Cape Bretoner bodybuilders competing for magazine cover shoot make top 10


ESKASONI, NS Mya Sack found more than just a fitter, leaner body when she started her fitness journey four years ago.

Woman Eskasoni, who is in the running for the 2023 Ms. Health and Fitness title, has also found recovery from postpartum depression.

In the past four years, Sack has lost 100 pounds twice (post-pregnancy weight gain) and said she no longer needed the antidepressants she was on.

A member of Eskasoni Fitness Center, Sack credits her workout regimen and gym “family” with helping her stay healthy.

“It’s been four years and I could never be happier. (The gym is) my safe place. It’s my therapy,” Sack said. “And it’s a place where I can go and socialize and interact with other moms or acquaintances.”

Because of her personal experience, Sack wants to share her story to raise awareness of the many benefits of community gyms and fitness. The mother of two and a stepson believes gyms could be a way to help young people stay mentally healthy and law-abiding.

Knowing that winning the Ms. Health and Fitness contest would create more opportunities to share her story and show others what is possible was a driving factor in Sack’s decision to enter.

And while the Mi’kmaq woman didn’t think she’d go far in the competition for online voting, she was glad she was wrong. At the time of publication, Sack was #2 in his group of 10; with the top five advancing to the next round of voting starting on Friday.

“I didn’t take it seriously at first. When I realized I was still in second place with so many votes and so many other people had been rejected, I knew I could win. It’s a crazy feeling,” she said.

Finding fitness

The now 24-year-old had her first child in 2018. Over the next several months, Sack suffered from postpartum depression.

“I was severely depressed,” she said. “I didn’t like my body and was uncomfortable. I weighed 226 pounds. I’m only 5’1 (five foot one) and even getting out of bed and walking up and down the stairs to do my laundry was a mission.”

In 2019, Sack decided he didn’t want to keep it up.

“I didn’t want to be like this for the rest of my life, struggling to play with toys with my son or struggling to do laundry because my back hurts or my legs ache from being overweight. Or I just don’t feel 100% dime.” like me,” he said.

A friend suggested we go to the gym together. When Sack pointed out that they didn’t know how to use the equipment, his friend said they’d learn as they went.

The two friends joined Eskasoni Fitness Center and started with machines and exercises they practically knew like a treadmill or squat press. From there they moved on to more advanced exercises and weight lifting.

“It was from there on that I obsessed with the gym. I was able to get off antidepressants for over a year. I didn’t develop any habits while at the gym which is great because I’m so grateful for the gym community that’s there,” Sack said.

“In my community, substance abuse is very common for a lot of people around here. And a lot of people were like, ‘Oh, you’re going to end up doing these kinds of drugs if you stop taking the meds and so on and so forth.’ And I was like, no. I’m doing this in the healthiest way I can think of for myself and my kids.”

Mya Sack, right, with her husband Reggie Sack at Eskasoni Gym.  CONTRIBUTION - Contribution
Mya Sack, right, with her husband Reggie Sack at Eskasoni Gym. CONTRIBUTION – Contribution

Beaten plateau

Sack stuck to his workouts but reached a plateau after about nine months. No matter what he did or what meal plan he followed, he would not lose weight. It was then that she was introduced to weightlifting by her now-husband Reggie Sack, who competed in powerlifting events.

“He started showing me workouts as a friend. He was the one who really showed me the ropes and showed me how to target all of my different muscles on certain days and that I shouldn’t have to do full body workouts if I wanted to increase the way I what my muscles look like, to lose more weight and lose body fat,” she said.

“It’s been an amazing experience, to feel that kind of trust that someone has (for you). They believed in me more than I believed in myself and he is my number one advocate, to this day. I honestly think they don’t I would. I couldn’t have done it without him, he’s my rock.”

When Sack had her second child in 2020, she had “a little baby blues” and the same weight gain. But she found it easier to regain her health, which included losing 100 pounds for the second time since her fitness journey hadn’t stopped.

Mya Sacchi

  • From: Eskasoni
  • Ms. Health and Fitness Top 10 in the group
  • Age: 24
  • Job: Parent at home
  • Children: three
  • Training since: 2019
  • Favorite exercise: Arnold shoulder press
  • Exercises: every day
  • Workouts: 45-60 minutes
  • Gets motivation from: husband, gym “family”.
  • Would use the prize money for: Community health and fitness programs
  • Vote for me

For the community

Sack learned of the Ms. Health and Fitness magazine cover contest via a Facebook post. Her mother encouraged her to enter the online voting contest which awards a grand prize of $20,000 USD and a photo shoot for the cover of Muscle and Fitness HERS magazine, which is read by 500,000 people worldwide each month.

At first, Sack was 20 in his group of about 50 people. She then climbed to fifth and first for a few days before dropping to second. If Sack is in second place when voting for the top five closes at 11:00 pm AST today, she will move on to the next round of voting.

Sack has many ideas for the $20,000 USD prize if he wins, including a healthy eating at home program and a program that offers free gym memberships for young people.

“You don’t go out looking for trouble when they’re feeling anxious or feel like there’s trouble in their life,” Sack said.

“I feel like if they were willing to try the gym and push their body to the limit, they can’t even imagine what their bodies can do, they can realize there’s so much more worth living for than going out partying and making trouble . “

The Ms. Health and Fitness contest allows for one free daily vote. People can also buy votes for $1 each, and this money is donated to the nonprofit Homes for Wounded Warriors, an organization that helps veterans.

To vote for Mya Sacks, go to

Nicole Sullivan is a diversity and health reporter, sometimes covering the pace of education, with the Cape Breton Post.

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