2016 VANCITY SHOWDOWN ATHLETES' BACKSTAGE PHOTO AND INTERVIEW

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New Westminster, BC. On October 15, 2016, Massey Theatre shined its stage spotlights on BCABBA competitors at the newest drug tested show in the BCABBA stream - the Vancity Showdown. Congratulations to promoter Corey Swiergosz and to his outstanding team who made the show successful, memorable and entertaining. 2016 was definitely an innovative year for BCABBA promoters as they made their respective shows feel unique while also ensuring that the athletes knew just how special and amazing they were. I would like to thank the BCABBA for their support and direction toward making our community stronger as a whole.

 

2016 was definitely an innovative year for BCABBA promoters; they made the show feel unique while also ensuring that the athletes knew just how special and amazing they were. 

Backstage photography has become an unfolding journey for me. The more I do this, the more I feel a responsibility to contribute to the events. I enjoy the journey and I look forward to reaching the destination and thankfully during this process I get the chance to see both sides of the coin. One side is meeting the competitors who have worked hard to get there - while learning of their own journeys - and the other side is seeing behind the scenes - those who work hard to make things happen: promoters, volunteers, judges, tanning crew, and all manner of media related people. In the end I’m grateful to be able to introduce these people and share a little about them.

GUEST POSERS

Guest Poser: IFBB PRO Cody Montgomery (Picture below):

Guest Poser: IFBB PRO Regan Grimes (Picture below):

ATHLETE PROFILES

ATHLETE NAME: Breanna Watkins

How did you get started in Fitness, and what’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? Ooo that is a good story! One night I was writing down some notes and thinking about what I would want to happen as if it was the best year of my life. One of the things I wrote down and wanted to experience and accomplish was to win a fitness competition. I have a top class competitive gymnastics background and had always been attracted to Fitness bodybuilding as I love to be strong, muscular, healthy and fit. Within the next couple of hours a girlfriend of mine, Mira Park, magically introduced me to a Pro Fitness Competitor, Christine Goudi, who was interested in learning gymnastics. We decided to trade our skill set and to teach each other. The rest is history. The best part about being a fitness competitor is that I am living out my dream as an athletic performer and as a bonus I get to meet so many like-minded positive, happy, health driven go getters along the way! I love the energy and atmosphere!

What was the reason you decided to compete at The Vancity Showdown, and what category did you compete in? Christine Goudi, Kat Sartor and Kim Scoffins suggested that the Vancity Showdown would be a good one for me to do especially since it was my first competition. It worked out beautifully in my time frame and life schedule as well. Meant to be! I competed in Fitness Category.

What was the highlight of the show for you? I felt like a superstar the entire time! Everything about it made me happy and I knew everyone else was feeling as excited as me! Made me want to do more!!

Who did you train with? Anytime I’m at the gym I make friends immediately with everyone. We all encourage and train together. Christine Goudie and Kim Scoffins however were huge motivators for me and training buddies!

How did you stay motivated? I wanted to do a good job. Also the fact that I had experienced competitors giving me many fantastic tips and coaching advice along the way really helped prepare me. Other than that I enjoy the process of developing my body and feeling my confidence lift even more with each day.  I like moving towards my goal and living out the lifestyle that I want for myself that feels rewarding and good to me. I was having fun!

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Go for it! Give it the best shot you’ve got!! Do the things you think you have to do in order to succeed for yourself. Ask others who have been there before for advice. Surround yourself by people who support you. Be happy for the learning experience, grateful for the opportunity, train often, eat healthy regularly and be an up-lifter to those around you. Once it's all done, know you did your best at the time and that’s worth a mega high five!! Have fun!

What supplements do you use/recommend if any? I took a multi vitamin each morning and used Kaizen all natural whey isolate protein powder during the day in a shake. Super easy!

What are you most proud of? The fact that said I wanted to do it, made the decision to go for it, stuck with it, had fun along the way, lived out my dream and accomplished my goal! Feeling very thankful, happy and pleased!

What are your short and long term fitness goals? My goal is to keep learning, developing my skills, improving myself and being open to new and fun life experiences while inspiring and encouraging others to do the same. I want to keep living out my dreams, travel, move forwards and enjoy a balanced healthy lifestyle that works for me. Work, Rest, Play, a lot! I want to continue leading by example in the best way I can and do my best in every area of my life. I always want to be strong, fit, healthy and happy. I would love to keep competing in fitness category, continue with my stunt-acting career and have a go at the all America Ninja Warrior competition sometime soon!!

What is your favourite motivational quote?  “Attitude is the difference between and ordeal and an adventure.” – By my mom Maggie Watkins . She is so right isn’t she!! This quote reminds me to be aware of the way I am thinking and to consciously look on the bright side and have fun with the adventure. “All you can do is all you can do.” – By my dad Brandon Watkins. Anytime I would hear this quote in my head I would think that I know I can do more, and then I would. “Just do it.” – NIKE. When those lazy moments come up. This quote would get me moving again and I’m always glad I did! Thank you!

