Muscle Sport Magazine

Raving Female Firefighter Monika Podgorski

Courtesy of Monika Podgorski

EDITOR’S NOTE: MuscleSport Media wants to acknowledge the lovely ladies who are either active or retired members of the military, police department,  fire department,  first responders, etc. worldwide with their own bio articles. If you want to be a part of the series or know someone who should be, please send an email to joe@musclesportmag.com
I grew up in New Westminster, British Columbia – which is about 30 minutes away from Vancouver – and have lived in the same townhouse the majority of my life. I started flip-flopping back and forth between Hope and Chilliwack for four years when I worked wildfire, and now I currently live in Vancouver with my best friend.
I’m 26 now but I knew I wanted to be jacked from a young age, around 11 or 12. I can’t even remember what sparked this “need” to be huge, but I remember not knowing a damn thing about working out. I asked my mom to buy me five-pound dumbbells and I would just do curls while watching television. You had to be 16 to train at the gym near my place, but I started sneaking in at around 14 and just say I was gonna use the pool when really I would go upstairs to train; I still didn’t know what the hell I was doing, but I was motivated and I loved it.
Growing up, I played soccer, but it never felt physical enough for me. I always got yellow cards because I was already bigger than most girls and I loved hitting them 😂. When I got to high school, I joined the wrestling team and that’s where I fell in love with combat sports. My family wasn’t wealthy at all, but my parents grinded hard for my sister and I to have the best education they could give us, but university was going to be very expensive. So I thought about joining the army right after graduating high school until I was offered a scholarship to wrestle at Simon Fraser University, the only Canadian school to compete in the NCAA. Women’s wrestling wasn’t technically NCAA (lots of political bullshit), but the competition level was equivalent. Up at SFU is where I learned to lift weights, mostly powerlifting and Olympic lifting movements for explosiveness.
I started to fall in love with training more than I did competing. I absolutely LOVED lifting more than anything and it was always like that for me. My five years at SFU were by far the most difficult and stressful of my life so far. The combination of school and wrestling kicked my ass and taught me a lot about work ethic. We trained six days a week – sometimes seven – three-to-four hours a day, plus cutting weight, going to classes and studying afterwards. So everyday was wake up at 6AM, go go go all day until about 11AM, sometimes 1PM or 2PM depending if you had exams and then doing it all over again.
After five years at SFU, I joined wildfire fighting so I could have a good summer job; I absolutely loved it. It was some of the hardest days of my life, hiking with a 30-pound backpack for days. I did that for four summers (not your usual summer, mind you, but rather starting in March and going through the end of September) and in my offseason, I would get all my certifications for firefighting. Once I had all of them, I applied for different cities and got into Delta… which has been soooo amazing!
I’ve been on for nine months and it’s been nothing but awesome and full of learning. After I wrestled, I felt a bit lost and still really wanted to compete in something; I just didn’t know what yet. I tried CrossFit, which wasn’t my thing. I then gave Strongman and try and did a competition. I loved it, but the competition season was during the summer and I worked, so it was really difficult. I almost went to provincials, but then we got deployed to a fire so I didn’t go.
I got into bodybuilding in the fall of 2018; my gut just said ‘fuck – finally go for it,’ and I contacted my friend who I knew was competing in figure and she set me up with her coach. I started in October 2018 and never looked back. I became hooked and addicted and since I already pretty much lived the lifestyle of a competitor, it wasn’t too hard of a transition. I had my first show in March 2019 – the Leigh Brandt Muscle Classic – where I competed in women’s physique and won! So I’ve only been “bodybuilding” training for about a year!
Follow Monika on Instagram – @mpodgors

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