Monday, May 21, 2007

Athlete defines perfection

Courtney Rowsell won the provincial overall figure title this past weekend in St. John’s at the Newfoundland and Labrador Bodybuilding Association Championships. The win gives her the right to represent the province at the national championships in June.
Provincial win sends competitor to nationals

David Newell
The Advertiser

A Leading Tickles native is making her mark on the growing sport of fitness in the province.

Courtney Rowsell currently lives in St. John’s, where she works as a personal trainer and owns and operates a nutritional catering company with her partner, fitness guru Andrew Pratt.

Rowsell won the overall figure title in the Newfoundland and Labrador Bodybulding Association’s provincial championships, held in St. John’s last week. The win comes on the heels of her first place finish in the Heavyweights Classic bodybuilding competition last fall.

Her most recent win qualifies Rowsell to take part in the upcoming national championships to be held in Edmonton, Alta. on June 30.

She said there was a lot of work involved to make the changes necessary in her physique to progress from the 2006 competition.

“Last time I was a bit too muscular,” she said. “I thought I needed more muscle before the last show but the judges did not – they thought I could have been a bodybuilder.”

For Rowsell to achieve a more feminine look for the NLBBA show last week, it was necessary for her to sculpt her body by adapting her diet and workouts drastically.

Instead of consuming the carbohydrates she did in preparation for her first show, Rowsell cut her food intake significantly.

“I cut my portion size down because I really tried to shrink my stomach,” she said. “I ate every hour and a half, maybe two to three to a maximum of four ounces of food. It was protein and a combination of vegetables. I cut carbs out about 10 weeks out. I only had a little carb in the morning and post workout.”

Other changes Rowsell made involved differences in her training regime.

“I didn’t train my abdominals as much this time and did not train obliques at all,” she said. “I didn’t train the front. I did cardio like mad – last time I didn’t do cardio. My metabolism is really good, so that is why I could get away with eating so much last time.”

Rowsell did cardo workouts for 45 minutes five or six times a week and increased her time on the treadmill to 60 minutes daily for the eight weeks immediately prior to the event.

“I really busted my chops to get rid of any excess water or fat I may have had on,” she said.

She said the structure that the training regiment adds to her everyday life is beneficial in many aspects in addition to her performance on stage.

“It impacts all aspects of my life,” Rowsell said. “I got up, went to cardio, made breakfast, put the laundry in – it was part of my whole day. I cooked my meals then in the morning for the day, had clients in the afternoon, trained myself in the afternoon, came back for more clients and then we had our company, Personal Best Meals. It was a nice smooth, structured regime. The structure made me stronger and more successful in all aspects of my life.”

The sport of figure, while relatively new, is sometimes described by naysayers as a beauty contest.

Rowsell is quick to point out that the women involved are definitely athletes in every sense of the word and hopes the perception of the sport will change with time.

“Figure has to be treated just as much a sport as any other division within the bodybuilding community,” she said. “You see some of the girls here who have been training for months. Pilates and yoga are not going to get you on stage. You do have to train and be disciplined like any other athlete in any other sport. You make a lot of sacrifices and put your body through a lot. If you want to be a serious competitor and a serious athlete you do have to train very intensely, just like any other sport.”

Rowsell added that although the $1, 000 suits, expertly coiffed hair and manicured nails may give the impression the show involves modelling, the competitors are strong and fit women who must train intensely to achieve their goals.

The Canadian national competition will also be attended by fitness athlete Jill Mackey of St. John’s.

The two competitors are currently seeking sponsorship for their trip and would welcome inquiries at or through any member of the NLBBA

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