Six months ago Fort St. John's Laura Conway-MacDonald made a life-changing decision.
"November 2012 I weighed over 200 lbs," she explains. "I got sick of being fat and disgusting."
Now she is a Northern Classic Bodybuilding champion.
"In my dreams it would have been like this but I tried not to get too overconfident," she said admiring both her trophies.
Conway-MacDonald was beside herself as she explained her decision to shed the pounds, never expecting to now be a qualifier for provincials after winning first in the Women's Physique category at the 12th Annual Northern Classic Bodybuilding & Fitness Show at the North Peace Cultural Centre on Saturday.
"I found Krista [Cowie] and Clayton [Foster] at World Gym, started spinning classes with her [Krista], found her so inspiring and then came up with the bright idea of doing this show," she said still in disbelief.
"It's hard to describe [right now] because I just walked out of there. I'm just excited."
Clearly a crowd favourite, Conway-MacDonald drew the loudest cheers of the night when it was announced she was the overall women's physique winner.
Despite having her friends, family and trainers telling her that she could win her class, Conway-MacDonald had her doubts.
"It was nerve-wracking. You don't see all the people out there that you think you would do, so I just focused on my trainer and did OK I guess," she said sheepishly.
"I'm really, really excited. Overwhelmed,"
Over 90 competitors in 18 classes from across B.C. took over the North Peace Cultural Centre on Saturday with a third of the participants from Fort St. John, which has hosted the Northern Classic for the past 12 years.
"The competition is getting better and better every year and they are adding more classes," said event founder and fitness trainer Jeni Briscoe on Saturday. "Bikini is only three years old and this is only the second year for Women's Physique."
"It's going back to classic female bodybuilding," she said about Physique, "Smaller size, more elegant."
The top three of winners of each division earned a birth at provincials in Vancouver on June 22 where they will try to go onto nationals.
"I know it's going to be tighter," Conway-MacDonald said about provincials, "But knowing the trainers I have, we'll go in there looking good too, so I'm excited."
Below is a list of Northern Classic competitors who will advance to the B.C. Provincial Championships in New Westminster on June 22:
Grandmaster Men: Serge Gelfenbeyn (1st), Bruce Allardyce (2nd).
Masters Men: Chad Brignal (1st).
Middleweight Men: Craig Paterson (1st), Daryl Banson (2nd), Josh Savage (3rd).
Light Heavyweight Men: Henry Goldstein (1st), Mike Ryane (2nd), Jeremy Niles (3rd).
Heavyweight Men: Justin Fauth (1st), Dustin Downer (2nd), Serge Gelfenbeyn (3rd).
Women's Physique: Laura Conway-MacDonald (1st), Jamie Friesen (2nd), Terri Maglid (3rd).
Fitness: Zeng Allardyce (1st), Kirsten Olychuck (2nd), Tracy Short (3rd).
Men's Physique Short: Mike Danilee (1st), Nate Cassie (2nd), Barrie Mayers (3rd).
Men's Physique Tall: Zac Bruce (1st), Kolton Gibbons (2nd), Ryan Vardy (3rd).
Figure Masters: Kim Tait (1st), Tracey Fallis (2nd), Jennifer Mallette (3rd).
Figure Short: Brenley Rosenblatt (1st), Ayshe Minouzaheh (2nd), Christie Hemphill (3rd).
Figure Medium: Pam Jarratt (1st), Leanne Lane (2nd), Joey Merrick (3rd).
Figure Tall: Amber Rimes (1st), Emilya Martic (2nd), Navenda Wright (3rd).
Bikini Short: Courtney Bishop (1st), Melissa Ward (2nd), Amanda Aylenheins (3rd).
Bikini Medium: Jill Love (1st), Kaleesha Roux (2nd), Marrianne Dowlatkhali (3rd).
Bikini Tall: Samantha Shorkey (1st), Caitlyn Bellamy (2nd), Danielle Kirkpatraick (3rd).
Overall winners were Craig Patterson (Men's), Zac Bruce (Men's Physique), Brenley Rosenblatt (Figure) and Courtenay Bishop (Bikini). Henry Goldstein and Laura Conway-MacDonald also won for Best Poser.