EDMONTON – When Andy Mabidi went up on stage for the first time in a bodybuilding competition last year, he felt embarrassed, nervous and forgot his moves.
One year later, the certified Canmore ‘Mountains Beast’ is a natural.
The local bodybuilder is beaming as he holds a ticket in hand to the big stage at nationals next month after proving to be the best at the 2022 Alberta Natural Championships on Saturday (July 23) in Edmonton.
“If you have good cause and you know why you are doing what you do, that gives you reason to wake up at four o’clock in the morning, like myself,” said Mabidi.
“I’ve been motivated to keep pushing and training hard, and so far, I’m proud of my achievements and my accomplishments.”
In his first competition this year, muscleman Mabidi won gold in the men's classic physique open class C.
It was a step up in competition from 2021 when he competed in the 40 and over masters class. This time though, he wanted to “go for the real thing.”
Competing at the Naturals, which is for athletes not using enhancement substances like steroids, he welcomed all-comers in an open category.
“To be honest, you get nervous, but you’ve got to practice, practice, practice in the gym, doing it in front of friends, and everybody,” he said. “That’s how we get confidence.”
With training, diet, and routine, Mabidi knew what he was getting into and it made the gym junkie train even harder.
“It’s all business. I know why I’m there. I just have one job to do and it’s lift weights,” he said.
With the victory in Edmonton, Mabidi is on his way to Toronto, Aug. 13 for the 2022 CanFitPro Natural Championships.
He rested for a few days after the competition in Edmonton, but is back at his home away from home, Canmore’s 24-hour gym Anytime Fitness, this week.
Mabidi can most often be found pumping iron before or after a shift at the Canmore General Hospital, where he works as a nurse.
“By the time I go to work, I’m the happiest guy. Everyone sees me smiling,” he said.
“Bodybuilding, it’s one of the only sports where everything you do you have to go through pain. But that pain, if you can understand it, on the other side is growth. We don’t only grow calluses on our hands, we are toughening our minds, so when tough times come we are well prepared for them.”
Eleven years ago, Mabidi fled from his home country of Zimbabwe, located in southeast Africa, after being declared an enemy of the state by the then government, which was headed by who many would consider a tyrannical dictator. He arrived in Canada as a refugee without family and friends.
“For myself, I try to make my mind very strong,” he said. “I’m a refugee, I came here on my own, so I have to make sure my mind is all positive and I know the only person who can make me happy is me. … right now, I’m just enjoying this journey and I’m not stopping.”