Rossland resident Amanda Landry climbed to the top of the podium at the International Drug Free Athletics competition in Vancouver on Sunday.
Following what seemed a lifetime of preparation, Landry captured gold in the ‘Fitness Model’ competition and bronze in the ‘Bikini’ category.
“I am happy with the results,” Landry said following the event. “I came with a bit too much muscle for bikini but it was perfect for the fitness model category. Next year my goal is to move up a category and try figure.”
The 39-year-old self-described gym rat had modest expectations going into last weekend’s competition, and more than lived up to them.
“My expectations going into the show was to have a better stage presence and be more comfortable and confident on stage, to have fun and to make some new connections with other competitors.”
Training is in her blood, but the actual competition portion of the event always brings its share of butterflies, yet Landry was intent to enjoy it, and turn those nerves into positive energy.
“It is very nerve-racking on stage, but the more I do it and the more I talk to ladies who do it, the more comfortable I get. I am a shy person so of course I get more nervous then some others but I try to have fun with it.
“I put all this work into this day so it is important for me to make the best of it and enjoy it – not stress. The transformation with the tanning and makeup is also something I look forward to … it’s like being a princess for a day.”
Landry spent countless hours power lifting when she was a teen in Nova Scotia, and even ran a cardio studio in Castlegar until recently. While she toyed with body building as a teen, she really started getting interested about three years ago.
“It’s a love that I always come back to,” she says. “I may get out of it for a bit, but I always come back to it.”
For the last five months or so, however, it’s been especially intense as Landry prepared for her goal, to perform in the International Drug Free Athletics competition.
“On the days I work, I’m up at 3 in the morning to do my cardio, then I go to work, then the gym, and another set of cardio, so I’m up from 3 until 8:30 at night.”
Landry competed in the bikini class — the entry level of competition, with an emphasis on form, posing and feminine aesthetics than the more stereotypical muscle-mass focus of the figure and fitness model classes.
“They’re looking for a softer look,” she says. “It’s more your shoulders, your waist, butt. So your posing is more elegant and important.”
While she had a bit of experience this time, Landry says it’s still a big challenge.
“The posing is a big thing for me, because I’m not a ‘girly-girl,’” she says. “So getting on stage, half-naked with heels and trying to be graceful, I’d rather do the working out, the weights, the prep. I really enjoy the structure it gives me.
“It’s almost like torture for me to do.”
The event, however, was really just the tip of the iceberg for Landry’s commitment to bodybuilding. Besides the 22 weeks she spent lifting weights and practicing poses, she followed a strict diet and also prepared herself mentally as well as physically.
Landry also hopes her story can inspire other women to take on the fitness challenge, and join her in the gym. She’d love to see a group of women get together regularly to support and learn from each other how to compete.
“I would love a group of women — then it wouldn’t be just me going to the show, it would be group of us all training together — but I find now there’s no connection,” she says.
She says people should approach her if they see her working out, if they’d like to get involved.
“Although we’re often focused at the gym, and we have our earphones on and it looks like we don’t want to talk, I’d love for people to come up and say ‘what are you doing?’”
Landry’s tried starting Facebook groups to develop a local women’s bodybuilder group, but it never gelled.
“It’s always excuses, and it’s always ‘I don’t know what to do, or where to go’,” she says. “And I’d like people to know there’s such a big community here, but it’s almost hidden for people who are passionate.”
After the weekend competition in Vancouver, Landry isn’t going to take much time off. She plans to continue to develop her physique, and move to higher levels of competition.
She says people can really benefit from the exercise and discipline body-building brings.
“It’s a good feeling. My body feels good, my mind feels good. it’s an unbelievable feeling… I love it,” she says. “This keeps me happy.”