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Canadian bodybuilder Kendra Kainz enjoying the journey to success

In 2001, Kendra Kainz left Canada for the USA to start fresh and never looked back.

The 42-year-old Bramalea Secondary School and Humber College graduate took the plunge after dabbling in graphic design and a family business start-up in the GTA.

But how did she become a 2015 NPC Washington Ironman champion bodybuilder in her first contest?

The answer involves some good old-fashioned Canadian know-how.

MMA Crossfire Vault: Kendra Kainz shares some bodybuilding mentors

Love brought Kendra from British Columbia across the border to Oregon. But things didn’t work out, so she decided to relocate for the down-to-earth city of Seattle instead of returning.

“It had a good vibe,” Kainz recalled. “It reminded me of home for awhile.”

Kendra Kainz

Bodybuilder Kendra Kainz. Courtesy Kendra Kainz.

But once again, she had to make new friends and get acclimated. The divorce was stressful, yet generated an opportunity to cross off a few of the items on her bucket list.

“I’ve always been an athlete in some capacity, and I realized I was a little different because I liked the combat sports and competition,” Kainz explained. “I liked hitting things, like boxing and baseball. After my divorce, I really got myself in shape, doing triathlons and running marathons.

“I was feeling stagnant and needed a good challenge. It was one of those ideas that came into play. It popped into my mind at the right place at the right time. I had the the time to do it and the access and resources to do it. I took it as a new goal for myself for the new year [2015].

It’s hard to think that a little over six months ago, Kainz at 5-foot-7 was 16 percent body fat and 152 pounds. But if a picture is worth a thousand words, it emphasizes that the journey was not an easy one.

Kendra Kainz

Kainz’s bodybuilding journey has produced significant returns. Courtesy Kendra Kainz.

“You have a good solid mental state of mind to do bodybuilding,” Kainz detailed. “I don’t think I could have done this years ago. My marathon training really helped me be mentally strong, and of course, going through a divorce and all of that other stuff – getting overweight and getting yourself healthy again – you have to be extremely strong internally. I think it made my bodybuilding journey really easy because I already had that platform and I was able to fall back on those tips and techniques to presevere.

“Not to say I didn’t have my moments and trust me, I’ve had many of them in the last six months where it was difficult. I didn’t want to work out or you self-doubt yourself, but you pick up and keep going.”

But with only six months to work with, it was crucial to stick to the gameplan.

“It was intense,” she recalled. “It was a lot of trial-and-error for the first show, because I didn’t know how my body was going to react. Now, I have a really good idea how my body operates, so I know for the next show I will do things a little differently. I would do active cardio  in the morning (35-45 minutes), strength training afternoons or evenings (75 minutes, legs 150 minutes) . More cardio in the evenings (20-30 minutes). Ab work 3 times a week.

There were injuries, including a scary one to her neck and another to her shoulder two weeks before the contest.

Kendra Kainz

Kendra’ has the battle scars to prove her bodybuilding journey. 1 week after a bite accident..

“It was intense,” she recalled. “It was a lot of trial-and-error for the first show, because I didn’t know how my body was going to react. Now, I have a really good idea how my body operates, so I know for the next show I will do things a little differently. I would do active cardio  in the morning (35-45 minutes), strength training afternoons or evenings (75 minutes, legs 150 minutes) . More cardio in the evenings (20-30 minutes). Ab work 3 times a week.

The injuries weren’t enough to keep Kendra from competing. Ripped at 8 percent body fat and 131 pounds, she grabbed first place in the Class D and Masters-over-35 categories, surprising herself.

Kendra Kainz

To the victors, go the spoils.

“I’m living proof that’s anything’s possible,” she surmised. “Because in 2004, I was 60 pounds overweight and had medical issues.

“I promised myself that would never happen again.”

Now, with the NPC win under belt, and some healing, its onward and upward to bigger horizons.

Kendra Kainz

Kendra Kainz with friends one week after her 2015 NPC Washington Ironman win. Courtesy Kendra Kainz

“We ruled out any kind of compressed disc. It looks like I might of tore a bit of my tendon,” she clarified. “It’s just rest, heat and the alternative therapies I’ve been doing. Acupuncture, physiotherapy and slowly strengthening myself back.

“I have targeted a timeframe and I’m looking at shows right now middle to end of summer [2016]. I’d like to do another show that is a higher-calibre one, because I want to see how I’m going to fare at a national show. My goal is to do a national show another three weeks right after that.”

Kendra Kainz

Kendra Kainz at the 2015 NPC Washington Ironman competition. Courtesy Kendra Kainz.

That means the 2016 IFBB North American Championships – the big one – could be next.

“It’s quite possible,” she hinted. “As long as it fits in my timeframe. I want do really well at a national show. In talking to my coach, one of the things I really need to improve is make some gains. I’m really a lean bodybuilder and my areas of weakness are definitely my lower body. I really need to bulk up my legs so that’s what I want to work on give myself some time to make those improvements.”

Kendra Kainz

Kendra Kainz (R) with her training partner.

Family and friends hope a long-time coming visit to Toronto is in the cards next year. Perhaps an opportunity to compete in the Toronto Marathon?

It’s wait-and-see for now. But one thing is certain. Kainz is willing to see where her bodybuilding journey takes her.

“I’m really enjoying this journey,” Kainz said. “I feel like I’ve really feel like I’ve found my thing.”

“It helped me make myself a priority in my life.”

@kenaiandrews

Categories
Bodybuilding

Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.
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