To say that Jackie Bundus is strong would be the understatement of the year.
The 25-year-old from Yorkton is officially Canada’s Strongest Woman.
Bundus, who currently resides in Saskatoon, travelled across the country in September to participate in the national strongman competition in Bathurst, N.B.
There, 40 women from all across Canada pulled, carried, threw and lifted copious amounts of weight in their respective weight classes to gain as many points as they could to win the title.
But it was Bundus who came out on top.
“I was kind of chill all day. It never really hit me that I was competing,” said Bundus. “Out of all 40 women, I was on top all day.
Athletes competed in the division best suited for them out of the lightweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions.
“In order to be Canada’s Strongest Woman, you have to compete at the heaviest weight,” explained Bundus, which is what she competed in.
The heavyweight athletes like Bundus had to carry the heaviest weight in the competition: the yolk carry alone was 400 pounds.
“It’s all about brute strength,” said Bundus. “It’s lifting as heavy as you can as fast as you can, or as many times as you can.”
One remarkable fact about the Yorkton product is that she’s only been involved in the sport of strongman/strongwoman for about a year.
She made the switch from a CrossFit background into the strongman/strongwoman lane when she met her coach Quinton Falk last year. She competed in, and won, her first competition just one month after that.
Falk told Yorkton This Week that he knew Bundus would be successful from the beginning.
“She possessed great athleticism for her size,” he explained. “Right away I knew she’d be a great candidate for strongman. She was strong and conditioned, so I knew that she would do very well.”
Both Bundus and Falk said that their coach-athlete relationship has formed into a strong bond. Bundus said her coach is smart and strong, and she “trusts him very much” because of his extensive knowledge.
Falk said he’s watched that trust grow tremendously over the past year. Any hesitancy that may exist in the primary stages of a coach-athlete relationship has dissolved.
His firm belief in Bundus as a strongwoman athlete has proven true. Her latest victory secured her the title of Canada’s Strongest Woman and also earned her a pro card in Canada. She admitted that she’s still not over the fact that she’s officially a professional athlete.
Of course, success like that didn’t come from a light workload – or weight load.
“I’m at the gym 12-15 hours a week,” said Bundus. Those hours aren’t always easy for the young woman to find.
“I have my degree in kinesiology so I work as an exercise therapist part-time. I also work part-time at a men’s store in Saskatoon, and I’m in school full-time for therapeutic recreation,” she said.
With a jam-packed schedule like that, Bundus admitted that at times it’s hard to find the motivation to train.
“There are some days when I’m tired, and I haven’t had my Monster yet, and I’m cranky and I don’t want to be there and I want to nap. Those are the days that are hard,” she explained. “If I’m having a bad day, it’s really hard to lift because I can’t lift in a bad headspace.”
But, she pushes through on those bad days.
“For the most part I really do love it. You just have to find some stable ground and just go. I love the grind of it all, and seeing the progress,” she said.
Good at it all
All of that training has resulted in Bundus being a well-rounded athlete in the strongman/strongwoman sport, and that’s the quality that coach Falk said makes her stand out from other competitors.
“The people who do well in the sport, they’re those who have little to no weaknesses,” said Falk. “When you’re looking in heavyweight, it’s [full of] people who can’t work for a long period of time. Jackie doesn’t have that problem.”
He said Bundus is good at virtually every event within the sport.
“She’s very well-rounded. She rarely places outside of the top three,” he added.
Because of Bundus’ national win, Falk said there’s a whole army of people who are proud of her, himself included.
“She’s made her gym proud, she’s made Saskatchewan proud, her family proud, and everyone associated with the sport proud,” he said. “She’s come a very long way in a short time.”
With a national title and a pro card now under her belt, Bundus has no plan on stopping any time soon.
Next up for the athlete and her coach is the 2018 Arnold Strongman & Strongwoman World Amateur competition in March. Falk said over the next few weeks they’ll be working on a few of her weaker areas, and then they’ll begin training for the world amateurs.
But not before a quick trip home.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Bundus took some time to return to Yorkton to see her family, get some rest and enjoy some pumpkin pie – which the athlete admits that she loves.
Hey, something’s got to fuel the next workout, right?