Who would you like to acknowledge? To everyone who helped organize and create such an amazing event and beautiful setting for me to live out my dream. To myself for going for it, being dedicated, doing my best and having fun. To all my family and friends for the never ending support, laughter, encouragement, praise and love. I am the luckiest ever to be this blessed! To Mira Park for introducing me to the right people and for being a light in my life. You make me feel special. To Christine Goudie for being so amazing and for going above and beyond to help me get started. Thank you for opening such a big door for me. To Kim Scoffins for being an incredible coach, inspiration and friend. I know you want the best for me! Can’t wait to keep learning from you and see what else we can come up with! You rock! To my Best Friend Brittany Burkett for watching me grow over the years through all the ups and downs! Thank you for your kind, heartfelt words on my special winning day! You are the best. And of course to the great Photographers – Rommel Ramirez, Ali Sohrab and David Aboody for your talented ability to capture so many stunning and memorable moments. I look incredible. Thank You!!

ATHLETE NAME: Mehrdad Ahghari

How did you get started in Fitness and what’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? Fitness is my passion.

What was the reason you decided to compete at The Vancity Showdown? I decided to compete in Van City Showdown because it was nice to compete in Vancouver as well it aligned with my prep goals.

What was the highlight of the show for you? The moment when they the judges called my name for 1st place. I felt that all my hard work had paid off .

Who did you train with? I trained with my coach IFBB PRO Ali Najafian.

How did you stay motivated? Everyday I would see my body change and that made me motivated and focused to keep going, and it's my passion; once you love anything you don't need any reason to stay motivated about it.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Enjoy the experience along the way: your only competitor is you.

What supplements do you use/recommend if any? I really like Glutamine as it helps my immune system stay strong all the way through. I also use hydrolyzed non-flavour protein

What are you most proud of? I am most proud to have such an amazing family and friends.

What are your short and long term fitness goals? My short-term fitness goals are to compete at Popeye's and the Fitness Model Search show.  My long-term fitness goals are to compete at Nationals and obtain my pro card.

What is your favourite motivational quote? “Nothing is impossible. Where there’s a will there’s a way.”

Who would you like to acknowledge? I would like to thank my dear friend and coach IFBB PRO Ali Najafian. Thanks to all the judges and volunteers and promoter Corey Swiergosz. I had a great experience with Absolute Touch Tanning . Special thanks to The Suit Lady for designing my shorts,  to@katnix21 and @got_muscle_canada for posing. I would also like to thank to my family and friends, especially my dear friend Tiffany Baker, and Gordon Nelson for all their support. I’m blessed to have an amazing and great brother, friend and COACH IFBB Pro Ali Najafian who transformed my body and prepped me to get the best result.

ATHLETE NAME: Francesca MccCllen 

How did you get started in Fitness and what’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? I have always enjoyed the gym and never really understood the intimidation factor that some women speak of but I took a long break due to life and feeling like I needed to meet others' needs before my own. When I realized I needed to look after myself the weight room was the first place I came back to. The best part of being a fitness competitor is just how supportive the whole fitness community is and how all achievements, small or large, are celebrated. 

What was the reason you decided to compete at The Vancity Showdown, and what category did you compete in? I competed in figure. I felt that entering a show would be a good motivator and keep me goal-focused. I really wanted to get in better shape and gain some muscle and I felt a show would help me evaluate myself, and landmark where I am at and where I should set my future goals. The BCABBA is great with the feedback so after a show there is no excuse for not know your strengths and weaknesses!  I choose Vancity as it was a natural athlete-friendly show with an enthusiastic promoter who seemed to be keen to put on a good show that everyone would enjoy.

What was the highlight of the show for you? The real highlight was backstage. The sharing of the competitor’s journey to the stage and the total acceptance and positive energy generated was phenomenal.

Who did you train with? I train with Darren Toma who always seems to know when to switch up the program to challenge you and he is unfailingly positive and ready to listen but he also knows when to say just put the work in!

How did you stay motivated? Some days it is hard to stay motivated as gains are made slowly and it is only in the long term that I see changes. Tracking with pictures is a good way to see the progress when you can see the improvements putting in the work gets easier. Also knowing, even on a down day, that I will feel better after I have been to the gym keeps me coming back. 

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time?  Think about if you want to make the commitment because that is what it takes. It is hard work and you will have to be determined and resist short-term temptation but trust the process and you will be amazed at what can be achieved.

What supplements do you use/recommend if any? I like the whole Magnum line of products from the pre-workout and BCAAs to the protein powder.  I also have my coach advise me, as coaches often have more knowledge of the range of products out there.

What are you most proud of? That I kept going. I did have my doubts at times that I should really be getting up on stage at my age, (closer to 60 than 50) but I did it and enjoyed it!

