BY RATTAN MALL
YOU just can’t beat Bindi Bains Mackoruk when it comes to discipline, determination and dedication.
The 43-year-old personal fitness trainer bagged the trophy in the figure category in her height class for the third successive year at the 2014 Bikini, Figure, Fitness, and Physique Championships held July 5 in Edmonton.
Bindi, who has two sons aged 9 and 13, competed in the Masters (age 35 and above) category. She spared no effort to try and net a Pro Card to turn professional. For this year’s competition she started preparing as early as last October and put on 10-12 pounds by March. Then from April to June she worked on developing lean muscle mass.
She noted: “This year I had broader shoulders, broader back – I brought the best package that I’ve had.”
But in the Canadian Bodybuilding Federation (CBBF) winning first place in your height category doesn’t automatically get you a Pro Card. They ultimately select just one bodybuilder from four categories and Bindi didn’t get it.
But Bindi is determined to try again next year. She said: “That’s my goal. I am going to keep going until I get it.”
She added: “Even if I became a Pro, it’s not about the fact that I have a Pro status and in the future I can make money. For me, it’s that title. For me, it’s that accomplishment. I’ve achieved the most I can at the amateur level.”
Bindi pointed out: “Competing is very challenging for a family. It takes away a lot of time from your spouse and kids.” But her husband, Chris, and her sons, Isaiah and Ayden, have been very supportive. She noted: “Sometimes it meant dropping everything and going to training. Towards the end, I was training three times a day.”
BINDI, who came to Canada at the age of three, was a youth counsellor in the Vancouver school system for a decade. She struggled with fitness and weight issues as a teenager, “which was lack of guidance and knowledge around fitness and definitely a poor South Asian diet.”
She said: “Today, I try to help people eat clean. It’s not Indian food that’s bad, it’s the way we cook it. So it’s a misconception – Indian food’s bad. Well, you can take the same Indian food and cook it with better options.”
She also cautioned people not to look for “quick fixes.” She said that if you lost a lot of weight in a short time with one of those fad diets, “that’s pretty much a red flag that it’s not permanent,”
She added: “The weight will come back as soon as you go back to your normal diet. But people look for that because they do not want to go through the long term process, especially if they have a certain date coming up.”
Bindi said: “The way I promote my training is: it’s going to take longer, your progress is going to be slow but it will be long term.”
She recommended eating four to five times a day with a break of just two or three hours between each meal. She also suggested consuming three to four litres of water a day. She added: “It flushes all the toxins from your body. You start with two litres and move your way up. It also depends on your level of activity.
Bindi underscored the need for doing any kind of physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day: walking, climbing stairs, even gardening or cleaning your house.
SO what problems do South Asian women face when it comes to keeping fit?
Bindi noted: “Time is a huge one. They are so busy with family responsibility. So many South Asian women live in extended families. … It’s not just about taking care of themselves and their kids – the onus is on them to also take care of the in-laws. … Sometimes they have full time jobs as well.”
And, of course, there are the cultural restrictions. But Bindi added: “It’s slowly changing and I am finding more and more women are trying to take care of themselves and getting out there to get fit.”
She said: “I have moms bringing me their teenage daughters, saying ‘we’re here to get her fit,’ and I look at them and I am like ‘okay, so what about you? You guys wanna do a mother-daughter thing?’ And you often hear ‘oh no, I am done’ … as if life is done!”
Bindi stressed that it wasn’t too late for moms to do something about their own health. She noted: “It’s not about having muscles – it’s just about being healthy. Our community has so many health issues- diabetes, high blood pressure and so on.”
Bindi’s counselling background definitely comes into play in her role as a personal fitness trainer. She elaborated: “Counselling is where I need to get into their head. I think fitness is more mental than it is physical because you need that mental focus to not eat those foods – 80 per cent is diet – because you could work out all you want, but you are not going to see success.”
Bindi Bains Mackoruk Photos by Simon Lau for CBBF