Crossabeg native Kadie Smith raises the bar in national bikini contest
Months of gruelling workouts coupled with plenty of discipline paid off for Crossabeg native Kadie Smith when she was crowned the overall female winner in the Republic of Ireland Bodybuilding Federation National Championships.
The 24-year-old was up against dozens of seasoned competitors at the competition in the University of Limerick, which is one of the top bodybuilding and bikini contests in the country. Along with winning the overall female title, she also came first in the 169 cm bikini category. The recent event marked Kadie's second time taking part in a competition, having taken home the overall title in the RIBBF Spring Classic in April.
'I wasn't expecting to win in the national competition at all,' said Kadie, who is sponsored by Optimum Nutrition. 'After winning in my own class in April, I was in pure shock. I decided to do the nationals in October and was working towards it until the day.'
Kadie was up against seven other participants, who were scored on certain criteria by the judges.
'I'm in the bikini section so it is a section that requires the least amount of muscle. You need to have a decent amount of muscle tone but not be really lean. They also judge you on your presentation, make-up and bikini,' she explained.
Though her April win gave her a boost and an idea on what to expect, taking to the stage in a bikini is still a challenge.
'It doesn't get easier,' she laughed. 'Before going on stage, I am calm for one minute and the next, my heart is racing. Once I am on stage I love it though.'
Taking part in bikini competitions takes plenty of preparation in the weeks and months beforehand. Kadie trains in Clayton Whites and Nolan's in Enniscorthy several times a week.
'I weight train five days a week and don't do too much cardio. I train between the two gyms for a bit of variation,' she said. 'I'm very lucky in that I don't have too long of a prep time. I eat healthy food and work to a meal plan all year round with a balance of protein, fats and carbs. I only come into the prep stage eight or nine weeks before a contest. During that time, I weigh all of my food to the gram and don't eat anything off plan.'
'It can be tough but you just have to keep the goal in mind.'
Kadie's interest in bodybuilding stems from her time in college, when she decided to get healthier after going on a J1.
'I was always into sports but when I went to college and on a J1, I became a bit lazy. I came back and started doing a lot of cardio but I wasn't getting to where I wanted. My boyfriend at the time was a personal trainer and he made me a weights programme so I started from there,' she said. 'He started competing then and I went to one of the competitions. I decided there and then that I wanted to take part in one but it wasn't until two years later that I got up on stage.'
Kadie is now qualified to represent Ireland in three European championships, the first of which will take place in May of next year. Until then, she will continue her training but says she is taking a bit of a physical and mental break from the strict approach.
'You kind of need a mental break,' she said. 'I'm still eating healthy food but I am also enjoying having meals out with my boyfriend and family.'
She will also be kept busy at her job with Glanbia, where she has worked as a shift manager in cheese and whey production for two years.