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👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
I’m Annabelle Lemay, AKA @Annabellelemay7.
I am 24 years young (going to be 25 in 20 days), I come from a very small town up North called Hearst but have been located in the beautiful capital of Canada, Ottawa!
Back home, my dad, Richard Lemay, is a personal trainer and owns his gym, Rick’s Muscle World Center – Where it all started.
I lived in Timmins with my mom from the age of 2 until the age of 17 (high school graduation – 2013), I had the opposite of a healthy lifestyle back in high school and I could not care less about my health.
Then I moved to my dad’s, in Hearst, where I started training with him but it wasn’t until May 2015, when I saw my dad compete on the bodybuilding stage, that I decided I wanted to do it too.
We went back home and started planning my first prep for November 2015 at the King Kong Classic.
I could not pick whether I wanted to compete in Bikini or Figure considering I was still very petite; so, we decided I’d do both. (I say we as in, me and my dad. My dad has been my coach through my fitness journey and I wouldn’t trust anybody else.)
I kept up with competing in both Bikini and Figure until 2017 where I realized I was too muscular to be in the bikini division.
Figure has always been my forté – bringing home 1st of my Figure class in all 4 shows I’ve done.
I was a personal trainer at my dad’s gym for 2 years while I was taking a 2 year business program in college. Before my second year begun (Aug. 2017), I made a big move to Ottawa with a high school friend to finish my studies and start chasing my dreams of becoming a model.
I continued personal training for another 2 years but also became manager of Anytime Fitness in Hull, QC along side an evening and weekend serving gig for extra cash.
I put training on hold for a little bit when I got here as I got lost in all the restaurant options and the partying of the big city.
I was very stressed with school and money and actually gained so much weight – I was at my heaviest (180lbs) and trust me it wasn’t muscle, until Sean Nelson from Her Biceps in Las Vegas reached out and wanted to do a fitness shoot (2018).
That was enough to get my butt in gear and get back into my routine. I started doing fasted HIIT again every morning, eating all my clean meals, no alcohol, no restaurants and I did what I know best.
In May 2019, I stepped on stage again as a Figure girl with a whole crew that my dad had coached and it was the best experience yet. I brought home first of my class as usual and all of our athletes placed!
It was definitely my hardest prep as I was living my boyfriend and his family who do not have the same lifestyle as me – considering the cost of competing and how much the industry has changed (I almost feel like it’s becoming a money racket as oppose to an athlete based industry), I decided this would be my last competition…. For now.
I still train everyday though as that’s when I am most myself, happy. When I take of myself, I feel good. That’s probably my favorite thing about bodybuilding / fitness… the fact that there is always room for improvement, yet failure only means gains.
The fact that it makes me feel strong and the fact that it acts like therapy to me.
I met my boyfriend, Devon, during my second month here in Ottawa, we became best friends and next thing you know, we were inseparable.
We are currently about to close a deal on our first home with our puppy Otis, of course. I have been working in finance for the National Research Council for a little over a year now and Devon works in the dry wall union.
Since COVID started, my dad hooked us up with some gym equipment and honestly, we plan on setting up a nice home gym when we get into our new home.
Devon, Otis and I love adventures; anything outdoors is our go to!
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
Since I started training, I have always started my days off with some fasted cardio. Whether it be 30 minutes of moderate intensity to 15-20 minutes of HIIT cardio.
I usually go for a walk with my dog outside during spring and summer, and do some abs and booty HIIT or treadmill during winter and colder days.
I then have breakfast, AKA meal 1 and consume a meal every 2-3 hours after that until 7-8pm.
I usually train 5-6 days a week with minimum of 1 rest day. My workouts can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 1h30 depending on my mood, energy and how much time I have (I wasn’t always this wise).
My split goes something along these lines:
- Monday, chest and tris
- Tuesday, Back and Bi’s
- Wednesday, Legs
- Thursday, shoulders
- Friday, Arms
However, I try to change my split often enough to avoid hitting a plateau. I also rarely do the same exact workout twice... whether it be a modified rep range, a different order in the exercises, a slower tempo… change and variety is important for growth.
I enjoy training with others … sometimes. Other times, this is my me time and I need my me time. When I first started, I always trained with the boys, which allowed me to truly push my limits and dig deep.
I ALWAYS have a protein shake post-workout (strength training) – its engraved in my mind: ‘’Pas de Shake, Pas de Bras’’ – ‘’No shake, no arms’’. If you know, you know.
In my gym bag I always have my earphones, shoes, small loop bands, wrist straps and a protein shake.
I do not take pre workout very often anymore as I usually workout in the evening and it affected my sleep. Other than protein and BCAA’ I am not huge on supplements to be honest.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
If I’m being honest, I have my phases where I feel it less – but some best it’s a whole lot less about gains and whole lot about my mental health.
This is my thing. I can’t be bad at this, it’s impossible; there is always room for improvement in bodybuilding and that’s what drives me to show up every day.
I know that even if I don’t want to right now, even though at this moment I rather eat the whole cupboard, going to hit a workout will result in feeling good; where as eating the whole cupboard will result in feeling yucky.
You want to stay accountable? Start writing shit down. Your goals, your workouts, your worries, your accomplishments (even the most tiny ones).
When you hit a wall and can’t find the motive to get up and go; read what you wrote. Read it again. If its coming from you, its almost impossible to over look it. Even if you cut your workout in half today; SHOW UP, every. Time.
I love watching Makaveli Motivations on youtube to get myself fired up, or even a good podcast that motivates you. Sometimes we just need a little reminder that we’re the boss!
