Fresh off a great showing at the Prince George Iron Ore Classic last fall, Devon Gyselinck is now setting her sights on the provincial bodybuilding championships.
The Vancouver Pro-Am will be held in July in Vancouver and Gyselinck is building off her third place showing in the bikini division at the Iron Ore Classic.
“We’re 18 weeks out and I’m going full steam as I always do,” she said.
And when she says full steam, she means it. Her day starts at 4 a.m. with a trip to the gym. Then it’s off to work at about 8:30 a.m., work until 5 p.m. and this it’s school from 6-9 p.m.
She says the strict diet that is needed for bodybuilding helps give her the energy to train as hard as she does.
“The diet really helps,” she says. “If everything else wasn’t on point, it just couldn’t be that way. And I have such a great support network … If I stopped, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.”
Last year was the first time she competed at the Iron Ore Classic and Gyselinck says the experience was fantastic … and she might be back this year.
“It’s always great to have more stage experience, and I’d love to do two shows this year,” she says.
The Vancouver Pro-Am, however, is next up and there are some nerves heading into the bigger competition.
“It’s awkward and weird the first time you go on,” she says. “There’s going to be a lot more people there, a lot more time on stage. I’ve really got to bring my game and I think by starting prep this far out is really going to help.”
It will give her chance to see how she fares against provincial and international competition.
She will have a fellow Prince George competitor to help at the competition. John Brink will also be attending the Vancouver Pro-Am and, through the Brink Group of Companies, is sponsoring Gyselinck.
After thinking about getting into bodybuilding in late 2016, Gyselinck decided to make it her New Year’s resolution.
“I just had a friend that I saw come across my social media feed one day and she had just done it,” she says. “I just needed some direction with my life, I was feeling really lost and felt that was what I needed.”
So she Googled “Prince George bodybuilding” and Karley Green, of The Gym and Karley Green Coaching and Lifestyle, was the first name that came up. She contacted Green and started her training.
“I was overweight, so I lost 55 pounds last year, in nine months for the show,” she says. “I went to Iron Ore the year before that and I was under the weather. I was just tired of feeling that way.”
Fellow bodybuilder Kendall Kershaw was an inspiration as was Brink.
“If they could do it, I knew I could,” she says. “It took me a while to get on the right path and that when I woke up January 1, that was it … I’m done. Just like that, everything was different.”
The change hasn’t gone unnoticed as she is now the one giving inspiration to many in the community who marvel at Gyselinck who is now the role model.
“I have a lot of people who come to me and they’re not eating enough because they’re trying to lose weight,” she says. “I want to tell all girls, eat … eat, eat, eat … and not to be scare of the weights. There are so many girls who are doing hours of cardio and under-feeding themselves.”
The sponsorship from Brink means the world to Gyselinck, who says it’s not a cheap sport. Everything from the cost of bikinis to travel add up.
“I’ve never been well off and I’ve had to work for everything I’ve got so it means a lot to me,” she says of the sponsorship.
Brink provided Gyeslinck with a cheque earlier this week and as a competitive bodybuilder himself, at 78 years old, he can appreciate the effort that goes into the sport.
“Do not underestimate it,” says Brink. “Some people think that this is easy, it isn’t. It’s a hard journey with many, many years of hard work.”
He adds it’s all about lifestyle … staying fit and being healthy.