2017 ABBA MARGARET LOGUE NORTHERNS: ATHLETE INTERVIEWS | Status Fitness Magazine Official Website

2017 ABBA MARGARET LOGUE NORTHERNS: ATHLETE INTERVIEWS

| Posted by Ali Sohrab | comments
 PHOTO Ali Sohrab
email this article and share with friends!

Edmonton, Alberta.  June 17th. Horowitz Theatre hosted the 2017 Margaret Logue Northern Alberta Bodybuilding Championships. Congratulations to Cabel McElderry for putting up another great show each year. A Special thanks to Alberta Bodybuilding Association, and all the volunteers for their support for the athletes. 

Congratulations to Cabel McElderry for putting up another great show each year. A Special thanks to Alberta Bodybuilding Association, and all the volunteers for their support for the athletes. 

 

ATHELE PROFILE

ATHLETE NAME: Annick Hebert-MacInnis

Social media contact: INSTAGRAM: annicktulip, FACEBOOK anakeh

How did you get started in Fitness Annick? I’ve always been very active since very young. In middle school, I played in all sports team available at my school. In high school, I loved extreme sports like mountain biking, snowboarding and skateboarding.  I decided to get my first gym membership shortly after high school at the age of 20. This is when my fitness journey began; from then on, I was hooked.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? I love seeing the changes in my and others' bodies. I love the process all the way to the stage. I love the challenge, learning more about the sport and the friendships you make along the way.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Northerns, and what category did you compete in? My first show was the Winter Open in Calgary in February 2016. I placed 2nd in master figure. After this I decided to continue my training and compete at The Northerns, which was my national qualifier.

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? To Finally stepping on the stage in front of my husband and hearing my name for the win.

Who did you train with? Bree Balaski from the Freak Fitness team.

How did you stay motivated during prep? Any little improvement I can see in my body is what keeps me motivated.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Have fun. The moment you step on the stage you are already a winner.

What are you most proud of in your journey? The biggest challenge in this journey for me was stepping on a stage. This is way out of my comfort zone but I wanted to push myself out of that comfort zone and learn to be more comfortable out there on a stage. I am proud that I was able to do this twice now and I am not scare to step on stage anymore . I now love it.

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? Bringing my best stage performance at The Alberta Provincial Championship for short therm. Long term Competing on the National stage next year.

What is your favorite motivational quote? "What's the world's greatest lie?... It's this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate." - Paulo Coelho

Who would you  like to send your thank-you to? My husband for sure for putting up with me. My coach Bree Balaski and Darren Mehling from my freak fitness team and all my friends for their support.

ATHLETE NAME: Bryce Korzenowski

Social media contact: Pat Bryce (facebook)

How did you get started in Fitness Bryce? I got started when I was going to school for an apprenticeship and being there for 5 weeks having nothing to do I figured best thing to do is get built!

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? The challenge to stick with the goal and complete the journey with the training and the diet.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Northerns, and what category did you compete in? In 2005 I was getting ready to compete but three weeks out not dieting properly I almost killed myself at work due to low carbs. Once I stopped what I was dong I came down and got a sandwich and decided that it wasn’t worth it. So since then it was an unfinished goal. I decided in late 2016 that it was time to complete that goal that I tried to do in 2005. The Northern classic was the day!

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? Seeing the different body types and all the hard work they put in as did I.

Who did you train with? I trained with my partner Patricia Nelson and Winston Green of Winston's Health and Fitness

How did you stay motivated during prep? My Partner Patricia helped me and the end result to complete the goal that I never completed 12 years prior.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time?  Find a trainer that has competed before and learn from what they learnt from.

What are you most proud of in your journey? Completing the competition even after being injured from Dec 13, 2016 and pushing through to completion while still injured with shoulder/back injury.

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? Complete in provincials in 2018, place to go to nationals with my partner Patricia.

What is your favorite motivational quote? 'Trying is Lying! Trying leaves room for failure, doing in completing.'

Who would you like to send your thank-you to? My partner Patricia Nelson of Illuminated Evolution for the support. My coach Winston Green of Winston's Health and Fitness for the training and guidance.

