Tuesday, March 31, 2009

56 Year Old Fitness Pro, Wendy Ida, Wins First Place in 2009 NPC San Diego Bodybuilding, Figure and Bikini Championship

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) March 31, 2009 -- Professional trainer Wendy Ida, www.wendyida.com, was the winner of three top trophies in the 2009 NPC San Diego Bodybuilding, Figure and Bikini Championship on March 21, 2009. Ida won a First Place Gold Medal in the Women 45-plus category, Second Place in the Women, 35-plus category, and Second Place in the Women, Unlimited category.

Wendy Ida Wins the Gold at NPC Bodybuilding Championship
Wendy Ida Wins the Gold at NPC Bodybuilding Championship

Working out is my cup of coffee in the morning
Take Back Your Life: Wendy Ida's 'No Nonsense' Approach to Health, Fitness and Looking Good Naked!
Known as the "Fitness Warrior," Wendy Ida is the owner of Wendy Ida Fitness in Los Angeles, CA. Ida is a Nationally Certified Master Trainer and a nutrition specialist who specializes in helping women over age 40 to achieve fitness results. She had never competed in a bodybuilding event before the NPC San Diego Championship.

Ida, who is 56, did not begin her own fitness training until after age 40. When her passion for fitness transformed her body, career and life, she thought it only natural to take her skills to the next level and help other women to achieve their own health and fitness goals.

"Working out is my cup of coffee in the morning," says Wendy Ida. "I love how it makes my body smile. But my greatest reward is seeing how I inspire others to step up their game. It's a wonderful thing to see how the power of fitness can set you free."

Ida is the author of the upcoming book, "Take Back Your Life: Wendy Ida's 'No Nonsense' Approach to Health, Fitness and Looking Good Naked!" Her book is endorsed by Cindy Popp, Producer and Director of CBS's "Bold & the Beautiful;" Actress/Recording Artist, Eloise Laws; Professor Sidney E. Morse, Publisher, "In the Black" California Magazine; Tina Treadwell, Entertainment Producer & President of Treadwell Entertainment; Rickey Ivie, Esq., Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt and others.

Wendy Ida is nationally certified by ACE (American Council on Exercise) and NCEP (National College for Exercise Professionals). For two seasons, Ida was the assistant Strength and Conditioning coach for the LA Avengers football team.

The National Physique Committee (NPC) is a top organization for amateur bodybuilders in the United States.

To get 10 Free Tips from "Take Back Your Life: Wendy Ida's 'No Nonsense' Approach to Health, Fitness and Looking Good Naked!" visit http://wendyida.com/text-news.html.

Wendy Ida Wins the Gold at NPC Bodybuilding Championship

Boulder County women get toned for bodybuilding competition


Ann Michele, 50, works out at the Longmont YMCA. She will compete in a bodybuilding competition in Boulder on Saturday.

Would you do this?

Weigh and measure six to eight meals a day, consisting mostly of egg whites, chicken or fish, protein shakes and veggies. Or subject yourself to grueling workouts every day, carefully calibrating your food before and after.

Would you give up happy hours with your friends or nice dinners out?

You would if you wanted to compete as a bodybuilder.

"It transfers into a complete lifestyle change," says Ann Michele, of Longmont, of her 16 weeks of training to get ready for competition at the Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure Championships that will be held Saturday in Boulder. "You're measuring and figuring out every meal. There's a science of what you eat and when you eat it. You're constantly fueling your body with clean food."

Michele, a 50-year-old personal trainer, used her birthday as a motivator. She had competed around age 40 and a couple of years later. The former Boulder High cheerleader made the decision to train for another competition after attending her 30-year high school reunion.

Katie Keller, 25, got into competing a different way. In January of last year she entered a weight loss competition at One Boulder Fitness.

After three months, she had lost 6 percent in body fat and put on lean muscle, mostly doing cardiovascular exercises. The owner of the gym approached her and pointed out that her body put on muscle easily. He suggested she consider a competition.

Keller, a makeup artist at Sephora, began training in June.

Both Keller and Michele are competing in the "figure" category, which emphasizes muscle definition and symmetry, rather than the huge, bulked-up muscles that define the public stereotype of bodybuilding. For the competition, female contestants will sport a spray tan, bling-encrusted swimsuits, 5-inch heels and professionally done hair and makeup.

Jeff Taylor, organizer of the show, describes the figure category as "more of a toned, athletic kind of a look."

