Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Police pair doing the heavy lifting

You would think settling into a career as a police officer and taking up a new role in the Tactical Response team would be enough to take on for a Hawke’s Bay policing couple.

But Constable Shane Gordon and Constable Michelle Hellyer have also spent the past year training and competing in natural bodybuilding competitions here and in Australia – racking up a stack of gold medals along the way.

Michelle is just over a year into her policing career, while Shane has been with Police nearly eight years and recently joined a Tactical Dog Team.

Michelle has always loved CrossFit, competing at national level on several occasions, but found it difficult to get to classes with shift work. The change to bodybuilding made sense as she could fit her training around her work.

“My personal trainer had been in my ear for a while to give bodybuilding a go and then I met Shane, so I thought why not,” she says.

And she hasn’t looked back, taking out top honours in her first competition in Hawke’s Bay and then going on to win the National title, as well as gain her professional card.

Constables Shane Gordon and Michelle Hellyer pictured with their trophies after winning the Hawke's Bay natural body building Championships.

Meanwhile, Shane, a member of the Hawke’s Bay Armed Offenders Squad, has been bodybuilding and powerlifting for 13 years but only recently discovered natural bodybuilding competitions in New Zealand, for which competitors must be 100 per cent drug and substance free.

Shane’s road to Nationals was a little rocky after tearing a bicep tendon and requiring emergency surgery 16 weeks out from the competition, but he still took out the Hawke’s Bay (pictured right) and National titles and gained his professional card.

He also won the overall Men’s Physique and Men’s Bodybuilding titles at the Australasian Armed Forces/Emergency Services Champs in Brisbane.

The couple started training for the local and national events just as Cyclone Gabrielle hit Hawke’s Bay in 2023, with both facing long shifts and difficulty getting the food they needed.

“There was so much cake being delivered to the police stations from the public after the cyclone – we just had to walk away from it!” says Shane.

Shane was also deployed with the AOS to Gisborne a month out from Nationals after a gang shooting in the town.

“I wasn’t sure what food I would be able to get and what cooking facilities I had so I took two kilos of cooked chicken with me!”

Shane says while training he’s often eating seven meals a day so would take three or four meals with him to have while on shift.

Bodybuilding is an incredibly disciplined sport, with everything from your food and water intake to your sleep being tracked.

In the last couple of weeks before a competition the pair shed weight, so the diet becomes incredibly lean which can be tough, especially for a police officer.

“You really need to manage your energy levels,” says Shane.

“Your BAS scrapes against your skin, you can’t handle the cold and you even lose fat on the bottom of your feet, so even standing and walking becomes uncomfortable.”

While the road to success has been tough, the pair love the challenge and the results.

“It is the ultimate test of discipline, but to see your body changing is fascinating,” says Shane.

With the pair now ‘professionals’ their next goal is competing at the World Champs in Canberra, in October. In the meantime, they’re enjoying the off-season with less training and more food!

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