Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Emerald Cup 2017 Memorable Moments

What made the 2017 Emerald Cup experience memorable? A number of competitors share their Emerald Cup moment.

Nicole Wolf

Twenty-seven-year-old mom Nicole Wolf, competing in her first Emerald Cup, walked away as the Figure E winner and narrowly missed out on the overall figure crown. In the process she managed to wow IFBB women's historian Steve Wennerstrom, no easy feat. Even more impressive - this is just her first year competing.

"My highlight was attending this show knowing it was only my third show of my career and not expecting anything, then taking home first place in my height class and second overall. Also, getting positive feedback from the judges about attending the USA's in July was unexpected and so appreciated."

For the record, Nicole stands at just over 5-5 and weighed 132 pounds for this show. Her coach is Jeremiah Xavier Glasenapp.

See Nicole on stage at Emerald Cup 2017 in 4K: YouTube



Steve Wennerstrom and Nicole Wolf

Nicole Wolf

Sierra Scheffer

Sierra made her Emerald Cup debut in physique. By the end of the weekend, she held bragging rights as the overall physique champion.

"Best part of the weekend was being with my two best gal pals; road tripping over and back, including the one-hour traffic stop on the way there, and the multiple food stops on the way home ( Ethellos Greek Yogurt, Larsen Bakery, and Dicks Burgers); and spending time, even though it was short, with everyone who came to support me from home!"

For the record, 5-3 Sierra weighed 125 lbs for the show and weighs 150 lbs off-season. She's been competing for two years.


Sierra Scheffer

Sierra Scheffer - Physique Champ

Tiffany Shepherd - first time Emerald Cup competitor

"My most memorable moment was standing in the main lobby with lots of people. While being congratulated on both my second and third place wins, I was stuffing my face with four different cupcakes in one hand, a Corona in my other, trophies by my feet and tiaras on my head! Lol. Everyone was laughing and saying how great it was seeing me celebrate. It's the little things that matter after you train so hard for that day and that moment. It's all worth it."

For the record, Tiffany placed second in Figure A and third in Figure 35. She's 5-2 tall, stage weight 113 lbs and off-season 125 lbs. She's been competing for three years.



Tiffany Shepherd

Inna Wyatt

With four Emerald Cup appearances to her credit, it's safe to say that Inna Wyatt is an Emerald Cup veteran. She owned the stage at the 2017 show with wins in Figure Overall, Women's Physique 35, Figure 35 and Figure B. Pretty impressive trophy haul.

Highlight of Emerald Cup Weekend?

"The highlight for me was winning the overall figure title. It had been a goal of mine to win the overall before going to compete at Nationals. I also competed in the physique division for the first time and I also won as well. I really enjoyed it and it gave me a chance to showcase my previous dance career background with the posing routine."

What Memory will you hold on to looking back at 2017 Emerald Cup?

"Reaching one of my biggest fitness goals of winning the Figure Overall title after trying for four years. I was also amazed at all of the support I received from my coach, Matt Porter, and all of my friends."

For the record, Inna stands 5-3; stage weight 125 lbs; off-season weight 145 lbs; started competing in 2009, but took two years off, so consistently for six years.

Of note: Inna operates her own business designing and creating custom competition suits for all divisions. Contact her for your suit needs.

Originally from Moscow, Russia, a whopping 5200 miles away from Seattle, Inna holds the unofficial distinction of the most distant hometown from the Emerald Cup stage. Having lived in the USA for 10 years, that cuts Inna's travel time to the show to just 30 minutes. Definitely more convenient than Moscow!




Inna Wyatt Figure Champ

Carson Siler - Team Hexx bikini competitor

Competing in her second Emerald Cup, Carson place second in Bikini A, a carbon copy of her 2016 Emerald Cup show.

"The highlight of my weekend was accomplishing some personal goals, and being able to cheer on and support the rest of the competitors/clients on Team Hexx. The best part of participating in this sport is being able to share experiences like this with other like minded individuals. I think my favorite memory from this year was being able to hug Rachael Chiarrelli when she took first place. She is a dear friend of mine and fellow teammate. It was fun to share the stage with her as well as all the other amazing athletes that were there! I was honored to be a part of it all."

