Con­fi­dence builders

Penin­sula women com­pete in ama­teur body­build­ing cham­pi­onships

The Southern Gazette - - SPORTS - BY PAUL HER­RIDGE

Amanda Hol­loway and Danielle Isaacs agree body­build­ing is a sure­fire way to de­feat shy­ness.

A year of hard work and train­ing has paid off for the two Burin Penin­sula women.

They re­cently com­peted at the New­found­land and Labrador Ama­teur Body­build­ing As­so­ci­a­tion’s (NLABBA) cham­pi­onships in St. John’s on Nov. 14.

Hol­loway, who grew up in South East Bight and now lives in Marys­town, placed fourth in the fig­ure short cat­e­gory. Isaacs was fifth in the bikini medium tall di­vi­sion.

Step­ping up on stage and well out­side of her com­fort zone was not some­thing she — or those who know her — would ex­pect her to do, Hol­loway said.

“Not only was this a big phys­i­cal chal­lenge, mentally it was a big chal­lenge to sort of over­come those self doubts and to over­come that lack of con­fi­dence and be able to walk up on stage and just be proud of all the hard work you put in and proud of the pack­age that you put to­gether over the last year,” she said.

“Walk­ing around in a bikini in front of that many peo­ple, you’ll definitely get over be­ing shy,” said Isaacs, who lives in Burin.

Both women are new to the world of ama­teur com­pet­i­tive body­build­ing and par­tic­i­pated in the provin­cial com­pe­ti­tion for the first time this year.

Hol­loway, who said she had no expectatio­ns be­fore­hand and plac­ing where she did was ic­ing on the cake, was pleased with the out­come.

“I went in with the goal to just do the show, to be a sponge and learn ev­ery­thing I could from the other com­peti­tors, and to just be able to say that I did it,” she said.

Hol­loway started her health and well­ness jour­ney about five years ago. It has com­pletely changed her life, she said, not­ing she once weighed 200 lbs.

“I was di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety dis­or­der so doc­tors rec­om­mended ex­er­cise and nu­tri­tion as a way to sort of com­bat that,” she said.

“Once I started get­ting fit, I re­al­ized that com­pet­ing was some­thing that I would love to do, so last year I started train­ing for the show and then did a 16week prep ( lead­ing up to the cham­pi­onships),” Hol­loway, now a per­sonal trainer, said.

Isaacs, a stu­dent and part­time em­ployee at Sobeys in Marys­town, de­cided she wanted to com­pete in the event about this time last year.

“I didn’t really plan on do­ing any­thing when I started lifting weights, but it just sort of panned out that I ended up do­ing it,” she said.

Isaacs said a de­sire to be health­ier in­spired her start in the sport.

“I started train­ing in early June, first to build a bit more mus­cle and then I started cut­ting down in like Au­gust,” she said.

“It was definitely a new ex­pe­ri­ence for me and some­thing I really en­joyed, and I really want to do it again.”

The sport of body­build­ing re­quires ev­ery inch of your physique to be cri­tiqued, Hol­loway said.

“To walk into this com­pe­ti­tion … and to be sur­rounded by such sup­port­ive and en­courag- ing in­di­vid­u­als, that was prob­a­bly the most amaz­ing as­pect — the back­stage piece, get­ting to form those re­la­tion­ships and hear­ing all the trans­for­ma­tion sto­ries from all the peo­ple who were com­pet­ing,” she said.

“That was definitely my favourite part of the show.”

Isaacs, who was the youngest com­peti­tor in her cat­e­gory, also en­joyed the so­cial as­pect.

“I liked ev­ery­thing. Ev­ery­body was so friendly, and the sport it­self is (about) be­ing bet­ter than you were be­fore — it just makes you phys­i­cally and mentally stronger, and know­ing you can push your­self to do that kind of thing,” she said.

“It’s really in­ter­est­ing to watch your body change through that short amount of time.”

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