ATHLETE NAME: Chad Pidhaichuk

Social media contact: cpidhaichuk@gmail.com

How did you get started in Fitness Chad? I started when I was 15.  I was training to make a senior basketball team.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? The atmosphere is amazing.  I know how hard each of us has worked and everyone is happy for each other’s success no matter the result.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Northerns, and what category did you compete in? I competed in the Physique Division.  I wanted to get in one more show before I turned 40.  

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? Definitely finishing 5th.  It was my best finish in 3 shows.

Who did you train with? “The Morning Crew”

How did you stay motivated during prep? The end result was motivating enough.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Set your pride aside and ask.  Even if you do your own research, any help you can get is to your advantage.

What are you most proud of in your journey? Completing my goals after all the challenges life set in front of me this year.

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? Short term, I’d like to get up on stage at provincials.  Long-term, I just want to pass my love for sports and fitness onto my 3 kids.

What is your favorite motivational quote? “You are where you are because of who you are.”

Who would you like to send your thank-you to? Emily, Will, and Colten

ATHLETE NAME: Christina Bascom                       

Social media contact: Instagram: chrissb_fit75

How did you get started in Fitness Christina? After some major weight gain related to post partum depression left me close to 200 lbs and out of shape, I needed a change.  I started by running on my own; I ran a marathon and a few smaller races over a few years Once I lost most of the weight, I started weight training with a personal trainer 5 years ago to get stronger and leaner and then discovered a love for it and I’ve never looked back. 

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? The community associated with it especially on social media.  I have followed and looked up to so many people who work hard every day to reach their goals… it’s inspiring.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Northerns, and what category did you compete in? Competing at The ABBA Northerns in Bikini F was a personal challenge I set for myself.  I wanted to see if I could physically get my body to where it needed to be to compete, and as an added challenge, getting myself up on that stage (for someone who struggles with social anxiety and issues with self confidence this was the harder of the two).

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? The highlight for me were the ABBA volunteers and the people working backstage to help make everyone look their best.  The people doing the tanning with Visual Dimensions tanning were so friendly and kind, and the people from Beauty Mark Productions were just amazing.  The ABBA volunteers kept every one upbeat and everyone I met was encouraging and reinforced that I should just be so proud of the hard work that got me there and to remember to just have fun out on stage.

Who did you train with? My Coach was Xenia Busigin with Body By Xenia

How did you stay motivated during prep? My family was huge in keeping me motivated and encouraged me every day.  And a teammate who has become a friend was also so great at keeping me smiling whenever I started to doubt myself. 

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Listen to your coach and trust in the process… I was amazed at how it all came together… and also don’t forget to find balance.  Find time to be with your family and/or friends and to do nice things to take care of yourself as well

What are you most proud of in your journey? I had abs… I finally had abs … I worked hard for those babies.

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? Short-term I want to continue to train… in a way that will get me loving the gym again where it doesn’t feel like work.  After long the long hours in prep it got to be almost like a job some days.  Long-term I want to compete in Figure… I love the physique and the strength those women have… it’s beautiful.

What is your favorite motivational quote? 'The will to do the soul to dare' – which is also tattooed on my left forearm.

Who would you like to send your thank-you to? My family.  I missed a lot of time with them and they sacrificed a lot to make sure I was able to get my training in, and they put up with a lot when I was hungry and stressed.  They deserve a medal.

 

ATHLETE NAME: Dawn Walker                 

Social media contact: @dawnm.w

How did you get started in Fitness Dawn? I was always known as the athletic girl growing up. I loved track & field and played baseball in the summer, but my second home was at the Skating rink. I’ve figure skated since I was about 10 years old. I didn’t take it seriously until I was in junior high though. After my first competition, I fell in love. From there I competed many weekends, and spent summers at skating school. That came to an end after I graduated high school. Quite a few years later, I found myself in a rough spot in life. I needed to focus my energy on something good for myself, so I decided to buy a gym membership. I had a goal in mind- I wanted to compete in a bikini competition. A year and a half later, I made that dream a reality.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? I’ve honestly learnt so much about myself and how far I can really push myself. It’s amazing what our bodies can do. Another great thing is being able to meet and connect on a different level with like-minded athletes.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Northerns, and what category did you compete in? My first show I competed in was Muscle Beach 2016 and placed 6th place in Bikini B with a total of 19 other amazing girls. It was an amazing experience, and being the competitor I am, I knew I could do better. My coach, Tyler Malone & I decided, Northerns 2017 was the goal. I competed in Bikini B again, this time around placing 4th.

