WCBB unites women bodybuilders

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

KANATA – Carp’s Christine Harrison is a competitive bodybuilder with years experience in the sport that is built with long hours in the gym. Harrison is also a certified psychotherapist and knows professionally the toll being a female bodybuilder can have on an athlete’s mental health.

That is why Harrison, who holds a pro bodybuilding title, founded the Women’s Community of Body Building (WCBB) in 2020.

“Kind of out of a need of something I discovered out of my own experience,” Harrison told West Carleton Online from Power Muscle Fitness on March Road. “As a competitor, I started to question some of the show days, and the way shows were being run, and were really geared towards men. I had a conversation with myself, ‘would I want my girls to compete?’ And the answer was immediately no. I thought there has to be something better.”

Harrison did a Google search for ‘Women only bodybuilding.’

“And there was nothing that existed in Canada,” Harrison said. “It was COVID. I thought, I can do this, I can create this, I own a corporation. I have a woman-owned business. And that’s how we were built. It was very successful and very popular. We had so many women-owned businesses that wanted to be a part of it. And women were looking for goals. It was 2020, and they were working out at home, and they wanted to compete. So, this was an accessible platform for people to come out.”

WCBB is a space for all women to compete in their love for body building. Its a gender inclusive space for all women to share their accomplishments and connect with each other. A community by women for women.

WCBB offers regulated body building events, inclusive competitions, workshops and content related to women’s wellness and fitness, while providing other supports to its members.

“Bodybuilding is very complex,” Harrison said. “It’s probably 70 per cent mental. There’s lots of training. There’s a diet. A diet doesn’t mean a reduction in food. It often actually means an increase in food. And you’re learning how to pose. How to highlight the muscles, how to showcase the muscles, on stage. You go up against other competitors and you are graded, or categorized for muscle development, and symmetry and so on.”

Harrison says training “can be” intense.

“I think my first show I started nine months before, and even that was cutting it short,” Harrison said. “I was a long-distance runner before I got in to bodybuilding eight years ago. And that was probably a very short, what we call, prep. As you become more seasoned, and this becomes your lifestyle, with healthy eating, healthy working out, it can become shorter and shorter. Six months is possible.”

With Harrison’s professional experience, the WCBB can help provide mental well-being support as well.

“Competing is very mentally strenuous, and it can have a lot of mental health repercussions and that’s one thing I discovered when I was competing and talking to other competitors,” Harrison said. “It would really highlight a lot of eating disorder, anxiety and depression. I realized the other federations out there really didn’t offer a lot of support to athletes. It really was a business. Come in, pay your fee, get on stage, take your medal, go home. The WCBB offers more support to the athlete. We offer post-show check-ins, mental health support online as a group. So, we facilitate that community spirit in this federation. We also have workshops ahead of time, so people can get to know one another and make connections.”

The WCBB is a non-profit and has a board of directors with four members.

“We have more volunteers than we will ever need,” Harrison said. “People are really great to help out. Everybody wants to be a part of it. In terms of competitors, it can range from 10 to 20 per competition.”

Power Muscle Fitness hosts WCBB events and provides them a space.

“They’ve given us our space to have meetups and host posing workshops,” Harrison said. “They’re really welcoming.”

The WCBB also fundraises for the Youville Centre, a non-profit helping young moms complete their high school education and has a standing bursary with the organization.

“Good mental health options come through employment, through education and empowering women,” Harrison said.

Harrison puts a lot of work in to the WCBB, but she says she gets a lot out of it as well.

“For me, being able to witness people’s success and be a part of their goals, has given me a sense of contentment that I have never found in my own competing,” she said. “There are women who have overcome some incredible obstacles. Not just major weight loss, women who have come in that were in the middle of chemo; that have just undergone surgery; that are transitioning in to new stages of life. We had an athlete who had just lost a leg in a motorcycle accident. We’ve seen some amazing stories and they’re so inspirational. During our transformation category at the shows, there are no dry eyes. It’s pretty special to be a part of it.”

The next CWBB event is March 31, Power Muscle Fitness at 2121 Carling Ave. Harrison says the best way to keep up to date on WCBB events is through their social media page here.

“We have a category and level for everybody,” Harrison said. “It’s really a great way to kickstart a new stage of your life and we like to raise as much money as we can to give back to the Youville Centre.

For more information on the WCBB, visit their website here.

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