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Phuket Sports: Going from strength to strength – Bodybuilding



PHUKET: In the 21st century, when women increasingly have the same rights as men, body image ideals have also been increasingly questioned and many women in modern society have become more open, and indeed, proud of their individual body characteristics.

One thing is now certain, having a muscular body is no longer an ideal sought only by men.

Many women aspire to have a feminine look – slender legs, an hourglass figure and flawless skin. As a result, diet pills, cosmetic surgery and other body enhancing techniques have proliferated due to this never ending quest for the “perfect body” as promoted by the fashion, entertainment and celebrity industries.

However, not everyone agrees with this popular view of the “perfect body” and Phuket based world champion female body builder Wilaiporn Wannaklang is one of them. For her, big is definitely beautiful.

Standing 150cm tall, Wilaiporn’s stature would be considered small by most estimates, but her lean sculpted body is 50kg of pure muscle and she’s not afraid to show it off.

Despite disapproval from people around her, especially her family, she sees her bodybuilding as a way to thumb her nose at a society where everybody thinks that a women with a muscular body is something “unnatural” or “unattractive”.

The proverb “health is wealth” became a guiding principal of Wilaiporn’s life, after she had the chance to talk about Dharma with a Buddhist monk in a temple in Lopburi province. The monk told her that to practice religion well, she should take care of herself and live a fit and healthy life. From then on, she started aerobic exercise.

But she soon realized that due to a hyperthyroid condition she gets tired easily, which forced her to seek another style of exercise. She decided to go to a gym and start weight lifting with a friend. Four months later she was hooked, and after competing in her first bodybuilding competition in Nakhon Si Thammarat she has never looked back.

From 2009 to 2013, Wilaiporn has won 21 awards. She recently won first place in the Women’s Bodybuilding class of the Mr Thailand 2013 competition, for the third time running. She was also the champion of the 2010 and 2012 Thailand National Games Women Bodybuilding Open, the 2012 Siam Classic Women Bodybuilding Open. But her biggest achievement was winning the 2012 World Bodybuilding & Physique Federation (WBPF) Women Bodybuilding (50kg class).

In just six years, she has gone from being an average mother of two to a world champion female bodybuilder, but it hasn’t come without struggle, both mental and physical.

She has been on the receiving end of derisive comments questioning her motivation and even her gender. But the same strength she has used to become champion has helped her ignore these jibes and hold her head up high.

“From the start, I was doing something I loved and believed in. I tried my best and I believed in myself, knowing that one day I’d be successful in what I was doing, no matter what others said. Now, I’m at the point that I have been aiming for,” said Wilaiporn with obvious satisfaction.

Women, normally, do not and cannot produce as much testosterone (a masculine hormone) as men do. So, many women who want to increase muscle mass like men, unfortunately, choose to use anabolic steroids (synthetic testosterone) that are dangerous and very unhealthy. Instead of taking this path, Wilaiporn focuses on what she says is the most important part of building muscles – food.

“Most people think that exercising heavily is the main factor to have a lot of muscles, but actually food is the most important thing you should care about.

“To build muscle mass, you need to exercise the muscle group you want to build. When you’re exercising, You’re also destroying that group. Then, any protein that you have after exercising will build up the muscle mass in your body, so protein is an important food for bodybuilders,” Wilaiporn said.

Different people have different dreams. Although Wilaiporn’s dream may be different from other women in the world, she is proof that anyone can pursue their dream, whatever it is, and with effort and dedication, achieve it.

“I want to be the inspiration for housewives. Women with children can still have six packs and be in good shape. It’s true that we don’t even achieve 10 per cent of our body’s capabilities. I think we can always improve our body for the better,” said Wilaiporn.

— Anthika Muangrod


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