2017 BC CUP: BACKSTAGE PHOTOS AND INTERVIEWS

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

New Westminster, BC. On May 20th, 2017, Massey Theatre hosted the second year of BC CUP competition. Congratulations to Dean and Leigh Brandt at xtreme Promotions for putting up such another successful show, Special thanks to BCABBA, and all the volunteers for their help and care they provided  to all the athletes during the show.

 

Congratulations to Dean and Leigh Brandt at xtreme Promotions for putting up such a successful show, and a special thanks to BCABBA and all the volunteers for all their help and care they provided all the athletes during the show.

 
GUEST POSER: Mike O'Hearn

 

ATHLETE PROFILES

 

ATHLETE NAME: Adele Wasylyk

How did you get started in Fitness Adele? As a child I always  loved being outdoors and was always interested in fitness that was on television the 80’s was a big time for fitness shows I would try all of them but my favorite was the “20 Minute Workout” When I joined my first gym I knew it was the place for me.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? For me….it’s exciting!  It’s a time to be proud, feel glamorous, and socialize with likeminded people.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The BC Cup, and what category did you compete in? Last year I had competed in the VanCity Showdown 2016 I did very well at that show. That win gave me the opportunity to try out for Grand Masters Figure 45+ at the BC Cup 2017

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? Some highlights for me were meeting with the amazing backstage crew it was nice to see some familiar faces from the show last year, as always the great connections that happen with the other competitors while waiting for your turn to shine on stage. It’s so nice to be around such positive energy.

Who did you train with? I worked with Fit Body (Dawn Alison) as an online client.

How did you stay motivated during prep? The main motivation for me is the simple fact that it’s easier to stay in shape than to fall apart and rebuild and really great music

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time?  I suggest don’t think about it too much (you may talk yourself out of it)….Just go for it and have fun!

What are you most proud of in your journey? I feel proud that I am doing the best I can to stay on track and that I’m pushing myself to find balance in life that will help me age with amazing strength and power

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? In the short term keeping motivated and staying strong, long term keep moving forward with future competitions and aim for a Pro Card.

What is your favorite motivational quote? Ya gotta get up and work for it……every day you are gifted with new choices, stay focused and move forward.

Who would you do you like to send your thank-you to? There is always so many people involved here goes: my mom, my son and Dawn-Team Fit Body, Nicole and Chantelle @ Femme Fatale Production. Ali Sorab for again amazing support, fun backstage photos and positivity. BCABBA for offering and putting together great shows so we can show off our muscle. David Ford always quality stage shots. The SuitLady, Nelson Rec Center and staff! Misti at the Sugar Shack, Sue and crew at Perfectly polished, Jeff @ Popeye’s Kelowna and Brett Godin @ Climax Conditioning for the amazing last minute support and knowledge I needed to pull everything to

Are you on any Social media? If yes, how people can find you there? 

Instagram: adele.wasylyk

Facebook: Adele Wasylyk

 

ATHLETE NAME:  Breanna Watkins

How did you get started in Fitness Breanna? I’ve been a gymnast and a natural athlete my whole life doing extreme sports and now I am a professional stunt performer in the movies. I had always been attracted to bodybuilding because of the amazing Physics I saw and the incredibly healthy life style that comes with it. For me I decided to take my abilities to the next level and try competing in the Fitness Category. Now I have fallen in love with it.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? Apart from being around other like-minded people who support and cheer you on along the way. I really enjoy the learning process and seeing results quickly. I have grown a tremendous amount since I started 1 year ago it feels incredible to be doing what I love!

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Kelowna Classic, and what category did you compete in? I won my first fitness competition last October and had so much fun that I simply wanted to do it again. 

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? Hearing my friends cheer me on from the audience felt amazing. Knowing I had done my best and that it paid off. Winning and holding up trophies for photos and being congratulated always feels really nice. The best part is that I feel like it’s Christmas and that I’m a superhero in my element. It’s the most fun ever!!

Who did you train with? I have my regular gym group of friends, we see each other almost every single day and have a blast. We constantly joke around and push each other to the next level whether it’s with nutrition, training or trying new activities. Dylan Lintott, Lauren Lintott, Christine Goudi, Carla Donnelly, Dan Lin, Negar Saberi, Freddy Kanga, and Shahab are awesome! I also get to train with my insanely cool coach Kim Scoffins!

How did you stay motivated during prep? I kept thinking about what I wanted and why I wanted it….usually that motivates me enough. My friends pumped me up with even more enthusiasm each day at the gym and seeing results quickly is great. I like being healthy and strong. Every day that went by I knew I was getting better and better. That feels really good! I love improving.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Have fun, do your best and ask lots of questions. Be consistent with diet and training. Remember to rest and recover. It’s always good to seek advice and help from people who have already experienced what you want to achieve.

What are you most proud of in your journey? That I went for it!

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? Keep growing, move forwards and always apply what I’ve learned from each experience into my daily life routine. I want to keep improving and getting better than I was before!

What is your favorite motivational quote? Just do it!

