From fashion to fitness, Lynne Loiselle prepares for nationals

Lynne bodybuildingLynne Loiselle is an elite bodybuilder. Since her very first competition in 2004, Loiselle has been a force to be reckoned with having competed in over a dozen bodybuilding competitions across Canada.

Her first- and second-place finishes at the Alberta Bodybuilding Association's southern and provincial competitions this past summer even earned her a trip to nationals in the fall of 2014.

Her competition results speak for themselves about her dedication and hard work, but 44-year-old Loiselle hasn't always been the powerhouse she is today. Before getting into weightlifting and doing her first competition 10 years ago, she was a fashion model.

Early life and modeling

As a naturally tall and slender kid, Loiselle says she begged her parents to let her try modeling. They reluctantly agreed, but it wasn't until she moved away from her hometown of Vonda, Sask. that she really got into it.

"I was always the stick thin girl my whole life," she says. "I could get into modeling because that's certainly an attribute they're looking for — lean, thin women."

After finishing high school, Loiselle moved from Vonda to Winnipeg, then from Winnipeg to Jonquiere, Que. In Quebec she studied broadcasting and ended up working as a radio show host for the French-language public broadcaster — Radio Canada — in Regina for the three summers that she was in school.

In 1991 she realized broadcasting wasn't for her and she settled in Ottawa, where she stayed for the next 19 years. She completed a degree in Natural Health Sciences, specializing in Reflexology, which she practices to this day. It was at this time, around the age of 24, that Loiselle began to take modeling more seriously.

Throughout her 20s, she modeled in advertisements, catalogues and fashion shows. Modeling even gave her the opportunity to travel overseas to Spain for work.

Though the modeling industry has a reputation for being cruel and fickle, Loiselle says her overall experience was positive.

Since she was naturally thin, the pressure many girls undoubtedly feel to maintain a stick-thin appearance didn't weigh on her mind.

In fact, she even began losing jobs because of her extremely-thin appearance. When she had to start wearing a fake "padded butt" to be big enough for the sample-sized clothing at fashion shows, Loiselle says she knew she had to pack on some pounds.

She says she started lifting weights in an attempt to add curves to her naturally slender frame.

Finding inner strength

Lynne bodybuilder Loiselle, who trains clients in her home gym, performs pull-ups after fighting through a recent shoulder injury.
Photo courtesy of Lynne Loiselle

Loiselle says she immediately fell in love with weightlifting. Eventually, the day came when she had become so muscular that she decided to walk away from modeling.

Loiselle remembers attending a photo shoot for a company she had done many campaigns with in the past. The photographer on set told her that after her last shoot with him, they had had to Photoshop her triceps to make them appear less defined. Loiselle says this was the day she felt she had to choose between the two worlds of weightlifting and modeling. She chose weightlifting.

Weightlifting remained more or less a hobby for Loiselle until she went to support her training partner at a bodybuilding show in 2004. She says the drastic transformation of her friend from working out in the gym, to walking out on the stage stunned her.

"That day, I thought, I want to try that," Loiselle says of competing.

With this new goal in mind, she says she began to work harder than ever in the gym. As her physical strength began to grow, so did her inner strength.

"About six or seven years ago now, I went through a divorce," Loiselle says.

"I had to make the choice of going out on my own," Loiselle says. "And that's probably something I would've had a really hard time to do if I hadn't built up an inner strength through my weight training."

Loiselle says it took a tremendous amount of inner strength for her to decide to carry on with her life in a different direction.

"I know for a fact I couldn't have done it, or at least not have done it as gracefully, had I not lifted weights," she says.

Although becoming a stronger person through bodybuilding may sound too good to be true, Loiselle maintains that the feeling she gets from becoming physically stronger makes her more confident and empowered.

"Since I've been lifting weights and bodybuilding, I've become so much stronger mentally, physically, and I would even say spiritually," Loiselle says.

Natural athlete

Getting big and strong is no small feat, especially when you do it the old-fashioned way. Unlike many other bodybuilders who use performance enhancing drugs, Loiselle is a completely natural athlete.

Being lifetime drug-free means she has never used a banned substance to enhance her physique or performance.

According to Losielle's longtime friend and former trainer Sam Dube, her level of success is extremely impressive as without the help of steroids it takes enormous consistency, discipline and willpower.

"The general public gets the wrong idea when they see these typical bodybuilders," Dube says. "Most of whom are drugged up to the gills."

Being drug-free adds a new element to Loiselle's already impressive history of competition success.

The association she competes with doesn't perform drug testing, which means the women she competes against could very well use steroids.

"At my last competition, there were some big girls, I don't even know if they were natural or not," Loiselle says.

She says she believes the judges awarded her the top prize because she was leaner and more defined. "It's not always the big girl that wins," she says.

But why has Loiselle not been tempted to level the playing field?

"My health, and my body is not worth the risks that come with taking steroids," Loiselle says.

The anabolic steroids that athletes typically take are a synthetic version of the hormone testosterone. Women who take anabolic steroids may experience an array of side effects, including growing excessive facial and body hair, and experiencing menstrual irregularities.

Up next

LynneLoiselle has a goal setting board just for clients in her home gym. She says her goal is to help people make small changes towards better health.
Photo by Olivia Grecu

Loiselle has qualified to compete at the Canadian Bodybuilding Federation's (CBBF) National Championship in September of 2014.

Since she came first in her age category — masters — at the provincial level, Loiselle has a lifetime berth to the CBBF National Championships.

Her goals leading up to Nationals include adding four pounds of muscle to her frame and standing on stage at nine per cent body fat — before her last show she was 11 per cent.

Loiselle also created her own training and diet program for her last show — the first time she has prepared for a competition without a coach.

Bodybuilders pay for their own competition suits, registration, accommodations and stage tans, among other things.

"If you're going to hire a coach and someone to do your diet, that's a huge chunk of money," Loiselle says, adding that she's proud to be able to prepare by herself.

Loiselle is currently working with a nutritionist to help her prepare for her upcoming competition season.

"It's going to be a big challenge because the Canadian championships bring out the biggest and the best competitors," Loiselle says.

But with her hard work and inner strength, there is little doubt that Loiselle will be ready.

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