Taylor says about 85 to 90 percent of nearly 100 people participating in the Boulder event are first-timers.

"It's a realistic goal for a lot of people," he says.

Older and better

Michele had always been interested in sports, but it wasn't until an injury in a serious car accident in the 1990s that she took to the gym to work through her problems.

"The docs were giving me muscle relaxers and painkillers. My back was atrophying, and I was getting cortisone shots," she says.

She credits her boyfriend at the time, a former Mr. Colorado, for helping to set her on a different path.

"He got me into thinking this whole different way about healing your body," she says. Although she still has pain every day, her disciplined lifestyle of careful eating and training has made the condition manageable.

"I have been able to heal my back as well as it will heal," she says.

In 2000, Michele competed for the first time in the bodybuilding category. For the bulkier musculature required for that competition, she lifted extremely heavy weights during training -- squatting as much as 230 pounds with a spotter, and eating 120 to 200 grams of protein a day.

"You go to failure, to pure muscle exhaustion, to deplete the muscle and rebuild it again," she says.

This time around, for the figure competition, she squats about 100 pounds.

One of the attractions and one of the challenges of the figure competition is its emphasis on posing in heels and swimsuit, Michele says. She is looking forward to the glam aspect -- she cites inspiration from the 50th birthdays of both Barbie and Madonna -- but she's also a little nervous in such unfamiliar turf.

"This is out of my comfort zone," says Michele, who doesn't wear makeup and got coaching to walk and pose in high heels. "I'm not a girly girl."

While the pageantry is new and exciting, the thing that keeps Michele coming back to competition is the commitment and discipline it requires.

"It's something to focus on when the rest of the world is so chaotic right now," she says. "I can focus on something positive for me. That's the spiritual part of it."

Knowing your body

The discipline of competing was also attractive to Keller.

"I'm really a goal-oriented person," she says. "When I set a goal, I have to do it."

Still, she says, it has been hard to commit to such an spartan lifestyle.

"It was really hard at first," she says. "I've lost friends over this. I haven't been able to go out and drink since January of 2008. Going out to dinner is hard."

Yet, she likes pushing herself and seeing the results in her body.

Keller does about 30 to 45 minutes of cardio in the morning and an hour or more of lifting weights in the afternoon every day.

She says the diet can be monotonous.

"It's boring. You eat the same thing every day almost," she says.

She has found one treat: nuts -- caloric, but also high in protein. And she looks forward to her post-workout 500-calorie protein shake with peanut butter, jelly, chocolate and banana, which feels downright decadent amid the oatmeal, egg whites, lean fish and vegetables.

What Keller really likes, though, is seeing the changes in her body.

"That's very enjoyable for me," she says. "You want to see what your body can do."

Keller says, however, that she got mixed reactions from high school friends when she went home for Christmas.

"They were like, 'Whoa -- you have way to much muscle for me,'" she says.

Keller, however, is happy with her progress.

"I guess I just love the way muscle looks," she says. "I've always been fascinated by the human body. Hunters and gatherers -- this is what they looked like. When you have to go out and hunt for your food, you have to be in this kind of shape. I think it looks really good."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Cindy Sutter

Bodybuilder Lesley's big lift for charity


Push it ... Lesley Haswell.

Published Date:
30 March 2009
A BODYBUILDER is gearing up to give a charity a massive lift.
Lesley Haswell and partner Dale Wilson will be among those taking part in the Big Bash – Britain's biggest charity weightlifting event – this weekend to raise cash for Breast Cancer Care.

The 40-year-old mum-of-two, born and brought up in South Shields, will lift a total of 25-30 tonnes over a series of 80kg presses that are equivalent to her partner's weight.

Meanwhile Mr Wilson, 30, will be lifting 75 tonnes over a series of leg presses.

Ms Haswell, who now lives in Fulwell, Sunderland, with daughters, Sharlotte, 16 and Antonia,12, said: "Natural bodybuilding means you have to be drug-free to compete and you are tested as stringently as a top athlete.

"It means the results you achieve are all through sheer hard work, grit and determination." The Big Bash, will be held on Saturday, and is open to gym-goers from across the country.

Ms Haswell's dedication to bodybuilding has seen her scoop the National Amateur Bodybuilding Association's Miss Trained Figure 2007 award, while Mr Wilson took the NPA's Heart of England award 2008.