What are your short and long term fitness goals? Well I wanted to know where to improve so that is exactly what I will do head back to the gym and keep working. Long term maybe another show?

What is your favorite motivational quote? It maybe trite but I like Nike’s 'Just Do it'.

Who would you like to acknowledge? First off my coach Darren Toma who has been so positive and supportive thank you isn’t enough. Then my daughter Natalie who encouraged me even in my most doubtful moments.

ATHLETE NAME: Adele Wasylyk

How did you get started in Fitness , and what’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? One early morning when I was around 10 years young I happened to be watching television and found the ”20 Minute Workout Show” I got up every morning to join those ladies for years; funny but true that is when it all started. Best part of being a fitness competitor is having the goal to keep you on track and seeing the results at show time of all your training and dietary efforts.

What was the reason you decided to compete at The Vancity Showdown, and what category did you compete in? I wasn’t too sure about which show to try out for my first time so my coach suggested the Vancity Show Down, I competed in Masters Figure 35+ and Figure Open A.

What was the highlight of the show for you? I loved backstage hanging out and getting to know some of the other competitors; there’s a lot of excitement behind the scenes, and of course placing first in my class was a great surprise. My photo shoot with Ali Sohrab: he sure knows how to make you feel comfortable and have fun.

Who did you train with? Dawn Alison at Fit Body; I did online coaching .

How did you stay motivated? I find it easy staying motivated, I look forward to my workouts, they help me feel more balanced and clear-headed.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Stay on track, don’t deviate from the plan, and stay positive.

What supplements do you use/recommend if any? I just kept it simple, multivitamin, bcaas, glutamine, and whey protein and don’t skip a meal.

What are you most proud of? I’m most proud of my son Hayden he’s such a great supportive person.

What are your short and long term fitness goals? Short and long term goals are staying on track with workouts and clean eating habits. I am going to train extra hard for next season of competitions, as there are a few areas that need some attention.

What is your favourite motivational quote? 'Rethink-Disrupt and Transform, No one is you...that is your power.'

Who would you like to acknowledge? My coach Dawn Alison at Fit Body, Kelly for makeup and my son for saying no and hiding the chocolate when I had my weak moments. Butter Cream Bikini, BCABBA, Ali Sohrab with Bam Fitness Photography for helping me feel amazing and less shy around the camera at our back stage photo shoot and for asking me to be a part of this feature, David Aboody with Twix Pix for stage shots at Vancity Show Down. The ladies from Absolute Tanning were so fantastic helping with spray tans, touching up my makeup and gluing my suit to make sure it stayed where it was supposed to, and my mom and my aunt and Ray for cheering me on at the show and driving the long haul with me from Nelson to Vancouver.

ATHLETE NAME: Alex Lorincz

How did you get started in Fitness and what’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? I've always been an athlete since elementary school, basketball being my favorite sport.  I started lifting weights in 10th grade and it became a real hobby of mine in 12th grade.  Then once I graduated it became an outlet, and now a full-blown passion. The best part of being a competitor I would have to say is the ability to challenge myself mentally and physically, and inspire others to do the same as they witness my endeavors.

What was the reason you decided to compete at The Vancity Showdown, and what category did you compete in? I competed in the new Classic Bodybuilding category for the first time, as well as Men’s Physique for the second time.  I chose the VanCity Showdown because it’s one of the BCABBA’s shows in the Traditional (drug tested) stream, and it gave me an appropriate amount of time to prep for the show.  Also, who doesn’t want to visit a part of Vancouver now and then?

 What was the highlight of the show for you? I was extremely happy with winning the overall placing in Classic Bodybuilding as it was my main focus, but to get back on stage later in the night and clinch the overall win in Men’s Physique as well was an unbelievable feeling.

 Who did you train with? I trained under IFBB Pro Jeni Briscoe, who introduced me to competitive bodybuilding a year prior to this prep.  We’ve had a little time to see how my body reacts to foods and training, and now we have a better understanding so that we can further improve on my results in future shows.

 How did you stay motivated? My fellow competitive athletes at The Gym where I train in Fort Saint John are great motivators to encourage me to keep pushing forward with my goals.  We’re all part of a team, and we all push each other and give each other all the advice we need to hear.

 Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? My advice to a first-time competitor is to not become discouraged if you don’t reach the goal you were aiming for right away.  This is a difficult sport physically, but also an incredible challenge mentally.  You will face obstacles, whether they are outside of your control, or that obstacle is your psyche.  It’s how you come back from learning curves that helps you grow.

 What supplements do you use/recommend if any? I could name many supplements/essential vitamins that someone should take, but I am a firm believer that whole foods and proper dietary guidance are your absolute best bet no matter what your fitness goals are. If I had to name one thing though, I would highly recommend an essential fatty acid supplement in the forms of omega-3 and omega-6.

