Mum does chil­dren proud

South Waikato News - - Front Page - TE AHUA MAIT­LAND

Laura Dar­gav­ille plans to cel­e­brate turn­ing 30 by strip­ping down to a bikini and sky-high heels. Oh, and a spray tan. The Toko­roa mother of two re­cently won a body­build­ing ti­tle (the World Fit­ness Fed­er­a­tion Women’s Ath­letic Fig­ure), qual­i­fy­ing her for the na­tion­als in Oc­to­ber. Not bad for her sec­ond go.

‘‘They called out third place and then sec­ond and my heart sank, so I kept telling my­self just smile, be grace­ful, don’t let any­one see you’re dis­ap­pointed.

‘‘Then they said my name and I was hon­estly in shock. I just broke down in tears.’’

Fur­ther­more, the win means she now has a pro card to rep­re­sent New Zealand at in­ter­na­tional events.

The 29-year-old hopes to in­spire other mums to be proud of their scars and stretch marks.

‘‘Yes, we’ve had ba­bies. Yes, our bod­ies do change. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

‘‘It’s not even about body­build­ing, it’s about em­brac­ing those beau­ti­ful marks that we feel so in­se­cure about. Turn it into a pos­i­tive.

‘‘If a Maori hori girl from Toko­roa can stand up on stage and in­spire others, any­one can do it.’’

She didn’t have far to look for in­spi­ra­tion.

Her hus­band, James Ka­mana, is a pro­fes­sional rugby player and is also from Toko­roa.

He rep­re­sented Waikato and Tas­man be­fore play­ing in South Africa.

‘‘Life af­ter rugby, we al­ways wanted to own our own gym, so I stud­ied per­sonal train­ing. Then I thought, I need to put ev­ery­thing that I’ve learned into prac­tice.’’

She wanted to spe­cialise in train­ing women, par­tic­u­larly to help Maori and Pa­cific Is­lan­ders, and women who were preg­nant or want­ing to lose their baby weight.

Then Laura found out she was preg­nant, so she de­cided to use her­self as the test dummy.

‘‘If I was gonna train these women, I thought I needed to go through it to un­der­stand what they’re go­ing to be feel­ing when I’m train­ing them.’’

Af­ter Le­bron was born, she lost 18kg of baby weight, then de­cided to set her­self an­other chal­lenge.

For 29 weeks, she fol­lowed a strict body­build­ing pro­gramme.

And de­spite fin­ish­ing dead last at her first com­pe­ti­tion, she was keen to give it an­other go.

‘‘I found my pas­sion. This was my mo­ment to find my­self, tak­ing off my mum hat and wife hat, which was all I knew.

‘‘I couldn’t have done it without the sup­port of my fam­ily, hus­band and my coach, Kaye O’neill.’’

Now it’s back to the gym to pre­pare for na­tion­als.

‘‘I had my cheat meal of ribs and an ice cream Nutella donut in cel­e­bra­tion of my win. But now it’s back to my pro­tein pan­cakes.’’

‘‘I was hon­estly in shock. I just broke down in tears.’’

PAUL MCSWEENEY/ DE­FINED PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Just af­ter hav­ing her sec­ond child.

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