Together they have been named as the National Physique Association's (NPA) British Couple Champions. Mr Wilson said: "It is rare to have a boyfriend and girlfriend win the titles, and it is nice to win as a couple, but we also like to compete as individuals.

"A lot more people are starting to appreciate the natural look, and seem to be moving away from the massive steroid look."

To sponsor Lesley and Dale, visit www.justgiving.com/daleand

Friday, March 27, 2009

Giving Lyme disease the boot


Anyone would be impressed by Valerie Cota’s chiseled 42-year-old body.

But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, Cota overcame Lyme disease and uses exercise as a way to stay mentally and physically healthy while being an inspiration to others. This week she visited an Auburn workplace to help employees kick start their fitness routines.

Cota runs her own business out of Citrus Heights called Corporate Wellness Boot Camp, and takes her workouts on location to businesses to help their employees exercise and stay fit.

Nella Oil Company in Auburn uses Cota’s workouts as an incentive for employees to help them enjoy their jobs and stay healthy.

Accounts receivable specialist Diane Cone talked about her first time in the boot camp on Tuesday.

“This is the most intense thing I’ve ever done,” she said, “I used to eat in the cafeteria watching and making fun of everyone working out, but now I’m doing it. I’m also more energized to get through the rest of the day.”

Back in 1996 Cota had it all. In Colorado she owned and operated her own health club, teaching aerobics and producing her own exercise video. She was married and had two children, a boy and a girl. Unfortunately, her baby girl died five weeks after birth, but Cota continued to hit the gym, burning off grief from the loss of her child.

Through her workouts Valerie started entering fitness competitions as a serious bodybuilder and won her first challenge in July 1998.

Then in January of 1999, she was so sick in bed, she was unable to get up. She noticed blurred vision and slurred speech along with headaches. After some tests doctors diagnosed her with Lyme disease and told her she would lose the ability to walk.

Growing up in Rhode Island, Cota always hiked in the woods and suspected she contracted the disease from a tick.

Sick, depressed, unable to care for her family and no longer married, Cota sold her gym and moved to Oregon to stay with family. She attempted continuing her workouts but was unable to because of her illness. Determined to not be depressed and fight through the disease, she pushed herself and continued to hit the gym. After she became fit again she got a job at Cascade Athletic Clubs in Oregon teaching cardio kickboxing and spinning classes.

In the spring of 2002 Cota decided to compete again as a bodybuilder. That year at age 35 she won the open class of the National Physique Committee’s Oregon State Bodybuilding Figure and Fitness Championship in Portland. Afterward, she took the next step in her life and moved to California to be with her son, Kyle, who she couldn’t take care of when she was sick.

“I owe my fitness and exercise to overcoming my Lyme disease,” said Cota. “I like giving back what I know and getting people back in shape is great.”

The cost for the wellness boot camp is $10 per person, with a minimum of five sign ups. Valerie also supplies all the equipment including weights, medicine balls and resistance bands. For more information go to www.vipfactortrainer.com.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Daliann James-Swanger ranked #1 in the world

A former four-time state powerlifting champion at Belton High School will now represent the United States of America in two World Championship competitions. At the tender age of 21, Daliann James-Swanger, was recently named the Outstanding Lifter for the second straight year at the USA Powerlifting Women’s Nationals Championships in Miami, Florida.

She was a member of the Phantom Warriors Women’s Powerlifting Team, composed of seven ladies who captured second place in the competition February 13-15. Eighty ladies from a number of different states across the country competed. Washington state took first place, edging the Bell County group by a slim three points. It was, without a doubt, the most successful outing in years of this team coached by World Powerlifting Champion Johnny “Truck” Graham. ALL the ladies qualified to represent the USA in International Competition for 2009. Results from the past 12 years reveal that NO team in the history of USA Powerlifting has EVER done this.

It was the third time for the young James-Swanger to compete at the Nationals. “The first time, i bombed out. Didn’t do well,” she commented. “I did well the second time at the meet we hosted here in the Killeen Civic Center and this time, I really enjoyed it”.

James-Swanger, who is ranked number one junior in the world in her 165 pound weight class, also qualified for the Junior World Meet in Brazil and the Open World Meet in India. In addition, she is one of only five women in the entire nation selected to compete this coming weekend at the Arnold Schwartzenneger Pro Deadlift event in Columbus, Ohio.