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? Honestly, the whole weekend was amazing. I got a chance to meet some incredible men and women who have all put in their time and worked hard to get to where they are.

Who did you train with? Tyler Malone is my coach  

How did you stay motivated during prep? Whenever I felt unmotivated, I would look back on old pictures, and see how far I’ve come, and push through whatever I was going through at the time. I also follow a lot of inspirational athletes on social media, so that definitely helps too!

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Breathe! Have fun, enjoy the moment because it goes by quickly!

What are you most proud of in your journey? For starting. For getting the courage to make this a reality.

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? Short term- would be to compete at Nationals next year. Long term- would be to win my pro card.  

What is your favorite motivational quote? “Get comfortable being uncomfortable”

Who would you like to send your thank-you to? To my loving man, Christian who has been there to love & support me since day 1 of this fitness journey. Also, my amazing family & friends who have supported me along the way.

ATHLETE NAME: JENNIFER CAMERON

Social media contact: Instagram: little.tattooed.beastette. snapchat: jcam19, facebook: Jennifer Cameron

How did you get started in Fitness Jennifer? My fitness journey started when I was 12, I was a competitive swimmer for 4 years where I later found the love for body building at the age of 15. I found myself at the gym daily with my high school sweetheart, Tyson Cameron. Together we were better and we helped motivate each other. We started off knowing nothing but before we knew it we created this healthy and active lifestyle and it wasn't until after my second baby that I took things to an entirely different level. I became very competitive with myself. Constantly trying to improve everyday, I quickly learned that being consistent was the key to success that was with both in and out of the gym. I ate clean and worked out daily, I made it part of my life and honestly it was the best decision I could have made! My son was only a week old when I got back into the swing of things, I have always loved this lifestyle, something that I'm truly passionate about. Lifting weights and doing cardio to me is so empowering, it's been my sweet escape, a place to let go and just be in that moment. It's shown me my determination and growth and has taught me to love and respect myself and overall I am a better person because of it!

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? The best part about being a fitness competitor is being able to provide motivation and guidance to those around me, especially other moms out there. I want to be a role model and someone people look up to for support. I love being a part of something that is bigger than myself, the behind the scenes work thats goes into an event like this is often overlooked, I'm so thankful for all the volunteers that put in the time to make it even possible for other competitors like myself to get to show case all our hard work we have put in to get to that moment on stage, not to mention the talented artists who do the make-up, hair and spray tanning. As a competitor we spend months and months training for this day to come and it's nice to have that extra help to make the process smoother and less stressful on us. I'm ever so grateful  to have been a part of this association and something I see myself devoting to for years to come.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Northern,s and what category did you compete in? I competed in the bikini E category. ~ I love having a goal to work towards and I wanted to prove to myself and others that anything is possible. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, and now that I am done having kids I figured now it's time for me, not only has it helped me with my confidence it's made me a better mom, wife, daughter and friend. I heard that the ABBA association was a good one to compete in, it's run smoothly, the people are great and overall it's a great show and after hearing that I made the decision to register and I've never looked back.

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? It was my first ABBA show, and only my second show ever that were a month apart and I placed 4th in both. I am so proud of myself and that I qualified for Provincials in Calgary. I made it this far and I worked hard to get where I am. The experience was wonderful, I met so many sweet girls, it was nice to see babes supporting babes rather than stripping each other down. There’s nothing better than when girls empower one another. I can't wait to hit the stage again!

Who did you train with? I spent most of my time training alone in our home gym but if I was lucky I would get to work out with my husband. With kids it can be a challenge but it's all about balance and making the time. 

How did you stay motivated during prep? My main source of motivation came from within, I found myself in this realm of commitment and there was no stopping me, for me it was the results that kept me so driven. I loved seeing the way my body was changing and I found it fascinating how I could manipulate my body to change especially during peak week. I couldn't have done it without my family who were my biggest motivators throughout this entire process, along with the positive feedback from friends, acquaintances and social media followers. 

