Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Looking to build on her success; Bodybuilder set to compete at national level

Harrison SmithLisa Jemison

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - 12:00

Local news - For someone who got into bodybuilding "just to get into shape," Kim Birtch has more than succeeded.

Since 2000, Birtch has competed in bodybuilding competitions at the regional, provincial and national levels. Last month, she placed first in her weight class, and overall, in the Ontario Provincial Championships.

She also has a website on which she sells her own workout DVDs, and recently landed a small part in a movie, playing the role of a female bodybuilder. She's sponsored by Better Bodies Nutrition, who provide her with the necessary supplements as well as workout clothing. And she doesn't plan to stop anytime soon.

"I want to take it as far as I can go," said the 30-year-old Kingston resident.

Next month, she's headed to Edmonton to compete in the Canadian Bodybuilding Federation national championships.

"I'd like to win. Definitely, I want to place in the top five," she said.

And if she comes into the competition as she should, Birtch added, winning is a realistic goal.

"It all comes down to the day of the competition," Birtch said. "It doesn't matter how you look the day before or week before."

In the weeks before competing, every day, twice a day, Birtch does cardio workouts - often at the YMCA, where she's been training "since the beginning" - to tone up for the competition.

It's the days and hours just before the competition, however, that determine a successful performance.

Bodybuilders have to follow a strict diet in order to best accentuate their muscles on the day of the show. Birtch starts her pre-contest diet about 20 weeks before each competition, consuming a lot of protein in the days leading up to the show. She also carefully regulates her liquid intake in the days and hours before the competition.

Even being off by an hour, Birtch said, can affect the way you look going into the show.

A bodybuilding competition consists of two parts, she explained. The first half is the compulsory show, in which contestants hold five different poses in succession to show off almost every muscle set in the body.

Judges look for muscle composition, symmetry and overall conditioning, Birtch said. It can be tiring, she added, because, depending on how many women are competing in each class, you may have to hold your poses for up to 40 minutes while the judges study each contestant.

"The evening event is more for the audience," Birtch said. Each contestant prepares a 60- to 90-second routine in which they pose to music.

"I've done [that part] all on my own," she said. She picks her own music, and choreographs the poses.

For the provincial competition last month, Birtch had a friend who's a DJ remix S.O.S. by Rihanna for her.

"I won my weight class, and won overall in the comparison round," Birtch said. She competed in the heavyweight division.

"I compete in a tough class, against really good bodybuilders," she added.

"To beat them was fabulous."


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