Thursday, 2 June 2016
As well as that carried by the fine Hasina Love (who we met again the other day) there was much more delicious muscle on display in the Physique division at the NPC Pittsburgh this year. And much of it was packed onto the 5'3" frame of the Class A and Overall champion Cassandra Vandenbord, aka Cassandra (or Cassie) Hogue.
What a sight she was on that stage. Thickness plus definition. Prime beef. And all displayed with great enjoyment and no little panache by the looks of it. How fast it went but it was just so much fun! she reflected afterwards. Pittsburgh Women's Physique champion baby!!! What an amazing day. This is a huge huge dream.
In stark contrast to Therese Vilrik Bruun and her constant delight, Cassandra's journey to victory was, she says, "a rough road". At one point she even put out a general plea for help. I cannot sleep at night. Up every hour. With my metabolism, supplements, stimulants etc. But guiding Cassandra through the tough times were her family (humans and cats), and her trainer, a certain Theresa Ivancik.
And she toughed it out. Consistency, hard, painful, miserable, sweaty yet blissful work. When I don't want to do another rep, I do 5 more. When I don't want to workout I do 15 minutes more. For once in my life I've stuck with something and put forth my whole heart into it. Sometimes it's all smiles, sometimes it's not. But at the end of the day I'm better for it.
And slowly but surely the changes in her body started to push her towards that finishing line. It's starting to be that time! 8 days!!! There are worms in my belly! she exclaimed, veins popping all over her abdominals. No one can take this from me. I want this bad! And finally the day of the show arrived, it was "her time".
And the coach was there to capture it on film.
Now hang on a minute there and take a look at the guy in the left corner, back to stage. Wasn't that Manion himself not even watching or am I imagining that?! He does promote the show, it could well have been him, and he's well-known for not being a fan of the lady muscle. I can't think of any circumstances when I would go to a show and then not watch it, especially when the class of the WPD was doing her routine!
Bet he watched the Bikini girls though.
Anyway, back to Cassandra...
On the left, Figure in 2012. On the right, well, you know. Inspiration to her followers, and probably a reminder to herself of just how much she has achieved. With hard work, consistent training and diet the results will come. Never give up whether it's in the gym or something you pursue in your professional or personal life.
And she would know. She's a tough woman I reckon, despite being a total softy as far as kittens are concerned - I mean, aren't we all? A working woman, hairdressing and working her way towards the police force at the same time as she has made her dream a reality. And she's not finished yet.
There's no better feeling then being up on that stage, she shared, feeling the insane pump euphoria of her post-contest, fully fed muscles. That final moment after weeks, months of constant focus and consistent habits. Did I want to quit..absolutely. Looking back on it now I'm so glad I didn't. It's not even about winning. It's about how this experience changed my entire mindset. I'm all tunnel vision now. I want this more than anything and I'll get it.