Conway says that the experience at provincials was thrilling, and that she wasn’t expecting to finish in first place.
“It was exciting, and a much bigger show than Fort St. John’s,” she says. “In all honesty, I was shocked. I really, really was shocked. I would have been happy to finish top five. I never, ever thought I would get first place, and then I got first place overall.”
Going to nationals in your first year of training is a rarity. To compete at a high level is something that is very demanding, as Conway can attest to, waking up early every morning to begin her workouts.
“I wake up at 4:30 every morning, I’m here at five, or ten to five, 60 minutes on the elliptical, go home and have my protein pancake,” she explains. “You’re following a strict diet, you’re eating every two and a half hours, mainly consisting of chicken and broccoli, and egg whites, then I’m back here in the early evening for another hour of cardio and weight training every other day.
Family support is something that’s been huge for Conway, and she says her family have been very supportive and understanding of her efforts.
“My husband will send me motivational texts throughout the day, my kids have been wicked,” she says. “I feel bad for my family because after the Fort St. John show, I thought this would be over. I never in my mind thought I’d get to the provincials, win that, and now I’m headed to that nationals. I’ve had no life, my kids haven’t had a life. There’s no camping, no barbecues, but they’re good, they’re awesome.”
Meanwhile, Shayleen Clausen says the chance to compete at the provincial and national level is a rare opportunity.
“[It’s) incredible, once in a lifetime experience,” she says. “I was terrified, every time you get on stage, that morning show you are so scared and never know what will happen.”
Her motivation for having a high level of fitness stems from her desire to be in shape after starting a family.
“My first thought was I had a baby, and I wanted to be in a bikini within a year of having a baby, and eight months later I did my first show,” she explains. “I placed terrible, I got tenth out of eleven, and I just kept training on from there.”
Taking part in competitions was never part of the plan for Clausen, however a serious injury forced her to find a new hobby.
“I played hockey for 18 years, I was kind of a tomboy growing up,” Clausen says. “I broke my back about a month after I had my daughter, and wasn’t allowed to play hockey anymore, so this is where the doctor pointed me, he said go into weight training.”
Clausen also wanted to give her thanks to Sandra McLean of Jiffy Lube for her sponsorship, as well as her trainer for their support.