 What are you most proud of? I am most proud of the fact that I want to continue down this path that I have started in the world of competitive bodybuilding.  I absolutely believe that I have a place in this realm and over time I want to prove it to be true.  I am proud of the fact that I am fully willing to immerse myself to continue to grow both in body and mind.

What are your short and long term fitness goals? My short term goal is to stay focused and disciplined in this sport, while working toward my long term goal of making a name for myself both as a competitive athlete and as a coach/trainer for other aspiring athletes.

What is your favourite motivational quote? “Thoughts become things.” – Kai Greene

Who would you like to acknowledge? I want to thank my coach Jeni Briscoe for helping me initiate my talents and open my eyes to the fitness world, where there is an inexhaustible amount of information and knowledge to acquire and a vast amount of ideologies to understand.  Also, I want to extend my thanks to my parents, Matt and Marjo, for being so supportive of my goals and understanding my pursuit.  Without them I would not be the person I am today, or be in a place in which I am grateful to be.

 

    

ATHLETE NAME: Rhonda Hutchinson   

How did you get started in Fitness, and what’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? Jan 2012 I was 162 lbs, wearing size 14 and miserable within my own skin, desperate for change but terrified to try! The very first exercise program I ever did was the Insanity program and from there I eventually discovered that weightlifting was my soul workout and I never looked back! Being a fitness competitor has been the best gift I could ever give myself and I absolutely love how much it has transformed me on so many different levels. Levels I never dreamed were possible!

What was the reason you decided to compete at The Vancity Showdown, and what category did you compete in? I was very excited to compete in the Grandmaster Bikini category at Vancity Showdown because it is in the traditional stream and my opportunity to bring my best self forward. I also loved that it was a smaller show and was very well run.

What was the highlight of the show for you? The highlight for me was spending time with other athletes that have worked so hard to reach their goals. I loved making new friends and seeing familiar faces with the backstage volunteers and BCABBA staff who did an amazing keeping the show running so smoothly. A special moment for me was when the Promoter of the show Corey Swiergosz came into our dressing room dressed in his suit and personally thanked each competitor and shook our hands for competing in his show. I thought that was very classy and special. I also loved the Massey Theatre because it is where I competed at my very first show, the SWFC in Nov 2014 and it allowed me time to reflect how far I have come in only 2 short years.

Who did you train with? I train by myself at the Club 16 in Surrey but 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.

How did you stay motivated? I have many people in my life who are struggling with physical disabilities, disease and cancer and really wish they could exercise so I exercise for them. I always hold that reality close to my heart and work extra hard for them. Our bodies are a gift and although I am 49 years old, I am blessed with a body that loves hard work and is willing to do what I’m asking of it. I also have a huge group of online fitness friends who are also working hard despite all of life’s challenges so I am always thinking of others when I’m weightlifting therefore staying motivated is very easy for me. I never take that for granted.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Don’t hold back and chase your dreams! I would recommend that first time competitors ensure that they have their immediate family’s support and that they find an excellent coach that listens to their goals and creates a plan to support that. I would recommend saving money up in advance so you don’t feel the financial stress when it’s time to book all your appointments and I would highly recommend splurging and having your hair/makeup/tan done with the professionals because this is a wonderful treat after a long prep and you’ve earned the pampering!!

What supplements do you use/recommend if any? I drink my Protein powder, BCAAs and take my vitamins daily. I love my BCAAs for recovery so I would definitely recommend them.

What are you most proud of? Wow this is hard for me to answer because I struggle with this but I am feeling most proud of the challenges I have overcome since I started exercising. I’ve lost 45lbs, 36 inches, and 21% body fat; I had my leg surgeries #10 & 11 only three years ago with big recovery times afterwards, I have my ongoing leg challenges and chronic leg and back pain so I have to modify my workouts daily to compensate for my injuries. Also after hiding my leg from everyone for 25 years I’ve had to face my deepest fears and massive insecurities to reveal my leg in public and begin my healing journey. Each competition has been a process of healing and accepting myself and I’m very proud to say that never in a million years did I think I would be in this moment of love and contentment within my mind, body and spirit.

What are your short and long term fitness goals? My short-term fitness goals are to enjoy a successful improvement season and make my desired progress changes to my body so that I can compete in the BC Cup in May 2017 and the VanProShow in July for my 50th birthday! My long-term fitness goals are to keep building upon what I’ve started and gaining some more muscle mass. It’s my dream to compete at Nationals and the Masters Nationals Championships in Pittsburgh. I have many friends in the 50s and 60s who are still competing so I hope to do the same and maintain my optimum level of health and fitness and avoid my family’s long history of disease and disabilities.

What is your favourite motivational quote? Ironically my husband and I set our own motivational quote when 2016 began and we kept it simple: “DO IT”. This quote applies to all avenues of our life as we both fully respect how short life can be and we want to maximize each moment we have on our earth and experience as much of life’s beauty that we can.