This will be her second trip to the Schwartzenegger meet. Last year, as a 20-year-old, after shocking the world by defeating the 8-times National Champion, she was the youngest lifter ever chosen for this invitational-only event. How’d she do? Daliann finished second to the World Champion and World record holder, losing only on body weight. They both lifted the same total weight but the champ was lighter in body weight and was handed the top spot.

At the recent Women’s Nationals, the former LadyTiger, weighing in at 167 pounds, squatted 457 pounds, bench pressed 264 pounds and had an easy deadlift of 507 pounds to win a spot on two USA World teams.

Several of her teammates also have won World Championships and several National Championships. Other members of the team are: Debra Jackson, Toni Kemper, Assistant coach Lanette Lopez, Katherine “Squirt” Singletary, Donna Bryant and Malinda Baum.

The Phantom Warriors Women’s Team expressed its thanks to the Fort Hood MWR and Recreation Division for all the support they gave to prepare for the Nationals.

“Daliann is way too modest” said Graham, her coach since high school. “I’m very impressed with what she has done the last couple of years. She’s the best in the country. Two years in a row she has won the National Championship, not only as a Junior but also in the Open Class competing against the top lifters in the nation. At 21, she has been on top two years in a row. She’s doing great things for us.”

http://beltonjournal.com/images/stories/2009/0305/daliann-james-swanger.jpgThe daughter of Maurice and Maxine James moved to Belton from Jamaica when she was seven years old. Her powerlifting career started in 2002 when the program was begun under Paul Williams and Damon Phillips. In 2006, Thance Springer became Daliann’s coach.

James-Swanger was the first Belton athlete to win a state championship four consecutive years, She took the Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting Association title as a freshman in 2003, in 2004 as a sophomore, again in 2005 as a junior and then capped her high school career in 2006 when she repeated as state champ as a senior.

“Since high school, I’ve learned a lot more and, of course, with good coaching I’ve improved quite a bit” she noted.

“There’s a little difference between high school and the level we lift at now...some rules are different and it’s a lot more strict but it’s all good”.

Graham commented: “She’s my prize pupil” and added with a smile, “She’s brought my stock up as a coach”. Now, who is being modest? As coach of the USA Powerlifting team, he coached Mark Henry, formerly known as “the strongest man in the world” and now a World Wrestling Entertainment star.

Next stop for Daliann James-Swanger --- this weekend in Columbus, Ohio!

Pound-for-pound, Renee Brown is the 'strongest in the gym'


Renee Brown does reps with two 70 pound dumbbells while working out at Big Daddy's Iron Horse Gym.

MUNCIE -- Watching Renee Brown at work among the clanking weight machines and the wear-marked barbells in Big Daddy's Iron Horse Gym, it's almost hard to believe your eyes.

To describe her as diminutive seems an understatement.

She'll tell you her height is 4-feet-10, then laugh girlishly and admit, "Well, close." Her weight is about 110. In truth, she looks like nothing so much as the youthful gymnast that she once was.

So when the 27-year-old preschool teacher at Huffer Memorial Children's Center loads weight after weight onto one bulky machine, cranks up the heavy metal music on a nearby CD player, then lifts 500 pounds in a deadlift lockout, it takes gym owner Jim Piner to put what you've just witnessed into perspective.

"That's ... uh ... a quarter-ton," he observed with a smile, and a look of almost fatherly pride.

A Daleville High School graduate who earned a bachelor's degree in early childhood education from Ball State University, Brown began weightlifting about eight years ago.

"My brothers did it for a while, so I did it with them," she explained, softly, her voice reflecting a shyness that somehow fits right into this working-class gym, a facility where dedication and quiet pride abound, but where a braggart would seem out of place.

"They quit," Piner quietly said, of her brothers, "and she didn't."

"They quit, and I didn't," the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Brown agreed.

In the years after her introduction to the sport, she pursued her passion in "a place in Middletown, two different garages and an apartment," she said.

Then three years ago she found Big Daddy's, which is housed in a nondescript building on the city's east side. From the start, she made an impression on Piner and, presumably, the other weightlifters, for whom this tiny woman is undeniably an equal and an inspiration.

"She's good at it," Piner said. "Pound for pound, she's the strongest in the gym."

Passing nearby, weightlifter Craig Rinker expanded on that.

"Pound for pound, she is one of the strongest women in the United States for her body weight," he declared.

