She was up before 5 a.m. most days and changed her complete diet for months. All for sport.
That’s the commitment Pam Duffett made to compete in her first bodybuilding competition.
The goal was to build additional muscle on her relatively small frame, and develop the best physique possible for the 2019 Atlantic Classic Bodybuilding, Physique, Figure and Bikini Championships, held at the Casino New Brunswick in Moncton last month.
Although Duffett has been doing weight training for three years, she only became interested in “trying a new hobby” last October.
To be able to compete in this type of event, competitors need strong will and dedication to succeed, as It’s not only the demands of the physical training that is required, but also the discipline required to make sure they are not only eating the correct type of foods required, but also at the right time of the day.
“I was up at 4:45 a.m. most days, and by the end of my preparations I was spending at least three hours per day in the gym by the time you get your weights, cardio and posing done,” Duffett said.
For the first 16 weeks, Duffett had to focus on eating significantly more food in order to build muscle. This journey took a lot of will power, and the discipline to say “no” when tempted to steer off track.
“So many times, I’d be offered something to eat and they would say, ‘Well, it’s only one bite,’” she said. “What people don’t understand about this sport is you have to give 100 per cent every day, every workout, every cardio session because if you only give 99 per cent the girl standing next to you will beat you.”
Adding an even greater challenge was that her coach lived in a different province. Unlike the majority of her fellow competitors who would have been accompanied at their training sessions, Duffett and coach would communicate from Labrador to Fredericton, N.B., on Facetime video calls.
“Seeing as I was at the gym pretty early in the morning, there was never many people in there at the same time as me so it didn’t feel that weird to be conducting the session via Facetime,” said Duffett.
Competing in the Bikini Novice Division against 17 women, she placed fifth. In the Bikini E Division, which included women who have competed in multiple competitions prior to this one, Duffett placed fourth of eight competitors.
“I was so nervous to step out on stage, but as soon as I did it just felt natural,” she said. “I physically felt so ready as I had given it my all from day one and I definitely think I showed that confidence on stage.”
Duffett promised herself that if she finished in the top 5 she would compete again and she’s already thinking about her next challenge: nationals. In order to get there, she will need to finish in the Top 3 of her next Atlantic competition.
Given the poise and determination she’s shown as a relatively newcomer, she’s already on her way.
At the time of the competition, Duffett’s body fat percentage was down to six per cent and she weighed 115 pounds. Given the strict dieting needed for the championships, you may be curious what the celebratory post-competition meal would be. If you guess shrimp alfredo, with plenty of carbs, you are right.