Sheshegwaning band member qualifies for provincial bodybuilding competition

Celina Cada Matasawagon, far right, at the 2013 GNC annual Festival City Championships in Stratford where she placed fifth in two divisions.

SHESHEGWANING—Bodybuilding champion Celina Cada-Matasawagon, who is originally from Sheshegwaning First Nation, has qualified for the 2014 GNC Ontario Championships (bodybuilding) after placing fifth in the bikini three and masters short divisions at the GNC 26th annual Festival City Championships in Stratford last month.

Though Ms. Cada-Matasawagon qualified for provincials, she has decided to stay her invitation for one year in order to gain more experience and compete next year.

Ms. Cada-Matawawagon has been active throughout her life, both as a champion shawl dancer and a world class hoop dancer, but didn’t begin bodybuilding until two years ago, participating in her first competition in July of last year.

“All my life I have always been active in my community, but more importantly trying to live a healthy and good life,” explained Ms. Cada-Matasawagon on how she started in the sport. “Through my education I have always been involved in sports in some way or another. I have always promoted a healthy lifestyle by being an example for many. Being an aboriginal dancer and being fit go hand and hand and bodybuilding is something I got started doing just to get in shape. My trainer at the time was the one that thought that I was in really good shape for my age (Ms. Cada-Matawawagon is 46) and who told me about fitness competitions.”

The rest is history, and the Kemptville teacher has been training and participating in competitions ever since.

“I feel that at this point in my life I am in the best shape of life and not even close to being done,” she said. “Bodybuilding is a lifestyle and something I plan to continue to do for a very long time.”

This past fall, Ms. Cada-Matasawagon began working with a new trainer, Emilio Ruiz, with the goal of competing at the GNC annual Festival City Championships.

“I feel honoured and happy to be where I am today, but I could not have done this without the support I got from my trainer,” Ms. Cada-Matasawagon commented. “It isn’t easy, but what made this happen is my determination and commitment to working towards my goal.”

Reaching her personal goals and qualifying for provincials was a great achievement for Ms. Cada-Matasawagon, but she told The Expositor that she has another driving force.

“At the competitions you don’t see very many Native people,” explained Ms. Cada-Matawawgon. “I think I might have been the only one at Stratford (the GNC Festival City Championships). I have a dream and I am not going to stop until I reach it and being one of the few aboriginal people doing this makes me want to work hard. I am doing this because I love it, but also because I see the health of our people failing. I feel if more people in our communities got more active then some of the health conditions our people suffer from might go away. To me this whole thing fits in with the medicine wheel in so many ways. I want to do whatever I can to make positive changes so that more of our youth will see what exercise and a healthy lifestyle can do.”

Ms. Cada-Matasawagon’s goal is to place in the top three in future shows and keep improving in addition to continuing as a role model for aboriginal individuals.