For the record, this is Carson's third year competing. She's 30, stands 5-1 and hits the stage at her competition weight of 114 lbs to 116 lbs.


Mackena Sherman - Figure F 6th Place

Mackena competed in her first show, bikini, in 2014 as a 19-year-old. She did her first Emerald Cup in 2015, also bikini. As she explains, "I took dead last out of 23 girls because I was over-developed for bikini." Now she competes in figure.

"The moment I will never forget is getting the chance to sit back stage with my mom and do her makeup for her before she went on stage for women's physique masters on Friday. It was a special moment that we were able to get each other ready before walking on stage.

"The moment I see her walk out on stage is a feeling I can't describe. I'm just so overwhelmed with excitement. I'm that person that's going crazy in the audience. I get as close as I can to the stage so I can yell at her and tell her which muscle she's not squeezing. If it wasn't for her, I would have never thought that I could get on stage."

For the record, Mackena is 23, stands 5-7, competes at 149 lbs and off-season is 156 lbs.



Mackena Sherman at Emerald Cup Expo

Megan Little - Figure C Champion

Coming into the Emerald Cup with nothing but first place and second place on her competitive resume, Megan kept the streak alive as she nailed it in Figure C adding another win to her resume. One look at her - and she's in just her second season of competing - it's not a stretch to think that she'll keep this hot streak going.

For the record, Megan is 29, stands 5-4, hits the stage at 130 pounds and goes 150 pounds in her off-season.

"Highlight of this started with being asked to compete in the Emerald Cup. Being that this was only my second season, I was thrilled because it meant all my hard work had definitely paid off and I was on the right track. Then the icing on the cake was winning my Open Figure Class and going into the overall battle with fellow teammate Silver Keck - such a rush."

Megan on stage at Emerald Cup 2017: YouTube



Megan Little - Killing it from the front

Megan Little - Killing it from the rear

Markie Williams - Bikini G

For the record, 29-year-old Markie is 5-7, competes at 130 pounds and has been competing for just under two years. She placed third in her bikini class at the 2016 Emerald Cup.

"You know, this year I was disappointed when I didn't place in the top five, especially since I placed in the top three at Emerald Cup the year before, and this year I felt like I made major improvements to my physique compared to last year. By not being in the top five, I felt like I let down my friends and fans who expected me to do really well. But what really surprised me was the number of people who stopped me after the show, many that I didn't even know, and they just wanted to tell me they thought I looked great and that they were still proud of me.

"That, combined with everyone who reached out to me in the days following, really made an impression on me, because I realized that even when I don't bring home a trophy, I still have so many amazing people in my life who care about me and will support me no matter what and at the end of the day, that's what is most important to me."

More Markie:

Markie competing at Emerald Cup 2017 YouTube

Markie interview YouTube




Sponsor Innutra

Repping for sponsor Innutra

Markie Williams

Brittany Conley - props to Brittany for her service in the Armed Forces.

Brittany made her Emerald Cup debut competing in Figure D. She started competing in 2011, had two years off from a deployment to Afghanistan in 2013, and then pregnancy in 2015.

"Emerald Cup was an eye opener for me. I saw and met some incredible women who were at that 'next level' so to speak. Arianna Tate - I actually became friends with her since we frequent the same gym in Olympia. I was so grateful for her presence and kind words backstage, as well as sharing in her excitement as she placed third in her height class.

"I really tried to soak it in and had a lot of time to reflect on my journey during the process. Standing next to women that I have been following on social media, thinking, 'Wow. Any one of these women could be a pro' and knowing that I was that much closer to stepping onto NPC Nationals stage. It was my first Emerald Cup and I hope for it to be my last because I want to say this time next year, I'll have placed top 5 at a national level show."

For the record, Brittany stands 5-4.5 tall, hits the stage at 135 pounds and weighs 145 pounds off-season.

