Sports

Former track athlete Kristen McGregor revels in bodybuilding

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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Having previously tried her hand as a track athlete in the sprints during her years at the University of Technology, (UTech) and then at rugby, Kristen McGregor eventually came to the realisation that her true love lies in bodybuilding.

And she is currently making the most of her natural abilities — being judged on her appearance, wearing nothing more than a bikini and a pair of high heels.

Though it sounds like a beauty pageant, Bikini and Body Fitness is in fact a bodybuilding sport competition that is fiercely contested.

McGregor is one of Jamaica's many bodybuilders who put in wicked hours, arduous workouts and mind-cramping focus in the endeavour to place in the top two of their respective categories at various competitions.

In a fairly short career so far, the 23-year-old has achieved much, as she recently won the Body Fitness category at the 2018 Jamaica Amateur Body Building and Fitness Association (JABBFA) National Championship and Fitness Festival.

That performance followed her gold medal showing for Jamaica at the Central American and Caribbean Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships in Mexico two weeks prior, in her first international appearance.

“The feeling is very great. I am still getting use to winning the competitions that I have entered so far, although it is very tiring on the body because I only get two weeks between shows and now I am going to prepare for the next one coming up.

“So right now I am very exhausted, both physically and mentally, but I am just taking it one step at a time and doing my thing,” she told the Jamaica Observer after outclassing the competition inside the Alfred Sangster Auditorium, UTech, last Saturday.

Despite the pressure and strict dieting to develop and maintain an aesthetically pleasing body and balanced physique which sometimes become almost overbearing, athletes like McGregor have defied thoughts of throwing in the towel.

McGregor pointed out the brutal impact that competing has had on her mental well-being, in the Bikini Fitness category in particular, sometimes tests her physical and psychological limits, causing her to contemplate giving up.

“After the CAC I had it in mind to do the nationals, so I know what I had to do to win. But separate and apart from that, because of the diet at times, it will draw out some emotions and I was getting very emotional off stage.

“So it was good to have my support team behind me to comfort me and remind me that I am a champion and I just had to go out there and deliver what I have,” McGregor noted.

“But it is very difficult especially on the body and, like I said, we have to take our health into consideration when it becomes a case of backing out or pushing forward,” she added.

However, the Fit Farm Fitness Club representative revealed that her love for a healthy lifestyle, coupled with a stubborn determination, continues to fuel her addiction to the sport.

“I enjoy it all the same because it is fitness and a transformation and I love a challenge; watching the body moving from one place to another. I am much leaner now than I was ever before, so it just gradual change and I really am excited as I go forward to see where or what limit my body can go to,” McGregor beamed.

“Each time I go into competition I keep telling myself that I have done the work and there is nothing left to do than to show off what I have accomplished. So I just go out there, have fun, forget about the competitors, and just keep in mind that my hard work will eventually pay off.

“It was never expected and at that point in time I couldn't even tell you what my competitors looked like until I looked back at the pictures, because it was like I zoned out throughout. So it took me by surprise and I am really grateful for it,” McGregor noted.

With the national championship now behind her, McGregor made an appeal for sponsorship as she is now seeking assistance to broaden her horizon with hopes of making her second international appearance for Jamaica in Aruba.

“The president is trying to get me in a competition in Aruba two weeks from now, so I am heading back to the preparation phase for that as we are working and trying to grind out some sponsorship to make that possible,” she revealed.

“So I am currently seeking sponsorship going forward for my other competitions because this sport isn't an easy sport.

“We have to take our diet into consideration, training and supplements along with airfare, because not many shows are in Jamaica to accommodate what you need to go forward. So to go forward you have to compete internationally and we need support and sponsorship to make that happen,” McGregor ended.

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