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For our final instalment in our fitness competition series (part 1 and 2) we are getting up out of our seats in the audience and sneaking our way backstage. We see the flexing, we see the posing, but what’s going on behind the scenes?

“The day of the show is amazing,” says Jessi Zelinsky, past competitor. “Your body changes by the hour as you dry out and carb up. For me, it was a glamorous day!”

For other competitors, it’s a day to soak up inspiration.

“I got tips, support and encouragement from everyone,” says Mariya Patrick, past competitor. “I met a mother who was competing for the first time despite having a c-section scar and seasoned veterans who have kept coming back because of their love of the stage.”

For others, it’s less about the feel-good moments and more about preparing down to the last second.

“I’m pretty focused and selfish to be honest,” admits Jon Kassian, past competitor. “My eating schedule and food timing is important.”

Jon goes on to say that, depending on the organization, the vibe among fitness competitors can range from competitive and standoffish to friendly and social.

“It’s tense as the people there are your competitors and there can be catty individuals, but there is a sense of family as well,” adds Jessi.

One of the things that strikes outsiders as odd is the incredibly dark tans that contestants sport on the day of the show.


Jessica Grudzinski at WBFF 2014

“We look like beef jerky up close,” laughs Jessi. “But the spray tans are necessary to show off the definition in our muscle under the bright stage lights! It allows the shadows to be picked up and enhanced.”

Jon compares the dramatic tans to any other performance makeup.

“It’s the same idea as actors in a stage play,” he says. “They have to wear makeup on their faces so you can see their facial expressions.”

As far as keeping your spray tan looking good, Mariya has one major tip.

“Do not get wet!” she exclaims. “Maintaining my tan and making sure not to smear it was one of the most difficult parts of my day.”

Joseph Moniz has a different perspective of the competition. He’s been a judge for the Alberta Body Building Association for the last 9 years!

“Shows are getting busier and busier every year,” he says. “It can be overwhelming as a judge because you want to make sure that every competitor is seen and compared properly.”

Joseph feels that the best part of being a judge is getting to see the shows and the competitors from a different perspective and giving them feedback to better improve their physiques.
“Competitors love the events, there is great energy and sense of accomplishment for sure.”

Jessica Grudzinski echoes that sentiment.
“Words can’t express how I felt on stage at WBFF Worlds… it was a surreal experience,” she says, adding one last bit of encouragement for future competitors.

“Make sure your bikini, jewelry, and physique are ready, and then you take a deep breath and say to yourself it’s my time to shine.”


The Alberta Body Building Association’s fitness competition takes place tomorrow here in Edmonton at the Winspear Centre. Will you be checking it out?

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