Brittany on stage competing in Emerald Cup 2017 YouTube



Rachael Chiarelli - Bikini A Champion

After making her stage debut at the 2016 Emerald Cup, Rachael went on to win Bikini A at the 2017 Emerald Cup. Three short weeks after this victory, she earned her pro card.

"I had the privilege of competing for and earning my pro card at Jr USA's in Charleston, South Carolina May 20, 2017. Congrats to my Coach Lauren Irick - IFBB Bikini Pro on this one as well. Certainly could not have done it without her."

Rachael's Emerald Cup highlight:

"So many amazing highlights from this show! The best part of every show for me is always hugging my husband after stepping off stage! I was blessed to have quite a bit of family support with Bellevue being so close to my hometown, which was really nice.

"I loved my moments preparing for stage with my makeup artist Amber Lobao, who said an incredible prayer for me! I was blessed with the opportunity to meet some of my Team Hexx friends in person and even share the stage with them at different points in the show, which ended up making things super fun! I made a couple connections with some of these girls that I know will be lifelong.

"Lastly, I have to say it was a great feeling to go from not placing at all in 2016 with it being my first show, to winning my class a year later!"

For the record, Rachael is 5-1 3/4 tall; weighs 110 lbs for competition; weighs 120 to 125 lbs off-season; and her age is 30.


Kat Marthaller - Bikini

No surprise that Kat Marthaller, at 5-10, found herself in the tallest bikini class, Bikini H. Starting prep at 165 pounds, she hit the stage at 145 pounds for her Emerald Cup debut and placed sixth.

"A highlight for me was the fact that I got the guts to get on stage again. I was so proud that I had made it to the Emerald Cup! I also was so thankful my coach, teammates and friends were able to travel from Boise to attend the show! I am excited to bring another, improved package next year!"

Follow Kat on Instagram

Kat Marthaller - Bikini

Jennie Bowden - Physique B 

For Jennie, 2017 marked her Emerald Cup debut. She started her competitive career in May 2014.

"Having the opportunity to be a part of a prestigious competition is a memory in itself. I enjoyed meeting new people who share the passions in life and understand what you went through to get to where you are. There are so many people you meet who are feeling the same nerves you are; it's a calming realization that you’re not alone.

"Also, the amount of friends from my gym who came to support me was humbling; I'm extremely thankful to have them in my life. They inspire me to continue to do my best everyday."

For the record, Jennie is 33; stands 5-4; competes between 125 lbs to 130 lbs; and weighs 140 lbs to 145 lbs off-season.

See Jennie on stage at Emerald Cup 2017 here YouTube

Follow Jennie on Instagram  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Kelsey DeCamillis - Physique Competitor Debut

Physique competitor Kelsey DeCamillis stepped on stage for the first time at the 2016 Popeye's Fall Classic. Following is a brief recap of her contest experience.

Best advice for someone prepping for a first show?

Make sure you hire a great coach! Do your research because I think health and wellness come first above all else. It is imperative to find a knowledgeable and supportive coach who has your back 100%. I'm so grateful to have an excellent coach guiding me with his expertise - Darren Toma of Custom Built Training. His wife Lara has been an incredible support as well with posing and stage presence.  

Be sure to keep supportive friends and family close by and surround yourself with good vibes only. Expect many obstacles and be able to critically think and problem solve as issues come up. Be sure to have a post-show plan in place as well. Reach out to fellow competitors and talk to athletes who have been through it before. 

With knowing that you're pushing your body and mind to the max, there will be some days that will feel great and other days may not. There is a huge psychological component to this and being mentally prepared is key. The accomplishment in the end is all worth it, so keep grinding and push yourself to the limit. Always be kind to yourself and no matter what, enjoy the process and have fun!

Kelsey DeCamillis

What were you feeling and thinking the first time you hit the stage? Any feelings of nervousness?

