EMPOWERED and more motivated than ever, three Southland athletes have walked away winners from the International Natural Bodybuilding Association Nationals.
Held in Hamilton last month, Toni Eade, Lisa Maxwell and Janet Hodgetts, all of Invercargill, took the stage after more than a year of preparation.
Eade, who won the national title for the figure class, said everyone from Southland placed incredibly well.
“It’s just cool to be around all the competitors because everyone just vibes off each other.”
She also won the figure tall class and the physique tall class on the day.
“Being on stage again just reminds you of what it’s all like.”
Maxwell said being 51 years old with three children and a job was no barrier to her success.
“Being a chick in the gym is empowering. It’s not just about getting up on stage and flexing, it’s also just great to be around like-minded people who are all doing the same thing.”
The relationships she forged through the sport were one of the biggest appeals, she said.
“Every time is quite different, but there’s a preconceived idea that it’s really catty and it’s so not. Because you’re all vulnerable, you’re all wearing next-to-nothing and everyone’s sort of made it.”
At this year’s nationals, which was her sixth show, she brought home first place in the novice bodybuilding class, and second place in the open figure short, novice figure short and novice physique classes.
With an aim to “inspire”, she learned a Maori taiaha routine to combine with her poses.
“I wanted to put some Maori into the sport. It was centred around ti rakau, which is basically a short stick, so I used those to showcase some of our heritage.”
Hodgetts, who also placed well at the competition, said bodybuilding aided in her rehabilitation after she was hit by a car 20 years ago.
“It was life changing in terms of the injuries I sustained. My right tibia was crushed and my spine was put out – the weight training through bodybuilding has straightened my spine.”
After winning first place in the physique 40-plus and figure open short classes, she then took home second place in the physique open short and figure 40-plus classes.
Since starting bodybuilding her quality of life had improved immensely, she said.
“I can do things now doctors told me I couldn’t do.”
Hodgetts said she would encourage anyone who was interested in getting into bodybuilding to contact trainer Judy Duggan.
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