Find­ing bal­ance and gain­ing strength with Avi­gail Vic­to­ria

Montreal Times - - NEWS -

Avi­gail Vic­to­ria switched her fo­cus from graphic de­sign to fit­ness in early 2016. Al­though she still works as a graphic de­signer, her role as a per­sonal trainer is a cur­rent pri­or­ity. “I re­al­ized that I wasn’t mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in peo­ple’s lives. I felt the need for a greater chal­lenged,” she says. Her ath­letic na­ture led her to her first fit­ness com­pe­ti­tion in April 2016.While train­ing to com­pete, she com­pleted her per­sonal train­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion with the YMCA.

Al­though Avi­gail Vic­to­ria didn’t win her first com­pe­ti­tion, she did win first place in the fit­ness model cat­e­gory at her sec­ond com­pe­ti­tion in Au­gust of 2016. She loves the healthy life­style.“It was a per­sonal chal­lenge to see how far I can push my body,” she says.“I wanted some­thing that would be a vis­i­ble tes­ti­mony of my growth, and an ex­pres­sion of the chal­lenges I’ve over­come in life.” The com­pe­ti­tion gave her ex­actly that.

Pre­par­ing for a com­pe­ti­tion

“Com­pet­ing is tough, and in my opin­ion, fit­ness is def­i­nitely one of the tough­est in­dus­tries to be in,” Avi­gail Vic­to­ria says.To pre­pare for a com­pe­ti­tion, she trains 5-6 times per week. She oc­ca­sion­ally meets with her trainer Jack­son Bladi.“My trainer pushes me to my fullest po­ten­tial,” she says. They fo­cus on iso­lat­ing her mus­cles to achieve the de­sired def­i­ni­tion. “Through Jack­son’s guid­ance, I’ve be­come stronger, more en­er­getic, and have gained the con­fi­dence I need to achieve my com­pe­ti­tion goals.” The hard­est part of train­ing for most com­peti­tors is stay­ing ded­i­cated to their diet. She meal preps once each week, mea­sur­ing and cal­cu­lat­ing based on her goals, and con­sid­er­ing her work­out rou­tines.About 70 per­cent of com­pet­ing is diet, but only 30 per­cent strength. Proper sleep and body aware­ness is im­por­tant as well.

The key to suc­cess is bal­ance: cater­ing to both mind and body. “Your spirit and body have to be con­nected to op­er­ate in a healthy man­ner,” she says. Men­tal strength is just as im­por­tant as phys­i­cal strength. Avi­gail Vic­to­ria, how­ever, loves the re­sults she sees the week be­fore a com­pe­ti­tion:“Peak week is the hard­est and my favourite be­cause you see how much your body has evolved.”

Com­mon mis­un­der­stand­ings of

com­pet­ing

Shaun Camp­bell, IDFA or­ga­nizer, shares a bit of in­sight into the world of fit­ness com­pe­ti­tions. “A com­mon mis­con­cep­tion about fit­ness com­pe­ti­tions is that they are too ex­treme and not healthy,” he says. Com­pet­ing can be un­healthy, but all IDFA com­pe­ti­tions are drugfree.“Com­pet­ing nat­u­rally is more of a life­style choice and a healthy ap­proach.”

Shaun Camp­bell said that bal­ance and con­sis­tency are im­por­tant to a com­peti­tor’s suc­cess.“You have to still live and en­joy your life out­side of com­pet­ing,” he says.“Com­pet­ing is for you and your en­joy­ment so if you don’t en­joy it, why com­pete?” Avi­gail Vic­to­ria lives this bal­anced life­style, while main­tain­ing a con­sis­tent ap­proach to her train­ing. She brings these val­ues to her own clients.

As an IDFA com­peti­tor, Avi­gail Vic­to­ria trains nat­u­rally.While she is ded­i­cated to her own train­ing, she also pri­or­i­tizes friends and fam­ily, and knows when to take a day off. “You have to know your lim­its,” she says.“It’s part of find­ing bal­ance.”

Learn­ing from com­pet­ing

Fit­ness com­pe­ti­tions have taught Avi­gail Vic­to­ria the im­por­tance of self­value.“I’ve learned to not be hard on my­self,” she says. While ded­i­ca­tion is nec­es­sary,“ev­ery­one has a dif­fer­ent body struc­ture.” At the end of each com­pe­ti­tion, she leaves know­ing that she did it all for her­self. "You have to know that you do it for your­self.To im­prove your body and your men­tal fo­cus.”

Avi­gail Vic­to­ria passes this at­ti­tude onto her own clients in the gym. She caters to their in­di­vid­ual goals and fit­ness needs, at the same time as teach­ing them about bal­anc­ing self dis­ci­pline with con­fi­dence and com­pas­sion.

“Ev­ery­one has a dif­fer­ent goal. Some peo­ple want to lose weight, some want to build mus­cle,” she says. With each new client, she starts with an eval­u­a­tion, in­clud­ing be­fore pic­tures if they are com­fort­able. To­gether, they de­cide how many days each client can work out, and talk about meal plans. When cre­at­ing a work­out pro­gram, Avi­gail Vic­to­ria tar­gets spe­cific mus­cles her clients hope to im­prove.

A lot of her job is coach­ing and mo­ti­va­tion. “I mo­ti­vate them to prac­tice,” she says. “I’m there for them.”

What’s next for Avi­gail Vic­to­ria?

Avi­gail Vic­to­ria has a few plans for her fu­ture in fit­ness. First, she will soon be blog­ging for Narcity’s fit­ness blog—yet an­other way for her to help oth­ers. Long-term goals in­clude earn­ing her Pro-card by plac­ing first at the up­com­ing IDFA com­pe­ti­tion to­day (Oc­to­ber 7), cre­at­ing her own fit­ness brand, and own­ing her own gym stu­dio one day.

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