I definitely experienced some anxious feelings but also was very excited! Taking some deep breaths beforehand helped calm me down and as I walked out to the stage, I kept reminding myself to hit the poses and transitions right, just like in practice, and keep smiling of course! As soon as I got out there and started posing, it felt great and the nerves went away. The whole day and experience was amazing. I can't wait to do it again.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

I don't think so. It definitely crossed my mind that I need to be in a different job if I do another contest prep, however it wasn't feasible to make a job change during prep. The way things were set up with where I was working at the time, and also the immense amount of commuting I was doing just made everything extra challenging and exhausting. I was so determined though it didn't matter and I just did everything I could to execute the prep as best I could. I really feel like I did the best that I could.

What do you feel you need to focus on for your next show?

I would like to work more on perfecting my posing, routine, and stage presence. For physique goals, I would like to see my upper body better balanced with my lower body and also to improve on overall conditioning. I want to also put a lot more effort into recovery from training sessions.

Kelsey DeCamillis

Biggest challenge of the entire process?

Commuting three plus hours a day on transit, dealing with daily commentary from people at work and people on transit, and most days were 18-20 hours long. Pushing through sleep deprivation and exhaustion was really difficult and concerning as I knew stress levels needed to be kept low as well as keeping on top of recovery. It was incredibly tough getting everywhere I needed to be with the way things were set up but there was no other way around it and I was so determined to do my absolute best for my first show.

What show is next on your agenda?

BC Championships at the Vancouver Pro/Am & Expo - July 8-9, 2017.

Where can we see more of you or follow you?



If you're in the Vancouver area, come visit me at xFuel in Kitsilano to say hello!

Click here to see our Kelsey photo montage on YouTube.

Click here to read our previous feature on Kelsey. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Figure Phenom Shay Niessen

You say you've never heard of Shay Niessen? 

Then it's time you found out who this figure phenom is. 

The 24-year-old started in bikini, but transitioned to figure. On March 18, 2017, Shay made her figure debut. Not only did she step on stage as a first-time figure competitor, but to add a huge exclamation mark, she walked away as the figure overall champ. That's how you make a debut. 

Shay Niessen - Figure Overall Champ

What are your stats?

Just under 5-6 tall; competition weight 140-145 lbs; off-season heaviest I've ever held was around 163 lbs. However, more consistent off season I'm usually around 155 lbs.

Why did you move from bikini to figure? 

I started in bikini because I was new to the fitness industry – more specifically the competing industry. I did tons and tons of research, but I was still a "baby" and had a lot to learn. My shoulders grew very fast and I always had figure in my heart from day one. 

Bikini is beautiful, but if you know me in person, I don't have the persona. I'm kind of a tomboy at heart, so I really had to practice the twists and turns and hair flips and such (haha). The muscle required for figure always captured my interest. I find it so incredible and there are so many figure physiques I look up to. 

With that being said, I took around 2.5 years off to grow, grow, grow. I became really interested in powerlifting and focused on eating and lifts for a long time. I also took the time off to focus on building a life and career. Competing takes up a lot of time in your life AND MONEY. I said the next time I compete I want to be 200% mentally and financially ready. 

How old were you when you did your first show? 

I believe I was 21-22 years 

"I remember always liking photos of tiny, tiny models until I came across a female bodybuilder on Instagram and I was in awe."

How did you get started lifting weights and training? 

I was always interested in nutrition. I would use all my free time at university spending hours and hours researching what foods were good for the body and the benefits of each. I would experiment with different "diets" etc. However, I was in university and of course I partied etc. and lived quite an unhealthy lifestyle. 

One day I was really tired of it. I remember always liking photos of tiny, tiny models until I came across a female bodybuilder on Instagram and I was in awe. I couldn't believe someone could look like that. I remember being like, "Damn, this girl is not superhuman which means I can do that too."

I started YouTubing different bodybuilders and how they ate etc. and it all stemmed from there and I never looked back.

What is your profession?

I work for a builder/developer for condos and homes. I do everything AFTER sales from lawyers, to final closing, PDI’s, dealing with trades, etc. 

What's one thing about you that people would be surprised to know? 