Brown works out at this gym about four times a week, for between two and four hours at a time. Other times she just visits this place, which has become something of a home-away-from-home for the young woman.

"Sometimes I just come and hang out," she said, demurely. "I like the people. ... The people are really helpful and encouraging. Everybody helps everybody else. ... I think this is the best gym in the world, because anybody can come here, no matter what they do, how much they can lift, and get stronger."

Her parents, she said, are happy about all this.

"They like it," she said. "They don't want me to do anything that's going to get me hurt. They're happy that I'm happy."

Her kids back at Huffer, meanwhile, have their own ideas about their teacher's away-from-school activities at the gym.

"They kind of think it's like a playground," she said. "They ask if I'm going to play on the monkey bars."

Actually, Brown and her friends do sometimes take their workouts into the summer sunshine. She and Piner pointed out a metal sled on which they pile weights and even rocks. Then she drags it through the gravel outside. She has also been known to turn over a massive tractor wheel that's at rest on its side in the winter-weathered grass.

Perhaps even more impressive, Piner will drive his Dodge Ram way down the road from his gym. Then he and the other weightlifters -- and yes, that includes Brown -- take individual turns dragging it back.

As for her more traditional weightlifting activities, she bench presses 225 pounds, squats 315 pounds, deadlifts 335 pounds, and has lifted 800 pounds in a squat lockout. Just as impressive, her peers say, is to watch her on a bench, working out with a 105-pound barbell in each hand.

"She's pretty strong," her lifting partner, Dion Brooks, nonchalantly agreed.

Those weight levels, by the way, are made without the use of what Piner referred to as "gear," which can include special support shirts that drastically improve one's performance.

"It's about a 45 percent increase, if you use gear," Piner said, "but we don't do it."

Brown doesn't need it, he added, noting that she is training for October's USA "Raw" Bench Press Federation World Championship.

"From the looks of the current records," Piner said, "she can probably beat 'em all, every class."

So, what powers Brown's efforts? She takes a nutritional supplement, for one thing.

"And I eat a lot of SpongeBob macaroni and cheese and drink a lot of Mountain Dew," she admitted, grinning.

What drives her spirit, though?

Part of it, she said, is proving that someone her size can do what she does. Piner added that she is also driven by a rare sense of determination, which is the only thing that keeps her, or any other weightlifter, coming back to the gym to train, day after day. Indeed, the mental aspects of the sport can't be overestimated.

"You can tell a huge difference when you're totally focused, when you're not thinking of anything else," Brown said, her hands powdered with the chalk that improves her grip during workouts.

There are, she admitted, no other hobbies in her life. A suggestion of other pursuits that perhaps, on the surface, would be more appealing to a woman of her age, brought a hearty laugh.

What would her life be without her weights, her gym and the friends she has made here?

"I wouldn't be as happy," Brown said.

  • Contact John Carlson at 213-5824. Additional Facts
  • Trinny, no longer quite so skinny


    Over the years, she has taught countless women how to disguise their skinny frames.

    But when it comes to her own figure, Trinny Woodall has clearly decided that there's no substitute for a few hours down the gym.

    Trinny WoodallMadonna

    Miss Woodall, who is back on the dating scene after splitting with her husband, arrived at the Dorchester on Saturday looking fighting fit.

    The 44-year-old TV style guru seemed to have taken inspiration from Madonna, another slender star with bulging biceps.

