Addicted to the gym

CHAD SCARSBROOK

, Last Updated: 7:33 AM ET

This time last year Ainsley McSorley was preparing for her first fitness model and swimsuit competition.

A year later McSorley, 23, is set to compete at her first national championship after recently securing her pro card in the swimsuit model category.

"I don't think it's still sunk in," McSorley, a nutritional sciences student at the University of Manitoba, said earlier this week about her rapid ascent in the world of fitness competition.

It all started about a year ago when she saw an advertisement for FAME -- a Toronto-based bodybuilding and fitness organization.

"FAME came out with the fitness model division, which has no routine and is not really muscular, it's toned and fit," said McSorley. "I thought that really appealed to me and my look. As soon as I saw the advertisement, right then and there I said 'I'm doing that.' "

It was a bit of a change for McSorley. She had been involved in sports growing up but noticed a few years ago that she had gained a bit of weight and was out of shape.

"There was a year or two where I wasn't doing anything," she admitted. "I was out having fun and it kind of caught up to me."

These days, McSorley is in the gym six times a week. She'll start a specific training program 12 weeks before a competition and give herself a break afterwards -- usually.

"I usually take a week or two off because my body is so exhausted but really I'm so addicted to the gym I can't stop. I've done four shows in the last year so I really haven't had time to stop either. Healthy eating and coming to the gym every day has become my lifestyle."

As a part-time server at Earls, it was difficult at first for McSorley to focus on a strict diet. After all, when you're serving delicious-looking food a high protein, low carb, no alcohol, no sugars and only essential fats diet probably isn't the first thing you're thinking about. But her cravings went away in time.

"I don't crave anything anymore, I'm so used to my regular diet. And I've gotten to know my body so much more. If I'm hungry I can tell if I really need carbs. The day after my carb-loading day (every fifth day) I can tell my muscles look so much fuller. It's like my body's a Grade 8 science experiment."

LEANING OUT

After weeks of muscle building (alternating from working out chest and back, legs and shoulders and arms), trainer Blaine Podaima has McSorley on a leaning out program leading up to Toronto. That includes plenty of cardio like jogging and hill sprints aimed at reducing her body fat "so muscles are more visible."

Muscle mass isn't the only thing the judges will be looking for. They want to see a healthy, natural toned look combined with a confident stage presence. They saw that from McSorley in March. She earned her pro card (the highest designation in a five-tier system based on competition results) in the swimsuit division after a first-place finish at a FAME event in Toronto. That landed her an invite to the FAME National Championships, June 9-10 in Toronto. Now her goal is to earn her pro card in the fitness category.

"I've never been nervous for a show before but this one -- I'm terrified," she said, noting she'll be up against others in the open fitness and pro swimsuit categories from all over the world. "It's at the Toronto Exhibition Centre and there's two full stages going on the entire weekend."


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