A Te Wānanga o Aotearoa kaimahi and gym novice has slayed all bodybuilding competition before her and has her sights firmly set on a national title.
Stacey McBeth’s dramatic rise in the sport has surprised many including herself so much so that she will compete at a national competition in October – just five months after she first walked into a gym.
And if that left her stunned, she still can’t quite believe that she’s up against the world’s best in the Philippines next year.
Stacey, a level 2 te reo Māori kaiako at Whirikoka, took her first serious steps in to a gym as part of a Biggest Loser-type challenge in Gisborne in May.
“I had never done any bodybuilding in the past and was never really into the gym,” she said.
“I was more into surfing, that’s about it so this is a complete change of lifestyle.”
In astonishing fashion, Stacey has since entered three regional bodybuilding competitions and won her category in each of them.
In October she will compete at the NABBA New Zealand National Bodybuilding Championships to be held in Auckland.
“My mentor said to me when we spoke about the nationals that I probably wouldn’t win.”
“But now he’s thinking I actually could win it.”
Stacey said her journey started when she undertook the campus’ Te Toa Whakaheke Hinu (Biggest Loser) challenge.
The initiative was kickstarted by police preparation programme tutor Hogi Hogarth and Rob Coe-Tipene to encourage kaimahi to compliment their Tau Ora challenge.
For Stacey it meant few carbohydrates in her diet, no dairy products and a couple of two-hour gym sessions every day.
The results came quickly and probably with more haste than Stacey was expecting.
“I was shocked with my results and really wanted to do something about it and in a spur of the moment decided I was going to give bodybuilding a good go, not knowing that I would qualify for nationals.”
“I went to my first body building competition in Whakatane and came first in the novice physique short division.”
“After the Bay of Plenty competition I came first in the East Coast NABBA competition and I have just returned from Wellington where I came first too.”
Stacey and husband Mikaere, another TWoA kaimahi, took out first and second in the Whirikoka competition with gob-smacking results.
Aside from her bodybuilding wins, Stacey’s body fat loss from 32 per cent to 9.8 per cent in 12 weeks also shocked her.
She said her plans included bulking up with an aim of putting on 10kg before she heads to the worlds in The Phillipines next year.
“It’s something I am really looking forward to. I will have to train hard and go up against the world’s best.”
Rob Coe-Tipene said the results for the Kaiti couple were “incredible” and people were mistakenly believing Stacey was a sports and fitness teacher rather than a reo Māori kaiako.
“Their story is a massive achievement and an inspirational story,” he said.
Rob said 19 kaimahi completed the 12-week programme and the results were pleasing with an average 9 per cent fat loss among the group.
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