I made a bet with my friends that I could be a raw vegan for three months and I did it. No cooking food. Nothing. Just fruit and veggies. Twenty plus bananas a day sometimes (LOL). 

What are your goals as a competitor?

My only goal is to keep getting better and better for myself. Bring an entirely new package when I decide to go on stage. I want to BRING something to the stage each time I go on.

"Goofy. As. F*ck."

What three words best describe you?

Goofy. As. F*ck.

Favorite curse word?

F*ck for sure. See comment above

Were you athletic growing up? 

Yes! Used to compete in 100m sprints, basketball, volleyball, soccer and dance. 

What do you think is the strongest part of your physique?

I won't lie. I love my delts. 

Favorite female competitor and why? 

Oh boy, there are literally so many I look up to. 

What's your favorite cheat meal? 

Sushi, followed by Menchie's stacked with white chocolate, peanut butter, Reese's, Oreos, and Nanaimo bars (LOL).

If you could look into the future and see yourself at age 50, what would you want to see?

I want to be one of those badass healthy moms who get up at 5 AM for a jog and come home to slay the kitchen and prepare a healthy breakfast for my beautiful kids and husband and my 2-3 dogs… and then also comes home and drinks red wine and eats pizza in bed.

If you had an all expenses paid weekend trip to anywhere in the world, where do you go and who do you take with you?

I want to travel EVERYWHERE.

Find Shay on social media and follow her journey. 



Twitter: @shayniessen


Shay Niessen - Great Biceps!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Young Gunz - Sarah Sangha, Figure Competitor

Figure competitor Sarah, competing for just the first time at the 2017 Leigh Brandt Muscle Classic, finished third in her class. 

Let's start with your stats.

I'm 20; 5-4 3/4 height; I weighed 120 pounds for my show and about 135 pounds off-season.

What was the experience like hitting the stage for your first show?

It was really nerve wracking. The whole time I was up there it felt like my heart was just racing, but it was amazing.

"I liked being big and muscular and being able to intimidate people, so hanging out in the gym kind of kept that going."

How long have you been training and what motivated you to start?

A couple of years ago for bodybuilding, but not for show purposes. For show purposes it was a few months ago.

This all started because I was kind of one of the boys. I liked being big and muscular and being able to intimidate people, so hanging out in the gym kind of kept that going.

What was the most challenging part of training for your first show?

I think the most challenging part of my first show was just getting over the nerves of getting up there. I enjoyed the diet and I love training so that was easy for me. 

Were you athletic growing up? 

I grew up on a farm, so I was extremely athletic. Always out with the dogs, chasing animals, doing whatever. I played some sports in high school, but other than that, I wasn't one of those soccer kids. 

What is your profession or job?

I work for Fuel, a supplement company. As well I work in a pub, so a very busy girl. 

Sarah Sangha

Favorite female competitor and why? 

Nicole Wilkins and Dana Lynn Bailey. They're both really motivating and strong women and gorgeous and they always do their best at everything. 

What three words best describe you?

I'm extremely outgoing. I can be really funny but most of the time awkward. And I'm just fun to be around.

Best advice for someone training for a first show?

Do it for you. Enjoy the road and you're going to learn a lot about yourself. 

Find Sarah Sangha on social media.




Sarah Sangha

Monday, February 27, 2017

Lauren Brigham - Figure Competitor

What are your stats?

Age 29; 5’6" tall; competition weight 130-135 lbs; off-season 145-150 lbs.

What is your profession?

Personal trainer, sports massage therapist.

How did you get started lifting weights and training? 

My middle school nickname was chunky monkey which gave me the motivation to lose weight and become athletic. I started personal training at 18 and became intrigued with the competitive lifestyle. I competed in my first show when I was 24 and I've been hooked since.  

Lauren Brigham

What inspired you to start competing?

I loved the dedication and purpose of the competitive lifestyle. I wanted to find that purpose and dedication for myself.  

Were you athletic growing up? 

I played soccer and ran track in high school, but really became interested in health and fitness in college. 

What are your goals as a competitor?

