NZ FITNESS MODEL winner
Two years’ ago Hamiltonbased Stephanie Larivee was chubby and had never seen the insides of a gym. Today she is the proud winner of the NZ Fitness Model Search female title, an award she picked up at the recent NZ Fitness Expo.
It was a spur of the notice thing to do. “I entered the fitness model competition on the Wednesday night before the weekend competition,” says Stephanie, who had lost 10kg over the preceding 12 months, going from 63kg to 53kg.
“I am the strongest I have ever been with much more muscle,” she says. “It was my first competition entered and most likely, only competition.”
Born in Canada, Stephanie arrived in New Zealand at the age of three. She has lived in Wellington, Auckland and Hamilton. The shifting around had a lot to do with her mum, a museum curator. Stephanie, now aged 26, first got into fitness just two years ago.
“I was getting on the chubby side because I had a desk job and I realized I should do something about it.”
She joined the Anytime Fitness gym, but didn’t start to see the affects until she realized she had to take food seriously.
“I saw a nutritionist [Jake Campus] and got good advice. That advice was simply to be consistent with healthy eating and exercise. Really it comes down to the eating mainly – learning that you have to have things in moderation. You can still have carbohydrates, but portion control is important.”
Stephanie slowly eased into working out at the gym and then started to enjoy training, as it was the only part of the day she got to herself. She goes to the gym five times a week. The day starts at 5am when she gets up, aiming to be at the gym from 5.30am to 6.50am. She then gets ready at work before starting her day job.
“Doing the workout at the gym in the morning, feels like getting up to spend time on myself. It is like my church,” she says. Stephanie, does however, have strong views about some people she sees working out.
“I am concerned about young kids getting pushed into the gym – getting big for guys and smaller for girls. I would encourage them to get good advice. There is a dark underground at the gym, with guys thinking they have to take supplements to get bigger.”
Stephanie put her own trust in weights trainer David Wei Lee who provided her with training programmes.
When not working as an insolvency accountant for Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Hamilton, or working out, Stephanie devotes time to charity work and is deputy chair of the Foundation for Youth Development in Waikato.
The foundation provides programmes to help young people who need it the most, to find their fit in the world and to help guide them through various challenging stages in their lives.
“I’m on the board as deputy chair to help steer the strategic direction for our region. I do it as I’ve been through, seen and caused a significant amount of adversity, as well as having the required professional skills to help provide a valuable contribution to our mission.”
She also devotes time to her two dogs, red nose pit bulls – both rescue dogs.
She takes them to the dog park to roam free or for walks around the neighbourhood.
There is one body fact about Stephanie you may not see in these photos – she has a tattoo down her right side. Asked about the reasons behind the tattoo, she says: “I just like it.”
She had a series of flowers tattooed seven years ago and another addition to this one year ago.
Asked about her long-term fitness plans, Stephanie says: “To maintain a balanced life style and know it’s ok to treat yourself, just not in excess.”
Winner of the NZ Fitness Model Search female title, Stephanie Larivee.
Stephanie uses a weights trainer for her training programmes.
Stephanie sparing with the NZ Fitness Model Search male winner Chris Olwage.