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Just take it day by day; listen to your body and know that this is the beginning to a fun filled and rewarding journey. There will be days you want to quit but just remember why you started and believe in yourself, give it your all and most importantly be patient, trust the process because it all comes together in the end and this whole experience is so worth it. 

What are you most proud of in your journey? I'm most proud of my perseverance and commitment I had from the beginning to end, I had only had a baby 6 months ago, only leaving myself 5 months or so to train till stage day. It was always something I wanted to do and said why not go for it. I was already in the right mindset. I started training right away, it was early mornings and sometimes late nights. Being a mom you have priorities and my boys were always first. It didn't mean I couldn't work out, it meant I had to make the time for the gym and find the balance. My boys are everything to me, and are my biggest motivators. I'm proud that I was able to do this and not have to sacrifice time with my family. 

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? Short term goals would have to be to just keep giving it my all, making the most of the off season, increase my muscle definition and strength and bring my best self to nationals in 2018. Long term goals, I hope to achieve my pro card and get sponsored by a supplement company.

What is your favorite motivational quote? "Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire." 

Who would you like to send your thank-you to? I would like to thank my husband for all his support; he was the one who stuck by my side throughout this entire process and it wasn't always easy. I'm grateful for all his encouraging words, his knowledge, his love, his humour especially on the days I needed it most and a big thank you to all my family and friends for believing in me and making the traveling days much easier. Along with the wonderful staff at Supplement King for stocking me up with all my necessary goods. Also thank you for all of those who have reached out to me with your encouraging words through social media and last but not least a big thank you to the ABBA for the amazing event and to all the beautiful athletes I have met along the way I hope that my fitness journey will inspire and motivate others in all their endeavours.

ATHLETE NAME: Kristen Michelle Stollar

Social media contact: Facebook: Kristen Stollar,  Instagram: weights_n_stuff, Snapchat: kstollar09

How did you get started in Fitness Kristen? I've been an athlete all my life, soccer, volleyball, wrestling; but it wasn't until I was in my early 20s that I started lifting weights. I went through a period of very low self-esteem and some friends encouraged me to start going to the gym with them. As soon as I started seeing results I was hooked!

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? Being able to share the experience with my boyfriend Corey. He competes in Men's Physique.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Northerns, and what category did you compete in? I watched Corey compete at Northerns last year, where I got to watch the Figure category for the first time. I was mesmerized by how strong and feminine the competitors looked. I decided I wanted to take myself to the next level physically, and this was the way to do it.

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? It's a tie between competing in the overall against my good friend Taylor Paton and being handed the award for overall by none other than Miss Figure Alberta 2016 Ainsley Chaluk! She has been such a huge inspiration for me during this prep.

Who did you train with? My coach is the fabulous Jamie Postill (Senuk). Jamie started as a figure athlete where she won her pro card, she then went on to compete at the Olympia in 2015 in women's physique. She has become one of my best friends and I am forever grateful for her presence in my life!

How did you stay motivated during prep? Corey. He gave me daily motivational speeches and tough love, he dragged my behind to the gym when I wanted to stay home. He made my meals and kept me in line. He yelled at me through my gnarly workouts that Jamie gave me. Being able to take on prep as a team really helped (we were on prep at the same time). I have massive respect for competitors who are single. I would have given up if it weren't for Corey.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Take your time choosing your coach! Research different options. Inquire about their methods. Ask for references, good and bad. Make friends in the industry! It has been so nice to shoot texts back and forth with fellow competitors. Really helps with motivation and comparing notes. Find a chiropractor and an acupuncturist/massage therapist, take care of your body all year round! I can't stress the importance of this. Also, delete your Instagram before you start prep. At the very least delete the app off your phone. This way you won't get discouraged comparing yourself to other people. The less distractions, the better. Your only competition is the person you were yesterday.

What are you most proud of in your journey? The mental and emotional progress that I have made over the past year - this is something that I will still have with me, even when the shreds aren't there anymore.