To better myself and improve every season. To feel proud and accomplished each year on stage. 

What's your favorite cheat meal? 

I absolutely love sushi! 

Lauren Brigham

What's one thing about you that people would be surprised to know? 

I am obsessed with mini pigs. I just adore pigs so much - no idea why. 

Favorite female competitor?

Nicole Wilkins. She is simply an amazing and beautiful competitor. 

Your home is burning down. Family and pets have all made it to safety. You have one chance to go back in and save just one item. What do you save?

I would save my huggie. It's a little pillow I just can't sleep without 

What three words best describe you?

Passionate, genuine and hardworking. 

Where can we see more of you?



Snapchat: @lebrigs

Check out Lauren's YouTube video. 

Lauren Brigham

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Adriana Gee, Elbows, Air Canada and The Olympia

Nothing like being trapped in a window seat surrounded by people that you really don't want to be around. Behind me, a woman seemingly obsessed with seeing how deep she could bury the point of her shoe into the bottom of my seat. Resting in my lap, the person in front of me, reclined back as far as possible, all the while ensuring the futility of working on my laptop. But that wasn't the worst of it.

Riding shotgun beside me, a somewhat disheveled young woman who clearly had too much Vegas and not enough sleep. But even then, how bothersome could she be, fast asleep as she was?

The answer to my question came quickly in the form of a sharp elbow delivered in a manner that would make her the envy of most any NHL power forward patrolling the wing on one of thirty teams. In rapid succession, more elbows came flying my way.

Was she really sleeping, or just carving out some extra space for herself? Fast forward to the final leg of the trip, closing in on Vancouver, and a groggy voice comes from my right: "Can I borrow your pen?" On the heels of that, a sheepish apology acknowledging that perhaps a few elbows might have been thrown my way. From there, we started to converse. In short order and to my surprise, it turned out that my seatmate happened to be a Facebook friend. And no mere mortal Facebook friend either. When not throwing elbows, my seatmate turned out to be none other than Vancouver fitness star Adriana Gee, first-place Arnold amateur winner, Bikini E, at the prestigious 2016 Arnold Classic.

You worked a booth for the Olympia weekend. What's the name of your company and how long have you been with them?

I'm sponsored by the supplement GAT Sport and I've been with them for about two years. Busiest day for you, Friday or Saturday?

I would say Saturday, because Sadik came off of the stage and straight to the booth so people had been waiting for him. As well, Big Ramy, who was also competing that day. But our booth is always super packed because we also have Jon "Bones" Jones, Janet Layug, Rebecca Ferrari, as well as Zac Aynsley, who was visiting Las Vegas for the first time since he's from New Castle, UK. Favorite moments or highlights from your weekend?

Probably when Sadik came to the team and we were all so happy and proud of him since he switched categories this year (from physique to classic physique) and he did phenomenally! We took a team picture and we all were together and surrounding one another.

Our team has a very close bond with one another, so I believe the highlight of the trip was actually just BEING THERE! GAT has many brand ambassadors around their own country, but the fact that they fly me out all the way from Canada for all the large expos really makes me feel special, of value, and just grateful to be a part of such a supportive and loving group of people.

I miss them always since we're so far, but every time we get together, it's like we've never been separated and we start right where we left off. Did you meet any industry celebrities?

Yes I met many fitness celebrities over the weekend! Too many to name and to be honest, I always see them at every Expo, so the novelty of seeing "celebrities" is running thin, whereas now they are just like any everyday person in my field (and I mean that in the utmost respect).

It was pretty cool to see Dwayne Johnson there though! I didn't get to meet him personally, but I know he hit the hearts of many spectators. Favorite thing to do/see in Las Vegas?

Talk to all the people. I'm a people person and I love connecting with our fans and followers at any moment, whether it's at the booth or when you're simply walking through a hotel and someone comments on your physique, which leads to engaging conversations about fitness, nutrition, and overall wellness.

We rise by uplifting others, right, so the times that I get to have personal conversations and give advice really makes my heart warm.