Another good trick is to have a set date or event for you goal. This leaves no room for you to cheat on your own goal – write that down too.
Book a photoshoot with a friend in 3 months, or schedule a beach day to keep your butt in gear this week. Find motive in the little things and I promise itll make showing up a lot easier.
My biggest challenge would be trying to explain to others why I do what I do… even when I’m not competing. Or trying to explain why I can’t eat that apple when I am competing... LOL
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
As mentioned in one of my previous answers, I am still training 5-6 days a week, in my basement right now due to the gym closures from COVID19.
I am still doing my daily cardio, outside with my puppy and actually been working from home for the past 3 months.
Although I am currently done competing, I am focusing a lot more on my modeling so keeping a good physique is still in the books.
In the next 5 years I plan on starting a family with my boyfriend Devon in our cute little water front home that we are about to close on. I plan on building up my own home gym so we can keep training and teach our kids young.
I can’t say that I will for sure NEVER hit the stage again because I would LOVE to make a comeback some day but I am very anxious to truly start my life as a young adult with my significant other.
If I could give my younger self an advice it would be to STOP TRYING TO HIT ALL OF THE PR’s AND STOP NEGLECTING STRETCHING. (I have a super duper tight lower back and hips)
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
My younger self would say rest is for the wicked and that no pain = no gain. But you live, and you learn and I much wiser now.
It is rare now that I do not get my full 6-8 hours of sleep.
I get regular massages now and stretch during my workouts. My dad has always told me to use the good ol’ ice and heat trick when treating injuries. (ice to reduced inflammation, heat to loosen the muscle)
Luckily, I have never experienced a serious injury. My lower back has been an issue in the past; I took a full year off of squatting and have yet to do heavy squats since. I focus on the squeeze and the dept rather than weight.
My most recent injury was my shoulder / subscapular cause by tense muscles. (neglect in stretching/foam rolling) I went almost 2 months without training shoulders and going for massages weekly.
I am now training delts again, keeping it light to start and keeping on top of my stretching. Little to no pain when performing exercises except the odd rotation of the cuff.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
When it comes to diet, I am usually eating the same way year-round just higher or lower calories depending on whether I’m cutting or bulking.
My macros are always 40/40/20 because it allows me to keep a lower body fat percentage while still keeping my strength and a nice, full looking physique (40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fats).
I don’t usually count unless I’m competing – Ona regular basis, I am aware of roughly how much calories I consume daily but I do not follow strict diet in the sense that if I want a piece of cake, I will have it.
I won’t usually go out of my way to eat less healthy foods unless I am craving. Other than day, I eat my usually clean food (chicken, tuna, egg whites, oats, rice, greens…) unless we have a family dinner or special event.
I don’t enjoy cooking so if I’m only making my meals for the day, you can bet it’s sweet and simple and to the point. Since day 1 of training, I’ve mostly used Revolution Brand supplements such as their pre workout, protein powder and BCAA.
When I am competing, however, I bring my own meals to ANY outing. I usually try to avoid restaurants and outings that are food related to avoid the temptation.
I know I can do it, but it plays on my mood real hard when you can see all the food you can’t have at the tip of your fingers.
Caffeine is definitely an addiction for me. I take it more religiously when cutting to help bring my heart rate up faster during cardio but I have coffee year-round because I like the taste, and energy. Prep coffee is black, regular everyday coffee is with 1 milk.
Alcohol is NOT in the picture when I’m competing.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
Honestly, the person who started this fire in me is my dad. He started training at the age of 13. Has done multiple bodybuilding and physique competitions, trained many athletes and has been running his own gym for over 15 years.
When I went to watch his last competition in May 2015, I told him I wanted to compete too.
When I first started, I could only listen to heavy metal music to get through a wicked workout. As the years came along, I now alternate between EDM and metal depending on my mood.
My biggest fitness people when I started was Dana Linn Bailey and Rob Bailey. Another great female role model I have always admired would be Lauren Martin on Instagram (AKA @Laurenforshehulk).
There are so many other great athletes out there, I could literally be here all day! If you check out my Instagram, creep my ‘’following” to have a better idea of who I like to follow.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
Write it down. Your vision, your goals. Your struggles, your thoughts, good or bad. Writing it down makes it official, it keeps you accountable and well, it takes it out of your head where it can get cluttered or blurred out.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone, as we are all in different phases in our journey and we all have different goals.
Start off with a trainer. Invest in yourself and learn before you try to become the pro.
Training with a bad technique will literally mess up you body which will result in pain. Then you will automatically associate training with pain and pain equals not fun. Learn the technique, ask your questions and then experiment on your own!
As much as you don’t want to hear it... Proper nutrition can make or break you. You can train as hard as you want but if you’re not fueling the machine right, it will not function right.
Use apps, its super easy! Google what good sources of carbohydrates are, ask your trainer! Do a little bit of research about different body types and their needs, try some things, re adjust.
For all my fellow competitors out there, who like to get their vascularity out before a show…. Have you ever tried the combo of pre workout (dry scoop) and a chocolate bar about 20-30 minutes before getting on stage after being deprived of water since noon the previous day? This is trick from my Pops/coach. You’re welcome. (insert mad scientist laugh here)
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I do still offer personal training services online. I have experience working with clients with goals to hit the stage as well as lifestyle.
My personalized programs are usually a length of 4-5 weeks, working with progressive overload.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
💬 Annabelle Lemay quotes
Annabelle shares some great, motivating insights in this interview. Feel free to share these quotes on your Instagram, Pinterest and so on 😍