Meet Vancouver’s Buff Bodybuilders

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

May 11, 2018

By Jenn Farrell / Photo: Pooya Nabei

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.

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 Basbas, LW Bodybuilding category, executive pastry chef

2. “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 Noel, WNBF/ IPE/IDFA Pro category, online coach

3. “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 Ip, Masters/Grandmasters Bikini category, yoga and Pilates instructor

4. “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

5. “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 Momeni, Bikini category, co-owner of the Hide Lounge

VIDEO: Behind the Scenes at our Bodybuilders Photo Shoot

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