Who would you do you like to send your thank-you to? Of course to the beautiful, super strong and inspiring Kim Scoffins – Thank you so much for everything you have done for me. You are an incredible trainer and friend who I feel honored to know. P.s Your laugh makes me happy! Christine Goudie – I love our goofy chats and flexing at the gym. Thank you for giving me that initial kick start! Massive thank you to Victoria's Health and team for all the amazing support, healthy products and delicious smoothies. To Colleen Campbell and “The Suit Ladies” – You make the most beautiful Suits I have ever seen. I feel extremely privileged to wear my stunning suit on stage and feel like a Queen Goddess. Thank you for all the encouragement and positive feedback. I love coming to the shop! Ali Sohrab – I’ve never had so much fun doing photoshoots in my life until I met you! You live in the moment and are always happy. The work you do is sensational. I can’t wait for more! To everyone who is involved with planning, organizing and preparing such a beautiful and extraordinary show for me to compete at. I appreciate all the time, hard work and effort that goes into it behind the scenes. You guys are the real superheroes. Thank you for being a part of my journey and dream come true! Big thank you to my gym buddies for always showing up to play with me. Lauren Lintott – When I’m trying to get those last few difficult reps in, your voice saves the day “Get it”! Haha! Thank you to my family for the love and support. To the other competitors ....I now understand and know what it takes to do what we do. High Fives!! Great Job! To my handsome man Dylan Lintott for the never ending compliments and love! I’m amazed at how fit, cut, defined and strong you are. You push me to train harder! I love being an athletic warrior! Cheers!

Are you on any Social media? If yes, how people can find you there?

Instagram: bigrigbree

Facebook: Breanna Watkins

 

ATHLETE NAME:  Christina Slater

How did you get started in Fitness Christina? My fitness journey began at a young age as a competitive swimmer and triathlete; I grew up training for endurance events and loved the thrill of competing. Once in university I decided that hitting up the weight room would be a good way to complement my triathlon training, but I had no idea that I would become so addicted to it! I loved the way I felt in the gym, strong and focused. Yet there was one problem—I wasn’t training FOR anything. It wasn’t long before my competitive nature wanted to take it to the next level. In 2015 I decided to attend a fitness competition and it ignited a spark inside me that I couldn’t ignore.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? There are so many great aspects about being a fitness competitor; however one of my favorite parts is the opportunity to showcase your hard work on stage while promoting strength, beauty, and individuality. Contrary to popular belief, I found competing to be an effective tool to combat the unrealistic standards that society sets for men and women. For me, setting fitness goals and taking control of my life through diet and exercise has taught me how to embrace my physique and dismantle the idea that there is only one type of beauty. Growing up as a competitive swimmer I inevitably developed the V-shaped body that so many swimmers have. As a teenager I hated it, I felt that my muscular upper body was "manly" and always tried to pull my shoulder blades together in pictures to disguise it. I never would have imagined I would have the confidence to get up on stage and pose in front of hundreds of people, but I am so glad I took on the challenge. Competing is now a huge part of my identity and has allowed me and so many others to turn insecurity into strength.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at the BC Cup, and what category did you compete in? Training for my first figure show, the 2016 Kelowna Classic, had got me hooked on both the stage and the lifestyle—I knew as soon as I qualified that the BC Cup was undoubtedly in my future. A few years ago, before actually committing to doing a competition I had marveled at the idea of being a fitness competitor but I was unaware of all the categories and options. I had heard of women's bodybuilding and bikini divisions, but knew bodybuilding was unrealistic for my physique and I didn't feel that bikini was right for me; I also didn’t know that the BCABBA offered WADA compliant tested shows. It wasn't until I actually attended the Popeye’s show in 2015 that I realized figure was a category— and immediately I knew it was the perfect fit for me. I chose to start my fitness journey in the traditional stream because even though I aim to only compete against myself, I admire the level playing field that it brings. All in all, it was an absolute honor to share the BC Cup stage with an amazing group of like-minded athletes.

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? The entire weekend was full of amazing new experiences, however when I reflect back on the show, my favorite part was shooting backstage with Ali Sohrab. He was a blast to work with and I am so pleased with the images we created in such a short amount of time!  I can’t wait to book a longer shoot with him in the future.

Who did you train with? This year I trained as an online client of Tamara Knight. Unfortunately I do not live close enough to engage in one on one sessions with my trainer, however she was extremely accommodating with frequent Skype check ins and posing practice.

How did you stay motivated during prep? My motivation stems from my sheer love of this sport. I wake up every day wanting to improve and push myself harder. That is not to say that every day is easy— competition prep is an incredibly humbling experience, however the intrinsic rewards of this lifestyle are endless. If you want something bad enough, motivation comes naturally.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Mind over matter!  There is so much more to competing than simply getting shredded, but it is easy to get caught up in your own head. My best advice to those going to compete for the first time is to train your mind as much as you train for body. Competition prep is a huge mind game and if you can conquer it, you will be amazed at the results you achieve. Set goals, embrace the process, and don't let the scale get the best of you! Progress pictures are incredible tools to truly see how body composition changes despite the number on the scale.

What are you most proud of in your journey? I am most proud of the fact that I committed to my goals and kept on going. In doing so I have grown so much mentally and physically, and truly found what I am passionate about. Moreover, I am honored that my dedication to my sport has sparked some motivation within a few of my colleagues to start their own fitness journeys— that is really what this lifestyle is about!

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? My current short-term goal is to have a successful off season; since leaning up is more difficult for me than putting on muscle I want to focus my off season on strength gains rather than putting on too much weight. In the long-term I would love to step on the national stage, engage in some photo shoots, and continue living a healthy lifestyle. 

