Nadine Dumas is living the life. Now calling the Cayman Islands home, the Alberta-native runs her business advising people on staying fit. And she would know: Dumas has competed in and won numerous fitness and bikini competitions around the world. Even though she’s no longer strutting on stages, she can usually be found in a gym or working with her clients. And you might be surprised to find out that it’s not Beyonce’s body they all want to achieve. It’s hers.
You went through a huge career change to get to where you are. Walk me through it.
Back in 2005 when I was 25 years old, I was working for an accounting firm in Red Deer, Alberta and I just needed a change. I asked my boss if he knew of anyone that lived in the Caribbean. Six months later, I’m in the Cayman Islands working for the television station. I started going to the gym where I would see people preparing for fitness competitions and it really intrigued me. So I attended one as a spectator and thought, ‘You know what? I can do this.’ Six months later, I got up on stage and I competed. Over that year, I put as much time and effort as I could into learning about the fitness industry. Then I resigned from my job and moved back to Calgary to start my fitness company.
You said you competed for the first time only six months later. That seems really fast. What goes into that kind of training?
In hindsight, I was definitely not ready, but in a way I didn’t really care. I wanted to see whether I could actually compete. I had no concept of diet, no concept of really working out, I just did kind of the girly workouts and did a lot of cardio and stuff like that. I just put everything I had into changing my body and learning as much as I could about it.
What was the hardest part about the transition?
All the negativity and doubt. Id’ think, I’m too tall, I’m too skinny, I’m never going to be able to amount to anything. But that only fueled me to work harder. That’s probably why I’m still in it. I get it. And I know that if you’re someone who’s 200-plus pounds trying to lose weight or someone who’s very thin and trying to gain weight, there’s always negativity coming toward you. I want nothing more than to help coach them to a positive mindset.
What’s your fitness regime like?
I train four to five days a week and do anything from very heavy lifting to cardio. I’m very tall and I’m very slender, so it takes a lot for me to gain any type of muscle. I spend about an hour and a half stretching, warming up and then I get into heavier lifts. That’s really it in terms of fitness.
You don’t compete anymore. What do you miss about it?
I think I miss the order; you know exactly when your meals are, you know exactly what you’re going to be eating, you know exactly what you’re going to be doing for training. I liked that order to my life. That and the sparkly bikini. [Laughs] They’re pretty and I really like being on stage.
Anything you didn’t like?
It takes a little bit away from your social life and it’s hard for people that aren’t in it to understand.
What kind of advice would you give to someone who wants to start to get fit?
Be realistic with your goals. Understand what you want to achieve and how you can achieve it. If you can only get to the gym three days a week, that’s fine. Accept it and work with it.
Do any of your clients come in with a celebrity body they want to use as their goal? Who is it?
Jen Selter is a popular one because her glutes are all over Instagram. Sometimes, because when my clients look me up they see my own photos, they’ll ask for a body like mine, which is super flattering.
Do you have a great glute exercise , by chance?
Squats and your dead lifts are the best. That was actually my goal when I hired my trainer – I just wanted a big butt. He said, ‘Okay. You need to start eating.’ A lot of people forget that it’s about eating well too.