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? My short term fitness goals are to bring a tighter package and improved posing to Provincials next weekend. My long term fitness goal would be to qualify to compete at Nationals one day.

What is your favorite motivational quote? That is such a loaded question just reading it makes me emotional. I start every day by reading countless motivational quotes. “Thoughts become Things” - because your mind is your greatest tool. And “Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise” - Frank Ocean

Everyone is so consumed with Instagram. I find social media to be the least motivation place on the internet. Most of what you see is smoke and mirrors anyhow, lighting and body contortion. I deleted my Instagram four months out from the competition and it was the best thing I could have done for myself. However, I do believe that the “Instagram vs. Reality” body image movement is doing great things for women, I know it made me feel better about myself and my off-season figure.

Who would you like to send your thank-you to? Thank you to my incredible boyfriend Corey for sticking by my side through the ups and downs and keeping me focused and motivated. Thank you to my beautiful coach and dear friend Jamie, for giving me the tools to accomplish my goals not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. I'm so blessed to have you in my life. Thank you to the team of professionals who performed physical maintenance on my physique over the past year: Doctor Jordan MacIntyre at Full Spectrum Chiro, Danielle Cyr at Body Devotion (acupuncture/cupping/massage therapy), and Stacey Hughes (massage and cupping). Thank you to my family, for being so understanding with my gruelling schedule, your encouragement and support means the world to me. Last but certainly not least, thank you to the ABBA for putting on such an incredible event. All of the volunteers were so wonderful, it was truly an unforgettable experience and I'm so looking forward to doing it all over again with everyone this weekend at provincials in Calgary.

ATHLETE NAME:  Natasha Canning

Social media contact: Instagram: tashcanning

How did you get started in Fitness Natasha? I’ve always been active, involved in just about every sport you could think of during school. I played competitive rugby and football and ended up injuring myself and needing knee surgery. After surgery I needed an outlet to push myself, something to focus my energy on and I found the fitness industry and it helped me get in the best shape of my life.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? For me the best part about being a competitor is pushing yourself in ways you didn’t think you could; to your limits, and watching your body change everyday. It is such an exciting journey.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Northerns, and what category did you compete in? I picked The Northerns show to compete again because I had competed in the show before and it was so well organized and so fun that I knew I would enjoy it. I competed in the bikini division. 

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? The highlight of the show for me is the experience and meeting new people, being back stage is so fun. You get to meet so many people who have gone through the experience of dieting and pushing themselves, so you usually make some new friends.

Who did you train with? I am coached by Jodi Fox from Lean Aesthetics based out of Halifax.

How did you stay motivated during prep? Staying motivated through prep can be a struggle, but I find setting weekly goals helps. I also keep a little bulletin board with pictures and motivational quotes that help me push myself whenever I start to doubt the process.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Have fun, that’s the biggest piece of advice I can give you. Enjoy the process and trust your coach, it sounds cliché but trust the process; change doesn’t happen overnight but if you push and do what they tell you it will all work out in the end.

What are you most proud of in your journey? For me the thing that I am most proud of is the package I brought to stage, I beat the old me and that was my goal. It’s nice to win, but knowing that you pushed harder then before and that you were able to bring something new to stage is so rewarding.

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? My short term goal would be to compete again soon, probably in Muscle Beach. My long term goal is to maintain a healthy balance between the gym and food, to show people that it is maintainable and that you can still have fun and go out with friends while training hard and eating right. 

What is your favorite motivational quote? My favorite motivational quote is by Walt Disney, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” We have to believe in ourselves, and when we do anything is possible.

Who would you like to send your thank-you to? I want to send a huge thank you to my coach Jodi, she pushed me and believed in me. She never had any doubts and she was always there when I needed her, or needed a pick me up and having that support is amazing. 