What is your favorite motivational quote? “If you can't stop thinking about something, don't stop working for it”

Who would you do you like to send your thank-you to? First off I would like to thank the BCABBA and all the volunteers who invested their time into the show, without their hard work and passion these events would not be possible. Additionally, I am so grateful to my parents for providing me with a supportive environment to grow up in and always encouraging me to follow my dreams. Another well-deserved thank you goes to my trainer Tamara Knight for continuously challenging me and believing in me. I would also like to express my gratitude to my incredibly talented massage therapist Teri Vickerson, my amazing friends and family, and my boyfriend who has kept me smiling through two competition preps even while preparing for his own show.

Are you on any Social media? If yes, how people can find you there? 

Instagram: @knifina  

Facebook: Christina Slater

 

ATHLETE NAME: Crystal Ready

How did you get started in Fitness Crystal? You could say that I have always had a love for fitness. From a young age my mom instilled the importance of being active into me. I was heavily involved in sports as a teenager. My focus was basketball, badminton, track and field and side hobbies of tennis and soccer. After high school, I stayed active by running, aerobics almost every day and playing various sports as hobbies. I also joined a gym as an adult but when a trainer tried to have me lift heavy weights I told them I did not want to bulk up and insisted on lowering the weights not understanding that it would have done me some good LOL! I gained and lost weight a few times after getting married and never really stabilized. It was during my mid-twenties that I really began to follow the sport of body building. I noticed the impact it made on people’s physiques and although I still was lifting moderately at home doing videos/DVD’s and did not have an interest in competing, I really enjoyed following the sport. Finally, I hired a trainer at the gym (I have had 5 different trainers through the years) and have not looked back since, I love the feeling I get from a solid gym workout and the strength it gives me! Saying that I never for a second considered doing a competition. My inspiration to take fitness to the next level and step on stage occurred November 2015 after winning the BodyBy Brandt transformation challenge and losing 60 lbs. in 6 months. I was surrounded by fitness competitors and they looked, well…..awesome! It was at this point I decided after talking to my trainer to go for it. I fell in love with the sport and have now been competing for 2 years.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? The community and comradery with the other competitors.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The BC Cup, and what category did you compete in? The category I competed in was figure. I had just come off competing at Nationals and I wanted to requalify to go again so decided to go for it.

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? Shooting with Ali, we had so much fun!

Who did you train with? Dean Brandt at BodyByBrandt

How did you stay motivated during prep? By focusing on the prize and the health benefits of being in peak condition. I must admit I’m also in fear of the fat testing lol. Also, I set mini physical goals to help me focus, and BodyByBrandt has an ongoing group challenge which involves doing a lot of stair running outdoors (The Coquitlam Crunch).

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Listen to your coach if you have one, have fun during the process and always remember why you started.

What are you most proud of in your journey? The physical changes are awesome of course but the most important aspect for me are the friendships and the community that I am surrounded by now.

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? Short term, I want to stay within about 10lbs of my contest weight and learn to stabilize my weigh year-round. Aside from another fitness competition I want to continue to build my fitness level, strength and stamina to set a good example for my family. This includes learning to stabilize my weight and not be gaining and losing large amounts of weight on an ongoing basis. Perhaps a 10k, ½ Marathon or obstacle style course is in the future.

What is your favorite motivational quote? “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable” – quoted to me by Dean Brandt

Who would you do you like to send your thank-you to? Dean and Leigh Brandt my coaches and friends. Without them I would not be in the physical condition I am today. – You are both awesome! All my BodyBy Brandt team mates – you are an inspiration to my and on my down days have lifted me up. All the encouraging competitors/photographers and wonderful people that I have met in my fitness journey along the way who also truly inspire me. The BCABBA (BC Body Building Association) – without the hard work of all the volunteers these competitions would never happen!

Your Social media contact:

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/Crystal2455

Instagram link: @kcrystalfit

Twitter link: @Crystal_Ready

 

ATHLETE NAME:  Gurj Sandhu

How did you get started in Fitness Gurj?  I have always been interested in fitness and sports. I have played basketball throughout my life. I use to watch my uncle workout, so at the age of 14, I asked my uncle if I could get a gym membership and train with him.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? The best part about being a fitness competitor is seeing how far I can push myself. I am fascinated with the human body and what it’s capable of doing.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Kelowna Classic, and what category did you compete in? My younger brother competed in the Kelowna show in 2016. He inspired to me to get into bodybuilding. I always been a big guy, and struggled to get the body I desired. I initially wanted to see if I could go through the strict prep and the discipline it takes to achieve that body. I was motivated; I just needed the right mindset. Once I started to see the results, the more I wanted achieve that level so I could compete. After shredding nearly 90lbs, I was ready to step on that stage. I competed in the Bodybuilding and Classic Bodybuilding.

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? Just getting on the stage was the biggest accomplishment for me and anything else that followed was just the icing on the cake. But nothing beats the expression on my family and friend’s faces and the celebration that took place after the show. 

Who did you train with? Tyrone Ashmeade, my coach who trained and shaped me into the athlete I am today. (Ash2nutrion). Also, my gym partner cousin/friend Vicky Dhaliwal, who has seen the good, bad and the ugly and the only guy to stick around. (DD DYNAMITE).

How did you stay motivated during prep? I had something to prove to myself that I can achieve anything that I set my mind to. My biggest obstacle was my diet and once I was able to maintain that, I stated to see results week after week. At that point, I knew I came to far to look back again. So I kept going and pushing harder and harder towards my goal. Now it’s a lifestyle and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Never doubt yourself and always listen to your coach.

