GREAT FALLS — Great Falls, Montana isn’t exactly known as a hotbed for bodybuilders and physique athletes, but if Chafaye Urick has her way that will soon change.
Urick won the open bikini competition at the Mighty Mo Championships in Great Falls on Saturday, and is heading to the NPC Big Sky Championships this weekend in Missoula – one of the biggest bodybuilding and physique competitions in the Northwest.
“I think there are about six or seven height classes and then all the winners of those height classes will go for an overall champion of all of the bikini competitors,” explained Urick. “So if I place first in my class, I will be able to go up against all of those other classes. There are eight or nine girls in my class who I’ll be competing against in my height.”
Urick first started competing three years ago.
“I was never into fitness or anything in high school,” she said. “I was never athletic, but when I turned 19, I lost about 20 pounds, got down to about 100 pounds and wanted to gain weight the healthy way. So that’s when I started getting into weightlifting and bodybuilding.”
Eventually that led to her entering the 2015 Big Sky Championships, where she placed fifth in her class in her first-ever competition. Shortly after that weekend, she became pregnant with her second child, which put her training and competing on hold. But now that her daughter is 2 years old, Urick made the decision to return to competition.
“Some athletes can have kids and get back into competition shape pretty easily,” she said. “It was pretty hard for me, really hard to get abs this time around and get my arms really defined. I think I’ve done a pretty good job so far.”
Getting into competition shape is a months-long process that requires attention to many factors.
“You have to make sure you have your diet on point, you have to train on point, as well,” Urick said. “You have to work extremely hard, you have to be willing to put in one to two hours of training every day. I have to make sure I have all my days laid out properly, so that I can make sure each muscle group is growing, and then I started incorporating cardio over the last few weeks to really lean out and make my muscles pop.”
The competitions themselves are nerve-racking, but Urick can’t show it. Athletes are judged on personality and several other criteria.
“If you’re in a bikini, you’re supposed to be sassy and confident and just kind of put yourself out there and make sure you give that confidence to the judges,” she said. “Because the judges are going to notice if you’re scared or if you’re nervous. They judge you on balance and shape, and they judge you on symmetry and proportion and clarity and size of the muscle groups.”
Urick plans on competing for another five to 10 years and would love to turn pro someday, with dreams of competing in the revered Olympia competition. But those are long-term goals. More importantly, she wants to be a role model for her daughters and an example for any aspiring body builder in Montana.
“I know there are some girls who might think that girls from California look better than bikini competitors here,” she said. “But that’s just not the case. If you work very hard just like they work hard, you can definitely compete with the best in the world, just keep training and don’t give up.”
Urick calls getting on stage and posing for judges an addiction. But it’s one she’s proud to have.
“What other addiction can you have that makes you look great and feel great?” she said.