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Forget Photoshop and airbrushing (whatever that is), what you see before you is the real deal. Vanessa Campbell is the product of hard work, determination and the right attitude – and she’s got the titles to prove it. The absolute picture of stunning femininity, we dare you to say that weight training’s a man’s game. No? So put down the sandwich and take note, because Vanessa is convinced that anyone can get into shape with the right approach.

Weights are sometimes wrongly associated with masculinity. How did you come to be interested in weight training in particular?
It’s funny that you should ask that. When I was a little girl, I remember my dad working out in the basement. I would go in the basement and try to lift the weights up and do everything he would do, but my mum would always tell me to stop. She was afraid that I would end up looking like a guy. I guess I have been interested in weight training since I was a young child. Now you tell me, do I look like a guy to you?

What difference has weight training made to your life?
Weight training has made a huge difference in my life. Growing up I wasn’t very athletic and didn’t know much about fitness or nutrition. As I got older and became a mother, I realised that being a mother is not just about taking care of your children but also taking care of yourself. It has not only made me a more confident person, but also healthier person physically and mentally.

Training gyms can be quite male dominated. Is it ever a problem?
Gyms are male dominated and that can be a little intimidating at first but it has never been an issue. I go to the gym to train and I think that when guys see how dedicated and intense I train, they give me my space.

What does it take to look as great as you?
Most people think that in order to have a nice physique you have to spend endless hours in the gym and this is just not true. With the proper nutrition and the right training anyone can have a killer body.

A lot of women are scared to train with any weights. Why do you think that is?
The reason why some women are scared to train with weights is very simple; it’s lack of knowledge about weight training and exercise. I’m very happy to see that that the media is putting out more information on this topic. I would love to see more mothers and women in general get to the gym and pick up some weights. If women incorporate weights with cardiovascular training they will not end up looking like Arnold, but they will develop healthy, toned, lean physiques, not to mention more confidence.

You’ve surpassed many of your competitors very quickly. What is the competing community atmosphere like?
Believe it or not we are like a family. Even though it seems like the fitness industry is huge, everyone knows everyone. Lots of the girls that I have competed against have trained with me while getting ready for the same show. As a competitor, of course I want to train harder and be the best, but once you get to know your fellow competitors, you become more a supporter instead of a rival.

What does an average training day consist of for you?
An average day of training for me is quite fun!!

I get up at 5am for an hour of cardio. Once I get back, I pack up all my meals for the day and head out to work at Team Bombshell Headquarters. There I train NPC (National Physique Committee) and IFBB (International Federation of Body Builders) athletes. Normally around 2:30pm I do my weight training followed by some more cardio. Training changes up based on my competition schedule. Some days are a lot more intense than others but I have fun doing it!!

What’s your finest achievement?
My finest achievement is definitely being signed to Team BSN (Bio-Engineered Supplements and Nutrition). When I began working out, I would tear out the BSN ads, you know the ones with the fitness models and their ripped six-pack abs. I would put them up on my wall for motivation. I used their supplements and imagined myself as a BSN girl. My dream has come true!!

You’ve achieved so much in such a short space of time. What goals are you currently chasing?
I am currently working on a few projects for 2011. One of my main goals as far as competing is to qualify once again for the 2011 Olympia. I’m also working with Bombshell Fitness as the team’s assistant coach. I would love to see more of our athletes move up in the ranks this year, not only in the IFBB but also in the NPC. I want to support them and guide them and just be the best I can be for them, so they can achieve their goals too.

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