— Photos courtesy of Stone Photograpy
Dawn Bingle-Park had her coach Darren Mehling tell her to expect her life to change once she got on the bodybuilding stage and she thought it was pretty corny.
She sees things in a much different light now.
The Deer Lake woman, owner of Park Fitness in the airport town, finished 10th overall in the figure model C height class (competitors under five-foot-four) at the 2014 Canadian Bodybuilding Federation Championships held recently in Edmonton, Alta.
“I’ve always worked out, I’ve always exercised and I always promoted it, but never ever got to I guess the level I wanted to. It kind of seemed unattainable to me,” Bingle-Park said.
She hired Mehling of Freak Fitness out of Winnipeg to help her find her way in the sport. Having somebody who lives and breathes the sport in her corner made things a lot easier for the busy mom to two young children.
“I just stuck with the plan 100 per cent and kind of my goal was to just get on stage and know I couldn’t have done one thing different and that’s what I did,” she said.
All those early morning cardio workouts, constant monitoring of diet and time spent away from family has paid dividends and made her realize even more that anything worth achieving requires dedication and effort.
“You have to put the work in. With work you’ll get results,” she said.
She has come a long way in three short years.
She entered the bodybuilding world in 2012, placing second at the Newfoundland and Labrador Bodybuilding Championships. She managed a second-place finish at the provincial competition in 2013, which would qualify her for the 2014 national event — her debut against the best in the country — as well as the 2015 national showcase.
Park has lived her life with a focus on living and promoting a healthy lifestyle and finding a nice balance between fitness and family with husband Jaimie a big supporter of all she does.
Opening up a fitness centre in her hometown provided her with an avenue to pursue any fitness goals she decided to put on her bucket list so it’s not like she was entering unchartered waters.
However, she found reason to be motivated.
As a personal trainer she found it pretty easy to get people to work out, but getting anybody to faithfully follow a nutrition plan was met with opposition too many times for her liking. She heard a lot of people tell her it’s OK for her because she doesn’t face the same challenges because she was in good shape.
She saw her foray into bodybuilding as a way to motivate others.
“I wanted to show people that you can make really big changes to yourself it just requires dedication,” she said of the plunge into her first show.
Placing in the top 10 out of 25 competitors in Edmonton means she qualified as an amateur for one of the biggest bodybuilding shows in the world — The 2015 Arnold — which will take next year in Brazil.
“Not many people even get to go watch it, let alone participate in it,” she said.
A busy mom who also finds herself training others in the sport, the five-foot-four blonde plans prefers to take it one year at a time because family is her priority, but she plans on working her butt off to see where she can go with the sport.
She’s not sure if she will seize the opportunity to attend The Arnold this year, feeling confident she can qualify again next year.
“I’m just training hard now to see where I am come January to make sure I’m ready to go there because if not I’m hoping to requalify again next year,” she said. “I’m not going to go unless I feel like I can do well.”
“I just want to make sure that the first time I go I’m ready,” she added.
The ultimate goal for her is to achieve her pro card, but it won’t come at the expense of the family that has been supportive of her in her journey.
“I will always be in the industry. How long I compete depends on a number of factors,” she said.