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Starting with a bang

Lana causes major upset in her debut

Ten years ago Lana Richards would never have pictured herself competing in a fitness or bikini competition. Today she is singing a different tune after a superb performance at Saturday’s ALLMAX Nutrition National Championships.

Richards produced a major upset on debut last weekend at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in the women’s bikini over-172cm group competition, when she came out on top against the likes of reigning Central American and Caribbean champion Natalie Webb-Howell and Nicole Hobbs of J&S Fitness who came third.

Lana Richards made a stunning debut.

Lana Richards made a stunning debut.

She told Barbados TODAY she did not compete in any sporting activities at school. However, after pursing a degree in hotel management and hospitality at the University of the West Indies and working in the industry for a while, she suddenly realized that was not what she wanted to do. So, she turned her focus to fitness and she fell in love with the sport.

“In school I was nowhere near an athlete. I was in the stands cheering with a pom-pom but you would not find me wanting to compete,” Richards said.

She added: “I did not know fitness would be a part of my life coming from the University of the West Indies. I started in hospitality but I always loved helping people and getting to know people and helping them better themselves and succeed and I think initially that is how I ended up in the hospitality industry. But then I realized it was not quite where I wanted to be. I started to work out myself and I figured out this is where I wanted to be.”

The 27-year-old told Barbados TODAY it was an extremely proud moment for her when she was announced as the winner on Saturday night. Richards said she did not expect to do so well and was looking forward to doing more.

She noted that preparing for the show was mostly about time management.

“It really was a lot of time management especially with my son and manoeuvring between training, posing and trying to make sure that I had all of my meals and his meals prepared. Most days my mornings would start at 4 a.m. and I would not be getting back down until 10 p.m. because of how I was training and trying to get everything in place.”

Quizzed about the reason for entering the competition, she explained it was something she always wanted to do but did not get the chance to because at one point when she was getting herself into shape to compete she got pregnant with her son. However, thanks to her coach and mentor Kenneth Griffith of Training Edge Gym, and her family and friends, she was able to enter the competition this year for the first time.

“Kenneth has been a mentor to me for a few years now and working with him has been a big inspiration. He has always been a great motivator and he is the kind of person that believes in you even when you do not want to believe in yourself. So he really was another big push in helping me get where I am along with support from my family and friends who all have been very supportive and helped me to prepare for the show,” Richards said.

The five foot nine inch tall athlete, who trains five days a week, said she would be looking to acquire sponsorship because she definitely wanted to continue her career in fitness and represent Barbados as much as possible overseas. She noted that later this year in Veracruz, Mexico, she would make her dream a reality when she represents Barbados at the CAC Games.

As to how many titles she would like to gain before calling it quits, Richards said she really did not know because that was not where her focus was.

“I promise myself I would compete once and I did and I will definitely do a couple more [bikini competitions] but as to how many more titles [I would like to win] I am not sure because that is not where my goal is really at. I think I would just like to continue to better myself in the sport,” she said.

Outside of competition the affable Richards described herself as a simple individual who enjoyed spending time with her friends and family.


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