Who would you like to acknowledge?  My greatest appreciation is for my husband Grant who is insanely supportive and encouraging of my competition goals. I’m extremely grateful to my family who love me and support my crazy goals. I’m very blessed with a great Coach and huge online fitness family who are constantly pushing me forward with countless messages of encouragement and love. I’m grateful to BCABBA, the Promoters of the shows and their volunteers and for the Photographers for giving competitors excellent opportunities to shine. I am eternally grateful for all of the blessings in my life.

ATHLETE NAME: Amy Chane

How did you get started in Fitness, and what’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? I originally started going to the gym while I was in university to help me deal with stress but back then it was mostly cardio and yoga. About 3 years ago I signed up with a trainer at the gym I was at and I got hooked to lifting weights. I feel the best part of being a fitness competitor is working towards a goal with other competitors. This was my first competition and I was lucky that I had a few other girls on my team that were competing in the same competition. It was nice to work together, motivate each other and see each other on stage at the competition.

What was the reason you decided to compete at The Vancity Showdown, and what category did you compete in? I wanted to compete in a traditional show this year. The Vancity Showdown was at a good time personally for me and I was able to take the time to focus on my prep. I competed in Open Bikini B.

What was the highlight of the show for you? First call-outs in the morning show. I was competing against 14 other women who worked extremely hard to get to that stage and I am grateful that the judges thought I deserved to be in the top 5.

Who did you train with? I usually train by myself but I do have an amazing coach, Dawn Alison (Fit Body BC). She put together my meal plans, workouts and helped with my posing. 

How did you stay motivated? I think it was knowing that at the end of my prep I would be stepping on stage in front of so many people. I knew I had to give it my all or it wouldn't be worth it. 

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Competing takes a lot of time, discipline and can be expensive. It can also be a selfish time. The months that you're in prep, it's all about putting yourself first. You have to know what you're willing to say "no" to and you also figure out what's most important. It's not easy working full time, taking courses, preparing all your meals, training and still trying to maintain a social life. 

What supplements do you use/recommend if any? I used PVL brand BCAAs and Glutamine during prep. Allmax brand Isonatural and Isoflex are my favorite protein isolate powders. I've also recently started using the BPI Sports Best BCAAs.

What are you most proud of? I'm proud that I didn't give up when I was emotionally and physically tired. There were numerous days where I was only sleeping about 3-4 hours because I wanted to get everything done. I’m so glad I pushed through it all and stepped on that stage.  

What are your short and long term fitness goals? Short term goals are to get into better shape so that I'm better prepared for provincials. Long term goals are to continue with my healthy eating and exercise plan. I may not always compete but fitness will always be a part of my life.

What is your favourite motivational quote? “I can and I will”. I love this quote and I truly believe that if you put your mind on a goal, it can be achieved. There really is no space for excuses if you want to achieve something.

Who would you like to acknowledge? My family, friends, coworkers and my coach. Their constant support helped me when I was struggling. A really special thank you is to my sister who encouraged me and reminded me that I can do this. 

ATHLETE NAME: Amy Volpatti

How did you get started in Fitness, and what’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? I was a lifeguard and swimming instructor for a number of years after high school and have always tried to maintain an active life through the example my parents set for me from a very young age. In 2007, my mom bought the local gym in our small town of Enderby and I took my Weight Training Instructor course and managed the gym for two years before carrying out my primary career goal of becoming a Registered Dental Hygienist. My true inspiration to step onto the stage actually dates back to when I was quite young and stumbled across a beautiful bronzed trophy that one of my aunts had received at her first fitness competition she’d competed at in her 20s; I had always wondered what it was all about but really didn’t know much about the sport at that time but my curiosity was peaked. During my time managing the gym I was able to connect with a wonderful group of ladies locally who would help encourage, motivate and inspire me to pursue my dream of competing in my very first Fitness competition in 2008 and my thus my journey began. The best part about being a fitness competitor are the people and relationships you make along the way- they can last a lifetime.  

What was the reason you decided to compete at The Vancity Showdown, and what category did you compete in? I decided to compete in the VanCity Showdown in the Bikini category. I wanted to challenge myself to see what I could bring to the stage in less than 12 weeks as I had just competed in my very first BCABBA Bikini Competition in May and had taken a little too much off-season time and needed to set a new goal to help keep me accountable. 

What was the highlight of the show for you? Catching up with my teammates and meeting some new friends backstage. It was amazing to push past the nerves and feel myself becoming more comfortable on stage even from the morning to the evening show- just the whole experience and adrenalin of it all was such a highlight!

Who did you train with? I have been very self-motivated this year, following a customized online training and diet plan though my coaches Dean & Leigh Brandt (“Body By Brandt”). I unfortunately do not live close enough to meet up with my coaches and team in person, so I train locally at my home gym in Vernon and stay connected to my team online weekly & push myself to make every workout count as in the end it’s you against yourself!

