Jaimie Jefferson is well used to winning glossy sashes – but up until the last year they have all been for her achievements in the show jumping arena.
That was until a spur of the moment decision saw her decide to ‘have a go’ at body building.
The results have been spectacular. Jaimie embraced her new sport with 100 percent commitment and just nine short weeks after starting, competed in her first competition (IFBB Northland Champs in Whangarei), where she won the Novice Figure Short (under 164cm) title, placed third in the Open class and qualified for NZIFBB 2016 Nationals held in Auckland in August.
Since then Jaimie has enrolled in NZIHF and is studying to be a personal trainer. She is working at her gym, Flex Fitness helping teach boot camps and hopes to start there as a personal trainer in a few weeks.
In the meantime, she is prepping for her next competition; the 2016 Nationals, where she plans to bring ‘a better improved package to stage’.
At just 17, she is determined to continue succeeding in the sport and has ambitions to compete at all of New Zealand’s major events– and internationally.
“I’ve always loved going to the gym and had thought about starting body sculpting but never thought I would actually do it.
“A couple of boys from the gym who compete invited me to watch at the Auckland Body Building Champs, so I went along, met their nutritionist Tarren McCall and got some advice on where and how to start.”
Throwing herself into it required a complete change of lifestyle; from training habits to nutrition. But Jaimie has no regrets and is relishing her newfound passion.
She admits certain aspects of competing were a surprise for her first time; including getting used to having such a dark tan and posing in a bikini while wearing heels and makeup.
However standing on stage in front of supportive friends and family made the effort worthwhile.
“There was a massive feeling of pride for putting in the work and getting there,” she says.
“I have so much respect for the athletes standing on stage. It is such an accomplishment and in my eyes anyone who makes it up there is a winner, regardless of the medal placings.”
Working as a painter/wallpaper hanger in the family business, Jaimie’s days leading into an event start around 4.30am; heading to the gym for cardio, posing practise or taking boot camps, before heading to work for the day.
She then returns to the gym for a weights session before heading home to fuel her body, complete her study and go to bed. She repeats the routine pretty much every day.
She admits that the greatest initial challenge was the nutrition side of things.
“I had an atrocious diet beforehand, I was a chocolate lover and ate a lot of junk food. Dropping all sugar and 90 percent dairy from my diet was a wakeup call.
“And there were times where I definitely found it challenging but thanks to advice from my nutritionist, it didn’t take long before I started to feel better and become more energetic.”
Jaimie is also realistic enough to acknowledge the physical and mental challenges.
“You do get sore, and tired, and crave bad food, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. It’s not all sunshine and daisies, but a good support team helps you through and I’m surrounded by amazing people.”
“Seeing the changes to your body is extraordinary and definitely motivating. I’ve learned to stop comparing myself with other people and realise that I am only 17 and just at the beginning of this journey. I’m building myself up slowly and learning and re-educating myself about nutrition and exercise.”
Jaimie has embraced the journey so wholeheartedly that she has given up her equestrian pursuits and is now working hard on completing her study and prepping for her next competition.
“I love every aspect of this sport, from the hard work that goes into it, to the knowledge of learning about exercise and nutrition to helping to inspire others.”