ATHLETE NAME:  Orion Robert Keith Oliver

Social media contact: Instagram: Orion.oliver

How did you get started in Fitness Orion? From a young age I was always that tall skinny kid, all I ever wanted was to be was big and strong. Fitness started out as hobby, a hobby to keep me busy and keep me out of trouble. While doing so, I developed a love for it. This sport has taught me so much, in so many different ways. I always want to be physically fit, and ready for anything that comes my way.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? My favourite part of being a fitness competitor would have to be the rush of stepping on stage. That moment where you know that you did everything you could; every ounce of sweat, every rep at the gym all comes down to that one minute in the spotlight. Every time you wanted to cheat or slip up, but deciding to stay on track instead makes coming out on top all worth it. Above all else, it is that feeling of knowing you've inspired others to want better for themselves, it’s truly rewarding.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Northerns, and what category did you compete in? I've always been extremely competitive, and honestly, I came for one reason, to win. I competed in class D men's physique, I received 1st place as well as the title of “Overall Champion”.

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? The best part of the show would have to be my coach, Dustin Cosman, presenting me with the Men's Physique overall trophy. It was a moment to remember. 

Who did you train with? I trained with the Full force Fitness team, which based out of Edmonton, Alberta.

How did you stay motivated during prep? My parents raised me on chicken and rice, so for me, the dieting side was easy. What kept me going would have to be my girlfriend Kate. She always motivated me, kept me on track, and most importantly, she believed I could and would win from day one.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? The one piece of advice I would give is to ensure you’re in the right mindset. It has to be the right time; you mentally have to be prepared to make it through those final weeks. 

What are you most proud of in your journey? I'm most proud of coming out on top, but most of all, knowing my journey has just begun. 

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? My short-term goal is to help motivate others to reach their fitness goals. I want them to believe anything is possible. My long-term goal is to take that number one spot at Olympia, you have to dream right?

What is your favorite motivational quote? "If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Who would you do you like to send your thank-you to? Dustin Cosman @fullforcefitness, and Kate Kjos @katekjos

ATHLETE NAME:  Paul DiJulio

Social media contact: Facebook: Paul DiJulio

How did you get started in Fitness Paul? As a 6’3” 12-year old, I really had no choice but to get into sports.  I wasn’t the most graceful athlete, but I could run faster and out reach most of the other kids.  However, I didn’t much like being lanky and uncoordinated, so my uncle let me start weight training with him when I turned 17.  I’ve never looked back.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? Meeting like-minded athletes.  It's so refreshing being surrounded by people who share your passion, and know what it takes to step on stage.  I have so much respect for all of them.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Northerns, and what category did you compete in? I finally felt that I had the competitive physique, necessary to step on stage.  I planned on putting everything into 2017 in hopes of qualifying for the Nationals in the Grand Masters Bodybuilding category. I decided to compete in the Northerns, (Grand Master Provincials), because I qualified for it at the 2017 Winter Open, and it was a necessary step towards reaching Nationals. 

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? Seeing my girlfriend Heather after the competition.  This is our journey, and the smile on her face said it all - WE WON!  Make no mistake about it, this is a team effort, and if you’re lucky enough to have such a person as Heather in your life - you can’t lose.

Who did you train with? My training partner is Logan Van Den Ham.  When I decided that I would compete again (1-year ago) I approached Logan and asked if he wouldn’t mind being my training partner.  I picked Logan because he was always polite and worked very hard in gym.  I also saw an opportunity to help him gain valuable experience.  He has always meet my schedule and never bailed when the workouts got too intense.  Heather and I have since adopted Logan as our Gym-son.  Just a great young man!

How did you stay motivated during prep? “If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If its not then you will find an excuse.”  Within my control there are no excuses.  It really is just a matter of will.  Everyday there are new challenges – blow through them, ignore them, work around them, but just don’t let them become an excuse!

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Get a great trainer - you won’t regret it.  Don’t take years to figure out what they already know.  Don’t cheat! Follow your meal plan to the once, and you’re half way there.  Work harder that you ever have when you’re in the gym.  Finally, have fun!  Yes, it will be one of the hardest things you will ever do, so keep a positive attitude, and it won’t become and ordeal.

What are you most proud of in your journey? When I turned 50 I challenged myself to be in the best shape of my life, every remaining day of my life.  I’m doing it! What I didn’t count on was how this challenge has influenced others around me.  I’ve had so many people approach me and comment on how I’m an inspiration to them.  It’s humbling.