How did you stay motivated? I have to admit it was quite difficult to stay motivated some days as my on-season training commenced in the middle of a beautiful Okanagan summer with many delicious fruits and foods in season that unfortunately don’t quite fit into a Bikini Athlete's diet plan! I was grateful to have the support of my wonderful husband, my parents & in-laws, siblings, friends, family & coaches to help keep me sane and focused during the hard days and I’d often take time to reflect on favorite motivational quotes.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Don’t worry about where you’ll place; in the end it’s you against yourself and just the fact that you’re making it to the stage is a Huge accomplishment in and of itself! Hold your head high, smile, and remember to have fun. It’s not about who finishes the race first, but enjoying the run... Take time to chat with your fellow competitors, ask questions, and reflect on the whole experience of it all.  

What supplements do you use/recommend if any? I’ve sampled quite a variety of products and brands this year, but my favorites right now would have to be Optimum Nutrition’s BCAA Energy (the Blueberry Mojito flavor is unreal!), Total Body Health Co Organic Greens & Oxy-3, Kaizen and Beyond Nutrition for delicious New Zealand Whey Isolates, and lastly Rich Piana’s 5% Nutrition “Real Food”- simply amazing!! 

What are you most proud of? For having the courage to step back on the stage after taking so many years off since my first competition. I’m happy that I finally pushed myself out of my comfort zone and I’m not looking back... this is just the beginning!

What are your short and long term fitness goals? I would love to move onto the Provincial (and eventually National!) Bikini level one day. Achieving the highest level of self-development in the industry and training my body in such a way that I’d be comparable to the top athletes in the sport has always been a dream of mine and I hope to one day achieve that status. I’d also love to inspire those just starting out in the sport, or considering their first Bikini competition, to have the courage to go for it and have fun!!- the public is welcome to follow my before and after progress on my social media pages on Instagram (@amy.v.fit) or Facebook (Amy V-Fit) as well to see that everyone has to start somewhere and any progress, no matter how big or small, is still progress! 

What is your favourite motivational quote? “Don’t Let Your Mood or Energy Level Dictate Your Actions or Effort Level.”

Who would you like to acknowledge? First, God for giving me the strength and courage to pursue my passion and dreams. My husband Trevor for being my rock though the highs and lows. My coaches Dean & Leigh Brandt for their unending encouragement and exceptional training plans. My Mom, My Auntie Rina, and all my family & friends who’ve encouraged me along my fitness journey this year!

ATHLETE NAME: Andrea Sevilla

How did you get started in Fitness, and what’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? After moving from Ottawa to BC 12 years ago, I started being more active by walking, hiking and most of all lifting weights regularly. My younger sister was a big influence in joining a local gym. Over the years I’ve become so dedicated that I never missed a workout….even on holidays! The best part about being a fitness competitor is showing off my improvements and hard work on stage and in photoshoots.

What was the reason you decided to compete at The Vancity Showdown, and what category did you compete in? I competed with other beautiful ladies under the Grandmaster 45+ bikini category (and yes, age is just a number!). I won second place!! My main reason in competing is to step out of my comfort zone. There is no other addicting feeling in the world compared to stepping on stage in a teeny tiny bikini and showing off. For an introvert it takes guts and courage!

What was the highlight of the show for you? The highlight of the show was when I won second place!

Who did you train with? I trained with my on-line coach Tamara Knight of Tzone Fitness who was recommended by a bodybuilder. 

How did you stay motivated? It was not hard for me to stay motivated because eating 6 planned meals and working out hard 5 days a week is the lifestyle that I’m already used to.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? My advice for first time competitors is to have fun in your journey. You will learn a lot about yourself mentally and physically. Just do it and you won’t regret it!

What supplements do you use/recommend if any? I recommend and use a lot of Vitamin D, C, Omega 3 and also Turmeric curcumin which helps fight off sore muscles. I prefer real food instead of taking whey protein due to my lactose intolerance.

What are you most proud of? I’m most proud of being healthy and being loved.

What are your short and long term fitness goals? My fitness goal is to build more muscles!

What is your favourite motivational quote? “Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” - Dr. Seuss

Who would you like to acknowledge? I would like to thank my coach Tamara Knight for making me stronger and helping me look this amazing, to my loves ones for believing in me, and to my better half for your love and support.

ATHLETE NAME: Tarah Craig

How did you get started in Fitness, and what’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? A good friend of mine competed and watching her go through a contest prep and compete on stage sparked my interest in the sport so I looked into more and decided to give it a shot.
The best part of being a competitor, for me, is the new knowledge and experience I gain each time I complete a contest prep; I also love getting to meet and reunite with the other folks backstage.

What was the reason you decided to compete at The Vancity Showdown, and what category did you compete in? I competed in bikini B at The Vancity Showdown; it was my fifth show and fit well with my schedule but I was also curious about the proceedings during a tested show.