    Monday, March 9, 2009

    Petite powerlifter headed for regionals


    — As the smallest and lightest member of the Cleburne High School varsity cheerleading
    http://www.cleburnetimesreview.com/education/images_sizedimage_065174929/originalsquad, Abby Trevino can always be found at the top of the pyramid during a routine.
    But don’t let her height or weight fool you — there is nothing tiny about the CHS senior when it comes to taking on challenges.
    At 4-10, Trevino is comfortable packing around a band instrument nearly as tall as she, as a member of the Golden Pride tuba corps. She is also a veteran member of the CHS powerlifting team and will be competing this weekend at the regional contest.
    “Abby qualified for the Region II contest in the 97 and below weight class,” said girls powerlifting coach Sara Jones. “She is ranked among the top 10 in the region, having lifted a total of 475 pounds in three events, deadlift, squat and bench.”
    “It’s awesome. She can lift twice her body weight,” Jones said. “She weighs 95 pounds and can deadlift 200. We are so excited for her. Abby has been training for this opportunity since her freshmen year. She and Kodie Carroll are two seniors we believe have a really good chance of qualifying for the state meet.”
    Trevino, who was among the first CHS students to go out for girls powerlifting when it was introduced, says she has tried to pack in as much as she could throughout her high school years.
    She also pole vaults on the Lady Jackets track team and is a member of Exchangettes and Spanish Club.
    “I decided to go out for every activity I wanted,” she said. “I decided as a freshman I wanted to experience everything I could in high school. I keep calendars so I won’t forget what I have to do or where I need to be.”
    She has been nicknamed “Mighty Midget” by her fellow members of the tuba corps and is also called the “walking tuba.”
    Mastering the instrument that comes up to her nose when standing next to her, was among Trevino’s high school goals.
    “It always looked interesting to me,” she said. “I started out playing the trumpet in sixth grade and switched to the euphonium my junior year. At the end of that year I talked to the band directors about moving to the tuba. They agreed to let me play.”
    All summer she worked on her music, with help from Travis English, section leader of the Golden Pride tuba corps.
    “It hurt carrying it around the first couple of days of band camp,” she said. “But once I got used to the weight distribution, it didn’t hurt anymore.”
    “Neither my family or my friends — including everyone in band — believed that I was going to be playing the tuba,” Trevino said. “When they saw me practicing with the rest of the tubas, that’s when they realized ‘I guess she is serious.’ ”
    English describes Trevino as “just one of the guys,” who worked very hard to knock down the musical wall between herself and the tuba.
    “She didn’t know everything about the music required, but she didn’t let that bring her down,” English said. “She always tried her best, and we all helped her. I don’t think this year in the tuba line would have been as much fun without her.”
    “Even though we look at her as one of the guys, we also look after her — not that she needs it,” he said. “She’s tough.”
    Members of the CHS varsity cheerleading squad call Trevino, who is squad captain, the “team mom” according to their coach, Amber White.
    “We all call her that,” White said. “She’s always making sure everyone has their uniform and knows when practice is scheduled. Abby is always thinking ahead. She’s very dedicated, very hard-working.”
    These qualities should have a strong impact on Trevino’s performance at Saturday’s regional meet at Elgin. Weigh-in will take place on Friday.
    “Abby has spent many hours in the weight room training for this opportunity,” said her coach. “She is focused and has prepared long and hard for this moment.”

    Fitness: Ashland's Hendershott is Ms. Fitness International


    News Journal staff report

    COLUMBUS -- Ashland native Jen Hendershott proved once again she is the top fitness competitor in the world by winning the Ms. Fitness International title Friday night at the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Festival.

    The win by the 36-year-old Hendershott comes on the heels of her Ms. Olympia crown in Las Vegas late last year. It was her second Ms. International title, but first since 2005 when she swept both the International and the Olympia, considered the Super Bowls of her sport.

    Hendershott, who now lives in Burlington, N.C., has never finished lower than fifth in her 10 years of competing at the Arnold Festival. Her latest title earned her a first-place check of $25,000.

    The competition consisted of two posing rounds (two-piece and one-piece swimsuits) and two routine rounds that showcase the agility, strength and creativity of the athletes, many of them drawing from a gymnastics background.

    Julie Palmer of Powell, Ohio was second and Tracey Greenwood of Claymont, Del., was third.

    Hendershott will be back on stage at the Arnold Festival today as director and choreographer of the Fitness Fashion Show, held at noon as part of the Arnold Expo in the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The show will feature the latest trends in fitness apparel, footwear and jewelry, modeled by more than 100 youth and adults, including News Journal reporter Jami Kinton.

    Wednesday, March 4, 2009

    Worth her weight in gold


    Not many 15-year-olds can hoist more than their own bodyweight above their head.
    But New Zealand under-69kg weightlifter Stephanie McKenzie is no ordinary teenager.
    Stephanie’s best lifts include 71kg in the snatch, which sees the lifter raise the bar from the floor towards the ceiling all in one motion.
    And she’s cleared 75kg in the clean and jerk, where the lifter rests the bar on their collarbone before the final push to get the bar above their head.
    “I like the concentration and the quiet, but then it’s explosive. You get up there and have to beat it and you know you can.”
    The Lynfield College student took up the sport a year ago as part of a training regime for her other love, track cycling, where she represents Auckland in 200m and 500m sprints.
    But she showed such a talent for weightlifting that it’s now a major part of her life.
    Last September Stephanie took out top female for her age and weight class at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Weightlifting Championships.
    And she repeated the feat at the Australian Age Group Championships in Melbourne last October.
    At the Australia versus New Zealand Junior Weightlifting tournament in December she placed third despite being up against competitors up to five years her senior.
    “It’s just like with cycling – you have to compete against older people to get experience,” she says.
    Her success saw Stephanie take out the College Sport young sportswoman of the year for weightlifting at an awards dinner late last year.
    “I was pretty excited. There were school-age Olympians there that know how hard you train.”
    Stephanie’s coach Tina Bell says her student has the talent and mental fortitude to go all the way to the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
    “It’s not the sort of sport you can rock up and do once a week. She has a lot of natural strength and coordination.”

