Ladysmith will be well represented at the World Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (WBFF) B.C. Championships June 23, as some of our terrifically toned townspeople take the stage.
Kathy Schoenewolf, Terry Scriver and Katie Hooper say they are ready to face the judges after months of gruelling training.
“The real science in the sport is to come in with the right amount of body fat on you, and that’s where it gets tricky,” said Schoenewolf. “Your goal when you train is not necessarily to lose weight; it’s to convert your body fat percentage.”
Schoenewolf is competing in the women’s 35-plus figure category, which requires a competitor to have between 10 and 12 per cent body fat, while Scriver will compete in the bikini category, where the criteria is 12 to 14 per cent body fat. Hooper’s categories are Diva Fitness model and figure.
Jesse Malone, another local competitor, is competing in the men’s muscle model and fitness model categories.
Saturday’s championships will be a first for Scriver and Hooper, but Schoenewolf, 43, has a few competitions already under her belt. Back in May, she placed third at the Western Canadian Championships, qualifying her for a shot at nationals. More recently, Schoenewolf took home first place in the over-40 figure category and second overall at the BC Classic in Richmond.
During Saturday’s competition, the athletes will undergo a morning pre-judging, where they will be asked to go on stage and pose to show their physique. Following that, there is an evening show geared more to fun.
“In figure, you’re judged on symmetry and muscularity. They want to see what’s called an X, so they want to see your lats, your quads, and they want to see a narrow waist in between,” Schoenewolf explained.
In the bikini rounds, the judges are looking for stage presence and a lean but not overly muscular look, and the models are also judged on their hair and makeup.
In Diva Fitness, the judges are looking for a lean and athletic look, said Hooper, 26.
“It’s a very specific look they’re looking for, and it’s hard to judge that during your training process,” she said.
In fact, for many bodybuilding athletes, the competition itself pales in comparison to the preparation required to get there.
“You have to be extremely disciplined,” Schoenewolf said. “It puts you through a mental and physical rigour. I used to run marathons, and I’ll tell you something, it isn’t even close.”
Bodybuilders put the primary focus on nutrition and add workouts to the mix. That includes eating plenty of vegetables, chicken, white fish, good oils and vitamin supplements and being very strict about not putting fatty or sugary foods into their bodies.
Hooper said she has stayed ahead of the game by preparing her meals days in advance and notes the experience has left her with a whole new outlook on eating habits.
“We’re a fast-paced, fast-food, fast-resolution society in that we go for our breads because they’re already prepared and it’s easy to make a sandwich, and we go for the pastas because they tend to be already made, they’re easy to make and they have a good shelf life,” she said. “You have to de-program everything you’ve learned up to this point and put energy into preparation and aspects of your life that we often overlook.”
Scriver, 47, has dropped 30 pounds during her training.
“I’m actually in the best shape of my life ever,” she said.
Scriver said she was motivated to do this for herself and to show her kids that you can set any goal and accomplish it if you set your mind to it.
“I feel like I’ve already accomplished what I set out to do, now it’s just icing on the cake going on stage,” she said.
All three women agreed it is a time-consuming sport that involves a lot of research and effort and that any man or woman considering taking it up should be prepared for one heck of a journey.
“The payoff is that you look the best you’ve ever looked in your whole entire life — the payoff is that you did it and you showed up for yourself,” Schoenewolf said.