A Nanaimo bodybuilder turned heads in her bikini at national championships this month.
Candace Schule placed second at the Canadian Bodybuilding Federation nationals on July 14 in Laval, Que.
Schule’s runner-up finish came in the bikini category, which was one of the divisions with the highest number of competitors.
She had finished first at the Popeye’s Fall Classic in Vancouver several months earlier, qualifying her for nationals, but she originally didn’t anticipate going. Her mother ended up helping her with travel costs, but the trip wasn’t finalized until five and a half weeks before.
“Because I do stay consistent with my training program, I just basically had to dial it in with my diet,” Schule said.
She practised posing every day in her competition heels, because she said she can have “two left feet” sometimes and was worried about tripping on the stage. But once she was there, she was able to hold her smile, and being up on stage and looking around, she believed she was in position to do well.
“To feel like I belonged on the stage, to be honest with you, that was my only goal…” she said. “Because I knew that I had such a short prep and you’re going against the top in the country, right?”
The tight training schedule wasn’t her only obstacle. Schule is able to participate in bodybuilding in spite of an injury she suffered at work in 2014.
“That’s where I’m pretty proud of myself, that I was able to accomplish what I’ve accomplished, because I do have this lower back injury,” she said. “I haven’t healed myself, but I’ve taken care of myself to the point that I’m able to do this kind of thing.”
She says she’ll compete again a year from now, and wants to experiment with different training strategies before then.
In the meantime, already balancing a full-time job and side work, Schule is now trying to get into personal training. She said she can help people who have all kinds of fitness goals, but she’d also like to help prospective bodybuilders because she’s experienced how the sport helped her when she was anxious and depressed after her injury.
“I was in a really dark place and I just find that exercise and healing your body with the right nutrition, it really brings out your confidence and makes you feel so much better,” she said.
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