Bodybuilding and Fitness
Serena Westad began her fitness journey when she was at her first year of University. There was something about weight training and going to the gym that intrigued her. It may have been her uncultured small-town perspective that influenced her interest in a new luxury that was so common-place in the big city of Edmonton, but whatever the case, she thought it was an exciting prospect.
When Serena Westad got to University, it was a huge culture shock for her. Moving 500km away from her parents into a big city, by herself to be an “adult.” School was insanely busy and she did not take many breaks. Her schedule was so erratic that she was unable to join any recreational sports teams. So, one day she decided to budget a gym membership and sign up for 12 personal training sessions.
It was a hard course when Serena started, but she’s very glad that she got a personal trainer to help hold her accountable and feel good about her progress. Serena wasn’t strong at first, she had no upper body strength, she was always fatigued and even her skin was pale from poor nutrition. She learned very quickly that she couldn’t skip lunch if she forgot it, or chow down on Chinese food and expect the same results working out.
Serena Westad learned that no matter how tired she felt, she always felt better and studied more effectively that night after going to the gym. She became more productive, her anxiety levels decreased and she felt happier. She also began to look healthier as an added bonus.
This first year she learned the ropes, how to lift, what to eat, cardio intensities, how many days to work out a week etc. Serena started to feel strong and powerful, and these were just the first steps.
The years to follow she would start to find friends that had similar interests in fitness in her Pharmacy class. She started going more frequently, this time to the campus gym, enjoying the social atmosphere, and feeling confident that she knew what she was doing. During moments of study procrastination Serena went on bodybuilding.com, made a profile, found work-outs, diets, motivation and more. She loved learning; and loved seeing changes, different results, dependent on how she was fueling or utilizing my body– Not because she thought she look better or anything, rather she loved that it was such small lifestyle change that made her feel so much better.
Serena Westad had taken up rock climbing at this point, and could not believe the improvements that had happened simply as a result of her strength gains. She was controlling her body in ways she had never done before, she felt powerful and as if the gym could be a metaphor for my life: if she wanted something, all she would have to do is want it enough, then she would work as hard as it took to get there. At this point school had gotten more advanced and more stressful than she had ever experienced– the Gym was time she could justify that I was being productive, yet taking a break. It was guilt free pleasure.
The competitions came as a bit of a random activity. One of Serena’s friends asked her if she had ever thought of doing one, she said that she hadn’t even thought about it, but that it might be fun. At this point in time doing a bodybuilding competition was unusual (present day it’s fairly common). Serena gave an internal shrug; If people thought something was a strange or unorthodox things to do, it just made her more likely to do it. Serena “Googled” upcoming local bodybuilding competitions, and saw one that started 3 months after she returned from Europe where she was participating in a study-abroad university course for a couple of months. Serena thought it would be good motivation to get back into the routine of the gym.
Serena went into her first competition “Muscle Beach 2012” and placed dead last, in the placings where they stopped giving placing. Serena deduced she placed somewhere between 16-26, but there was no way to know for sure. Instead of getting discouraged by what many people would consider to be a failure, Serena used it to drive her enthusiasm for the next competition she would enter in. The loss gave Serena a goal; a standard to improve upon.
8 months after Muscle Beach, Serena Westad showed in the Margaret Logue Northern Alberta Bodybuilding Competition in Edmonton. In her class of nearly 30 girls, Serena was awarded 1st Place, Champion Bikini Competitor (Tall). She was awarded Lifetime competing rights at the Provincial (Tier 2) Level, and proceeded to place 3rd overall out of nearly 170 competitors.
At the Provincial Level, Brian and Donna Logue Provincial Bodybuilding Competition, Serena once again was successful. At her Provincial Debut in 2013, Serena placed in the top 5 competitors out of 17, qualifying her for competing rights to Nationals.
Currently Serena is working on establishing a healthy fitness-work-life balance, and focusing on strength/performance development in the gym. Although Competing is undoubtedly in the future for Serena at either the Provincial or National Level, a competition date has not been set with certainty. Tentatively, Serena Westad will be returning to the Provincial Stage in June of 2015 with the goal of improving on her previous personal achievement/benchmarks… and of course, having fun along the way!