After she gave birth to Eric, her youngest son, Hellen Costa-Sinclair, a fashion frenzied young woman, frowned at the few kilos she had gained during the time she was pregnant.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
For her, the extra weight had to go right away as she boldly decided that the gym was going to be her best friend for the following few months.
Once she stepped into the gym for the very first time, unbeknown to her, she would never be able to step out.
Now a renowned fitness trainer, two-time Ms Zimbabwe fitness figure champion, Ms Musclemania and less than a month ago winning the Ms International and Ms Universe accolades in Italy, Costa-Sinclair cannot imagine any other life outside the gym.
StandardSport caught up with the 35-year-old mother of two boys who told a story of how she stumbled on the sport that was to give her fame.
“I started my journey into fitness in 2005 with the aim of just losing weight, but I discovered I had great passion for it. I had just had my second child and had gained a bit of weight which I felt needed to go, so I enrolled into a gym,” she said.
Costa-Sinclair is now looking to pursue bodybuilding and fitness to the highest level.
“Now I intend to go onto the international stage, but more importantly, I want to branch into fitness and nutritional education starting from grassroots.
“My intention is to educate body builders on how to achieve health through eating well and exercise and provide in-depth information for women who want to broaden their knowledge and venture into building muscle.
“Because of culture, many people have a misconception about women and muscle and I want to be the example that shows that it can be done and one can still look feminine and healthy,” she said.
Costa-Sinclair has dominated her category on the local scene for the past two years and this year she decided not to cut down on her participation.
Ironically, on the night she was supposed to defend her Miss Zimbabwe title on October 17, she won the IBFF Ms International Fitness Figure and Ms Universe Figure at the World Mr and Miss Universe in Bari, Italy, beating over 50 other competitors from around the globe.
“I was so overwhelmed because I did not believe that I was that good and this was my first international show so I was basically just testing the waters; to be announced the winner really made my day,” she said.
The Harare-born former Malbereign Girls High student had other dreams as she was growing up but the twist that her life provided, especially in the last 10 years, provokes a giggle each time she tries to make sense out of it.
“I was the typical ‘when I grow up I want to be a nurse or secretary’ sort of girl,” she chuckles. “And having acquired a diploma in Secretarial Studies and the love for fashion taking me to attain a national diploma in clothing technology, everything took on the unexpected; I found myself in the fitness industry,” Costa-Sinclair said.
Husband Orjan Sinclair and their two sons Bradley (15) and Eric (12) put in everything to bring the best out of her.
“Because I am the only female, I find my family makes sure I am happy and that I have everything I need. I am spoilt actually. They are always by my side taking part and supporting what I do,” she said.
The Body Active Gym fitness trainer competes in the women’s figure category which considers body symmetry (shoulder to waist to hip and quad proportion) combined with good muscle tone and overall body conditioning.
It’s a category which she has mastered over time, but it did not all come without help from others.
“I have been blessed to be under the wings of Susan Peters who guided and motivated me. The likes of Irvine Dekeya and Victor Hungwe make my workouts memorable,” she said.
Costa-Sinclair says her husband has a phobia for weightlifting while her elder son Bradley has shown a lot of interest in pumping iron just for fitness’ gate, while Eric is passionate about swimming.
Costa-Sinclair only started competing in the National Federation of Zimbabwe Body Building and Fitness event barely three years ago, making her titles turnover more remarkable.
She was persuaded by gym mates to enter the All Africa Olympia in 2012 and placed fourth, and then she competed in Musclemania Zimbabwe and won. Her next big success was the Ms Zimbabwe title in 2013 as she went on to successfully defend her accolade the following year.
This year she competed at the IBFF Zim Classic and won the Figure category and overall awards which gave her passage to the IBFF Italy competition where she represented Zimbabwe and brought home two trophies last month.
The fitness guru has a message for women who may feel intimidated by the gym.
“It’s never too late to start a journey to health and fitness, well-being or bodybuilding. Seek out professional advice and guidance and go for it,” she said.