My favourite activity would be to hit the pool parties!!! Olympia weekend is filled with the best physiques in the world, so when you're at a pool party, you see so much hard work and dedication in the form of the human body. Also super cool swimwear and fashion and everyone is letting loose and having a good time! Your best advice to survive Olympia weekend in Vegas?

Take it slooowww. It's a three-day event starting on Thursday, ending Saturday, but people usually stay and enjoy the Sunday since no one is working anymore. If you go too hard on Thursday or Friday, then you're setting yourself up for a short-lived vacation.

I actually go to the gym and try to get an early night's rest (if I can) Thursday and Friday because I can not even fathom the thought of being hungover all day at the booth. I save my partying for Saturday night and Sunday.

And of course, stay hydrated! Remember, you're staying in a desert! When is your next show?
The 2017 Arnold March 2-5. I'm currently going through a building phase and will continue to build until late December/early January and then start my 10-week prep. Where can we see more of you? Instagram Facebook

Also my website - you can go on it and sign up for my free 6 week #MyBestBody Challenge starting this October!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Young Gunz - Kelsey DeCamillis

This is the second in our series of "Young Gunz" features where we shine the spotlight on up and coming competitors. At 31, you might not think of Kelsey DeCamillis as part of the Young Gunz posse, but as she's never competed before, she makes for a great fit. 

What are your stats?

Age 31, height 5-5, current weight around 151 pounds. Stage weight is hard to say! Haven't had a specific goal weight but my guess is in the lower end of the 140's.

What was your weight when you were throwing?

Averaged about 180 pounds and 195 pounds at my heaviest.

Can you give a brief chronology of your athletic history leading up to the present?

As a kid I tried gymnastics/trampoline, and even took a few taekwondo lessons, skied every winter up until about age 11 and also played some softball. Throughout all those years mainly I did a lot of ice skating and figure skated until I transitioned over to hockey. I played from ages 12-17 and my position was defense. 

Throughout high school along with hockey I played volleyball, basketball, field hockey, (I even did one season of cross country running just to stay in shape for my upcoming senior year high school season of track & field), and of course the throwing events in track and field (javelin, discus, shot put). I started with javelin when my PE teacher saw me throw a volleyball across the entire gym and encouraged me to try javelin. 

That progressed into throwing in all three events and I recognized my strongest potential in the shot put for after high school. I then threw shot put for the Vancouver Thunderbirds and the UBC Track and Field Team from 2003-2005. In 2005, I started transitioning over to hammer throw and moved to Kamloops to train there.

Kelsey DeCamillis - Physique Competitor

How and why did you make the transition from throwing to physique?

Competing in physique has meant reclaiming my identity as an athlete. Training gives me the most life. I feel alive when I lift and train.

I moved to Kamloops in 2005 to begin training in the hammer throw under a world renowned coach with a group of other elite throwers. At the time, I was really struggling with some things going on in my personal life, and the circumstances ended what was just the beginning of a very promising throwing career. I barely set foot in a gym for about 2 years after that and I continued to struggle personally. 

Looking back now, although it would have taken some years of training, there is no doubt in my mind that I could have developed into a world class hammer thrower given my body type and gift of brute strength and athletic ability. 

I moved back to Vancouver in 2007 to work and try and figure out my life and spent my entire 20's trying to go back to school to finish my degree, and then after getting rejected from applying to nursing school in 2014 and still just very unhappy, I asked myself if I had it my way, if I could be doing anything right now, what would it be? My answer was that I'd still be throwing and training.

Right then and there I decided to start training full time on my own, learn as much as I can and see how my body responds now and then see about competing in a bodybuilding show. I did as much as I could on my own for two full years before hiring a coach to help take me to the next level and guide me through my first physique competition, and here I am.

How different is training for physique versus training as a thrower?

Physique training is different in that it is less sport-specific and involves targeting every muscle group and using high volume, heavy lifting and techniques to build and sculpt while creating and maintaining balance and symmetry for an aesthetically pleasing look. I love how physique training includes the powerlifts for continuing to build and maintain my foundation of muscle and strength.

