Beautiful, feminine and strong
For Maria Oliphant-O’Donnell, bodybuilding is more than just heavy lifting and big muscles.
The 51-year-old mother of two won the title of the New Zealand National Amateur Body Building Association’s National Open Figure Tall champion in Napier during Labour Weekend.
Oliphant-O’Donnell said the idea that female bodybuilders were not feminine was not true.
There were three categories within bodybuilding for women: shape, figure and physique.
Women competing in both the shape and figure categories were required to wear heels during their routine and were judged on how feminine they looked and moved.
But women in the physique category had the large muscles.
The bodybuilding was healthy if done the right way, she said.
‘‘We go all out, but in a safe way.
‘‘Our exercise is always in conjunction with a good diet.’’
The biggest mistake people made when joining the sport was going too hard too quickly, she said.
‘‘It’s not healthy. Muscles take time to develop.’’
The stereotype of bodybuilders pumping weights for hours on end was completely inaccurate.
‘‘We do a combination of strength and cardio to maintain a lean body shape.’’
Her routine was not as extensive as most people assumed, with a 40 minute walk at 5am, 1.5 hours at the gym after dropping the kids off at school at 9am, and a 40 minute walk after 4pm, she said.
‘‘That’s it, and every Sunday is a rest day.’’
Originally from South Africa, she first got into bodybuilding while studying at university, but gave it up after moving to New Zealand and meeting her husband.
In 2013, with the support of family she decided to get back into the sport and competed for the first time in 20 years.
‘‘I wanted to inspire my children to get active, be healthy and do something they are passionate about.’’
It was a great sport mothers, she said.
‘‘It builds confidence, everyone is supportive, and it helps with fittness.’’
‘‘With the right diet and training anyone can do it.’’ for
‘‘We go all out, but in a safe way. Our exercise is always in conjunction with a good diet.’’
Maria Oliphant-O'Donnell Maria Oliphant-O’Donnell was crowned the NZ Nabba National Open Figure Champion in Napier during Labour Weekend.