What are you most proud of in your journey? I started my prep at 260 lbs and brought it down to 175 lbs. I never thought I could reach this far, so most proud moment is stepping on that stage, which I never imagined myself doing.

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? My short-term goal is to motivate people to accomplish their goals and help them to overcome their obstacles. In the long-term, I don’t like to plan that far ahead, I live in the moment. I just want to enjoy this journey and see where it will take me.

What is your favorite motivational quote? “THE WOLF ON TOP OF THE HILL IS NOT AS HUNGRY AS THE WOLF CLIMBING THE HILL”

Who would you do you like to send your thank-you to? I would like to thank everyone who has been there for me throughout this journey. I wouldn’t been able to get this far if it wasn’t for the support of my family, friends, and my coach Tyrone (ash2nutrion) A big thank you to my wife who always motivated me and kept me going.

Are you on any Social media? If yes, how people can find you there? 

Instagram: _gurjsandhuu

 

ATHLETE NAME:  Jennie Henderson

How did you get started in Fitness Jennie? I had done several group fitness classes over the years and yo yo dieted throughout my early adult years...but never had a body I felt totally comfortable in. I certainly didn't feel strong.  I was tired of being a chubby mom of 2 so when my daughter was 2 years old, I hired a personal trainer who happened to be a figure competitor!  She taught me about lifting weights and encouraged me to get into the sport.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? Inspiring others and being a good role model for my children!  I never set out to inspire anyone, but the messages I receive from old high school friends, random other moms online or even comments from moms at my kid's school is very humbling and really keeps me motivated!

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Kelowna Classic, and what category did you compete in?  I moved to Kelowna last may from Fort McMurray during the evacuation from the fire. Naturally it made sense to compete here in town rather than travel elsewhere.  I competed in Bikini once before when I lived in Alberta and the judges had suggested I consider moving up to figure so I spent some time building , had planned to compete last May but had to drop out due to the evacuation. It was very difficult to keep up with training and dieting when I was living in a hotel room with my husband and 2 kids, grieving because we thought we lost all of our live’s possessions (thankfully we did not).  I'm always looking for the bright side and I guess you could say that gave me more time to grow.

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? The comradarie backstage!  I'm not going to lie...I was very upset when I realized I didn't do as well as I thought I might, but the other competitors were so friendly and supportive and made me feel much better!  We all share the same goals and passions and there was just such a great energy back there!

Who did you train with?  This prep Brett Godin of Climax Conditioning helped me out and Bree Balaski helped me with posing.

How did you stay motivated during prep?  I had 2 little ones watching me and I feel that its important for them to see me follow through with my goals!  They saw my disappointment afterwards and they now see me continue. I will keep trying!

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time?  Consider flexible dieting.  And cut on the highest amount of calories possible This prep was so much healthier than my first one!

What are you most proud of in your journey?  That I improved from my first show! 

What are your short and long-term fitness goals?  Short term, build more muscle!  Long term, become a Figure Pro!

What is your favorite motivational quote?  Whether you think you can or you think you can't - you're right!

Who would you do you like to send your thank-you to? My family!  My husband and children are my biggest fans and a huge source of inspiration for me!

Are you on any Social media? If yes, how people can find you there? 

 jenniefitmommy (Instagram

 

ATHLETE NAME: Julie McGraa

What is your athletic background, and how did you become interested in fitness and modeling Julie? I have always been a very active person from a young age, whether it was participating in 5 to 10km fun runs, to tough mudder, mudderella, and a few Spartan races. I am very competitive by nature to the extent that we are only allowed to have family game nights once a year now. My love for fitness truly began after I had my first born and I needed to find myself again and what that meant again. I had lost myself in mommy land and used fitness as a starting point to find my identity as Julie again. Through doing that I have discovered how much I enjoy modeling and trying to capture certain looks and emotions. To me modeling is more than just a pretty photo but a sense of capturing a feeling and telling a story, whether through the movement of the body or the look in ones eyes.

What do you like to do on your off time? Being a mother 3, off time is usually not an option. So, I enjoy a lot of time with my kids and my husband and taking time to enjoy all the little moments in life. I felt like so much of my time was getting wasted in waiting for a big moment but I was missing out on the little moments. I like to connect to nature and work on my self awareness, which helps me become a better person, mother, and wife.

What is your biggest accomplishment in life so far? Personally it would be my children. As many who know me know that I am huge advocate for mental health awareness as I have a daughter with high needs. So, every moment that my kids are out in the world being strong, independent, passionate little humans is an accomplishment for me. Fitness wise, my biggest accomplishment would be going from last place at a novice show in bikini to now being a Nationally Qualified Bikini Athlete. The road hasn't been easy and it has been long but the journey is just beginning and I'm excited to see where I can take it.

How do you set your goals?  I like to set goals that challenge me and come with a little bit of added fear. I have always been one to strive for the best that I possibly can do. As my husband remind me, I have no middle, I am either all in or not. That it why I like to give my all to everything that I do. I was raised to be a strong, confident person who lives life by trying to put more positive energy in than negative because there is enough negative already.

What inspired you, or who inspired you to do fitness competitions? Bikini competitions always scared me, especially after I became a mom. I never thought that someone like me who was covered in stretchmark's would be able to do something like this. Everyone always seemed so perfect and while on my journey to find myself and my own self love I decided to throw caution to the wind and chase a dream. And I am glad I put my fears aside and my own negative self doubt and push through to be where I am today. Those competitors on stage all come with a story and there own inspiration and I have been so lucky to meet and get to know many of them.  

