SOUTH BROOK, NL — There aren’t many sports Mandy Froude didn’t participate in as a teenager growing up in the small community of South Brook.
In the neighbouring town of Springdale, she was involved in ice hockey and ball hockey, basketball, volleyball, cross-country running and soccer. She played and enjoyed them all.
“As you get older there aren’t as many opportunities to play those sports,” the 22-year-old said during a recent phone interview. “But, I still wanted to be physically active.”
She found an outlet in fitness and gyms. After trying other workouts, Froude found her niche as a bodybuilder — a sport she took up in 2015 while living in St. John’s.
During her first Newfoundland and Labrador Amateur Bodybuilding Association competition that year, she won the title Miss Bikini NL 2015 in the medium-to-tall height category.
Since that time, she’s competed nationally in New Brunswick, Alberta and Ontario. In her most recent competition last month in Toronto, she placed third in the junior category and second in the open category.
For Froude, growing up in rural Newfoundland was an opportunity to develop good communication skills.
“Living in a city, you might see a large amount of people throughout your day, but you don't really communicate with them,” she said. “In Springdale (where she attended Indian River High School) and South Brook, you are always running into people you know and communicating quite frequently.”
Living in a small community was also an opportunity to learn to fish, hunt, change a tire, and develop other skills that aren’t so common among youth in larger centres.
While she says there isn’t as much room for self-improvement and development in rural Newfoundland and Labrador — which she attributes to a lack of resources — as in larger towns and cities, Froude enjoyed the activities available to her as a teenager.
She graduated from Indian River High School in 2013, and said Ruth Cameron and Rae Dicks were her biggest inspiration as teachers.
“Ms. Cameron was always trying to provide her students with as much knowledge as she could,” she said.
The teacher often encouraged students to stay behind for extra help if they didn’t understand a concept she was teaching in chemistry class, according to Froude.
“She was encouraging in the sense that she was always so positive and a pleasure to be around,” she said. “She may not have any kids, but she's definitely ‘mudder’ Cameron to me.”
Froude described Dicks as a strong and independent woman who “seemed to have life figured out.”
“I remember Ms. Dicks’ class would require the most work, like assignments, tests reviews and exams, but still to this day, I remember stuff she taught me years ago,” she said.
Froude moved to St. John’s in 2014. She works full-time for Capital Auto Group, is employed as a bartender on the weekends, and continues to study at Memorial University towards a bachelor of arts in police studies. Her career goal is to join the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.
She is determined to succeed both career-wise and in her bodybuilding endeavours.
“You’ve really got to want it,” she said of the strict diet and workouts she embarks on 20 weeks before competitions.
In adhering to a healthy diet, she often prepares her meals a week in advance.
“I eat five-to-six meals a day,” she said. “When I go out I usually take my meal with me. So, I’m not underfed, I just eat really clean.”
Froude said she has a supportive family. Her biggest supporter is boyfriend Liam Fahey of St. John’s.
“Liam’s been with me for the four shows I’ve done over the past two years,” she said. “He enjoys the whole process.”
She is also grateful to her coach Steph Beck. A professional bodybuilder, Beck helps with her diet and work-out plans.
Froude is taking some time off from competitions right now, but that doesn’t mean she’ll stop focusing on her goal as a bodybuilder.
“I’m still going after my pro card,” she said.
Once she reaches the professional level, she will be entitled to enter shows worldwide.
“I could end up competing in Spain, Russia, the U.S., South Africa, anywhere in the world,” she said. “You are paid as soon as you walk across the stage, you get more photo shoots and more opportunities for growth in the fitness industry.”