De Pippo takes it to the next level

After overcoming a brain injury and taking up competitive swimming, Cranbrook athlete moves into competitive fitness

A Cranbrook competitor is taking her pursuit of fitness, competition and athletics to a new level.

Jennifer De Pippo has moved on from competitive swimming into competitive fitness, working with Laurie Dickson, a training specialist who runs Aspire2BFit out of her gym in the Prestige Inn in Cranbrook, and who coached De Pippo when she first started out swimming.

Both agree De Pippo’s transformation has been remarkable as she segues from one sport into another.

“Laurie approached me — even before I started swimming, and said I could go into Fitness,” De Pippo said.

“I didn’t know how to respond at the time, but as I began working with her, and saw the competitors that were going into modelling, I know that could be something I could do. I decided that after I finished swimming, I would hopefully go into [fitness competition].

De Pippo has been working her new regime about five months.

De Pippo sustained a brain injury as a child, but has made her life an example of overcoming the disability — even writing a book about her life and her processes. But sports has led the way.

“I know can do it — It’s something different, and yes, I have challenges, with my brain injury. But I find ways to do things, and in the end it all works out.”

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Dickson, who has had a long career in fitness and training, said that in some ways the process is the same as when De Pippo was swimming competitively, with training and nutritional elements she makes part of her routine.

“Jennifer meets up with me for coaching; I critique her physique and her posing. And she’s come a long way, because Jennifer has never walked in high heels. The before and after photos would probably shock a lot of people. Jennifer is really well balanced, in terms of physique and musculature.”

The work ethic Jennifer brings is an inspiration, Dickson added.

To lose weight normally is a process involving 80 diet and 20 per cent exercise, De Pippo said. “But I think from a physique perspective, you need both equally.”

“You need to lose weight, and then you build up,” Dickson said.

November 16 is the date of De Pippo’s first competition, at the Pro-Qualifier & PRO Show hosted by IDFA (international Drug Free Athletics). She will be among six competitors with Team Dickson, in categories such as Natural Bodybuilding, Physique, Figure, Fitness Model, Bikini, and Transformation Challenge.

Dickson is entering De Pippo in the Fitness Model and Figure categories, in Novice. “You’re looking for definition, symmetry, conditioning, and muscular balance.”

De Pippo’s goal isw to make the Top 5 in this regional competition.

“That’s the goal, for all of my girls — Top 5,” Dickson said. “And it’s an honour. Because five per cent of our population engages in a competitive sport. It you get Top 5, you’ve done well.”

De Pippo fell under the “Para” category while swimming competitively. But when it comes to physique and body-building, she said, she is considered able-bodied, and is competing with everybody else on the same level. “I don’t want any special treatment, but I don’t know the outcome,” she said.

“I want to win. That’s how much of a competitor I am. I don’t care if I’m disabled. I just think I can do it.”

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