What do you enjoy most about competing? I love the challenge and the ability to be able to push your mind, body and soul to higher levels. Levels that I never thought I would be capable of reaching. It's one thing to have motivation but its a whole different ball game when that motivation runs out and you find what you are made of. I think that it has helped me in all aspects of my life and to always push a little bit harder, especially in those moments where you feel like you have nothing else left to give.

Who do you train with? I currently do not train with anyone. I do have a coach/mentor, Justin Fauth, who I work with and who has been instrumental in getting me to the level I want to be at. I'm not quite where I want to be but that is where his knowledge comes in and plays a key role in working towards my goals.

Why BCABBA? And what was your experience with the show. What was your placing? BCABBA is a great organization, who is all about there athletes. I have had the privilege and opportunity to get to know a lot of the prominent BCABBA faces and can not express enough gratitude for the way this organization runs. I placed 5th at the BC CUP.

What are your future goals, dreams, and plans? My future goals are to bring the best package to date for my Nationals debut and I intend on working my behind off to get myself there. I know my only limitations are the ones I have put on myself and I refuse to have them hold me back any longer.

What was the best advice you were ever given? Don't worry about what others are doing, worry about yourself and what you are wanting to do.

What one or two things you did in your training that were keys to your success? I think the main thing has been keeping a positive mind set. I have chosen to do this and no one is forcing me, so I shouldn't make those around me miserable for something I am choosing.

Do you have any tips for someone who is looking to compete in your sport? Do your research. It is more than just the 2 minutes on stage. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that takes place that most don't ever get to see or would understand.

Do you take any supplements? If yes what are some of your favorite supplements and why?  I love my PVL chocolate protein powder. I usually don't stray much from this flavor but do enjoy the mint chocolate chip once in a while. My other favourite supplement is the NutriCare Curcumin, which has been great from bringing down inflammation in my body due to life stress and just the every day chaos of being a working parent who is also chasing personal goals.

You did an exclusive photo shoot with Ali Sohrab. What was it like to shoot with Ali? Ali is one of my favourite people on this planet. He has such a great energy to him and is an amazing photographer. He has a very creative eye and sees beauty in one of the most magnificent ways. He, always makes you feel comfortable and as the ability to bring out the best in the person he is shooting with. If you ever get the chance to shoot with Ali I would jump on it in a heartbeat.

What advice do you give to up and coming fitness models when looking to shoot with photographers? Again, do your research. I think it's important to know what style the photographer usually likes to shoot and if it fits what you are wanting to do with your pictures. There are a lot of photographers out there, so it’s important to know what it is that you are looking for personally. And lastly, have fun.

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by? Always be prepared but be ready to through it all out the window and go with the flow at any given second.

Tell us 3 things people don't know about you. First, I have a citric acid allergy. Second, I have been married for 11 years. Third, I do not like clowns.

Who would you like to thank? First and foremost I would like to thank my loving and supportive husband Chris, who really is my rock and my partner in crime. Next, I would like to thank my children who are growing up and becoming such great human beings. Also, a huge thank you to my coach/friend/mentor Justin Fauth for putting up with my craziness and always having the answer to all my millions of questions. And I can't forget to thank all my family and friends for all their support through this journey and a heartfelt thank you to Ali for all he does for the athletes as well as the BCABBA for the opportunities for all its competitors.

Are you on any Social media? If yes, how people can find you there? 

Facebook: Julie McGraa

Instagram: Prep_princess

 

ATHLETE NAME:  Maria Maywood

  

How did you get started in Fitness Maria? My mom competed in bodybuilding and I have always been a competitive athlete in a variety of sports and fitness challenges. Standing on stage was something I knew I would do.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? It challenges me to always strive to improve myself. That journey alone helps me grow as a person and develop the mindset of always moving forward. Having others who are watching my journey tell me that I am inspiring them is very fulfilling!

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The BCCUP, and what category did you compete in?  I had competed and won my class and overall in women’s bodybuilding in 2006, but chose not to continue on as the next level of competition was not tested. In 2016 the new tested tier was introduced, and I made the decision to step on stage again this year. Since bodybuilding was not an option I entered the physique category masters & open and wanted to try out the figure masters & open. I also competed in the new Mixed Pairs category with my husband

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? Definitely walking on stage in Mixed Pairs with my husband and doing a routine with him.

Who did you train with? I did a lot of solo training days but occasionally with my husband and whomever felt they could keep up. I tend to train pretty intense!

How did you stay motivated during prep? I listened to motivational speakers during my workouts, this was a huge help. Someone yelling in my ear, you can do it, keep going. When I wasn’t in the gym, I did a lot of visualization.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time?  Having a coach and strong support system is a must during prep. Remember, our bodies tend to be stronger than our minds… What your mind can conceive, your body can achieve! Just adopt the mindset that you will finish it, and then do the work that is required.

What are you most proud of in your journey?  Digging deep even when I was exhausted and never missing a day.

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? I will be focusing on shoulder and leg development until nationals next year. Long term goal I would love to get the invite to IFBB Natural Worlds in both Physique and Mixed Pairs and rock that stage with my man.

What is your favorite motivational quote? When you look in the mirror, see no change, and still keep faith, knowing that in time you will get there if you stay focused and on track. That’s the difference between those who succeed and those who fail.

Who would you do you like to send your thank-you to? To my swolemate of 17 years, has supported me on every journey, thank you Darren Maywood                                                                               

Are you on any Social media? If yes, how people can find you there? 