What was the highlight of the show for you?  The biggest highlight was definitely winning my class and the overall bikini title!

Who did you train with? I train with Team Chiseled from New Brunswick; they’ve been my team for 2 preps now! I love them!

How did you stay motivated? My whole life was based around fitness; my schooling, social activities and free time were all spent doing something active. On top of that I have an excellent support system and throughout this prep, if my motivation faltered, they were there for me.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? To make sure you have a great support system behind you and to not let anyone stop you from reaching your goal. Also, make sure to remember to practice smiling while you pose!

What are you most proud of? I’m proud of how disciplined and determined I was this prep; I’ve always worked hard but I put my entire heart and soul into this contest prep.

What are your short and long term fitness goals? My next goal is to qualify for nationals at the upcoming provincials. My long-term goal hasn’t been decided as of yet; I like to let things fall into place.

What is your favourite motivational quote? “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou

Who would you do you like to acknowledge? I have so many people to thank but I have 2 folks I need to call out! First, my sister, Bailey, for everything she does and second is Ryan Reynolds, my coach (Team Chiseled) for being the genius he is. I also want to thank all my friends, family, schoolmates, and teammates, as I would not have made it to the stage without their support and motivation.

ATHLETE NAME: Beki Kazazian

How did you get started in Fitness, and what’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? I was 15 and just beginning to work for myself when I noticed a gym open up in the mall. I inquired about membership and was devastated to find out that I couldn’t join without parental consent. Being as stubborn as I am, it had become my mission to be signed up at this gym and to begin training in there - and of course I accomplished that within a week. And that was how my dedication and passion for the fitness lifestyle began.  I loved the way it made me feel and look, and the positive feedback from others motivated me to keep going.  Eventually the feedback became questions and that inspired me to become a certified trainer. Now as a fitness competitor, I feel I can continue to grow as a fitness role model to others in ways that are beyond just functional training.  I never stop learning about myself and the challenges that I am faced with are ongoing, and as crazy as it may sound, that is really the best part.  Continuously growing, learning, and pushing past challenges… there is no end to this lifestyle.

What was the reason you decided to compete at The Vancity Showdown, and what category did you compete in? I competed in Bikini class, in both Open (class A) and Masters. I chose The Vancity Showdown as my debut show into the BCABBA organization.  I spent a few months researching the different streams and decided that I prefered the traditional over the open which made the decision to pick this show easy.  

What was the highlight of the show for you? Being ON STAGE is definitely the highlight!  But aside from the glitz and glam, what you don’t see is the relationships that are built backstage amongst the competitors.  I love being a part of an industry that is built around teamwork and support of each other, even though you are obviously in competition with one another.  Making new friends and sharing chocolates in the backstage before the PM show was probably the highlight for me!

Who did you train with? I trained with Team Edge!, coaches Ingrid Romero and Joe Discuillo who are based out of L.A.

How did you stay motivated? I declare all of my actions and goals to friends, clients, and family as well as post them on my social media platforms.  This holds me accountable for what I say and I can stay usually stay on track.  Otherwise, I have an amazing supportive husband who reminds me of why I am doing this and cheers me on when I prefer to stop. Keeping a journal to track all my workouts and meals is helpful for not cheating plus my coaches require weekly updates, so there is just no way around that!

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? TRUST AND LISTEN TO YOUR COACH!!  They will always have your best interest, keep an open communication.  A workout is VERY important, but not more important than your health...if you are tired or sick or injured, assess what you are feeling and whether or not doing the workout will help you or hinder you.  And lastly, HAVE FUN… it’s still meant to be a fun learning experience about yourself. Don’t stress about it!  

What supplements do you use/recommend if any? I must have my Whey Protein Isolate, multivitamins, probiotics, Glutamine, and aminos. I’d recommend using all of those if you want to use the most basic things.  

What are you most proud of? I’m most proud that I was able to complete this prep with a baby!!  I had begun training for a competition about 4 months after having my baby but injured myself due to postpartum problems and took about 4 months off to strengthen my core and body before officially starting prep again.  I was faced with so many challenges as a new mom, running a business, and accommodating my husband’s schedule, and wanted to quit so many times but for some reason I did not.  And I’m so proud of myself for proving my self-doubt wrong!

What are your short and long term fitness goals? Short term, I will need to improve my physique, posing and transitioning on stage to get ready for the next competition.  I can see I’ll need to be stricter on diet and cardio and learn to hit the poses a bit sharper. Long term, I plan on continuing to grow my personal training business and look into online training options. As for competitions, I would love to see how far I can go, a goal would be a pro card!

What is your favourite motivational quote? 'Don’t ever give up on a dream due to the amount of time it will take to achieve it.  The time will pass by anyway.'

