Sharona Witwicki left Grand Forks in October and when she returned in November, she had a first-place bodybuilding trophy in her hands and a big smile on her face.
The 32-year-old Grand Forks resident competed in the Figure Class B at the Sandra Wickham Fall Classic (SWFC) held in New Westminster on Nov. 10.
Witwicki says the Figure class is more feminine than female bodybuilding but more muscle is required than in the bikini category.
“You have to have nice big caps,” she said, referring to her shoulders and upper arms.
She was overwhelmed with her first-place win.
“It was awesome. I don’t think you are supposed to attack the people that give out the awards but I lunged at them and was hugging them,” she said.
As part of the competition, Witwicki put on a custom-made swimsuit, 15-cm (six-inch) heels and posed for judges for four different rounds.
Getting in that kind of shape doesn’t happen overnight. She started training in 2011 and competed in the SWFC the same year, finishing in sixth place.
After her first competition, she trained for a full year before competing again. This includes a diet of white fish and limited protein, and working out several times a day.
Witwicki credits her trainers, Al and Nancy Clark, for her success.
“He does my diet and workouts. I just have to follow it,” she said. Nancy is also a bodybuilder so she understands what Witwicki is going through.
Throughout the year, Witwicki’s regime consists of six meals a day plus a protein shake. Eggs, oatmeal, lean fish and grain-free bread make up the bulk of her meals. She has to eat every two to three hours. Her workout schedule consists of a half-hour of cardio in the morning, an hour and a half of weightlifting after work and another half-hour of cardio. That only intensifies, as she gets closer to a competition.
The last few weeks of training before a competition are rough for bodybuilders. Witwicki goes on a depletion diet to get rid of any excess fat or retained water. She estimates she reaches about six to seven per cent body fat right before the competition.
“It’s hard, you’re so depleted without any carbs,” she said. “You’re so tired and cranky.”
That doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort. Witwicki says there is no stopping now.
“It’s such a rush to see the changes. I know in six months my body is going to look completely different. It’s an adrenaline rush. To get out there in front of everyone in that suit and pose for strangers,” she said.
The SWFC was a qualifying event so this year she’s heading to provincials on June 22, which take place again in New Westminster. If she places in the top five, she’ll qualify for the nationals. A win in nationals means she could become a pro bodybuilder with the International Federation of Bodybuilders and the title “IFBB Pro Bodybuilder” after her name.