By SCOTT STEPHENSON / The Observer
Sports - Friday, June 29, 2007 @ 16:00
Sarnia bodybuilder Maria Mikola has a tough decision to make.
Does she compete in the Canadian or World bodybuilding championships. Or both?
The 39-year-old former gymnast/turned bodybuilder recently qualified to compete at both events, and is weighing her options.
Last week, Mikola competed in the Ontario Physique Association's Ontario Championships in London, where she finished second in the Masters division and third in heavyweight to qualify for the Canadian championships in Edmonton, Alta., on Aug. 18.
However, the week prior, Mikola participated at the Canadian world qualification competition held in Toronto, placing second in the Masters division, while winning the heavyweight competition. The top lightweight and top heavyweight qualified for the trip to Spain in September for the World Championships.
It's the timing of the two championship events that concerns the five-foot-two, 125 pound Mikola.
Being just one month apart, Mikola said it will be difficult to adapt her training schedule to peak at just the right time for both competitions.
As a result, she's leaning towards the trip to the World Championships.
"This one is paid," Mikola said, referring to the trip to Spain for the worlds championships.
If she chose to compete in the Canadian Championships in Edmonton she'd have to pay her own way.
"That's why I'm debating on if I should do the Canadians or not," said Mikola. "I should be focusing more than worlds than doing the Canadian and kind of messing my training up a little bit there."
Besides, her qualification to compete in the Canadian championships is good for two years, 2007 and 2008.
"I'm not too sure, but I think I should concentrate on the worlds right now seeing as I'm qualified for the Canadians I can always do that next year," she said.
Later adding, "if I didn't qualify for the worlds I would have done the Canadians for sure."
This year will mark the second time Mikola has competed in a World Championships having represented Canada in 2003, also in Spain.
So far this year, Mikola has competed in a total of four bodybuilding competitions.
In addition to qualifying for the Canadian and world championships, Mikola made her professional bodybuilding debut at the end of March with the World Natural Sports Organization, finishing first.
In April, Mikola travelled to Buffalo, New York, and competed in a International Natural Body Building Federation event.
"This one I won the Masters class. I won the heavyweight class. The overall, and I won a WNBF (World Natural Bodybuilding Federation) pro card."
In Buffalo, Mikola also won the women's side of a bench press contest held during the intermission.
"I benched pressed 65 pounds for 62 reps. The guy just said give me the bar and I said 'OK'," she said with a giggle.
"The next highest was 45 or something like that and I could have kept going," she added. "You basically did half your body weigh as many times as you could."
Looking ahead to competing on the world stage, Mikola likes her chances.
"These last two competitions I've got a lot of positive comments. Judges were saying I have the physique for bodybuilding and that I had that X shape they are looking for," she said. "They were really impressed so that's got me excited."
Mikola, who works as a professional trainer through her own M2 Fitness and Nutrition, trains at both Iron Works Gym and Sharky's Athletic Club