Fraser Canyon Hospital x-ray technician, Kris Lebedoff proudly poses with the medal and bag of bling she won at the 2018 Popeye’s Fall Classic bodybuilding competition at the River Rock Casino in Richmond, November 3. Evan Empey photo

Hope woman ticks bodybuilding off her bucket list

Kris Lebedoff endured strict training regimen, restrictive diet and managed Type-1 diabetes to compete

This is one bucket that won’t be getting kicked again.

“It was definitely my first and last time,” said local x-ray technician, Kris Lebedoff, of her foray into the world of amateur bodybuilding. “I just wanted a six-pack for one day.

“It was probably on my bucket list for the last 10 years,” she added. “I asked Cindy Young to get me in shape for my wedding dress last year.” She married Joe Boyle in Mexico in November 2017.

“Cindy asked me if I’d thought about competing and I asked her ‘do you think I can?’ ” recalled Lebedoff. Cindy thought she could but Lebedoff let the idea slide until June of this year, when she signed up for the annual Popeye’s Fall Classic competition, at River Rock Casino in Richmond on November 3.

“I had been seeing Cindy a couple of days a week since January but I started the program in mid July.

“She put me on a strict diet,” said Lebedoff. “I had to give up cream in my coffee and peanut butter. I basically lived on chicken breasts, egg whites and lettuce. That was tough! I couldn’t even have tomatoes or peppers because of the sugar content.”

What she could have was water — and plenty of it.

“I was drinking two gallons (9 liters) of water a day and my tea, diet Coke and protein shakes were making it up to three gallons.”

Young set her student up with enough work to sweat off a lot of the water, with what she called a “shock and awe” schedule.

RELATED: Septuagenarian bodybuilder redeems himself after qualifying for nationals

“We never had the same exercise twice a week,” said Young, who has been in the training business for about 40 years, the first 20 working with racehorses.

“We wouldn’t have an ‘arms day’ or a ‘leg day,’ ” said Lebedoff.

“It would be an ‘everything day,’ with weights and cardio to boot,” added Young. They would meet at the Reflexions gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6 a.m. and Lebedoff would also attend step aerobics and Fitness Express at the rec centre.

“I also made sure she had a ‘cheat day’ every week, until six weeks out,” said Young. Once a week, Lebedoff could veer from the diet plan and enjoy her meals. Still, she usually stayed away from social gatherings, as the temptations might be too strong.

Then there were the 16 posing sessions in Chilliwack.

“We had to wear 5-inch stiletto heels — and I don’t wear heels,” groaned Lebedoff. “At the end, the trainer said ‘I can’t believe you’re the same girl who came here the first week!’ ”

The restrictive diet, water intake and exercise schedule would be taxing for anyone — but Lebedoff had an extra challenge to throw into the mix.

“I’ve been a type-1 diabetic since age 7,” said the 41-year-old. She gets her insulin via pump but if her blood sugar levels dropped, she had to make a correction with a bit of honey or juice. Both would normally be verboten for a serious body builder but there was no way around it.

“My endocrinologist said he’d never had a patient do body building before but he said go for it and report back,” said Lebedoff.

The final six weeks got extra serious on the diet — and the last three days went right to the cutting edge.

“Three days before the comp: no more water or fluids,” said Lebedoff.

Young explained, “It dehydrates you, the skin gets tighter and the muscles come out more to play.”

“At the comp, there were all sorts of vendors with energy drinks to try and I’m sitting there saying ‘Nope… you’ve made it this far,’ ” said Lebedoff. “ I had started out at 142 pounds and my stage weight was 115.”

The day started at 5 a.m., with a whole-body spray tan application, followed by hair and make-up. The competition, judging and presentations weren’t over till 11 at night.

RELATED: Hope fitness instructor training for bodybuilding competition

While hubby hadn’t taken part in the training, he had certainly suffered in his own way through the arduous process and is glad to know it’s a one-time thing, said his wife.

“It’s just not feasible to continue as well as work and have a life,” said Lebedoff.

Young was sitting with Boyle during the competitions and asked him, “Now, what do you think of your wife? ‘Damn good!’ he said,” recalled Young.

The journey was more for the challenge than the prizes but Lebedoff ended up with a fourth-place standing in the Masters’ class and fifth in the Open.

A few weeks after the event, Lebedoff had regained 10 pounds (4.5 kg), some through fluids and the rest from going back to a more open diet.

“This is normal,” advised Young.

“I haven’t had good food in so long, I sit down to a good meal and I just can’t stop,” said Lebedoff, with a grin, knowing that she and Boyle would be vacationing in Mexico by the time the story goes to print.

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