“There is no quick fix, there is no magic pill or shake. Mindset is everything. Once you change your mind, you change your life.”
Name: Stefanie Dawn
Occupation: CEO of Lifestyle Doyenne
City/State/Country: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Training: Bikini competition
Q: Who had to most positive influence on you growing up as a child and why?
I come from a family of extremely hard workers and entrepreneurs who are super supportive and encouraging. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today!
Q: What is Bombshell Mafia?
When I was 19 years old I opened a small boutique salon called Bombshells Beauty Bar (“Bombshell” was a nickname I had in high school because I had no qualms about showing up in red lips and Marilyn monroe-esque platinum hair). I had the salon for eight years, and I was extremely busy and it quickly became well known for creating amazing hair.
About five years into that business, I knew I wanted to expand outside the salon, and do more than just hair. I wanted to run a larger company and take the Bombshell name bigger. I bought the domain name for Bombshell Mafia and got back to work in the salon because it was getting busier by the week.
About two years later, I started to get really burnt out from doing so much hair. I was loosing my passion for it. Long story short, I decided to sell my home, my business, my assets…everything to move to California to start fresh and focus on building Bombshell Mafia. It never happened, I stayed in Calgary.
“I tried to work in a few different salons, but my passion still wasn’t there. Things just were not clicking for me. I was in a funk. This is when I decided to hire a business coach and really start to focus in on what I wanted to do, and how I was going to grow a business out of the hair industry.”
During this time at the salon, I had also lost over 90lbs., competed in two bikini competitions and went back to school for my holistic nutrition certification, and took up a hobby of self improvement. With the help of my coach we sat down and created a concept and programs to help other women become the best versions of themselves.
Everything was there, we just needed a name. I was searching through my old emails and BombshellMafia.com came up and we both decided that it was the perfect embodiment for everything I had visions of doing and creating. Now Bombshell Mafia is up and running and the main focus of my life. You can check it out at www.bombshellmafia.com
Q: I recently saw your pictures of your recent bikini competition where you placed 5th. Walk us through the transformation over the past year (mind, body, and soul) and what you did differently with training and diet.
After going through a lot of changes and trying to settle and restart my life over again, I have to admit I got really depressed. I kept trying and trying to prep for another show and I couldn’t follow through. When I had competed the last few times, it was a STRUGGLE. It took me three years to get back to the stage.
After that show in 2012, I started training with a well known fitness competition “team” and developed an unhealthy mentality, including extreme eating and body image issues. When I just couldn’t keep up and perform anymore, I sought out help in other places. I hired other coaches. Failed. I fell off every wagon I was ever on. I remember just being so mad at myself.
I just didn’t like this person I was anymore. I decided to prep one last time just over a year ago. I was really going to DO IT this time.
One night, I felt all these old issues coming back. I vividly remember going to bed teary eyed praying to God to give me the strength and tools I needed to change my life, and help change the lives of others. That morning I woke up and went to pack my food for the day as usual, except as I went to grab my baggies of Mrs.Dash covered tilapia and chicken and I just couldn’t do it.
I was completely repulsed. This is the day my life really started to change, because my new coach wouldn’t change my program to accommodate no meat, and no one I knew really seemed to know what to do.
“This started my journey into vegetarian bodybuilding (eventually going vegan). I started to do my own research and go back to everything I learned in holistic nutrition and get away from all the ‘bro science’ I had subjected myself to.”
I started reading books like “80/10/10”, “The Starch Solution”, and “The Vegan Guide to the Galaxy”. I realized that there was actually a huge community of support I could tap into.
“After fully switching over to a plant-based diet, I started to feel incredible. I had an abundance of energy and strength for my workouts, I woke up in a fabulous mood, and I was starting to enjoy food.”
I was enjoying my life and was overjoyed to learn the impact my new vegan lifestyle had on the animals and environment. I found an amazing coach via Facebook in Australia who helped me fine tune my macros and teach me more about flexible high carb vegan dieting for competition. I was loving life, getting lean and was ready to kick some ass and take some names.
After finishing my eight week program with her, I knew I wanted to compete. I knew I wanted to do it as a vegan bodybuilder, and it was time to make moves.
