Self Tanning an Introduction by Troy Landerville
The gym is Shelly Leversage's sanctuary.
The 34-year-old and her family - which includes two young children - have endured rough times. Five years ago, Shelly and her husband Ivan sold their leaky condo and lost several thousands of dollars in the transaction.
Then, just when it seemed they had turned things around financially, Ivan, an environmental engineer, got laid off from his job. He was a casualty of the volatile economy. The couple had to take out RRSPs to make ends meet and provide for their two children Katrina, 5, and Tyler, 3.
To channel her frustration, Shelly started training for her first bodybuilding competition in October, 2002. She hired personal trainer Martin Crowder, and noticed immediate changes.
"I resolved right then and there that things were going to be different," said Shelly, who is also a fitness model. "I had decided that, rather than self destruct, I would turn this situation around and view it as an opportunity to make things happen for me."
Through the tough times, weight training has been Shelly's therapy. Pre-competition, she works out seven to 10 times a week, and she'll often go to the gym twice in the same day. Before an event, she'll get down to as low as six per cent body fat.
The competition she originally trained for was cancelled, so Shelly focused on the World Natural Sports Organization Musclemania meet, that was scheduled to take place at the Stanley Theatre in Vancouver in April.
The 5 a.m. workouts and regimented diet paid off when Shelly earned runner-up in the lightweight division at the Musclemania event.
In September, she performed well at the FVF Femsport 2003 at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre.
Training also sparked a business venture. Preparing for Musclemania meant Shelly had to make time from her job as a dental hygienist to go to a tanning salon.
"I was often interrupting co-workers during their lunch asking them to apply tan enhancer to my back. Then I'd drive off to my appointments, slather more lotion on and tan," Shelly recalled. "It was ridiculous. I knew there must be a better way."
Shelly thought about it and invented a vinyl tanning lotion applicator that is called Lion-In-the-Sun. Self tanners, sun block, tan enhancers, Dream Tan and after tan can be applied with the vinyl strap that is used for the back and shoulders. It can also be used with a stick-on disposable sponge to apply liquid Pro Tan.
"I feel this is revolutionary," Shelly said. "Now competitors can manage their time better during their very exhausting and stressful contest preparations, without the need of waiting for help from most often a stranger, who they ask to 'paint' them."
The idea expanded into a business she calls Ty-Kat Designs, which she named after her two children. She's now selling her patent-pending product.
She said her invention is a spin-off of her love of training.
"Bodybuilding centres me, and there are so many off-shoots from that," Shelly said. "I've found out that if you put the kind of energy that you put into training into other aspects of your life, you can't help but succeed. I really love the challenge and having something to work towards.
Please check upcoming issues of HardFitness to find out how Lion in the Sun works, step by step video demonstration.