Facebook:  Maria Maywood

Instagram: @mariagrace7

 

ATHLETE NAME:  Micheline Mengue

How did you get started in Fitness Micheline? I started in fitness 9 years ago after becoming overweight from my second pregnancy. I didn't know what to do, I started running 15min, then 20/day, until it became an addiction. A few months after, I was running a minimum of 2h morning and evening every single day. It was part of my daily routine until I moved to Canada and learned about weight training. I was very well introduced to it by one of my good friend Kat, also a bodybuilder but retired from competing.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? It build a strong confidence and makes me see life in a different prospective.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The BC CUP, and what category did you compete in? I competed at the BC cup to get the qualification for the national world qualifier show next year 2018.

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? My placement on master figure over 35 which I place second and the huge recompense on the open, which I place first and overall. It made me realize that I have to be careful and work harder. You just don't win because friends and family said you look good, but there's nothing impossible.

Who did you train with? I trained alone for this show, I wanted to test my limits, using my self-motivation. I wouldn't consider myself perfect, but I'm proud of my accomplishment.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Yes, it's an experience that worth the pain.. be prepare mentally, don't get distracted, results come with determination.

What are you most proud of in your journey? I am proud to have made it without any coach for the entire prep, and sticking on every single plan from start to the end. It made me mentally stronger than before. On top I won the overall in my category! I feel unstoppable now and ready to compete harder for my next show.

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? My long term goal is to compete with legends of this industry means, the Olympia. My short term goal is to win a pro card next year.

What is your favorite motivational quote? Your mind is your limit, your body is your castle.

Who would you do you like to send your thank-you to? I would like to thank my family especially my son wyatt for being so understanding, patient, and adorable human being. I am very lucky to have him in my life. Thanks to Kat Sartor, who actually showed me and make me understand my potential. Also for being an amazing friend.

Are you on any Social media? If yes, how people can find you there? 

Instagram: michelinemfitness

 

ATHLETE NAME:  Pamela Sparks

How did you get started in Fitness Pamela? I started going to Boot Camp classes at the Body By Brandt fitness studio, Dean and Leigh Brandt train and prep athletes for a variety of fitness needs including competition prep. After investigating the whole thing, I decided to start training for my first bikini competition last summer, and I have continued on since!!

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? I love seeing the transformation of the athletes, I enjoy a good challenge too!!

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The BCCUP, and what category did you compete in? I didn’t compete in the Kelowna Classic. I did the VanCity Showdown to qualify for the BC Cup.

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? It was my first time on stage, I was so nervous!! The highlight for me was the fact that I actually got up there and did!!

Who did you train with? I Train with Dean and Leigh Brandt.

How did you stay motivated during prep? I focused on the changes that I saw happening with my body, and knowing that it was happening because of my clean eating and exercise program.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? My advice is trust the process, be patient, change takes time, follow your plan with your coach and your body will reward you!!

What are you most proud of in your journey? I am proud for staying focused and continuing with my healthy lifestyle of eating clean and continuing to train at least 6 days a week!

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? Short term I am working out daily and still following a healthy eating plan, long term I plan to compete in the Nationals next year!!

What is your favorite motivational quote?  The only bad workout, is the one you didn’t do!

Who would you do you like to send your thank-you to? I want to thank my coaches Dean and Leigh Brandt, two of the most humble, dedicated, motivating people I have ever met!!

Are you on any Social media? If yes, how people can find you there? 

 Instagram: pamela0155

 

ATHLETE NAME:  Rachelle Cole

How did you get started in Fitness Rachelle? Last year I watched a friend prepare while we attended some paramedic training together and she told me how her mother had competed for the first time when she was 45… and that birthday was just around the corner for me as well. During this same time, I became a Community Paramedic in my home town – one of the first in this new province-wide initiative that aims to bridge health service delivery gaps in rural and remote communities that are sometimes underserved and have aging populations living with chronic and complex diseases. In the fall when I began to visit clients in their homes it became very clear to me how vital physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle are to our personal happiness- especially as we age.   I decided then, that instead of carrying on as I had my entire life relying on decent genetics to get me by, whilst eating whatever and whenever I wanted, that I would make an effort to set myself up for greater lifelong success with my health. 

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? I have had people whom I had never spoken to before approach me at the gym and tell me that they could see that I was training and that they admired the determination, motivation etc… Everyone has been so lovely and supportive along the way and it is very comforting to know that there are people out there that ‘get it’ – even when I barely did.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Kelowna Classic, and what category did you compete in? Grand Masters Figure and Open – the natural (tested) stream was important to me. As in most things – I am kind of a ‘go big or go home’ all or nothing type girl… so it’s not a big surprise that I couldn’t just go to the gym drop a couple pounds and eat one less bag of chips;)

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? My 6 year old son cheering each award as they called places 5th – 2nd  - because it wasn’t my number and the fact that he tells everyone that his Mama won the Cougar Olympics!

Who did you train with? Allison Dawson – Encore Fitness

How did you stay motivated during prep? Honestly – Initially I was going to keep the whole process quiet – but in a small town it wasn’t long until my vehicle was spotted at the gym one too many times in a week to go unquestioned. What I soon discovered was the more people who knew what I was up to the greater my fear of quitting became – I was not going to stop now – to the point I was telling people on purpose – kind of a twisted reverse psychology around self-motivation.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Set your own personal goal and keep your eye on it, then don’t be surprised when you need to expand on it because you got there – now what?!