Training as a thrower was more sport-specific and incorporated more power movements with lifting and focused more on strength training, not so much isolating and sculpting movements, and with training phases changing as the outdoor competitive season approached each year, and definitely no cardio!! 

There would be a variety of training that included time spent in the weight room, but also lots of technical work in the circle, tempo runs and sprints, Olympic lifting as well as powerlifting, plyos for both upper and lower body, and overall just centered around a lot of power and speed training.

Does your throwing background perhaps make you a bit stronger than most physique competitors?

I’m not sure that I'm necessarily stronger because of throwing, but deciding to carry on with throwing allowed me to discover my strength in the weight room. I think I do possess above average strength and was born with this gift. 

I discovered how strong I was when I started formal track and field training for shot put where we learned all the big lifts, including all the powerlifting movements and the Olympic lifts. The first time I did a 1RM test for the squat, I squatted 265 pounds. That would have been about 6 weeks or less of formal training at the time in the fall of 2003. Throwing certainly helped build my foundation of muscle and strength.

What are some of your best lifts?

I’m not sure what my current 1 rep maxes are for these lifts as I've been doing high volume work with these big lifts:

Conventional deadlifts: 225-245 lbs x 12-15 reps

Sumo deadlifts: 275 lbs x 12-15 reps

Squats: 225 x 10-12 (last time I tried a one rep max was 275 lbs)

Bench: 135 x 10-12 (last time I tried a one rep max was 175 lbs)

My favorite and best lifts are deadlifts because I can move the most weight on these lifts and there is something so satisfying about moving heavy weight.

What's a typical day like for you?

Right now in contest prep, I'm up at 4 am to get to the gym for a 5 am cardio party, then I work 8-4 at UBC, and then head back to the gym after work for another few hours of training and typically home late. On weekends, I'm in the gym twice a day still and in between training sessions is where I find the time to cook and meal prep and take care of other errands etc. The days are long and sometimes 20 hours a day for days in a row, but nothing good comes easy and I'm so excited to see how everything turns out for my first show.

What are your goals as a competitor?

The ultimate goal from this first show is to qualify for BC Provincials, then qualify for nationals, and then see how far I can take this. I believe I found the right coach to help guide me there: Darren Toma – Custombuilt Training.

I always thought I'd be a professional athlete even as a young kid and it was always the sport that I was excelling at the time: first figure skating, then I thought maybe hockey, and then settled nicely into track and field. Of course hammer throw was going to be my best chance at that. However, things did not work out the way I thought and that has always been a huge sore spot in my life. I have unfinished athletic business, so here I am and I'm going for it, full force.

What do you think is the strongest part of your physique?

I love my back. I also think my legs are a very strong part of my physique.

Kelsey DeCamillis - Impressive back!

What inspired you to start competing?

I got back into training full time for the sake of saving myself from myself. Also, that time in my life when track ended abruptly has always been a sore spot in my life and I thought if certain things didn't happen, I probably could have made it pretty far in hammer throw. For me, having unfinished athletic business has inspired me to give myself a second chance at fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a professional athlete.

It has been a thought to do a bodybuilding show for at least four years now, when my interest was sparked to do so by a co-worker at the time who was prepping for a figure show. That's when I started considering this as something I could excel at now.

What is your profession?

I currently work for Vancouver Coastal Health at UBC Hospital as an administrative secretary for a provincial psychiatric program. I also recently earned my personal training certification as I think a fitness related career is the direction I'm headed. I just love being in the gym; it's my happy place.

What's one thing about you that people would be surprised to know?

I don't own or use a hair brush! But maybe I should…

If you were on American Idol, what would you sing?

I have no idea. I'd probably freak out and just flex.

Your home is burning down. Family and pets have all made it to safety. You have one chance to go back in and save just one item. What do you save?

An opal necklace.

What three words best describe you?

Strong, sensitive, funny.

Where can we see more of you?

Kelsey slideshow on YouTube


I'm on Facebook as well. I think everyone will be seeing a lot more of me after this competition.