Meet Vancouver’s Buff Bodybuilders

Inside the gym with the city’s fittest and fiercest.

While bodybuilders can look intimidating, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more upbeat, protein-shaker-half-full community. At the shows, everyone is thrown into close quarters for a weekend of spray-tanning and onstage flexing, but for the rest of the season, training can be a rather solitary pursuit. So we tracked down a few of the city’s competitors and brought them together—where else?—at the gym.

Click photo to enlarge.

Pictured left to right:

1“I used to come to the gym all the time for exercise classes and then just eat whatever I wanted, so my body wasn’t changing the way I wanted it to. I went from being a cardio bunny to a weightlifting junkie! Bodybuilding is not just about lifting; it’s about food and recovery and sleep; it’s really living a balanced lifestyle.” Byron BasbasLW Bodybuilding category, executive pastry chef

“I got into bodybuilding because I was too short for basketball. It’s not so much the competing for me; it’s the training process and the education. There are a lot of myths about training and nutrition…80 percent of the stuff that’s out there is just slowing people down.”—Lou NoelWNBF/ IPE/IDFA Pro category, online coach

“The diet is challenging. I used to go out to eat a lot, and I was not a good cook! I felt bad for my partner, who also had to go through what I was going through. I had to learn to cook well at home, learn to read labels…when you’re paying a coach and have a deadline, you can’t really slack off.”—Carol IpMasters/Grandmasters Bikini category, yoga and Pilates instructor

“The hardest parts are cold mornings, when the last thing in the world you want to do is do cardio. I can’t tell you how many mornings I’ve literally woken up while I’m on the treadmill.”—Marilyn Ciccone, Physique/Figure Open category, actor

“I always saw the girls in fitness magazines—I thought they looked amazing, but I never imagined it was something I could do. I’m a super-shy person, so I really had to push myself to go out on stage. I asked myself, ‘What can I learn from this experience? What can I teach my kids?’ But in the moment, as soon as I started to walk out there, my knees were shaking!”—Tanya MomeniBikini category, co-owner of the Hide Lounge

VIDEO: Behind the Scenes at our Bodybuilders Photo Shoot

More from our “Modern Family” series:

Meet Vancouver’s Belly Dancing Troupe

Meet Vancouver’s Wrestling Champs

Meet the Women of Tayybeh

Meet Vancouver’s Culinary Crusaders