I competed in the NPC, and hired a coach with a team well-known for winning physiques. He was the only person out of five teams I contacted who would take me on as a vegan.
His diet was the complete opposite of what I had known and loved veganism.
“It was a low carb, high-fat, moderate protein diet. I modified a lot of things based on my own biofeedback, but I was committed.
I learned what my body needs, what it responds to best, and when to push and pull. This was a huge eye opener for me.”
Q: What did your meal plan (include vegan supplements) look like leading up to the Pro show?
I started off high carb with a ratio of 70/20/10 (CARB/PRO/FAT) and ended up being somewhere around 25/35/40 when I switched coaches. I started with zero supplements, and ended up having to incorporate B12, BCAAs, glutamine, and electrolytes over the last 3 months.
My average day consisted of:
- Oats with a scoop of protein powder
- Green veggies with tofu or black bean burger
- Pinto beans
- Spoonfuls of peanut butter
- 2 more protein shakes
Q: Best advice you ever received for bodybuilding?
Be consistent and persistent and go hard for yourself. No one will do the work for you. It is absolutely up to you, to make up your mind and execute your goals.
Q: What uncommon activity do you schedule into your daily routine?
Every night before bed I do 30 mins of personal development. I really feel like this needs to be a not-so-uncommon activity for everyone.
“I listen to audio books, watch speakers on YouTube, read, and soak in juicy jewels and golden nuggets to get me set up for the next day.”
This also helps keep me fresh and sharp to be able to share and pass this on to others when I know they need some extra encouragement in their lives.
Q: What has been the hardest obstacle for you to overcome in your life?
When I was younger I was overweight, I looked like a boy, I had horrible teeth and was bullied fairly often. I grew up, and was still bullied. I have heard horrible gossip and have been the subject of rumors and stories. Women can be such bitches, and men can really do some damage if they want to.
“One of the biggest obstacles I have dealt with, and have to STILL regularly work on, is my own value as woman and being strong and unwavering in who I am. Not letting people’s opinions sway or change me.”
In hindsight, most of the struggle in my life stemmed from not listening to my inner voice and letting to many outer voices in.
Q: What was the hardest part of going plant-based? What helped you overcome the obstacles?
For me, going plant based was a “light switch” type effect. For awhile I even tried to eat meat, fish, or dairy, and I just couldn’t do it. It felt so unnatural.
“At first it was difficult to go out with friends, but now I love the challenge and my friends have become curious about my lifestyle.”
A lot of them actually enjoy the veggie spots and have adapted more meatless meals into their lives. Knowing others are watching me, and my choices, and the positive effect its had on my life, makes any obstacle worth it a million times over.
Q: What misconceptions about vegetarianism did you have at first that are now shattered?
I didn’t think I was going to survive. Literally. I thought I was going to have to live a straight up granola life wearing parachute pants and be malnourished. Not only I am surviving, I am truly thriving for the first time in my life, and I’ve actually started to enjoy cooking.
I must say, it turns out I’m quite the vegan chef! And it turns out parachute pants are pretty damn comfortable after yoga class.
Q: Talk about plant-based protein and your favorite sources? What advice would you give someone struggling with the protein concept?
My favorite sources of plant protein are tempeh, tofu, beans, and seiten. I also like to include bean or spelt pastas.
“I feel so much better when I don’t focus on protein intake, but adequate calorie intake and nutritional density. If you don’t think you can perform or build muscle without high protein, try high carb for a few months.”
You’ll be hooked on that carb train right to “Gainsville” and you won’t look back. Don’t be afraid to try something new and challenge what you think you know.
Q: What’s next for you, what new goals do you have for yourself (doesn’t have to be bodybuilding related)?
In two weeks I have one more Bikini competition here in Canada, and then I have decided to take a year off to build some muscle. I will continue to experiment with my diet and training to prepare for next season. It’s important to keep integrity within myself and only build up from here.
I’d also like to go full-time with Bombshell Mafia and help create strong minds and healthy bodies all over the world. I want to help a lot of women who are struggling like I did know that more is possible for their lives.