Pro bodybuilders happy to get back in the gyms

It has been less than a week since gyms across the country were allowed to reopen for business after being closed for almost four months. Professional bodybuilders who travel around the world to represent The Bahamas in competitions were happy to be back in the gyms working on their bodies.

Endierich Rahming, who competes in the men’s physique division, said that he missed the gym and was a little sore as his body readjusted.

“It feels absolutely amazing to be back in the gym because it was a part of my lifestyle – my day-to-day routine. It was something that I felt was missing. It was not difficult returning to the gym. Mentally, my mind was prepared. Physically, the soreness and the degree of difficulty would be there for that first week, but once my body gets readjusted to what it knows, then I think it will be fine,” Rahming said.

He was able to work out during the national curfew and lockdown period, working on functional and compound movements such as squats, deadlifts and bench press, he said.

Experienced bodybuilder Lorraine LaFleur, who competes in the women’s physique division, said it was great to get back to her regular training.

“It feels great to be back in the gym, so I could get back to my training. Since the reopening, I’ve had to slowly ease my way back into training and the muscle soreness is there but mentally, I’m used to it. I missed the pain a little bit,” LaFleur said.

She last competed at the IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness) Pro Elite World Games in Tarragona, Spain, last year, where she finished fourth in women’s physique.

Another Bahamian pro bodybuilder who returned to the gym was Jamiel Hamilton. He said he missed the experience.

“It feels really good to be back in the gym and get some serious workouts in. Since the lockdown, my workouts were limited to resistance bands and some dumbbells and that was OK, but there’s nothing like that heavy iron in the gym.”

The transition from home workouts to the gym has been difficult thus far, said Hamilton. He said his strength has suffered greatly, but after a week or two, he expects the muscle memory to take effect.

It was not a difficult return to the gym for Lakeisha Miller, as she said she was working on weight training at home during the lockdown.

“I am so excited to be back in the gym and training hard. It’s another place and platform for me to really get back into what I really love doing. I tried my best and made the best out of training at home due to the lockdown, but nothing compares to training in the gym,” Miller stated. “My return to the gym and training wasn’t difficult for me at all because I continued weight training and conditioning training at home and I was outdoors basically everyday, along with cardio and my nutritional program. I trained the legs, chest and back muscle groups and abdominals, and it felt great to get back to some sort of normalcy, especially after such a long time of not being able to train at a high intensity that I am so used too.”

Former three-time National Champion Jimmy Norious said he hasn’t gone into the gym as yet, but is, nevertheless, happy that gyms, another option for him closer to competition time, are opened. During the lockdown, he said he worked out from home but missed the options of the beach and gym.

“It wasn’t that bad for me. Being a professional athlete, first and foremost, I invested in my craft. Being on the government’s subvention program, every time I would get a check from the government, I would try to invest about 10-20 percent in equipment. I was able to accumulate a lot of things. The only thing that was difficult was because I am a classic physique athlete and I need to maintain a certain amount of weight. I cannot go above my weight class, so I would do a lot of functional training on the beach,” Norious said.

He added that it was tough being at home and seeing the same weights and machines every single time, but he adjusted. The experienced bodybuilder did not like the idea of not having the options of going to the beach, Club One Gym or staying at home during the initial reopening of the economy phases.

Norious managed to do one show for the year, in Praia dos Amores, Brazil, at the Angelo Borges Fitness Cup back in February. He finished fourth in his division.

With the rest of the year being uncertain due to travel restrictions and the protocols in place due to the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, athletes have expressed interest in going to international shows but are skeptical as to which ones they want to go to.

Hamilton’s last time on the stage was at the Tampa Pro Show in Tampa, Florida, last year. He said he was planning on competing in Florida again this year, in August, but with the spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Florida, he is not looking forward to going.

Miller was in the middle of preparation for her first pro show, the Toronto Pro Super Show in Toronto, Canada, last month, but it was canceled because of the presence of the pandemic. For the latter part of the year, she will be looking at the IFBB Pro League schedule to see which shows she will consider.

It has been a difficult couple of years for Miller. She earned her pro card at the Ben Weider Legacy Cup in Toronto, back in 2017. In 2018, she got injured while training for her first pro show. Last year, she underwent surgery, and in January of this year, she said she was on target to get back on stage.

Rahming was looking forward to starting his season around this time. He had planned on doing shows in Canada, Aruba and Barbados. The world championships were on his radar as well. His last show was last year in Aruba. Like Miller, he will be looking at the calendar to see which shows he will consider.

For LaFleur, she said she wanted to compete at home, here in The Bahamas, in a show in November, but it doesn’t appear that the show is still on the schedule.

One of Norious’ dreams is to represent The Bahamas on the big stage – the world championships or the Mr. Olympia competition. The relentless bodybuilder is looking to qualify for this year’s world championships in Rome, Italy, if the show is still on. Before that, he is looking to take part in shows close by in the Caribbean or in Florida.

He does not believe that anyone should retire as long as they can keep producing.

They are all looking forward to the remainder of the season.

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