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Team Dickson takes fitness competition to the next level

Members of Team Dickson, pictured at Fitness Inc. in Cranbrook after their return from the NPAA Canada Championship and Pro Show in Calgary. Left to right: Alina Biehn, Erika Rieve-Palmer, Coach Laurie Dickson, Cassaundra Dimarzio, Erin MacFarlane-Jepson and Trinia Deren. Not pictured: Rachel Cohen, Lorene McGregor, Heidi Harris.  - Barry Coulter photo
Members of Team Dickson, pictured at Fitness Inc. in Cranbrook after their return from the NPAA Canada Championship and Pro Show in Calgary. Left to right: Alina Biehn, Erika Rieve-Palmer, Coach Laurie Dickson, Cassaundra Dimarzio, Erin MacFarlane-Jepson and Trinia Deren. Not pictured: Rachel Cohen, Lorene McGregor, Heidi Harris.
— image credit: Barry Coulter photo

A team of local women from Cranbrook accompanied their coach, Laurie Dickson, to a recent national fitness and physique competition, breaking into that world in a big way.

Team Dickson took part in the Natural Physique & Athletics Association's (NPAA) Canada Championships and Pro Show in Calgary. For many of the women (six from Cranbrook, one from Castlegar and one from Invermere), it was their first such competition. As well as taking away nine trophies, some members of Team Dickson, entering as amateurs, came away as professionals after earning their pro cards.

Laurie Dickson, a training specialist who runs Aspire2BFit in Cranbrook, has had a long career in fitness competition. She has recently moved on to coaching and judging — the next logical steps in her career, though she is invited to do some guest posing at various events. Dickson was named the NPAA's Coach of the Year for 2013.

The Canada Sports Film Festival has produced a film of Dickson's career, shot in Cranbrook, which will air in Toronto in June, 2014.

Dickson, who usually starts working with a client six months ahead of such competitions as the Canada Championships, says local fitness competitors are showing great interest in taking it to the next level.

“A couple members of the team had competed before,” she said. But for the rest, the Calgary show was their inaugural competition.

“They were very dedicated and wonderful to coach.

“This is a challenging sport in the sense that it is generally four to six months, sometimes longer in preparation,” Dickson said. “Each competitor has various obstacles and everyday hurdles to overcome and face, and as a competitor I appreciate how sometimes these can be challenging.    To remain focused on workouts, diet, and the outcome takes a lot of inner strength.”

The Canada Championships and Pro Show was divided into three categories, Dickson said. Bikini Model, Fitness Model and Figure Model. The criteria of each category is different from the others. Bikini Model is judged  on stage presentation, defined ab wall (but not the “six pack”), marketability, femininity, poise and conditioning. Fitness Model is judged on more muscularity, definition in the abs, symmetry, stage presentation and marketability. Figure Model is judged according to muscle mass, “six- to eight-packs” in the abs, symmetry, definition, muscle striations and conditioning.

Team Dickson’s individual results are as follows:

• Erin MacFarlane-Jepson, in her first show, took  first in Novice Tall Bikini, first in Open Bikini and third in Pro Bikini Model. She also won her Pro Card status;

• Erika Rieve-Palmer, in her first show, took first in Novice Figure, first in Open Figure and second in Pro Figure Model. Erika also won  her Pro Card Status;

• Rachel Cohen took third in Tall Bikini Open, fourth in Pro Bikini Model and won her Pro Card Status;

• Heidi Harris, in her first show, took second in 2nd Masters Fitness Model;

• Cassaundra Dimarzio, in her first show, took fifth in Short Bikini Model;

• Trinia Deren took 11th in Masters Figure;

• Alina Biehn, in her first show, took third in Tall Bikini Model;

• Lorene McGregor took third in Masters Fitness Model.

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