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A mother who hated the way she looked after giving birth has unveiled her incredible transformation after becoming a bodybuilder in the sapce of just 12 months.
Unhappy with her postpartum body, Kassandra Gillis, 26, from British Columbia, began working out six times per week and was competing in professional body building contests just one year after giving birth.
She revealed that after becoming a mother, she struggled with postpartum depression, anxiety, and a negative body image as size 12 and 159lbs.
But reconnecting to her childhood passion for fitness – she fondly remembers exercising with her gymnast father, from the age of seven – changed everything, and she decided to embark on an epic transformation, losing 31lbs.
In February 2020 she obtained her Pro IFBB card in the figure category by winning an international show in Medellin Colombia
Kassandra Gillis, 26, from British Columbia, revealed she hated the way she looked after giving birth so much that she began working out six times per week
She went on to compete in professional body building contests just ONE YEAR after giving birth
Kassandra and her father used to perform chin-ups together, and he always encouraged her to be active in sports.
However, Kassandra drifted away from exercise when she became a mother at 22 in 2017.
So she began at the very foundation of fitness by following home workout videos, as her son Grayson napped.
This gave her the confidence to join a gym – a notoriously intimidating environment.
The now pro bodybuilder had both the genetics and passion for fitness from a young age
She won first place in her class and first overall in her first two local shows in 2018, and does fitness modelling (pictured) in her spare time
Before long, fellow gym goers presumed Kassandra was a professional bodybuilder because her shape began to change drastically.
Fuelled by the self-confidence this gave her, Kassandra entered her first bodybuilding competitions only a year after giving birth.
She won first place in her class and first overall in her first two local shows in 2018.
In February 2020 she obtained her Pro IFBB card in the figure category by winning an international show in Medellin Colombia.
Now 128lbs, she is passionate about redefining beauty standards for women.
Fuelled by the self-confidence this gave her, Kassandra entered her first bodybuilding competitions only a year after giving birth
Her striking modelling work has proven that the muscular aesthetic can look just as sexy on women, as it does on men.
Kassandra also champions exercise as a treatment for depression and anxiety.
She noticed immediate effects on her mood and outlook when she began to exercise.
Bodybuilding and competing gave her the structure to turn her newfound confidence and drive into a biological sculpture.
She draws motivation from her young son and wants to achieve success for him as much as herself.
She said: ‘I was athletic as a kid and then going into high-school I drifted away from being an athlete.’
Her striking modelling work has proven that the muscular aesthetic can look just as sexy on women, as it does on men
‘After having my son at the age of twenty-two in 2017 I decided to start doing home work-out videos while my son napped to try and lose all of the baby weight and help postpartum depression and anxiety.
‘Eventually I gained the confidence to join a gym, from there I started progressing more and people would ask me if I competed.
‘It sounded exciting, but I would have never imagined of actually doing it. One day I finally decided to give it a shot.
She continued: ‘Fitness has become a way of life for me and competing gives me that end goal to push towards. I’m very goal-oriented.
After motherhood, she struggled with postpartum depression, anxiety, and a negative body image (pictured with son her Grayson and her partner)
Kassandra, pictured before she fell in love with bodybuilding, also champions exercise as a treatment for depression and anxiety
‘I ended up placing first in my class and overall, in two local shows in autumn of 2018 and then went on to my first national show in summer 2019 coming second place just short of my IFBB Pro card.
‘I decided to try again and fly to an international show in Medellin Colombia February 2020.
‘I ended up winning the show and obtaining my IFBB pro card in the figure category. Shortly after returning home to Canada, COVID hit and I was no longer able to compete.
Gaining an IFBB (International Federation of BodyBuilders) Pro Card means you are part of the elite and have the opportunity to follow a genuine career as a professional bodybuilder, earning a decent income by competing and winning.
‘In December I made the decision to switch to wellness and start with a new coach Ludacris Fitness.
‘With COVID restrictions I knew it would be hard to compete internationally again because of the quarantine requirements when I return home. It was quite the experience traveling alone for my pro debut.
She went on: ‘I found the last two nights leading up to my show were mentally tough because I was sitting alone in my hotel room with not many distractions.
‘I think this experience was good for me as it pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to grow mentally.
‘There were so many mixes of emotion. excitement, nerves, pride. Everything feels like it happens so fast, I kind of go into autopilot mode. I love meeting likeminded people and learning from the whole experience.
‘I now know what I did wrong and can make these changes for my next show and use it as fuel to motivate me even more.’
For Kassandra, her motivation will always be her son and she hopes that if he sees her achieving her dreams, he will have the confidence to achieve his in the future.
‘I want to give my son the best life possible, I want to help him achieve his dreams and goals no matter what they are.
‘I think a lot of women and men feel self-conscious starting out at the gym. It can be intimidating trying a new exercise or piece of equipment with people watching.
‘I would love to think that I am redefining the standards and hope to empower other women and show them that anything is possible.
‘I just want to thank everyone who has followed my journey and supports me, it keeps me going and continues to motivate me. I couldn’t do it without them.’
Kassandra (second left, before she got into bodybuilding) said: ‘I just want to thank everyone who has followed my journey and supports me, it keeps me going and continues to motivate me. I couldn’t do it without them’