Mackenzie Corkum - Bikini Competitor

Mackenzie: When I was 16 I started going to the gym and just doing cardio and some circuit training to get in shape and look good for a trip I was going on. After just a few weeks of going to the gym consistently I started to notice differences in my muscles and body composition, so I decided to keep at it even after the trip. As I started seeing more and more changes it became addicting. I loved going to the gym and how it made me feel and I knew any bad day could be made better by going to work out. One of my friends at the time was interested in training people for shows, and approached me wondering if I would be interested in doing a show. I took a night to think about it and saw him the next day and said "why not?" After that we worked together for just 7 weeks to prepare me for my first show, where I placed 3rd in my class.

A photo posted by Mackenzie (@mackenziecorkum) on

My diet in my off season and in my pre-contest prep are quite different. What most people think is "healthy" may work for a contest prep, but may not be the best diet for an off season. I choose to stick to meal plans for my contest prep as it takes a lot of the guesswork out of meal prepping and it's also a lot easier mentally which is easily half the battle. During my off season I still eat a lot of the same foods as during contest prep, but I try to add more variety. I also don't limit myself to only "clean" foods during my off season. It is healthy to gain a few extra pounds for optimal training and muscle building in an off season. To lose weight and build muscle during a contest prep I find that lower carbs and higher fats are the most effective for me personally. I usually do 5 meals a day each around 350 calories and then as the show gets closer lower the calories to around 250-300 per meal.

For my last show, I used a carb-cycling approach. This diet did work, but I found it was mentally much harder than other diets I had tried before, because each day is not the same and sometimes the high carb days could turn into more like "cheat" days. It wasn't a healthy state of mind for me. Consistency is the key to success.

My training is a program called Y3T, it cycles 2 weeks of heavier lifting with less reps, 2 weeks of less weight with more reps, followed by a week of very high volume training. I find this method of training extremely effective and I never get bored with what I'm doing in the gym. For cardio I'll usually warm up with at least 10 minutes before every workout, and then I either do the remainder of my cardio for the day after my training or first thing in the morning fasted. Fasted cardio is my favourite because I find it's the easiest time to get it all done. For me, training and cardio go hand in hand, when I'm doing one it's easy to incorporate the other.

My first prep happened so quickly that I never even thought about my actual moments on stage until about 3 weeks out from the show. Not knowing what to do or where to stand or exactly how everything will play out for me was very stressful, although there is no way to know how it will go until you actually do it, it can still be overwhelming. I started practicing my posing very early, it's never too early to start. I've been competing for 2 years now and I still practice all the time and notice significant improvements with each show I do. There is no way around the nerves you will have before getting up on stage, whether it's for the first time or the 8th time, you will be nervous. For me the nerves never really set in until my class was lined up backstage and I realized all the work I put in was about to be presented on stage. As soon as I stepped onto the stage all the nerves melted away and I felt like I was at home, never happier.

A photo posted by Mackenzie (@mackenziecorkum) on

My most recent show was my favourite so far. During the athlete meeting the night before the show meeting all the athletes you'll be competing against and the people from other classes and categories is amazing. It's the best place to network and make new friends. For me even after the athletes meeting I still had a lot of questions about how things were going to go because it's different for each show. Not knowing exactly what it will be like is part of the contest. For me even though during prejudging you're up on stage with the rest of the girls from your class, it's still the most important part because this is when you're judged. In the finals the judging is almost already completely done and you're just putting on a show. Other people I've talked to were more anxious about the finals because you're up there by yourself, but this is your time to shine after the hard part is done!

My next show will be Provincials in Nova Scotia in May. I placed first at my last show qualifying me for 2 years at Provincials, I took the first year to continue to improve and build muscle. I am beyond excited for this show as this will have been my longest off season so far in my years of competing. Until it's time to prep for Provincials I will be continuing to build muscle and train hard!

Find me:
Instagram: @mackenziecorkum

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