From crushing numbers at the gym, to crunching numbers at work, it’s always a balance for Williams Lake’s Devon Gyselinck.
The 22-year-old financial advisor made a New Year’s resolution three years ago after she was “sick and tired of being sick and tired” to lose weight, and to improve her fitness.
She’s now competing provincially at bodybuilding shows and is coming off a second-place result in the bikini class at A Knight of Champions, held Aug. 17 at Surrey’s Chandos Pattison Auditorium.
“I was really overweight, and I had a friend who had the opposite problem as me where it was really hard for her to gain muscle,” Gyselinck said. “I had seen her compete after she started and I said: ‘Hey, if she can gain muscle then I can lose this weight so I called a trainer that day and, surprisingly, they answered.
“It was Jan. 1 and it was a New Year’s resolution. I actually lost over 55 pounds for my first show in nine months.”
Born and raised in Lac La Hache, Gyselinck attended university in Prince George and moved back home to Williams Lake after taking a promotion at Scotiabank.
The transformation didn’t come without hard work and commitment, however, as Gyselinck trains six days a week including 95 minutes of cardio on a StairMaster and one-and-a-half hours of weights each morning before she heads to work.
“In total I put in about three hours in the gym every morning from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m.,” she said. “I see people all day at work, possibly work late until 6 p.m., prep my meals and I’m in bed for 8 p.m. and repeat. It’s a big commitment, but it’s paid off big.”
As part of her training regiment, Gyselinck also closely monitors her diet eating lean proteins such as chicken, sole, turkey, and “tons of rice, and asparagus.”
“I’ve bought out Save-On-Foods’ asparagus section on numerous occasions,” she joked.
Another aspect of training for the bodybuilding show was posing, in order to impress the judges at the competition.
“I practiced posing about three times a day for the four weeks leading up to it,” she said, noting she has personal trainers who live in Montreal from Team Atlas who help her with her workouts, competition preparation, diet plans and her training programs.
At the show competitors in the bikini class went on stage twice: once in a comparison round and then another time by themselves for their own routines.
“I was extremely happy with my result because I qualified for nationals which I’m going to attend in Toronto this coming June to compete for my pro card,” she said.
Prior to the show, Gyselinck said she refrained from having a “cheat” meal from Jan. 14 until the show on Aug. 17.
“I had a massive burger and onion rings, and then the biggest brunch poutine you could ever think of the next day,” she said. “I felt terrible, honestly [after eating it]. My body had no idea what to do with it, but the toughest part about the eating healthy part is you’re always eating the same food for eight months at a time.”
At nationals, Gyselinck will join upwards of 100 other bikini competitors where she plans to give it her best shot to finish first.
“You have to win to get your pro card, so to win the top of the top will be very hard,” she said.
Her other half, Chris Herman, also trains in bodybuilding and the two have been supporting each other in their goals throughout their journeys, and Gyselinck thanked him for all his help leading up to the competition.
“I couldn’t do it without him,” she said. “He’s my whole support team. He basically does everything from meal preps for me when I’m late at work, and he’s crucial in this process.”
Gyselinck said she’s already back to training six days a week in the gym and plans to compete with another Williams Lake bodybuilding competitor, Lorissa Laity, and Herman, in Grande Prairie this coming May.
“We’re going to do it as couples in May, and hopefully they can qualify and come to Toronto [for nationals] too.”