Standing before judges and an audience, while wearing next to nothing, is something Candice Martel thought she could never do.
But now she has the confidence to see how she measures up against women from around the province.
Martel and Amanda Chapdelaine are competitors in bodybuilding championships, but it’s not what you might expect.
The Campbell River pair slip into tiny bikinis and high heels, and are judged on their muscle tone, conditioning and the symmetry of their body.
“I basically stand there like a robot,” said Martel.
Chapdelaine also takes part in a fitness portion where she must choreograph a one-and-a-half-minute routine that includes flips, the splits and incorporates flexibility, strength and endurance.
“I’ve always worked out and I wanted to challenge myself,” said Chapdelaine. “The challenge was what got me into it. I didn’t want to do bodybuilding and I liked the fitness better than the bikini round.”
Martel has also been involved in fitness for a long time. She’s worked as a personal trainer and taught aerobics.
“I’ve always wanted to do a figure show, as a goal to work towards,” said Martel. “And I wanted to overcome my fear of standing naked on stage.”
Both women are now training for the bodybuilding provincials on July 16 in the Lower Mainland. They qualified at the Sandra Wickham Fall Classic last November.
Chapdelaine placed first for fitness in her height class but also took the top spot over all, earning herself a permanent spot in all future provincials.
Martel was third in figure in her height group.
Neither of the two had ever competed at the provincial level before and both are overjoyed to have made the cut.
“I was happy with the win and happy to be going to provincials but I’ve got a lot of work to do to get there,” said Chapdelaine. “The work never ends.”
The road to provincials will not be easy. They have to follow a strict training and nutrition regimen.
Sixteen weeks before the show, both eat six small meals a day that combine protein and carbs. They can only eat such things as chicken, egg whites, turkey, nuts and vegetables.
Martel make sacrifices, such as giving up foods she enjoys and alcohol.
“It’s tough when you go out with your friends and everyone’s sharing a plate of nachos or having a glass of wine,” she said. “It’s really a lifestyle change.”
But she does enjoy the self-discipline.
Martel goes to the gym five days a week for cardio, weight lifting and pilates.
Chapdelaine also works out at the gym five to six days a week and does gymnastics two to three days a week to practice her tumbling.
Both women want to end up with a pro card, which would allow them to compete anywhere in the world and win cash prizes. If either one of them places in the top four in the provincials, they will go on to the national level where one winner will come away with the elusive pro card.