Cheryl Zealand is making waves in the fitness world.
The 39-year-old mother of three has always been athletic, and took an interest in the bodybuilding world at a young age, but never competed herself.
Three weeks after her twin boys were born three years ago, Zealand was on a mission to get her body back. It was this that prompted Zealand to check something off her bucket list and throw herself into the bodybuilding world.
"I thought it would be good to throw myself into it and see where it goes," Zealand said.
Zealand, a Whyte Ridge resident, said she hired a nutrition coach, began to eat healthy, and started fitness training daily.
Within nine months she had done her first photo shoot, and from there she decided to keep going.
Fifteen months after her twins were born, Zealand competed in her first fitness competition, where she placed seventh.
In June, 2012, Zealand placed second in the Manitoba provincials in the Figure Medium category.
More recently, Zealand has appeared in Inside Fitness, a Canadian fitness magazine, as well as in Oxygen Fitness magazine, and on bodybuilding.com as their Transformation of the Week feature.
While she’s been gaining a lot of attention from the fitness world, Zealand said her initial goal wasn’t to get into shape to compete.
"It was just getting to a point where I was comfortable again in my clothes, and had energy to take care of three children," Zealand said.
Still, all the attention has been surprising to Zealand.
"I didn’t realize how much people are inspired, especially other moms, by how you can get back into pretty good shape after having three kids," Zealand said.
While she’s been working on her own personal goals, Zealand said she’s also been encouraging other moms in her circle of friends to get fit, too.
"I like to encourage people to be comfortable in their own skin," she said.
"I’ve helped over 20 family members and friends lose about 300 pounds total in a combined group effort."
Zealand said the fact her family and friends look to her as an inspiration is both flattering and rewarding.
"If I can inspire others to take a look at the food they’re eating, and to get on the treadmill an extra time during the week, that’s great for me," she said.