Muscle Sport Magazine

Women’s Bodybuilding: The View From Inside The Industry

By Sandra Blackie, IFBB Pro Bodybuilder –    After competing as an amateur bodybuilder in Canada, I moved to California in 1987 when I turned pro. What an adventurous time those early days were! I showed up at Gold’s Gym, Venice in October. I had rented a room for $350 a month, had no work authorization at the time, hardly any money in my pocket, however, I sure had a lot of passion and a head full of dreams!


Training at the “Mecca” for this little girl from a tiny town in French Canada was exciting and amazing. I saw all the pros that I had followed in the muscle mags (Robbie Robinson, Mike Christian, Rachel McLish) and now I was one of them!


The walls of the gym looked like the history book of bodybuilding, with Arnold photos and other champions everywhere you looked. The paparazzi were there most mornings and always on weekends, taking photos of the bodybuilders for the magazines. Casting calls for opportunities in Hollywood were posted at the front desk. Bodybuilding contests were still shown on the major networks with ABC’s Wide World of Sports. We even had Couple’s Bodybuilding with Diana Dennis / Kevin Lawrence and Juliette Bergman / Tony Pearson leading the way with amazingly artistic performances. The sport of female bodybuilding appeared to be in a state of growth back then.

I trained six days a week, on a 5-day split. 12-16 weeks out, I brought cardio into my routine and often did two weight training sessions a day. During the first few years I was in Venice, I dieted hard for shows, over trained and usually gained my off-season weight back. This “yo-yo dieting” was hard on my body and my head, so I sought out Philip Goglia, owner of Performance Fitness Concepts in LA, to guide me.


With Philip’s support I went from competing in the high 130s to 151 lbs. at the last bodybuilding show I did. I was shredded at 8% body fat! I stopped gaining 30 lbs. after each show and kept my off-season weight about 10 lbs off contest weight from 1991 until I retired in 1996. I was amazed at what I had learned and how my physique changed for the better in such a short period of time. My most successful placing was 4th at the 1992 Jan Tana. I was so proud! As a result, I went back to school, became a certified sports nutritionist and built a personal training and nutrition business in San Diego.


It was hard for me to retire. I had moved from my country, trained with the best, traveled the world and felt “famous” for a while. In 1993, Philip asked me to open the San Diego office of Fitness Concepts. I felt that it was time to focus on business and more financial security. I have been in San Diego ever since. Today my business name is “Freedom of Fitness” because the fitness and bodybuilding lifestyle has allowed me to thrive personally, professionally and financially in this country.


In the early 90’s, I spent a great deal of time creating a business and less time training, but never under three times a week. I have adjusted my diet to my activity level and continue to maintain a lean, muscular, yet smaller physique (about 135 lbs). In the competitive bodybuilding days, I ate up to six full meals a day and 4,200 calories while dieting for shows. Even my husband is blown away by the amount of food I ate and could burn off. Today, my calories are a little over half that. I am so thankful to Philip for giving me the nutrition tools to make this transition to retirement, without unnecessary weight gain.


True, I do miss the good old days. However, I am a fit, lean, healthy 54-year-old woman who enjoys the California lifestyle of health & fitness. The passion I still feel for teaching shows in the results of my clients. My desire for them is that they, too, fall in love with the lifestyle that has given me so much, whether they choose to stand on a physique stage or not.


Remember, “It’s a lifestyle, not a life sentence!”  Enjoy the journey!



Sandra Blackie, DBA: Freedom of Fitness, 2949 Garnet Ave., San Diego, CA 92109

Phone: 858-273-4151       Email:                                 Website:

Sandra Blackie has over 25 years of experience in nutrition, athletics, personal training, lifestyle counseling, and giving seminars on various health & fitness topics.


     Sandra’s education includes a B.A. in Recreation & Leisure Studies from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, and certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Exercise, the National Association of Sports Nutrition, the Aerobic & Fitness Association of America (Advanced), and the American Heart Association. She has traveled the world, giving seminars on nutrition, the fitness lifestyle, as well as many other health-related topics.


      She has competed as a professional bodybuilder with the International Federation of Bodybuilders until her retirement in 1996. Her highest competitive achievements include being ranked as high as the top five in professional/international competition in l992, competing in the very prestigious Ms. Olympia three times, and winning the Canadian National Bodybuilding title in 1986. Throughout Sandra’s athletic career, she qualified, at the national level, in five different sports!


     Today, as the owner of Freedom of Fitness, a personal training and nutrition counseling service, Sandra helps men and women enjoy the freedom of healthy weight management through proper nutrition and exercise. Sandra is dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle for her clients based on their own personal health and fitness goals.

Clients receive a Health & Wellness Manual, a “Lean For Life” cookbook and an Exercise & Dietary Journal, all authored by Sandra, herself.


     Sandra has recently created her first HD quality DVD entitled, “Feel the Freedom of Fitness: 10 Steps to Living Lean & Serene.”


     Sandra also offers a well-rounded seminar series to corporations. She is also available for special events, seminars and health fairs all over the country. If you are interested in contacting Sandra, she can be reached at (858) 273-4151 or by e-mail at


     Sandra’s formal education, coupled with a very full athletic career and her own personal experiences, give her great insight into helping others. Allow her to touch your life!


     For more information on our Freedom of Fitness programs and prices, please visit our website at



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