MCLELLANS BROOK – Danielle Stewart doesn’t hide the fact that she’s competitive and likes to work hard to be the best at what she does – but with bodybuilding competitions she’s working more to beat her past results than other people.
Stewart has always been involved in sports, but when she hurt her knee playing rugby in Grade 12 the 24-year-old couldn’t run outdoors or on the treadmill the way she used to. Being someone who enjoyed going to the gym she wanted to continue, but being unable to run she turned towards lifting weights more than she had in prior years. Eventually that turned into her passion for competing in the figure category at bodybuilding competitions.
“I miss team sports, but like all the aspects of training for these competitions,” she said. “When I hurt my knee in Grade 12 I had to stop running for awhile, so I started lifting weights more. I was definitely frustrated because I used to run outside or on the treadmill and go to the gym every day. There’s only so much you can do when you can’t run, so I found a way to keep going to the gym every day.”
Her decision to compete at the NSABBA provincials last year came because of friend Peter Guthro, who also competes.
“Peter was a big influence on me getting involved because he had competed and told me I had good muscle genes and would be good at it,” she said.
In her first competition last year, provincials, she finished second in the medium height (5’4 to 5’7) figure category. Stewart laughed when asked what her goal was going into the competition, saying it was to not fall down when she was on stage.
“I had no trainer and it was just myself, so I really had no idea what to expect or what I was getting myself into,” she said. “My biggest goal was really to get out and do it.”
This year for provincials, being held March 29 in Halifax, Stewart hopes to do better than last year’s result. That doesn’t necessarily mean a first place finish though.
Having no trainer last year and not being as strict with her diet as she could be, Stewart says she hired a trainer for her final seven weeks of preparation and has made sure not to cheat on her diet.
“This year I definitely feel a lot more prepared and a lot less stressed for provincials than my first time around,” said Stewart. “Instead of just focusing on the competition I made sure to focus on and enjoy the process. The competition is just one day and it goes by so quickly. This time I wanted to enjoy the whole process and look forward to meeting other competitors, rather than only thinking about the one day of the competition.”
Coming down the stretch, just under three weeks out from provincials, the diet is becoming the toughest part according to Stewart. She said the food she eats as part of her diet is filling, but is the same daily. It’s hard to beat the cravings, but she said training is still fun and she knows that if she cheats on her diet she could regret it at provincials.
“Last year finishing second was great for me, but I wasn’t as disciplined as I am this year,” she said. “Going into provincials I want to be as prepared as I can possibly be and hope that is enough to do well. If you cheat on a meal nobody would know except for you, but if you don’t do as well as you want, that one meal you cheat on will stay with you. If I do my best and am as prepared as I can be I’ll be happy with how I do at provincials knowing that I couldn’t have done anything more.”
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