CARBONEAR, NL — Stacey Mercer of Carbonear recently took first place in the bikini division at the Newfoundland and Labrador Amateur Bodybuilding Association (NLABBA) competition.
Mercer, 30, has been working hard these past few years, participating in the NLABBA bikini division in 2011, 2013, and again in 2017.
In 2011, Mercer competed under a different organization, where she placed ninth overall. In 2013, now under the NLABBA, she placed third, which she said was a driving force behind her motivation to place even higher in the following years.
The hard work paid off this year, when Mercer came out of the competition in first place.
Participants in the competition are judged in several areas, such as their overall look – including physique, posing, stage presence, confidence, makeup, and the bikini they wear.
Mercer explained within the bikini division, judges are looking for more natural looks, as opposed to the muscle mass sought after in other bodybuilding divisions.
“Everyone comes out on stage individually, with the top three called out first. We do all the poses – front, side, and back, and really anything else the judges think they need to see,” explained Mercer.
“My main goal this year was to get top three again, so I’m very, very pleased with my first place.
“At my last show, the judges told me that they’d like to see my legs a little bit more lean, so this time around I started my diet a little earlier, and I just really pleased with the results.”
Mercer said despite the first-place honours, this was likely her most difficult show to prepare for, with additional duties this year as a mother to two children.
“It was definitely a bit of a new experience, with two small kids,” Mercer said. “Trying to balance an 18-month-old and a soon to be three-year-old, and still get to the gym, prep my food, and make sure I still get all my workouts done has been a challenge, but it really all paid off in the end.”
Preparation for these shows is also a very dedicated process, Mercer explained. She does year-round weight training and cardio exercises, but starts a strict, show-specific diet approximately three or four months prior to the show.
Lean meats, whole grains, vegetables, and healthy fats are important to the preparation process. In the last month beforehand, Mercer completely cuts things like fruit and peanut butter from her diet.
Mercer has always been involved in fitness, and is a certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist. She runs an online fitness and nutrition program called Fitmom Fitness, and described the lifestyle as a passion.
When a friend introduced her to weightlifting in 2011, she said she fell in love right away, and was on-stage doing a show only six months later.
Six years later, Mercer is proud of her success with first place under her belt, and says she plans to take her competitive career to the national level in July 2018, competing under the Canadian National Bodybuilding Federation.
Preparations for this show will begin for Mercer in March of 2018.
“It’s just a passion for me, and to see it become what it is today makes me very proud. First place is a huge accomplishment for me, and I don’t plan on stopping there.”