Empowering journey fit for a champion

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Quintin van Jaarsveld

Marzelle de Beer celebrated a dream debut when she took top honours in the IFBB KZN Ironman Novice Show in Westville on Saturday.

The best up-and-coming bodybuilders and fitness athletes in the province stepped on to the stage at the University of KwaZulu-Natal to vie for their respective division titles.

A New Year’s resolution turned into the perfect 19th birthday present for Uvongo-based De Beer, as she claimed the Beach Bikini Over 163cm title in her maiden fitness competition.

“Winning was the most humbling experience and privilege,” she told eHowzit.

“I was truly honoured, grateful and so blessed to have received this award! It was a crazy weekend full of surprises and blessings from up above.”

De Beer with her trophy.

De Beer almost didn’t make it to the stage as she and her boyfriend Keagan Burton were in a minor car accident in Durban the day before the provincial showcase.

No-one was injured, but the incident nearly pushed the fitness newcomer – unfamiliar with not only the physical but also the emotional toll preparing for such a competition takes – over the edge.

“Everything was going wrong, so I nearly quit, but then Keagan motivated me and reminded me that I’ve come so far and I can’t back out now, and so I pushed through and I loved every single moment of being on stage. Never did we think I would place first…I was blessed,” she said.

De Beer, fresh out of Port Shepstone High School, credited Keagan for entering the fitness fray.

“I’ve been gymming for about a year now and on the first of January, I just decided to enter a bikini competition,” she explained.

“Keagan originally got me started in the gym because he gyms, and my passion grew through the process of prepping. I always did sports at school, but once I began my matric year and matriculated, I really enjoyed the gym.”

Under the guidance of coach Christine Muller, De Beer spent hours inside and outside Superbodies Margate in preparation for her first competition.

“I would do fasted cardio at 4.30am in the morning and weight training in the evening, six days a week with one rest day.

“My diet was clean and consisted of white meats and veg, lots of eggs and lots of water. I had one cheat meal per week, that was my favourite part,” she laughed.

“A week-and-a-half out, I wasn’t allowed any cheat meals…it was tough but so worth it. Peak week was awesome; I was tired, but excited, so my excitement kept me going.”

De Beer with her coach Christine Muller.

De Beer said she endured some criticism but said her journey over the past three months has empowered her beyond her wildest imagination.

“I was judged numerous times for wanting to compete, but I ignored the negativity and continuously relied on the Lord’s strength and guidance where I kept my focus on Him and He carried me through.

“This compo was a huge stepping stone for me to build my confidence, to prove to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to and to get out of my comfort zone and to challenge myself. The past three months have been difficult but so worth it.

“To my amazing coach, Christine – thank you for everything. I’m so excited to have you training me. I could not have done this without you! Thank you for always reminding me that we do this for the glory of God!

“To my incredible ‘Keags’ – thank you for being my rock through all of this. You have supported, motivated and pushed me since day one and I can’t explain to you how grateful I am. Thank you for dealing with my moods and for loving me unconditionally. You mean everything to me and I love you so, so much.

“Thank you so much to all my friends and family who came and supported me on the day and along the journey, it meant so much.

“Congratulations to all the other winners and congratulations to everyone who went on stage and competed. I have fallen in love with the sport and I am so excited to see where God will lead us.”

She says her fitness journey has been empowering.

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