    If Stephanie is able to reach international honours in cycling Ms Bell is confident it won’t mean the end of weightlifting for her star pupil.
    “Both sports complement each other, so I guess it would come down to the Commonwealth Games programme.”

    Spruce Creek's Morgan Candage chosen All-Central Florida girls weightlifter of year


    Spruce Creek's Morgan Candage chosen All-Central Florida girls weightlifter of year
    Joe Williams
    Sentinel Staff Writer

    With a heritage of weightlifting behind her, it is easy to understand what drove Port Orange Spruce Creek's Morgan Candage to three consecutive individual weight-class state championships: family.Her older sister, Angela, was a state champion and the Sentinel's All-Central Florida weightlifter of the year before graduating from PortOrange Spruce Creek in 2005. Her uncle, Barry Candage, lifted at Daytona Beach Mainland and finished second in the state. Her mother, Vicky, was a competitive lifter.Her father, Jeff, also is a lifter and has served as her coach."My whole family has lifted, and they have been very supportive of me," said Morgan, who this year joins her sister as an All-Central Florida weightlifter of the year. "My dad has definitely been one of the biggest motivations in my life. He has always been there for me. My whole family has. I always want to make them proud."For all that Spruce Creek's team has done -- winning all six state meets that the FHSAA has held -- Candage is the school's first three-time state champion. She won state titles at 139 pounds (when she was a sophomore at Daytona Beach Seabreeze), at 154 pounds as a junior and at 169 this year."When it comes to athletes, the really great ones are able to combine their natural ability and combine that with a really good work ethic," Hawks Coach Tom Bennett said. "Morgan has combined genetics with a lot of hard work. That is what has set her apart."HIGHLIGHTSCandage moved up a weight class for the betterment of the Spruce Creek team. That allowed teammate Kristian Rainge-Campbell, who placed second to Candage at state last year, to win a state title at 154 pounds this year."One thing I hope I am remembered for was not being selfish about my dream," Candage said. "I was happy to give up my weight class to help someone else."BY THE NUMBERS0: Number of times Candage had done a 210-pound clean-and-jerk successfully before setting the state record this month.6: Number of state records set or tied by Candage during her high school career. She tied the state record for total weight (340 pounds) in the 139-pound class as a sophomore. She set state records for the clean-and-jerk (205 pounds) and total (400 pounds) at 154 pounds as a junior and set state records in the bench (215), clean-and-jerk (210) and total (425) at 169 pounds this year.75: The victory margin at the state meet this year, in pounds, between Candage's 425 total and runner-up Brynn Forsythe of West Orange.IN HER OWN WORDS"I love weightlifting. I have gone through guys saying weightlifting is not attractive for girls, but that isn't true. I couldn't give it up. I think it is perfect for girls to do. It helps you with confidence. It helps you mature in high school. It helps to teach you life lessons."OUTSIDER'S VIEW"Morgan Candage has shown great dedication and determination over her high school career. Morgan's dedication and success in the offseason [becoming a national champion] has made her a very versatile lifter and a great asset to her team and their continued success." -- Tyrone Harvey, Timber Creek coachWHAT FUTURE HOLDSAlthough her high school career is done, weightlifting will continue to be a part of Candage's life. She hopes to make the U.S. School-Age team that will go to Peru for the Junior Pan-American Championships. After graduating from high school, she plans to join her sister Angela, who is in the Air Force and is stationed in New Jersey, for training and competition. Angela is one of the top lifters in the nation in the 63-kilogram weight class (139 pounds).

    Brynn Forsythe

    She's one of the top lifters in Florida and should be recruited for track based on her numbers.


    Mr. EIU / Ms. EIU Fitness competition