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? My short-term fitness goal is to step on stage at the 2017 Nationals, on the day Canada turn 150 years old. How cool is that!  After that I will continue with my personal challenge of always being in the best shape of my life. 

What is your favorite motivational quote? “If it doesn't challenge you, it won’t change you”.  Nowhere in this quote does it mention age.  When I’m asked how I stay in such shape for my age, I drop this quote.  It also puts things into perspective on those days when I just don’t feel motivated.

Who would you like to send your thank-you to? Obviously I want to thank Heather for all of her encouragement, support, and tolerance.  Thanks to Logan for being so dependable, and keeping it light.  Thank you also to the gang at Bodywise Fitness Center in Hinton AB.  Finally, to Helen and Daphne of High Definition Fitness – they’ve earned my utmost respect and gratitude.  The plan was flawless, and their coaching has been honest, timely and always welcome.  They are true Professionals.

ATHLETE NAME:  Vanessa Dufour

Social media contact: Instagram: vdufour02, Facebook: Vanessa Dufour

How did you get started in Fitness Vanessa? I got my start in fitness at an early age in track and field, primarily in running.  I spent many years training and competing in cross country and sprinting.  All these early years taught me about the time, dedication and sacrifice that come with being a competitor.  As time went on I got into weight training along with my running training and opened me up to something new that I loved.  As my running became more of a hobby than competition I started to focus that time and dedication I learned to my weight training as a new challenge for myself.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? The best part about being a competitor is getting to see the end result of all your hard work and dedication you put in.  Along with seeing your own results, it’s also about knowing and appreciating all the hard work each and every competitor and new friend you meet backstage has put in; and getting to share the stage together.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Northerns, and what category did you compete in? I decided to compete at the open in Northerns, so that I could continue to grow my knowledge and experience in competing.  The second reason I decided to do the open at Northerns was so that all my family and friends who supported me during this journey were able to come to watch and share the experience with me.

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? Everything from the shows is the highlight for me.  The whole process is always such an amazing experience.  The atmosphere from the volunteers and competitors makes you feel excited to be there as well as sense of comfort amongst all the thoughts you’re having in your own head hoping you do not forget anything you’re supposed to do.

Who did you train with? I continue to train with the amazing team from The Fitness Evolution, Tom and Laura McKinnon.  On the day to day I also get help and support from my boyfriend Matt George and my friend Jacqi Kirk.

How did you stay motivated during prep? This time the changes I continued to see helped me stay motivated, but I was also able to use my experience from doing masters class at Southerns as well.  That first experience opened my eyes to many new things and now with some first-time excitement out of the way I was able to use that experience to work on areas of improvement and become stronger for Notherns open class.  There is always going to be room to improve and each time you go through the process is a learning experience which is always exciting!

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? The first time competing is such an overwhelming experience and so much for someone to learn.  I think the best advice I could pass along is to surround yourself with people and a trainer that you are comfortable with and trust the process.  There are many things that can play on your mind as you go through it all for the first time and the best thing you can do is surround yourself with supporting people and put in the work and at the end everything will fall into place as it should.

What are you most proud of in your journey? The thing I’m most proud of is overcoming all obstacles to achieve my goal and creating a new lifestyle that I love.  The whole experience has changed all aspects of my life for the better and now I am looking forward to do more and see what other improvements I can make.

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? My goals I’m sure are the same as most and that’s to continue to improve and build my physique for on and off stage, and see how much I can achieve in this great sport.

What is your favorite motivational quote? One quote that I feel sums up a bit of the process and doing things for yourself is below and believing in yourself is an excellent way to keep motivated. “Love the effort.  Love the idea that you still have a lot of progress to make.  Love knowing you have the potential to make it (and once and a while, love keeping some of this process a secret).  Prove that your goals have nothing to do with what other people think, and everything to do with who you want to become.” – Dani Shugart

Who would you like to send your thank-you to? I would love to thank my amazing five daughters and boyfriend whose support and love is ongoing and unconditional; of course to my amazing trainers Tom and Laura McKinnon from the Fitness Evolution, friend Jacqi Kirk for all their time, knowledge and support.  And last but not least to all my other friends and family who stood by me and always support me.  Thank you for always believing in me.

 

 

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.