Local business owner brings home the hardware
Competing in an Ultimate Fitness Event (UFE) was a bucket list item for Lisa Squire, owner of the Home Hardware franchise in Stayner. Recently Squire not only competed in a UFE bodybuilding showcase in London, Ontario, she brought home a gold medal in the Masters/Novice division and bronze in the Novice/Open category.
Years ago, while working as a massage therapist, Squire witnessed astonishing transformations as women at the adjoining gym trained for UFE events. She vowed that before her 50th birthday, she would become a UFE bodybuilder.
Early in 2020, Squire was 14 weeks into a gruelling 20 week program to prepare for her first competition., then COVID happened, and the competition was cancelled. She stopped training, but says the goal remained as a niggle in the back of her mind. This past January, she signed up for another 20 weeks of intensive training. She purchased an on-line program from UFE, and kept in touch with a friend who was prepping for a different division at the same time, but she trained on her own.
The training involved five phases of four weeks each with the exercises and diet changing with each phase. She worked out for 90 minutes, five days per week, and ate a diet high in lean protein and green vegetables. Squire says the diet got very boring, particularly once spring hit and people began socializing again. Having a date on the calendar and an event she was committed to helped her stay the course.
Squire describes herself as “not terribly body-confident” going into this experience, just very gutsy. She has always had a love of theatre, and a love of fitness. Body-building was the perfect intersection of those interests. Many competitors hire “posing coaches” to prepare for UFE showcases. Squire and her friend took a different approach and hired Kat Salvador of the Danceroom in Stayner to instruct them in a range of skills from walking in heels to stage presence and maintaining eye contact with the audience.
The toughest part of the actual competition according to Squire was the tanning session. Spray tan is required to show muscle definition to maximum advantage. The day prior to the competition, a large group of naked women lined up in a giant spray booth, then shivered in front of enormous drying fans. That experience, says Squire, confirmed that even the most seasoned competitors are acutely aware of their imperfections. Once she saw that, she stopped questioning whether she was good enough to be there.
The rest, she describes as a “princess experience” with hair, makeup and pampering. The hard work was done and it was her time to feel beautiful and feel like an athlete. By the end of the competition she says women who went there as strangers felt like members of a team.
With her wins in the June event, Squire was invited to advance to an Elite level competition, but she declined, saying she has nothing left to prove. She qualified as a Level 1 Cross Fit Coach in 2020 and continues to coach and work out five days a week.
The top notch team that looks after the Home Hardware store makes it possible for her to carve out that time. She will go into her 50s feeling strong and fit.
Her son, in commenting on her achievement said, “That was great. Congratulations. Now could you put some clothes on!”