HER Fea­ture

Body­build­ing beau­ties

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - CONTENTS - Story by Grace Brown, pho­tog­ra­phy by Mara Kuhn and sub­mit­ted

Tra­di­tion­ally, body­build­ing is por­trayed as a highly in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic, male-dom­i­nated sport but one group of women has de­cided to chal­lenge that no­tion and form a fe­male-dom­i­nated body­build­ing team.

Kelly Worthey, Ha­ley Allen-Brad­bury, Am­ber Holmes, Kristi Webb and her hus­band Richard make up the body­build­ing team at Lake Hamil­ton Health and Fit­ness.

“All of us were al­ready com­pet­ing. We clearly all had the same in­ter­est and just de­cided that we wanted to rep­re­sent some­thing more than just our­selves,” said Allen-Brad­bury.

They be­gan devel­op­ing meal plans, work­out rou­tines and of­fer­ing sup­port to one an­other dur­ing peak week as a unit in the spring af­ter gym owner Jack Bai­ley opted to spon­sor the team. From then on, each of them has com­peted in com­pe­ti­tions as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Hot Springs and a few even bring­ing home medals.

Ac­cord­ing to Worthey, com­pet­ing in the sport comes with a hefty price tag. Travel ex­penses, reg­is­tra­tion fees, gym mem­ber­ships and the like quickly add up. Luck­ily, the team’s spon­sor cov­ers the bulk of the team’s ex­penses, al­low­ing the ath­letes to fo­cus on sculpt­ing their bod­ies and per­fect their physique.

The women all come from dif­fer­ent life­styles and back­grounds. One team member is a mother to three while an­other works as a cos­me­tol­o­gist. De­spite their dif­fer­ences, they are united by the thrill of be­ing on stage and the burn felt af­ter an in­tense work­out.

“(Body­build­ing) kind of broke me out of my shell, re­ally. It’s ad­dic­tive. Once you get started, you im­me­di­ately want to be­gin train­ing for an­other,” said Webb.

Weeks be­fore each show, they will amp up their diet and work­outs to be­gin prepa­ra­tions for the stage. The length of time spent pre­par­ing varies from per­son to per­son and can last any­where be­tween 12 and 25 weeks.

Dur­ing this time they spend any­where be­tween 15 and 20 hours work­ing on fit­ness each week. Their days be­gin early, with a run be­fore break­fast, and ends with them pre­par­ing for the next day’s meals. On av­er­age, they are sup­posed to eat be­tween six to eight meals a day and drink a gal­lon of water, Holmes said.

The strict, low-fat diet paired with high lev­els of car­dio­vas­cu­lar and strength train­ing al­lows these women to sculpt their bod­ies into chis­eled

fig­ures of fem­i­nin­ity. How­ever, the prepa­ra­tion for a show-ready ap­pear­ance is not very pleas­ant, Allen-Brad­bury said.

“I per­son­ally don’t agree with do­ing more than a cou­ple of shows a year be­cause it’s not good for your body be­cause the last four weeks of your prep in your body is in a de­fi­cient for so long. It’s very un­healthy,” she said.

How­ever, the strain put on the body is not enough to keep these women off the stage and out of the gym. The for­mat of the sport al­lows them to choose how many times they com­pete each year, but the sum­mer months re­main highly pop­u­lar among many bodybuilders.

Although the process can put a strain on the body, the women work hard to sup­ple­ment their di­ets and work­outs nat­u­rally with vi­ta­mins and re­cov­ery tac­tics. Holmes noted that mus­cle re­cov­ery is vi­tal to their progress, oth­er­wise, the re­sults would not be as prom­i­nent.

The ma­jor­ity of the team be­gan com­pet­ing within the last two years and some team mem­bers are al­ready bring­ing home medals from com­pe­ti­tions. Each woman com­petes in the bikini por­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion and a few of the team mem­bers also com­pete in their height cat­e­gories and women’s physique.

“Com­pet­ing is some­thing else. It’s al­most in­de­scrib­able. You know you work hard for months for just a few mo­ments on stage. Re­ally, it’s just about en­joy­ing it and be­ing around oth­ers you know have done what you’re do­ing,” said Worthey.

One thing they all agree on is how em­pow­er­ing the sport makes them feel. De­spite the fact that each woman al­ready had a solid work­out reg­i­men and re­mained very health-con­science, the sport made them re­al­ize they could dive fur­ther into fit­ness and reach goals they once thought un­ob­tain­able, Holmes said.

“It gave me the big­gest drive and my mo­ti­va­tion was through the roof. I felt like when I walked in the gym I had a job and a pur­pose. I had to get it done.”

“Ev­ery­thing that I’ve been do­ing all these years fi­nally has a pur­pose be­cause now I’m go­ing to have a goal. I’m go­ing to step on stage,” said Allen-Brad­bury.

The team’s goal for the next sea­son varies from team member to team member, but en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to take an ac­tive role in their fit­ness jour­neys, dis­prov­ing the myths that sur­round the sport and bring­ing home more medals ap­pears as a con­sis­tent de­sire through­out the team.

“Bikini com­pet­ing is very, very fem­i­nine. Peo­ple want to say your mus­cles are ugly or your mus­cles are this or that, but it sim­ply is not true.

“Body­build­ing can still be fem­i­nine. It doesn’t have to be a manly sport,” said Worthey.

Kelly Worthey

Kristi Webb, Kelly Worthey and Ha­ley allen-brad­bury

richard and Kristi Webb

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