in person I knew I would remember her forever. This athlete is a bundle of inspiration that makes her very unique. Her transformation story is incredible and her attitude is priceless." -Ali Sohrab

How long have you been working out Lisa? I started working out to get as healthy as I could before my first surgery many years ago. However, after multiple surgeries, complications, my dad passing away, and my son getting really sick, I had almost given up doing anything. Four years ago, at 5’2.5, I was 170 lbs, with high blood pressure added to the list of ailments, in addition to being sad, and depressed about all the struggles I had gone through, dwelling on how hard life had been. I wasn’t even trying to feign a smile through the hardships anymore. Although my son did recover, we now had to help him deal with his diagnosis of Crohn’s disease as well. The guilt I felt was overwhelming; he got sick because of something that I had.  I knew, that now, I needed to become a good example for him, and to aspire to do the best I could for myself. If I was willing to give up because it was too hard, then similarly, it would grant him license to also give up if he felt it was too difficult! I made the decision to do my best every single day, sick or otherwise, and in one year I lost fifty pounds, which was in time for my 45th birthday (a wonderful gift to myself). Then I set the next goal: competing in a competition before my 46th birthday – exactly nine days before it. Essentially, it has taken two years of getting my mind, body, and spirit into disciplined training, not just doing cardio and weights, but also the required heart and soul, which was the hardest training of all.

Who did you train with? I trained on my own at Club 16 and at home. I also learned the mandatory posing moves from Dean and Leigh Brandt, of Body by Brandt Fitness.  However, the most important people that helped me with my training were my husband and children, mainly because of their love, support, encouragement, and the pride I felt from them in witnessing how much I wanted to achieve the healthiest lifestyle I could possibly attain.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions? Since I had been ill for well over 20 years with severe Crohn’s disease and short bowel syndrome, combined with my dad passing away, and my son’s illness, I wanted to do something that made me feel like a normal healthy person. I needed an important goal to bring a focus of good healthy habits into my life and into my surroundings.  I read a quote that said, “You are a product of your environment, so surround yourself with the best and be one of the best.” You become what you surround yourself with, and I wanted to be fit and healthy so I began to surround myself with everything salutary: people on the computer, in the magazines and books I read, and even in person at the gym. I started doing the things that fit and healthy people were doing. And the really fit and healthy individuals were participating in competitions, so I entered the aptly named “Knight of Champions” show. The definition of a “champion” is a person who has defeated or surpassed all rivals in a competition, especially in sports. For me, this competition meant that I had risen above all my rivals: my illness, my father’s cancer and his passing away, my son’s illness, and many other issues. Making it to that competition was like climbing the highest mountain and finally enjoying the view from the summit.

What was your category, and how many times have you competed? I participated in the Grandmasters Bikini (Age 45+) division, and it was my very first competition.

How was your experience stepping on stage? It was nerve-wracking, and yet, exhilarating at the same time! The entire process and experience was like a dream coming into reality. After being home for so long, it was a pleasure to meet such lovely, beautiful, dedicated, and disciplined people, especially knowing everything I had been through. Having the opportunity to step on that stage, brought new meaning to the word “strength.”

What was the highlight of the show for you? Winning first place in my category was an amazing thrill, but the highlight was when I was on stage scanning the crowd of people, and spotting my husband and children in the audience cheering for me. At that moment, I felt the biggest and brightest smile spreading across my face. Instead of them always helping me through illness, they were there cheering me on my journey of achieving a healthier new outlook toward life.

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? The greatest thing I accomplished was the acknowledgement that I am more than just someone defined by a disease. I can no longer let my disease impose limitations on what I can do. I know that I can find ways that work in making my life better, and to become as healthy as I can be. It taught me to access an inner strength that I didn’t realize I had already possessed.

What is your Future Plan? Most importantly, my future plans are to be as healthy as possible! Also, since I did qualify for the Provincials in July 2017, it would be another surreal experience to step on that stage. From there, God knows what other amazing opportunities are ahead in my future. For now, every new day is like opening a gift, each as beautiful, if not more so than the last.

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? Have a group of supportive, loving, and caring people that want to help you be your best, and that will be there to keep you moving forward, even when it seems impossible. Enjoy the entire process, from the first weight you lift, the first lap your run, the food you eat, to the people you meet. Enjoy it all, right up to that moment your nerves quiver as you walk toward the stage, standing there striking your first pose, with all eyes watching. Then smile as bright as you possibly can because you worked through so much to be standing there!