What are you most proud of in your journey? This has been the most disciplined 6 months of my life and has created the perfect platform to jump into a new health conscious normal.

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? Short-term, 1st Place Nationals in May. Long-term, to be a young 60-year-old.

What is your favorite motivational quote? If you’re not first - you’re Last – Ricky Bobby . This sounds cheeky now that last month I competed twice, the only two I have been in, and both were first place. But sincerely, the lack of drive and rewards for higher achievement in society of late makes me want to instill in my son a desire to strive for more than a ‘participation ribbon’. Some people will now say that I am not going to win any mother of the year awards with this attitude – but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter because that too is likely just a ribbon for participation and I’m holding out for First Place;)

Who would you do you like to send your thank-you to? My family for putting up with me and for picking up the slack while I was at the gym. My friends for cheering for me and letting it be all about me – yet again. My trainer for being a rodeo queen – truly, definitely not her first rodeo. My crew in Ucluelet,  ambulance station 134,  for keeping the ambulance staffed and our community safe while their  unit chief traipsed around the province in a blinged-out bikini.

Are you on any Social media? If yes, how people can find you there?  not my thing;)

 

ATHLETE NAME:  Rhonda Hutchinson

How did you get started in Fitness Rhonda? My pivotal life changing moment came when I dad passed away. Through my grief I realized I was not living my life, I was 162 lbs, 35%+ body fat and in poor health. I was living with deep depression and chronic pain from my car accident and 11 leg surgeries. I decided I needed to take control of my life and heal my broken spirit so I started exercising and eventually revealed my deepest secret dream of competing. My competition journey became my way of addressing my deepest fears, finding my truth and healing my spirit. I’ve been weightlifting for 3 years now and I am absolutely in love with weightlifting and testing myself to see what I am capable of.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? The best part for me is how much my mind, body and spirit has evolved through my health and competition journey. I have a huge family history of disease and disability therefore I hope to prevent that from affecting my life so that I can achieve all of my bucket list dreams. My other blessing has been how many incredible people have come into my life along this journey. I’m so lucky!

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The Kelowna Classic, and what category did you compete in? I qualified for the BC Cup through the Van City Showdown in 2016 and I competed in the Grandmaster Bikini category.

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? I feel that it was a complete honor to walk the stage at the BC Cup and I remember just being in awe of how each person who walked that stage had overcame all types of personal challenges and brought their very best to the stage that day. I felt very proud to be in the presence with these elite athletes, to live my dream and watch them live their dreams at that very moment. It was amazing!

Who did you train with? I have a crazy busy life and work near the Alaska border so I usually train by myself or with my husband or a friend now and then when I can.

How did you stay motivated during prep? This is an easy question for me because I see motivation everywhere I look. At my age I feel very privileged to have a healthy enough body to perform the tasks that I ask of it when many people do not have that opportunity and wish they could. I also have an enormous support group from around the world and I know each person is striving to bring their best every single day and knowing that highly motivates me. I work out in honor of them. I also love challenging myself and allowing that to determine my strength of character.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? My advice would be to take everything one day at a time and ensure you have a Coach that you can trust completely as they are your eyes when you cannot see yourself clearly. Do your best to stay balanced in your life, to reduce stress factors and to include lots of self-care techniques.

What are you most proud of in your journey? I just celebrated my 50th birthday so I am very proud that I had the opportunity to walk the BC Cup stage and see my accumulation of blood, sweat and tears all come together on that stage. Every second of this journey has been worth it.

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? My short term goals are to bulk as hard as I can until I start prep for the BC Provincials in July 2018. My long term goals are to continue optimizing my health and wellness and to compete once a year.

What is your favorite motivational quote? Some of my favorite quotes are from CT Fletcher who uses a lot of profanity so I shouldn’t repeat them but they are very motivating for me, LOL!

Who would you do you like to send your thank-you to? First of all my greatest appreciation is for my husband who is my biggest supporter and is very proud of me. My family and friends have been incredible and I’d be lost without them and their unconditional love. I truly appreciate each person who has come into my life and encouraged me to become my best. Thank you to the entire BCABBA team and to everyone who contributed to making our day at the BC Cup possible and perfect. THANK YOU ALL

Are you on any Social media? If yes, how people can find you there? 

FB: Rhonda LH

IG: rjlhutch

 

ATHLETE NAME:  Sonja Cermak

How did you get started in Fitness Sonja? My passion for fitness and athleticism began at an early age as I participated in several sports in elementary and high school such as basketball, cross-country running, field hockey, soccer, tennis, gymnastics and dance.  I later competed in both tennis and dance. I also was a cheerleader at Simon Fraser University and my passion for health and fitness continues to this day.  I started weight lifting more seriously about 6 years ago and then a friend suggested I compete. I started training for my first bodybuilding bikini competition in 2014 and then competed in my first show in 2015 in Kelowna.  I then competed in the inaugural BC Cup drug-test provincials in 2016 and took it to nationals at the IFBB World Qualifier a few weeks later.

What’s the best part about being a fitness competitor? The best part is being part of a fitness community of many like-minded people who all support and motivate each other.  Despite it being competitive, I like how everyone encourages each other, trains together and shares information so we can all work on improving ourselves.

What was the reason(s) you decided to compete at The BC Cup, and what category did you compete in? I qualified for BC Cup in 2016 after nationals and competed in the Bikini Division. I decided to compete again to regain my Nationals qualification and because I love the stage and show day!

