Gender barriers have always existed in the field of sports; even to the most liberal open-minded people there are strong preconceived notions about female bodybuilding. The muscular woman throughout history has always been misunderstood. From having her womanhood questioned to being labelled a freak, the woman with strength has always remained on the periphery of society.
This is why when an “insider” such as Navreet, who conforms to all established standards of femininity, takes up the sport it shatters our worldview.
Navreet, though, is in it for the love of the sport. “I first heard about bikini bodybuilding in 2014 when someone from my sister’s gym was prepping for a competition. I went online and checked out some videos. I couldn’t sleep that night. Those girls had bodies to die for! Since that day, sculpting my body has always given me a high. Prepping for my bikini competition got me hooked. I loved the results and became a gym rat. You can achieve any kind of body you desire through weight training. It’s amazing.”
Her schedule now includes an hour of cardio in the morning followed by an hour of weight training in the evening with six meals through the day. Each meal has some protein, moderate carbs – sweet potato, brown rice and oats — and lots of greens – spinach, lettuce, broccoli, zucchini — and beans.
“Some relatives have never being able to get their head around why I can’t just eat dal roti. When I started my transformations, initially people would laugh at my meal alarms. I think you need a solid willpower to believe what you are doing is right and that it’s others who need to adjust their way of thinking. I have got mixed reactions ranging from “Girl, you are putting on too much muscle!” and “You work out too much” to “You inspire me!” This sport requires true grit and discipline on your part and support from those around you, which can sometimes be a challenge.”
What Navreet does not say is that it is a challenge because she is shaking up the established norm.
“Women who take on the struggle of competing in a male dominated sport not only strain their bodily capacities to the max, but work to overcome the politics and derogatory images that are associated with female competitors,” says Leslie Heywood in her book Bodymakers: A Cultural Anatomy of Women’s Bodybuilding.