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Local women eligible for national competitions

Speaking with provincial competitors Autumn Barta and Wendy Bax is enough to make anyone want to hit the gym. Hearing about their experiences and their successes is a real motivator.

Speaking with provincial competitors Autumn Barta and Wendy Bax is enough to make anyone want to hit the gym. Hearing about their experiences and their successes is a real motivator. The two Carlyle women competed at the SABBA (Saskatchewan Amateur Bodybuilding Association) Provincial Bodybuilding Competition in Lloydminster on May 28, winning their respective categories and earning them a spot to compete at Nationals this year.

Barta was not only the winner of the Medium Figure competition, but is the Provincial Overall Figure Champion. The accomplishment is monumental in the sport, given the fact that Barta is now eligible to compete at nationals in any given year.

Barta, who began training in 2005, entered her first competition in April of 2006 at the novice show. "I had always wanted to go the step further to provincials, but I had another child in late 2006, and knew that I had work to do to compete at the provincial level. I set my goal to win Provincial Overall Figure Champion a couple of years ago, and this just felt like the right time for me."

"So last fall, I contacted IFBP Pro Figure Cea Anna Kerr from Estevan to see if she could train me and on Oct 1, I started my training for provincials with her. She set up a diet and workout plan for me to follow consisting of six to seven days in the gym. On some days, I found it difficult to balance family and work, but I did it. I knew that if I wanted to win, I needed to put 100 percent into it, for both the workouts and following my diet. I didn't want to get on stage and think I should have worked harder or not skipped out on my food regime."

As for her win, "It was a dream come true to win Overall Champion at provincials. It's a big deal to win your category but to win Overall gives me a lifetime bye to go straight to nationals every year. No more Provincials! I still can't believe I won and I sit back and think, I'm a Provincial Champion, Wow! Off to nationals in Saskatoon on July 23. I'm nervous, but very excited. I think it will be a great experience."

Bax competed alongside Barta at the SAABA Provincial Bodybuilding Competition in Lloydminster. While the two compete in very different categories (Barta in Figure and Bax in Body Building), the amount of dedication and determination is consistent between the two.

Bax is confident that anyone and everyone can compete is they wish to. Her own story, one including a weight loss journey, exemplifies that people with a goal and some determination, can compete alongside these two winners.

In total, Bax has lost 100 pounds and competed in a total of seven competitions since starting her training. "I started training in 2005 at the age of 43 and lost 70 pounds in doing so. Previous to this, I had not been to a gym. My first competition was also in 2005. I lost another 30 pounds before competing in 2006. I competed in 2006, 2007 and 2008 in Provincial, National and World Qualifier shows."

Bax faced the challenge of a shoulder injury and back surgery during her training. She is confident that her previous training and commitment to training since, has greatly impacted her recovery process. "I missed 2009 because of a shoulder injury, and planned on competing in two shows in 2010, but missed them because of an emergency back surgery due to a synovial cyst in my spine in November of 2009. I was back in the gym within a couple of weeks after the surgery, walking on the treadmill at a snail's pace. But I kept moving and started lifted weights again as soon as I was cleared to do so.

Bax continued on that the highlight of her competition was during Friday evening registration and weigh-ins when she had her "this is it" feeling. "This year, I weighed in at 152.2 pounds with a body fat composition of under 4 percent. It is the heaviest I have weighed in at and the lowest body fat I have had. I was really happy with that and with how I looked. On Saturday morning of the show, you get to see exactly what you've been working so hard for. You don't have any extra fluid on you and all the cuts in your muscles are out. It's an awesome feeling."

Bax "started a pre-contest diet and workout 18 weeks before the competition date. My day started at 3:45 a.m.. I tried to get two hours in at the gym before I started work. Some days, I would go back at noon if possible or after work or in the evening. Watching your body change while getting ready for a competition is amazing. In eight weeks, I took my body fat from 26 percent down to 12 percent. That was by changing my diet and adding some cardio daily to my workout. So it was not a very big change to make such a big impact in a short time. I lost 33 pounds for this show in the 18 weeks I trained."

"Having placed first in Heavy Weight and second in Masters, I will have a bye into the national competition for two years. I do not plan on competing in the nationals show this year as they are being held in Montreal and that is too far to go. At this time, my plans are to complete in the national competition next year. This will be my last competition as a Masters and I am going to be 50 this year, so I will be competing as a Grand Master next year."

Each of these girls has had their own challenges along the way, balancing both life and work, but their results have been outstanding and noteworthy. They recognized that without the support and guidance from others, they wouldn't have obtained the results they did.

Barta said "I know how challenging it was for me to chase my dream personally, but I could not have done it without a very supportive husband, thank hon, and my kids Haylee, Trystein and Mason. I also want to thank Cea Anna and Chad Kerr, Tara and Jason Duhaime for a great facility to workout in and sponsoring me, and Millennium Directional for sponsorship. Thank you everyone for you support and congrats as I continue my journey onto Nationals next month."

Bax sent out a big thank you for the support she has received as well. "I would like to thank Tara and Jason of Built for Life in Carlyle. We are so lucky to have such a well-equipped gym and owners that are so supportive of its members. It's awesome. I would also like to thank my trainers Colin and Leigh Keess of Estevan for their guidance and support."