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As a strongman competitor, Darren has pulled 50,000 lb trucks and dead lifted 805 lbs. As a competitive bodybuilder, he has won Provincial Super-heavyweight & Overall titles. As President & CEO of FREAK Fitness, he has coached his clients to hundreds of Novice, Provincial/State, National, and IFBB Pro titles. Having been involved in the sport of bodybuilding for over 20 years, Darren has his finger on the pulse of the local and international bodybuilding scenes, and will be keeping you informed through his column, “Freak Fitness."
The Transformation of Janessa Roy
In October of 2011, Janessa Roy came to me with one goal—she needed a change. This once positive and energetic woman had come to me after a recent breakup that had taken a big toll on her. She was feeling sad and lonely, and she didn’t like how she felt or how she looked at 167 pounds. Having a Master’s degree in education, with a focus on counselling, Janessa knew that having a goal would provide her direction and focus for a new direction and new lifestyle. She told me how she had felt most alive when she competed in a bodybuilding show a few years before, and how she wanted my help to get back onstage. During an initial consultation with a new client, one thing I like to learn is the biggest obstacle or limiting factor standing in the way of success—the diet or the training. In Janessa’s case, a number of my clients who worked out at the same gym as Janessa told me that she was very focused in the gym and very few people trained as hard as her. Janessa is a very intense person and has a strong athletic background in various sports, a combination that produced very aggressive workouts in the gym. For Janessa, her most challenging hurdle was the diet. Janessa admitted that she had suffered from an eating disorder for many years.
Having helped clients in the past with similar experiences, I’ve learned that having a structured plan is one of the best ways to help my clients be less affected by outside influences. Knowing what needs to be done and being held accountable to me and their goals has a very positive impact on the client’s success. It allowed Janessa to take emotion out of the equation and “just do.” Once we set Janessa’s plan into action, her results started like a roller coaster: When she was focused, her progress came quick, but when she allowed outside influences to affect her, her results would stall or even take a step back. As time went on, though, Janessa’s able to put more and more mental energy into positive actions, and things went from being like a roller coaster to being like a speeding bullet!
Her first show was the 2012 MABBA Novice, where women’s physique was first introduced in Manitoba. It was also the first show in Canada to have the women’s physique division, so the entire country was watching. We didn’t realize it at the time, but Janessa had set the standard for women’s physique in Canada when she won her class with a perfect score at an ultra-conditioned weight of 129 pounds! A mere four weeks later, in only her second show as a women’s physique competitor, Janessa shocked the country when she won—again with a perfect score—the overall women’s physique title and her IFBB pro card at the 2012 CBBF Worlds Qualifier. She had become Canada’s first women’s physique IFBB pro! Still feeling the thrill of winning her IFBB pro card and achieving a lifelong dream, Janessa didn’t want to stop just yet. Two months later, she decided to compete in the 2012 IFBB Toronto Pro SuperShow, and in her first IFBB pro show, Janessa placed fourth, even beating out many of her inspirations. I’m truly grateful to have been part of Janessa’s transformation, as it demonstrated to me and others around us just how powerful the mind can be. Despite starting from such a low point in her life, it was Janessa’s decision to achieve something better that catapulted her to a place that she had only before dreamed of. It’s fair to say that in just seven months, Janessa achieved exactly what she first told me she wanted— a change! And a big change it sure was! Janessa not only became an IFBB pro but also is now using her transformation story to help others battle eating disorders and dare to make their own changes.
To read more incredible transformations by the Freak Maker, click here!