Yukoners compete in first bodybuilding competition

Eleven Yukoners climbed into a bus and made the 18-hour drive to Fort St. John, B.C. this past weekend to flex their muscles.

Eleven Yukoners climbed into a bus and made the 18-hour drive to Fort St. John, B.C. this past weekend to flex their muscles.

The crew of amateur bodybuilders, a group of nine women and two men, were led by trainers Tanja McPherson and Lee Anne Henderson. The Whitehorse contingent traveled to Fort St. John to compete in the Northern Classic Bodybuilding Competition, hosted by the BC Amateur Bodybuilding Association.

It was the first competition for the team. Of the 11 athletes, five took home prizes.

The importance of the competition extends far beyond trophies however, said McPherson.

“This was a life-changing event for a lot of them. A lot of personal struggles they had throughout their life went away this weekend. It’s been an emotional journey.”

McPherson spoke of those who struggle with body image and fitting into a body type and the stigma around bodybuilding, that if you pick up a weight you’ll suddenly turn into a lump of muscle.

One competitor had never donned a bathing suit before the weekend’s competition because of issues with body image.

“The transformation they’ve taken so far from where they started to where they are today, I can’t even explain it,” McPherson said. “A lot of tears were shed at the competition.”

The team began training at Better Bodies eight months ago, taking people with no previous experience in weightlifting and bodybuilding and fine tuning their bodies.

McPherson and Henderson, each personal trainers, laid out the programs, the routines and the diets, while also juggling their other clients and working towards their own goals. It paid off.

McPherson placed first overall in both the master’s and open categories. She was quick to deflect attention back onto the team though, when asked about her success.

“It was just a really gratifying feeling to go down there and see your competitors place and know that it made a difference in their life,” she said.

McPherson watched over the team carefully during the training, making sure workouts and diets were being followed, exchanging text messages late in the night, sending encouragement and helping the team avoid pitfalls and overcome food cravings.

In Fort St. John the togetherness of the group was noted by other competitors.

“The whole team is being talked about,” said McPherson, “because of their attitude and their positivity and their approach to the competition. Lee Anne and I are proud mommas.”

The team, which started with just one member eight months ago has now grown to 17.

McPherson and Henderson use a simplified program, with much of the focus being on clean eating and staying active.

McPherson also said one of the best suggestions they offer for those interested in getting into the gym is to find a training partner.

“It’ll give you extra motivation and support,” she said. “Often it’s taking that first step, just getting into the gym, that’s the hardest part. Once you’re there it gets easier.”

In July, Henderson will be taking the national stage at the Canadian Bodybuilding Championships and McPherson plans on returning to the Fort St. John event next year and for the foreseeable future.

“As long as people want to give it a shot, we’re going to be around for a long time,” she said.

Contact Sam Riches at

sam@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read