What was the highlight from the entire show for you? The highlight for me was stepping out on that stage and showing the hard work that was put in.  The bodybuilding physiques that come out on that stage can’t be achieved without consistent exercise and dieting so when it comes time to step on stage you can confidently walk out there knowing you did the best you can and the rest is up to the judges.  Plus my dancer past comes out where I like performing on stage and this is just like that for me.

Who did you train with? My coaches are Dean and Leigh Brandt at BodybyBrandt.  A lot of the time I train by myself but when it is with others I train with fellow B3 teammates, with my VNFT (Vancouver Fitness Apparel) family, my Allmax Nutrition teammate Diane Crimeni as well as other fitness friends.

How did you stay motivated during prep? I’m an “all in” kind of person.  Once I commit to something or set my mind on a goal, there is no turning back.  I’m motivated by reaching that goal and also by seeing the progress that is being made.  Once the work I’m putting in starts to show the changes towards my goal, it motivates me even more.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? When things get challenging always remember why you decided to compete in the first place.  It’s challenging both mentally and physically but the rewards are worthwhile as not only do you get to step on stage and show off your hard work but you learn a lot about yourself and your body along the way.  Make sure you do it for yourself and be proud of your achievements no matter what.  It’s not easy but it’s worth it.  Keep your eye on the prize!

What are you most proud of in your journey? I’m most proud of committing to compete this year.  After coming home from an overdue 3-week holiday I wasn’t sure if I was going to compete. With a slow transition, I finally committed fully at about 8-weeks out and that became a new challenge for me – proving to myself that I could pull-off an 8-week prep.  I’m most proud of achieving my goal and getting on that stage again!

What are your short and long-term fitness goals? Short-term goals include keeping with my regular fitness regime and living a balanced lifestyle to show people that it is achievable while helping to inspire and motivate others. Long-term goals is to keep improving my own personal physique while experimenting with nutritional options to support it. I also strive to maintain a physique where I can do short-term cuts to do more photoshoots in hopes to become a published fitness model in a fitness magazine one day.

What is your favorite motivational quote? “Fitness isn’t about being better than someone else, it’s about being better than you used to be”

“Fitness is not what I do, it’s who I am”

Who would you do you like to send your thank-you to? My thank you goes out to my friends and family who have always supported me to achieve my goals no matter what and being understanding when I didn’t have a lot of free time to give to them. Thank you to my coaches, Dean and Leigh Brandt for believing in me despite my short prep this time around and for all their coaching support to get me stage ready. Thank you to Allmax Nutrition for their high-quality, pharmaceutical grade supplements to support my goals in off season and on season.  And thank you to my other sponsor Vancouver Fitness Apparel for always making sure my style is on point in the gym.

Are you on any Social media? If yes, how people can find you there? 

Instagram: @sc_fitlily

 

ATHLETE NAME:  Yelena Yermolenko

How did you get started in Fitness and what’s the best part about being a fitness competitor Yelena? I started in fitness about 3 years ago and after about six months, I decided I would want to compete. This changed my outlook on the fitness industry and, now that I am training at the competitive level, it helps me and my clients to achieve the best possible results.

What category did you compete in BCCUP? Master Bikini

What was the highlight of the show for you? I really loved how well organized it was – it was quite smooth. The stage marshals were excellent and the judging was on-point. The highlight for me was placing Top 3!

Who did you train with? The last two years, I’ve been training myself.  I’m also the owner of Team Fitness Personal Training in North Vancouver where I train a lot of competitors competing in BCA and BBA.

How did you stay motivated during prep? I’m in a position where I have no choice because I have a lot of people following in my footsteps. All my trainers are competing so I must be there and be ahead of the game. We are all doing excellent, but sometimes it does take me a lot to go and workout because I am the same as any person and I get low too! But you just have to do it and get through it.

Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time? Go in with the right attitude. Visualize yourself winning. The first competition is not about getting first place, but more about seeing what the training and diet is doing to your body.  Before doing your first show, you have no idea what is underneath the fat and water. Those pictures taken at the competition will give you so much information at the start of your competition career. If you aren’t getting placed, just put your before and after photos together and see where you are because this is the only competition that matters – the one you have with yourself.  Don’t be sad if you don’t place - do it again and again. Also, please don’t eat too much right after your show because you will get so big, so fast! Go on your reverse diet and monitor it all!

What are you most proud of in your journey? The fact that at practically every show I place Top 5 or Top 3. Also, my technique and meal planning help many of my clients to also place top 5. I am most proud that this system has my clients achieving the same results - whether they compete or not.

What are your short- and long-term fitness goals? Short-term, I’ll be competing at Van Pro Show in Bikini and I’m going to compete at nationals next year since I qualified for it at the BC Cup.  My long-term goal is to get my Pro Card to compete in international events.

What is your favorite motivational quote? Follow your dreams. Whatever you want, picture it in your head. Feel it as though you already have it.

Who would you like to thank? I would like to thank Leanne Babcock who taught me everything she knew about meal planning and the coach who started me off in these competitions –Sylvain Cyr. I thank my son, Dima, who is my rock, especially for getting me to the gym in time when I was down. I’d like to thank my clients who have entrusted me with their journeys – through them I’ve learned so much and keep getting better and better.

Are you on any Social media? If yes, how people can find you there?  You bet I’m on social media! You can check out my Facebook pages by looking up Yelena Yermolenko or, my gym, Team Fitness.  Find me on Instagram at yelenaalexa.

 

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.