Saturday, November 21, 2015

Vancouver Pro/Am & Expo 2015 - Caitlin Bailie, IFBB Fitness Pro

Who walks on her hands at least once a day and sometimes as many as 50 times?

Who has an Instagram channel with nothing but handstand photos?

Who was once escorted out of a Vegas casino for doing handstands in a Superman shirt?

Even better, who makes it seem like this is normal behavior?

Done with strength and aplomb, that would be IFBB Fitness Pro Caitlin Bailie.

As she explains, "For many years I've done at least one handstand a day with few days missed. I love doing them in public and meeting other people who can handstand too! When people who are sometimes complete strangers put trust in me to teach them for the first time, it's a really great feeling.

"I like to be the little bit of random to add into people's days when they're walking or driving around town, busy looking at their phones and look up to see feet in the air -  heehee! I ride escalators on my hands, walk crosswalks on my hands and handstand down the stairs. I can walk on the treadmill on my hands too!"

Let's start with your stats.

I'm 24; 5-3; onstage 125 lbs; off-season 138 lbs.

Were you athletic growing up?

When I was younger my parents put me in swimming which I liked, and soccer and baseball; but I’m not very good at running after a ball, and I hate to be chased, so those didn't work out so well. When it came to more artistic outputs of my energy, like dance and gymnastics, I was very athletic. I went to gymnastics (non competitively) from ages 4-11. At that time I decided to take on dance more full-time and be at the studio about 15 hours a week pretty much until I graduated high school.

How did you get started competing in fitness?

I remember watching the Olympia about 10 years ago with my mom and seeing the fitness division. She suggested one day I might do that too, and so that day I added compete in a fitness competition to my already started bucket list. Five years later I found myself moving to Australia to work as a live-in nanny for a family whose mother was the three-time Best Body Champion in the WNBF. She got me started in my first competition in 2010.

Do you remember your first fitness show?

Of course I remember it! I did two competitions in Australia, but I joke that they were just practice shows because I didn’t have a very real understanding of what competing in this kind of show meant, and it wasn't my primary focus at the time. People who knew me in Canada didn't believe the few pictures I posted were me because of the tan etc, so I came back by saying, "Okay, watch this then, I'll do another competition!" That was the Western Canadians in Kelowna, May 2013. I competed in fitness and I won!

How old were you when you did your first show?

I was 19 in Australia and 22 in my first show in Canada.

Do you enjoy performing onstage?

To say that I enjoy performing onstage would be an understatement. I absolutely love it! It brings me back to my days of dance competitions and it's so great to be a part of a really very talented division of women who are incredibly inspiring. I do still get nervous right before I step onstage, but that only tells me I care about what I'm doing and how I perform. From the day I was born I've always been happy in the spotlight; but I'd prefer not to sing or give a speech. I'll just dance and do cartwheels!

Between the fitness routine portion and the physique portion, which one do you feel the most confident with on stage?

Routine! I choreograph my own, so I am always really excited and proud to perform that part and to watch all the other women's routines. The routines are what make us all so unique!

What are your goals as a competitor?

To improve my overall flexibility and to continue training my gymnastics to perfect some skills that I learned as a child but haven't practiced enough! I'm only 24, but the fear factor has started to sink in a bit! I want to come back to my next pro show with a top-three placing after placing 6th of 9 at my first pro show in Vancouver 2015. This year I am hoping to find a sponsorship opportunity to allow me to promote the fitness lifestyle to those around me.

Who are some of your favorite fitness competitors?

All of the ladies on the Olympia stage are extremely inspiring to me. I was honoured to compete with Tanji Johnson at the Vancouver Pro show this year, and Myriam Capes is a Canadian favourite of mine. I was grateful for her offer to chat with me and answer my questions over a phone call after winning my pro card.

From your vantage point as a fitness pro, do you see growth in fitness, or do you see a decline?

I am new to the pro league so can't speak to that too much as I haven't been around long, but it sounds to me that over the years there has been a decline. There will always be fewer fitness competitors than men's physique or ladies figure or bikini. That's because of the two-minute routine that makes the division that much more difficult because of the requirement of being more than visually fit, but also functionally fit and very, very conditioned, with a love for performing AND gymnastics skill. That's a lot to ask!

What do you think needs to be done to keep fitness growing in terms of number of shows, number of competitors and fan popularity?

Many people don't know what the fitness division is! There are so many talented athletes (dancers, cheerleaders, martial artists) out there who are skilled in the fitness aspect and capable of performing a routine of great difficulty, but we need to have more personal trainers who are interested in working with FITNESS COMPETITORS SPECIFICALLY to guide them in the routine choreography as well as making sure the athlete is very well conditioned to have the endurance to get through the performance.

People at a high level of sport are often so far into their specific world that they aren't aware of the opportunity to cross into the world of bodybuilding. They may have the talent, but not be interested in living on such a strict gym schedule or meal plan, but mainly I think there are fewer competitors because while the background of a fitness competitor can come from a wide range of performance and flexibility based sports, many of these athletes just aren't aware of the other divisions.

What's your profession?

I teach dance and acrobatics by day, serve in a hotel restaurant by night, and personally train clients to find better versions of themselves through fitness and handstands whenever I get the chance!

Where can we see more of you?

Instagram is @caitlinbailieifbb and @handstandsforhappiness is the new Instagram I made where I post only handstand pictures!

Vancouver Pro/Am & Expo, July 9/10 2016



See Caitlin on YouTube