Who would you like to acknowledge? I’d like to thank my husband, Mark.  He has been so supportive in my fitness journey regardless of what it may be. He drives me around to all the events and waits for me, he is my biggest and most cherished fan. I would also like to thank my coaches Ingrid and Joe from Team Edge.  Their guidance and support brought out my best package to date!!  And all the love and support from my girls at Team Edge, my clients, and family and friends.

ATHLETE NAME: Christina Radeka

How did you get started in Fitness, and what’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? I started my fitness journey in 2013 when a girlfriend of mine was preparing for her first bikini competition. I had just got a gym membership and was eager to learn how to train so I followed along with her workout routines. It didn’t take long before I was inspired by many bikini competitors and I knew then the physique I wanted to achieve. I didn’t compete until 2 and a half years later but I just love everything about being a bikini competitor. Training hard, heavy cardio, eating clean, and then getting all glammed up in a bikini suit and posing on stage in high heels, love it!

What was the reason you decided to compete at The Vancity Showdown, and what category did you compete in? I competed in open bikini. I decided to compete because wanted to try my first traditional stream drug tested BCABBA show, and I have always remained free of any drugs, stimulants, hormone enhancers, etc.

What was the highlight of the show for you? I loved competing at the Vancity Showdown, it’s hard to chose just one highlight! From stepping on stage, to meeting new people, to taking backstage photos, the show was run very well and was well organized. I had a great overall experience.

Who did you train with? Generally I train with local competitors or on my own. Over the years I have been modifying, critiquing, and expanding my workout routine, I enjoy getting pointers from other competitors but I generally train on my own.

How did you stay motivated? Wake up every morning as re-evaluate your short term and long term goals. Decide what you want to accomplish today and how your progression today can benefit your overall goal. Surround yourself with like-minded, positive individuals, don’t be afraid to push yourself past perceived limitations, but also don’t forget to look back on what you’ve accomplished and be proud of yourself. Find a healthy balanced with your day-to-day lifestyle and know that everything happens for a reason, as long as you keep moving forward at the end of the day.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time?  My advice would be to set a goal initially to keep you on track. Find out what you want to get out of competing, what motivates you most and hold on to it. You are going on go through tough times but they won’t last if you don’t let them last. Push yourself, aim high, compete against yourself and ONLY yourself, and be proud of your growth. Competing can be difficult to balance with a busy schedule but just know it’s possible and worth it.

What supplements do you use/recommend if any? As a sponsored Prosupps athlete, I only use their products, which is a good thing! I love every flavour of their isolate protein for my post workout and I love their BCAAs and EAAs to keep me hydrated throughout my workout and to help repair and build healthy muscle. A tip on supplementation: if you can get the nutrients from food, then do so! Veggies are a great source of vitamins and minerals, fish is a great source of omega-3s and protein, so avoid supplements and eat clean meals!

What are you most proud of? I am most proud of becoming someone that my past self can be proud of. Someone who can set a goal, stay driven, and push myself to a physique that I am confident with. People can come up with a million reasons why you wouldn’t be able to do it, but I am proud for sticking to the one reason that says I can and that reason is to believe in myself, and settling my own standards.

What are your short and long term fitness goals? My short-term goals are to build more muscle in my quads, shoulders, and glutes, and to continue to keep striving for progress with my overall physique. My long-term goal is to inspire others to live a healthy and active lifestyle, “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well being not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” - World Health Organization

What is your favourite motivational quote? “If you do not go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no.  If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place.”

Who would you like to acknowledge? I would like to thank BCABBA for hosting body building competitions. I would like to thank the community sponsors for making these competitions and events possible. I would like to thank the amazing local competitors that I have met on my journey and that have helped me with my growth and struggles. I would like to thank Dawn Alison for being the most amazing posing coach and for helping me gain confidence in my posing routine and ready to step on stage. Lastly, my friends and family who are so supportive of my goals and of my health, and continue to love and inspire every step of the way.

VOLUNTEERS

Thank you to all the incredible volunteers who dedicated their time and passion to help make the show memorable for the competitors and audience. Without the volunteers these events wouldn't be able to take place. The volunteers become family. Pros work alongside amateurs for the common goal of creating the best atmosphere and environment possible. 

BCABBA EXECUTIVE & JUDGES

BCABBA VIDEO MEDIA TEAM

Thank you to 6 Weeks Out media team: Rey Damasco (C) 6 Weeks Out owner and BCABBA Digital Media Marketing Coordinator, Steven Mountford (L), and Calvin Youttitham (R) for their support of the association as well as the athletes.

 

I would like to thank COREY SWIERGOSZ and Influential Sports for putting on such an amazing event. Make sure to mark down the next Vancity Showdown on your 2017 Calendar. 

Special thanks to the BCABBA for helping this community grow bigger and stronger. My gratitude also goes to all the amazing volunteers for their unconditional support. Last but not least, thank you to the sponsors, media crew, the make-up and tan crew for all their generosities and services.

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

 

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.