Strength, discipline and determination – traits this Providence staff member brings to her role as Manager of the Adult Day Program for people with dementia. In April, Elizabeth set her sight on the Ontario Physique Association’s GNC ALLmax Cobourg Naturals, competing in her ﬁrst physique competition. In total, there were 150 competitors in six events. Elizabeth placed third in the Figure Masters (over 35 years of age) category.
What made you decide to compete in a physique competition?
I was initially inspired by Providence’s Boot Camp instructor who competed in the 2015 event. When she shared her experience, my first reaction was, “What? No way! I could never do that.” I remember joking it wasn’t the training stopping me, but the ‘gluing’ of a bathing suit to your body and the experience of getting a spray tan in the company of all your competition. Then on a weekend getaway with friends last October, I was encouraged to compete. I train regularly already in our staff gym and my friends were adamant that I could do this, promising to support me. So, I did it.
How long did you prepare for the event?
I was ‘all in’ as of January 1, 2016. This meant six days a week of training, sometimes twice a day before and after work.
What does it take to get to get to this stage?
To start, a trainer who understands this type of competition and is as committed as you. You also need a diet coach who understands the science behind building muscle and proper nutritional intake. As a competitor, you need to listen and follow what your coaches prescribe. It takes a lot of sacrifice, dedication and focus. I had three different workout regimes throughout the 15 weeks and the last week was full of daily instructions. Yes, I complained, but my coaches supported me. And on that note, you need support from those you trust and care about. I was also fortunate to get advice, support and encouragement from a Social Worker at Providence who has competed. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all the support I received from my Adult Day Program staff and peers – they gave me so much more than they probably could imagine… thank you!
What was the learning you walked away with?
With proper expertise and support, any goal is achievable. I also walked away with a bigger respect for the experts, particularly from the diet and what it did to my body right up to competition day. It was mind blowing.
Would you have changed anything?
I would have kept a journal from day one to look back at and read.
What is your proudest moment?
Sticking to the diet for 15 weeks - no deviations! Completing training on days when I was heading to the gym on my own or to a session with my coach saying 'not today, not today' and crushing the training. And finally, stepping out onto the stage!
Next steps… Any plans?
I’m going to keep working out. It’s in my daily routine now and I make it a priority. I’m going to learn more about proper nutrition for this level of training and maintain the diet within reason. Life is for living, so I’m going to enjoy patio season. And who knows, maybe another event.