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Mindi O’Brien

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© Mark Bradfield

I was born and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario. Both my Mom and Dad worked for the local police department about a strict upbringing!!

I was very clumsy as a young child and constantly injuring myself (tripping up the stairs, walking into walls).  My Mom was very concerned, so she took me to see our family doctor. He recommended that I get involved in some kind of physical activity to help develop my motor skills.  My sister was involved in gymnastics, so my Mom thought that would be a great sport to help.

So at the age of 7, my passion for fitness began.  Within my first few months of gymnastics I was selected to compete for our Provincial Team and continued to compete for 15 years.  Throughout my gymnastics career, I suffered many injuries.  I broke my arm when I was 10 and had to have it re-broken 5 times and then one year of rehab.  When I look back, I think it was a blessing in disguise.

During my time away from the gym, my coach hired a personal trainer to help keep me in shape and to help speed up the recovery rate.  It was at that time that I fell in love with weight training and became very intrigued with the muscular development of the human body.  In 1996, I decided to take my weight training one step further.  I decided to compete in a local fitness competition. I ended up placing second. I asked the judges for their feedback and they said that I needed to work on my overall symmetry, and put on some more muscle. I needed a new approach and do some more research on how to improve my training to correct my problem areas.

A new health center manager (Dennis Beitler) came to my gym and I had heard that he had trained many high performance athletes.  After meeting him and learning more about his background I was very intrigued and interested in having him train me for future competitions.  Within the first two weeks following a new training and nutritional program, my physique changed drastically.  I took a few years off from competing to improve my weaknesses.  I came back and competed with the CBBF in 1999 and won my show.  I have been competing at the national level ever since.

It’s been 8 years since I met Dennis and he has been my biggest support system, my coach, my nutritionist, my best friend and now my fiancé.  2004 was the best year of my entire fitness career; I finally won the overall Canadian National Fitness Championships (unanimous votes across the board) and earned my IFBB Pro Card.  My rookie year as an IFBB Fitness Pro was an amazing one and one that I never imagined.  After earning my Pro Card, Dennis and I made the decision for me to make my Pro Debut 6 weeks later at the SW USA Pro Cup in Dallas.  I ended up winning all four rounds, winning the overall title, was awarded the Horizon Award and qualified for the 2004 Fitness Olympia.  Wow!!!

The Fitness Olympia was an overwhelming experience.  I ended up finishing 9th overall; not too bad!!!  I then received an invite to the 2005 Arnold Classic/Fitness International.  This was the “best” show.  All of the athletes were treated very well and I felt like a celebrity.  I placed 10th overall at this event (my routines weren’t up to par at this show and it hindered my placing).  I was awarded the IFBB Fitness Rookie of the year in IRONMAN Magazine and was also voted CBBF MVP athlete of the year.  What an honour!!  I continued on, and competed at the New York Pro show.  I ended up placing 6th overall.

After that, I went back to the gym, put a new plan together and continued to work on my weaknesses.  I brought in a smaller and more athletic looking physique, choreographed a new fitness routine and went on to compete at the Europa Super Show in Dallas.  I finished 3rd overall and qualified for the 2005 Fitness Olympia!!!  Two weeks later I competed at the Charlotte Bulk Nutrition Show and once again placed 3rd, winning both routine rounds and then recently competed at the 2005 Fitness Olympia placing 8th overall and placing 2nd in the two minute routine round to Jenny Hendershott!!!  This concluded my first full year as an IFBB Fitness Pro.  Wow!!

This year has been an amazing year.  I feel that I have learned a lot about me and about life.  I feel that I am not only physically stronger, but mentally and emotionally stronger as well.  I will be sitting down once again and putting another plan into action for the next Competition Season.  I have many exciting projects on the go right now and I can’t wait until I can share them with all of you.


More on Mindi O’Brien:

Website –
Email –
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Twitter – @MindiObrienFit

Publisher/CEO at Training & Fitness Magazine. Fitness, Fashion & Beauty Photographer with a perfectionist complex.

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