Over 40 Amateur Of The Week: Steely Cut Out Vices And Hardened Her Body

Steely plans to tear up the pro stage within a year and has the body to back up her claim. See why this 44-year-old disregards age and focuses on mind, body, and soul!


How did your fitness journey begin?

I used to be riddled with insecurity and self-esteem issues. I was a semi-tomboy and played sports with the boys because there weren't teams for girls back then and I wanted the boys to notice me. I played soccer, hockey, baseball, and football. I struggled throughout my early teens with body image and was never looked at as the pretty girl, which spun me into terrible insecurity.

In high school, I was good at volleyball and got noticed, but food, alcohol, and cigarettes became my insatiable addiction and comfort to hide my insecurity. I eventually quit drinking but food and nicotine remained my vice. I made terrible health choices to deal with my low self-esteem. My food addiction was deeply rooted in my early 20s and was fueled by media images of impossible perfection.

Fueled by what I call the "not enough" syndrome, I ballooned up in weight in a month and lost double the pounds the next month with caffeine and cigarettes. This went on for years until I was diagnosed with asthma and almost died in the emergency room. I was 23 years old, shocked, confused, scared, and miraculously determined to change. I never touched cigarettes again but continued to battle body image issues, depression, and food addiction for the rest of my 20s and 30s.

I was in the music business for 12 years with tremendous pressure to look a certain way, which I somehow managed to through boot camps and a great group trainer, but I never felt like I belonged. When I returned to Vancouver, Canada, after retiring from the music business, I dabbled in running, boot camp workouts, and boxing.

I discovered strength and conditioning training when Nico De Feo came to my place of employment with a boot camp flyer. I contacted him immediately and said I wanted to train like a bodybuilder for 16 weeks and push my physique to the next level. I wanted to emulate my friend and IFBB pro bodybuilder, Sharon Bruneau. After talking with Nico and attending group training sessions, he took me to the Sandra Wickam Fall Classic Bodybuilding Fitness & Figure Competition in 2010. After the competition, he and I decided I should compete.

Cool Fact

To cure her fear of heights, Steely parachuted out of an airplane!
Now she plans to cage dive with sharks!

I started my journey in November 2010 and stepped on stage at the BCABBA Western Championships less than six months later at age 41 in the open age category and placed second. The following weekend, I competed and placed first and second in masters and open age in the WBFF. A week later, I placed first in the same categories in the IDFA. I've done nine competitions to date and have nine trophies. I reached the CBBF national level and have my eyes on an IFBB pro card to represent Canada on international stages.

I love that figure, fitness, and bodybuilding helped me discover myself. Competing is my passion along with my training and clients. It inspires me to inspire others to reach for their goals as I did. It's a lifestyle that I embrace and encourage others to implement into their lives. I'm living proof that age is a number. I want my story to inspire others to chase their passion relentlessly.

Steely Springham Pushing The Limits
Watch The Video - 1:29

"The changes that emerge by living this lifestyle fuel me. This lifestyle is the best thing that ever happened to me."

How did your passion for fitness emerge?

Boot camps and running become my solace and therapy for stress relief when I battled and ultimately overcame my food addiction and low self-esteem. When I returned to Vancouver, British Columbia, after retiring from music in 2010, I had a chance meeting with strength and conditioning coach Nico De Feo and nutrition coach Nicki Pimm. This union propelled me to learn about figure competitions.

What or who motivated you?

I don't want to be motivated nor do I want to motivate. To motivate means to make someone do something they really don't want to. I want to inspire and be inspired, for inspiring is a calling to what you want to become. Inspiring others didn't happen through my songs or lyrics. It came through my transformation story in my 40s. The changes that emerge by living this lifestyle fuel me. This lifestyle is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Where did you go for inspiration?

I read, follow people on Bodybuilding.com, watch YouTube videos, talk to people, and observe people everywhere I go. I connect with people and allow myself to be open to receive experiences. Music, films, nature, writing, training, and sweating inspire me. Kai Greene inspires me. My idol, Sharon Bruneau, inspires me as do my clients.

"Train your mind as much as your body. Knowledge is the key to power."

What are your future fitness plans?

I'm currently training for the 2014 CBBF Canadian Nationals. Depending on what happens there will determine my further decisions. I will continue to grow my personal training business and evolve alongside my clients that I'm blessed to have in my life. I'm looking to host inspirational seminars for women regarding self-esteem and confidence issues.

What is the most important fitness tip?

Train your mind as much as your body. Knowledge is the key to power. Believe it can be done and believe in yourself. I'm living proof. Set realistic goals and be strong. Remember, you're not only what you eat, but what you think!

Who is your favorite bodybuilder/fitness athlete?

Kai Greene epitomizes training of mind, body, and soul. Erin Stern inspired me with her story of missing the Olympic qualifications by a mere tenth of an inch, but she never quit training hard. I was determined to follow in her footsteps. Sharon Bruneau exemplifies grace, poise, beauty, and strength. She was ahead of her time.

How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?

I can always count on the support of the Bodybuilding.com community. Words of advice and encouragement are always readily available here. The informative blogs, articles, and videos have been a large part of my journey and the supplement information is always up to date.

Steely's Top 5 Gym Tracks

  1. "Latch" by Disclosure
  2. "Anything" by The Black Keys
  3. "Pizza Guy" by Touch Sensitive
  4. "The Seed" by The Roots
  5. "Pretty Lies" by The Dudes
Competition History
  • 2013 IFBB North American Championships - 13th Place Masters Figure 35+ Class D, Open Figure Class D
  • 2013 CBBF Canadian National Championships - 2nd Place Masters Figure A, 5th Place Open Figure Class C
  • 2013 British Columbia Provincial Championships - 1st Place Masters Figure Class A, 2nd Place Figure Class B
  • 2012 Western Canadian Championships - 2nd Place Figure A
  • 2012 NPC Emerald Cup - 11th Place Figure C
  • 2011 British Columbia Provincial Championships - 6th Place Figure B
  • 2011 IDFA British Columbia Natural Classic - 1st Place Novice Figure, 1st Place Masters Figure
  • 2011 WBFF British Columbia - 1st Place Figure Medium, 2nd Place Masters Figure
  • 2011 Western Canadian Championships - 2nd Place Figure Medium
Photography Credits
  • Muscle Insider
  • Simon Lau Photography
  • Anna Hall Photography
  • Rob Sims
  • Mark Mason
  • David Ford Photography
Hair And Makeup Credit
  • Nia Scarcelli
  • Ramona Satar
  • Myles Laphen
  • Allison Giroday