Monday, August 10, 2015

Vancouver Pro/Am & Expo 2015 - Leah Berti IFBB Pro

IFBB figure pro Leah Berti competed in the inaugural 2015 Vancouver Pro/Am & Expo show held in Vancouver, BC. Visit VancouverProShow for information on next year's show.
What's your age, height, competition weight and off-season weight?

I’m 31, 5'4" and compete around 122 to 124 lbs and off-season 132 to 135 lbs.

When was your first show?

I started off as a lightweight bodybuilder in 2004 in the Southern Alberta Bodybuilding show with the ABBA in Calgary. I won my lightweight class and the overall. I was a whopping 105 lbs my first show!

Where and when did you turn pro?

I turned pro in Laval, Quebec at the Canadian Natural National BodyBuilding Competition. One pro card was given for figure. I won the medium class and overall in 2011.

Do you remember what you were thinking and felt when you realized you had just turned pro?

It took me a bit to realize that they had just called my number. At first they said the number in French and then in English. I was shocked and it took me a few days to really believe I had achieved the ultimate goal and was a figure pro. I was honoured, proud and excited for the adventures to come.

Were you athletic growing up?

I was a pretty active kid. I played many sports growing up. Primarily I focused on volleyball, beach volleyball and track and field. I played club volleyball and being a bit vertically challenged, I was the team setter. I was on the university track and field team and competed in the long distance events outside and the 600, 800 and 1,000 meter indoor.

How did you get started lifting weights and training?

I developed a passion for weight training and cardiovascular training from a very young age. In junior high, I was a heavier set kid (I was Italian and I did love pasta!). I soon became very educated in nutrition and training. 

My father was a huge influence and a very fit police officer on the tactical team at the time. He would take me daily to the gym and we would both train and play beach volleyball league together. He truly inspired me to continue with my training and goals.

What are your goals as a competitor?

Being an IFBB pro has been an interesting and challenging journey. Going from the best in Canada to the rookie can really test your physical and emotional strengths. I am continually improving and have a few big goals for myself that I am working towards. This year my focus was on improving my shape; bringing up my shoulders; and shaping my legs. I also wanted a top-10 placing. I achieved all these goals and was very happy with my final show, the Vancouver Pro/Am & Expo show.

I still desire to be on the Arnold stage and the Olympia stage and will work towards these goals. I also would like to work on back width and glute improvements.

Above all, I always want to inspire others and enjoy the process!

Do you enjoy performing onstage?

I still get a bit nervous 30 minutes before stage and the initial lining up; however, once everything starts I love being on stage and showcasing my hard work.

If you could change one thing about your physique, what would it be?

I would have shorter muscle insertions and wider clavicles!

What's one thing about you that people would be surprised to know?

My jaw gets sore from chewing often and from a childhood jaw issue. I blend or food process a lot of my food!

What role does social media play for you as a figure competitor?

I would really like to attain a sponsor in the fitness industry and being active on social media, a good role model and representative is key.

Social media seems to be growing and growing. When I first started competing there was no Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Now it seems that if you're not Facebooking, status updating or tweeting you are not helping your image, brand or marketing!

I do admit that I need to be more proactive on social media and one of my goals is to continue to create my brand and image.

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What do you do for your "real" job?

I am a proud police officer in downtown Calgary as my "day job." Currently I am a member of the mountain bike team patrolling the city core. Shift work is challenging with training and at times the job can be stressful, but I'm lucky to have a great Sergeant, partner and team that supports my goals.

Was the Vancouver show the first time you've ever been on stage with a fellow police officer?

No. There are surprisingly more law enforcement and emergency workers than you would think at the pro level. Might be the tenacious type A individuals that policing attracts; however, it is always nice to see a fellow shift-worker achieving huge goals with the strenuous physical, emotional and mental jobs we have. Many times I work 48-60 hour weeks, all hours of the night, then train, prep food and fly across the continent to compete!

Have you ever been on duty where someone recognized you as a competitor?

No, that has never happened to me. Mostly my two passions do not cross. I have had people comment on my appearance or level of conditioning.

What type of reaction do you get at work when other members find out they are working with a pro figure competitor?

I do not tend to draw attention to my professional IFBB status at work. Many would not even know I compete or the level of achievement I have attained. However, many of the fellow officers find it very interesting and often are inspired or seek advice on nutrition and training. I have helped numerous officers reach personal goals as well as try out a competition. We also have the world police and fire games that has bodybuilding and figure divisions every two years.

How do you make the mental transition from strapping on a gun and uniform, and dealing with potentially life-threatening situations; to putting on heels, wearing a bikini, applying makeup and transforming to a glamorous figure pro?

HAHA! I sometimes think the same thing myself! It truly is a big transition from one mental state to another. When I'm at work, my focus and drive is geared toward public safety. I put on the “police hat” so to speak and take on that role and persona. Once work is done, I don't take the stressors home with me. When it's show time, it's show time! I switch gears, take off the police hat, put on the tiara and take on that role. I love both and they keep me a well rounded, humble and diverse person!

Do you feel that all the extra weight training you do for figure gives you a physical edge as a police officer?

I think it definitely helps my conditioning for the job. Sometimes all the extra training, conditioning and cardio can make a 12-hour shift on the mountain bike quite challenging mentally and physically; however, I think the extra training keeps me prepared and secure that I can deal with any challenges that I might encounter on the job.

How long have you been on the force and what motivated you to become a police officer?

I have been a police officer for six years now. I attained my degree in business and in kinesiology. After University, I travelled and tried out the business world; however, I realized quickly that a desk and confinement was not for me. I was always passionate about helping others and having my father as a role model and police officer helped make my choice.

I still do personal training, nutrition programs and contest prep programs on the side (Mzfits); however, my primary job is a police officer.

Can we look forward to seeing you at the 2016 Vancouver Pro Show?

It is on the list. I had a great experience and look forward to 2016!

Find Leah Berti on the web:

More about the Vancouver Pro Show:

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