Who would you like to thank? There are so many people I am grateful to, but the first thanks always goes to God. In every situation, I look up and blow kisses in thanks for every good thing in my life and every accomplishment, including just being able to complete a workout. Secondly, thanks to my husband David and our children, C.J. and Marissa; they are the ones who helped me through everything, and have dealt with all the ups and downs. They deserve awards of their own just for being so amazing! Also, all of my friends who supported me and made me feel like there was a possibility of succeeding. Thirdly, my thanks goes to Club 16 and all the staff that cheered me on even through all the days I was sick and didn’t want to keep training. Next, to Dean and Leigh Brant, of Body by Brant Fitness, for teaching me how to look elegant and poised in my posing, even though I was petrified of being on stage. Additionally, to Tamara Knight for hosting the “Knight of Champions,” the BCABBA and its President Ross Duncan, along with his beautiful wife Lucy for our lovely conversation in the lobby at the host hotel, Signature Sandman in Langley, BC. I would like to also express my gratitude to the following people: Michelle Jeanpierre, and her team of beauticians from Beauty N’ Bronze, for my amazing tan, hair, and makeup, to Christine Shen at Waterbabies for making my gorgeous bikini (though I added some extra bling), the awesome photographers Ali Sohrab and David Ford, and the videographer Rey Rey, who all made me look even better with their ingenious skills. And of course, all the sponsors and volunteers that helped make the entire event not only possible, but an extremely enjoyable and wonderful experience. Thanks for such an amazing event. It was a moment in time I will cherish always!

 

ATHLETE NAME: Shelley Leeder

"Shelley has a smile that is contagious, She reminds me of sun, golden and bright." -Ali Sohrab

How long have you been working out Shelley? When I walked on the stage I had been working out to lose weight for 2 years, I had been weightlifting for 9 months. 

Who did you train with? My trainer is Rachel Cornell from 4Cor fitness.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions? I think I wanted to prove to myself that I could. In the 2 years I lost over 120lbs and I think it was my way of proving to myself that I can do it. I had discovered that I love weightlifting and I love challenging myself.... And being on a stage in a bikini was way outside my comfort zone. I wanted to show my kids that you have to push through your challenges to meet your goals. 

What was your category, and how many times have you competed? I competed in master’s bikini and open bikini, first time competitor.

How was your experience stepping on stage? It was a good experience for me; I didn't know how I would feel... But it was alright. 

What was the highlight of the show for you? My highlights are more emotional... Knowing my sister believes in me so much she made my competition bikini...Having my kids, my husband and my mom there. Just knowing I mean so much to them. 

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? I realized that I am stronger than my insecurities

What is your Future Plan? To keep building. 

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? Don't focus on the details show day, to let it happen, you have control over what you put into it... But the rest will just happen. 

Who would you like to thank? Rachel Cornell, my coach. Terri Mackintosh, my sister and suit maker, and Mike Leeder my husband... For supporting and encouraging me. 

 

ATHLETE NAME: Tatjana B.

"Tatjana is a great description of a fun and fit model. She knows how to bring joy into every part of life. It was a true pleasure working with this fully energized individual." - Ali Sohrab

How long have you been working out Tatjana? Working out has been my passion my entire life.

Who did you train with? The past 4 months I have been training with Yelena Yermolenko, using her program and nutritionist Leanne Babcock Arnott to become stage ready.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Knight Of Champions? For many years it has been a dream of mine to perform in a competition and at this stage of my life I was ready to give it my all.

What was your category, and how many times have you competed?  This was my first competition in the bikini category.

How was your experience stepping on stage? My experience on stage was very empowering as I experienced my dreams coming true.

What was the highlight of the show for you?The whole competition for me was a a major highlight in my life and of course placing second really topped it off.

What did you accomplish in your personal life by prepping for the show? Preparing for the show, I was determined to put myself first as a priority in reaching my goals.

What is your Future Plan? I am already getting ready for another competition in May 2017 by continuing to work with Yelena Yermolenko and Team Fitness which offers the same schedule of training and nutritional plans that I used for my first competition.

What tips would you give to others who want to compete for the first time? For anybody competing for the first time make sure you have a dream team supporting you.

Who would you like to thank? I would to like to thank my trainer Yelena and nutritionist Leanne for their teamwork in making this dream come true, and also my friend Sheryl for the unconditional loyalty, and to my support team, love you forever and always, I wouldn’t be living this dream without you.

 

I would like to thank TAMARA KNIGHT and TROY KNIGHT for putting on such an amazing event. Make sure to mark down the 3rd annual 2017 Knight of Champions on September 9th on your 2017 Calendar. 

Our province is fortunate to have such amazing promoters to make every show a success. Special thanks to BCBBA for making this community grow bigger and stronger. My gratitude also goes to all the amazing Volunteers for their unconditional support. At last but not least, Thanks to Sponsors, media crews, Make up and Tan crews for all there generosities and services.

To learn more about the British Columbia Amateur Bodybuilding Association and the various avenues for competing they offer, please check out their website: www.bcabba.org

Read the Status Fitness 2016 Knight of Champions Show Review here.

 

About Ali Sohrab

Holding a Masters degree in Lighting from University of British Columbia, with years of directing performances, the Vancouver based fitness photographer, Ali Sohrab brings his broad artistic expertise into the fitness world.

Ali has captured the beauty and the true personality of hundreds of athletes with his creative touch. In his world, every model possesses a unique gift and it’s the job of the photographer to discover that gift and manifest it through professional imagery. He believes that the work  of the artist should speak for itself.

Ali’s passion for lighting, story telling, body language, mood creating, and forms manifest though all his work, and has put him under many spotlights.