Sechelt's Kimberly Pluess has joined the growing list of Coasters who have made it big in the competitive body building world.
With several competitions under her belt, Pluess is working hard for her next show later this year that could propel her to competing in the national championships and a potential shot at a pro career.
Pluess has always been active. She comes from a dancing background as a young girl and thought one day she could be a professional instructor.
"I was very passionate about dance as a young girl, but I became pregnant with my first son, and that stopped my dancing career," she said. "From the age of 15, I was designing my own workout plans. What I got out of dance was how to train and how to train properly, and that's not unlike what you have to do when you want to compete in bodybuilding."
She trained for many years at Cross-Trainers in Gibsons, then moved to Sechelt where she bounced around a bit between gyms. Then it all changed with a visit to the rec centre.
"I befriended a training partner who got me really intrigued about body building," Pluess said. "I was doing all the same training, so I took it as a personal challenge to see what I could do and how far I could go."
She started training for her first competition, which took place in November 2011, coming seventh in the Sandra Wickham Fall Classic.
During her training she commuted to Vancouver along with her sister Stephanie McPhalen, who also competed in that first show.
Pluess said she was hooked the moment she walked out on stage. After the first competition, she wanted to try another one and competed in June at a World Body Building Federation show where she came in third.
The next few months were spent training and tweaking a few things for the Sandra Wickham Fall Classic again where she placed third.
Up next is a competition in June where a top-five placing will secure her a spot at the nationals in August. If that happens and if she can place high at nationals, then she will be able to compete as a pro competitor.
"I never imagined that I would be doing so well. It was just for fun, but once I started, I knew I would do it again. I totally love it," she said. "I love the training, the lifestyle, eating clean - it all goes hand-in-hand. Competing is really the icing on the cake - training and then showing off all your hard work."
Pluess credits the support of family and friends and her trainers and coaches, especially Breanne Seward, her coach in Vancouver, and Curtis Munson and his Valhalla gym in Sechelt.
"Breanne is fabulous. She really knows her stuff, and Curtis is just amazing. He's passionate about what he does and he really takes care of all his athletes." Pluess said. "My sons are now 16 and 12 and also train at Valhalla, so fitness and overall well-being is becoming a real family lifestyle.
"Training and competing is a big commitment, but my kids are at an age where they can be independent. They know that this is my thing. This is what I get enjoyment out of my life."
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