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More than three years of workouts, diets and a commitment to be the best they can be paid off in a big way for two city bodybuilders.
“We worked really hard,” said Shanna Dawley.
“But we also had a lot of people kicking our butts, and telling us to keep it up.”
Dawley, 24, and Christopher Lalonde, 20, both came home with trophies from the Ontario Bodybuilding Fitness and Figure Championship held in London, Ont.
Dawley was named Miss Fitness Ontario, while Lalonde took home top honours in the under-21 junior bodybuilding division.
“This was the third time I competed, and each time before I came in second,” said Dawley.
“It felt really good to finally win this title. I’ve thought about it for a long time.”
Dawley said the road to victory was a long one, and one that was paved with obstacles.
“I had to be really regimented, because it kind of takes over your life,” she said. “For five months before the competition, I was working at it five days a week, up at 2:30 a.m., at the gym by 4:30 a.m., working out, doing cardio, doing flexibility and gymnastics training. It was hard.”
At one point during the competition, Dawley said she nearly threw in the towel. Having to do her routine in the morning for judges and again in the evening for an audience was tough.
“By the time the evening one came around, I was so tired, and I got really nervous,” said Dawley, who lost last year’s competition by just one point.
“I almost decided not to do it, to just get out of there, but once I was on stage, my body just kind of took over.”
Lalonde spent three and one-half months getting ready for his competition, a victory he’s tasted before.
“It was also my third time in competition,” he said. “I came in second once, and first the other time.”
Lalonde said it takes a lot of dedication and hard work to make it to the top of the podium.
“I worked out with weights once a day, did cardio twice a day, and practiced my posing every day,” he said. “The training can be pretty intense, especially when you make it as hard as you can for yourself.”
Lalonde is humble about his victory, not wanting to paint himself as a champion just yet.
“Can I just say one thing?” asked Dawley. “He blew away the competition.”
Lalonde quickly brushed off Dawley’s comments, saying there will be time for such praise in the future.
“When I win a national title,” he said, “then we can say stuff like that.”
Lalonde does have his sights set on a national championship.
“In nine weeks, I’m going to the Canadian Championships in Saskatoon, where there will be only provincial winners,” he said. “That would be a good competition to win.”
Dawley said getting ready for such an event takes a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week commitment.
“You have to live life by the clock,” she said.
“You have to be very regimented, but it’s worth it.”