TRURO - Mike and Allison Lynds can't wait to take their three-year-old daughter out for pizza.
That's one of the things the married couple is most looking forward to now that they're back from the Canadian Elite Bodybuilding Championships and Figure, Fitness and Bikini Nationals held in New Westminster, B.C.
"The norm for us is healthy eating, so we haven't had a night out in a while," said Mike, who finished first in the heavyweight (185-212 pound) class and first overall at the competition this past weekend in Vancouver.
"A night out is kind of a big deal, so we're going to take our daughter, Lilly, to Damascus for pizza."
For the past 11 years, Mike, 32 and originally from North River, has been training and competing for the moment he received with this competition - his pro card.
"I'm now considered a professional bodybuilder and can compete internationally, in events such as the Arnold Classic and the Europa (Show of Champions). There are big shows (internationally) and someone can make a career out of it."
But it wasn't just Mike who competed - Allison placed fourth in the bikini short (five-foot-two and under).
"Men's classes go by weight, but females are classed by height," said Allison, 31. "I'm four-foot-11-and a-half. I was the shortest one there and I'm proud of that."
Reaching the national stage didn't come without sacrifices, however, which is exactly where the pizza night comes in.
Working from home, Allison, originally from Ontario, looks after a lot of the meals for the family.
"It's high protein, moderate fibers and low carbs," she said. "For protein, it's chicken, steak or fish, our fibers come from broccoli usually and we have pasta, rice, sweet potatoes or oatmeal for carbs. Those are our staples."
The couple eats five to six meals a day, as well as drinking protein shakes.
They also each have their own fitness training - Mike, a fitness manager at Good Life in Truro, works with Salim Satir in Montreal, but he also trains Allison.
Working at Good Life, Mike puts in an extra two hours daily so he can fit in his workouts, while Allison takes an hour, five days a week to train.
"I try to get in in the morning or the evening," said Allison, adding day care for Lilly is open three hours in the morning or the evening. "I have a set schedule, but my time is flexible."
Bodybuilding started for Mike in 2001 when he was trying out for pro football and a coach told him he wasn't "big enough."
"I started lifting weights to become bigger and I fell in love with the concept of being the one to push myself," he said.
When Mike and Allison began dating in 2004, Mike encouraged her to take up the sport. They married in 2006.
"I love being able to take the time out for myself and focus on myself," she said. "I like pushing myself and seeing the results of my hard work."
One of the biggest questions Mike and Allison get is how they are able to continue with their lifestyle while raising a daughter.
"We have a good balance and we always put Lilly first," said Allison.
Saturday is always a family fun day in their household, which sometimes includes indulging in something not on their list of foods.
"We have a cheat meal at home, so we'll barbecue something like hamburgers and we'll make cookies together. We always have something for Lilly, like a music or swimming class, and then we have fun together at home."
Next up for Mike is to plan with his trainer, as well as sponsor - Montreal's Beyond Yourself - to plan out his professional debut.
"Mike is the priority right now, so when we figure out his pro debut, I'll choose one of two national competitions and I'm hoping to win my class to get my pro card," said Allison, adding her sponsor is Advance Genetics in Halifax.
To watch a video of Mike in competition, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg-4lpNDsNg&feature=youtube_gdata_player.