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Bodybuilding: Chantell’s road to competing in Slovenia

Some of us may walk around the block a few times, while others visit the gym once or twice a week. But, Chantell Botes, an advanced life support paramedic at the ER24 Johannesburg West Branch, takes fitness to a whole new level and this level is taking her to Slovenia come June 2022.

Chantell has been selected to be part of the team representing South Africa at the International Bodybuilding Federation World Championship in Koper, Slovenia, on the 4th of June.

Although she notes that she’s always been an active person – taking part in hockey, volleyball and even trying rugby in matric, her fitness journey only really started in 2018.

After training solo for a while at the gym, she started training with an instructor. “After some correct instruction, I started to train with weights and fell in love with fitness. I have always heard the stigmas around women training with weights causing you to become extremely muscular, and I believed this. I started playing squash and other cardio activities like that. I later learned that this misconception was wrong; muscular means healthy, not manly. After training for several months, I entered my very first competition. I did not do too well, but this was a learning curve and a complete eye-opener. I learned a lot and saw what I would have to do to take this seriously.”

In 2019, Chantell had a friend who helped her train and prepare for some local competitions, in which she placed second and third in most. She also started working with a fitness coach who helped her transform her journey and which helped her change her lifestyle completely.

“I have had to change a lot in my life. I train five times a week, sometimes twice a day for two to three hours. My nutrition is also essential, and I must be very strict; everything starts in the kitchen. I eat six small meals a day, mostly skinless chicken, vegetables, salads, basmati rice, etc. I try to stay away from dairy products.”

Unfortunately, when 2020 came around, Chantell’s world, along with everyone else, changed drastically. The pandemic enforced restrictions on various industries, and the gym was one of the places that were closed indefinitely. However, Chantell improvised and found ways to ensure her fitness journey could continue.

“I started pushing my car up and down the driveway and flipping large tires in the garden. I had to be creative.”

In October last year, Chantell took the stage again when she entered the International Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation – Fire and Ice Provincial competition, placing second and taking the first place spot in the IBFF Worlds SA. “I competed against many other beautiful girls who have all been working equally hard. I got chosen for the South African team, which is a privilege and an honour as I will be competing against the top teams from around the world.”

Although the journey up to this point might not have always been the easiest, Chantell’s dedication and hard work have paid off.

ER24 would like to congratulate Chantell and the rest of the team on their selection and wish them luck at the World Championship.