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Kassandra Gillis - 2023 Arnold Sports Festival Wellness Champion

  • In 2017, Kassandra Gillis world was very similar to a lot of women as she awaited the arrival of her new baby. A scary prospect of being a mother – the questions of how they manage, decisions about work – schooling and the daily trials of being a new parent were quickly realised as her child was born. Her life was to become a little different than she had expected, however. She was 22 years old when she had her son and soon realised that she was suffering from post-partum depression and anxiety. Kassandra decided to start using home work-out videos to try and lose her gained baby weight as her son napped through the day. Eventually she had gained the confidence to join a local gym. Whereas, for many – this is sometimes a stressful and anxious decision, Kassandra flourished! In a short time she had changed her physique to the point that other members began to ask her is she had ever competed. This was the ‘shot in the arm’ she needed and soon was on her way to a local stage!

unplanned plans…

  Shortly after gaining her IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilders) pro card in the figure category at a south American show, the world was to experience a shutdown as Covid hit. With no competitions available, gyms closed and many under lockdowns where you couldn’t exercise outside of your home – her opportunity as a pro athlete was in jeopardy! Shortly after gaining hers, COVID hit, and she was no longer able to compete.

  IFBB Pro Cards are an elite status where the best of the best compete on the world stage with the chance of a career and professional status – the earnings that come with that as well as sponsorships and many deals and opportunities available to those who own these cards are invaluable to the constant physique progression demanded by the sport.

  • ‘In December I made the decision to switch to wellness and start with a new coach Ludacris Fitness.

  Kassandra had a hard time as she began her career when the world closed down due to COVID restrictions. She knew it would be hard to compete internationally again (because of the quarantine requirements on travellers) when she was to return home.  Imagine starting to achieve your dreams with those around you who helped and supported you, then having to go through the experience of traveling alone for her professional debut.

  She found the last two nights leading up to the show were the mentally toughest because she was forced to sit alone in her hotel room as isolation continued with few distractions away from the stage. While it was tough, she actually found it helped her as it forced her out of her comfort zone, forcing her to grow mentally.

Kassandra has been quoted as saying:  

“There were so many mixes of emotion. excitement, nerves, pride. Everything feels like it happens so fast, I kind of go into autopilot mode. I love meeting like-minded people and learning from the whole experience. I now know what I did wrong and can make these changes for my next show and use it as fuel to motivate me even more.”

rule your future – from home champion to world champion

Competition History

2023 Arnold Sports Festival, Wellness – Overall Champion

2023 IFBB Vancouver Island showdown Pro Open Class, Wellness – 1st place

2023 IFBB Pittsburgh Pro, Wellness – 2nd place

2022 Mr. Olympia, Wellness – 4th place

2022 IFBB Toronto Pro Supershow – Wellness 1st place

2022 New York Pro, Wellness – 2nd place

2022 IFBB Pittsburgh Pro, Wellness – 2nd place

2022 Arnold Sports Festival, Wellness – 6th place

2021 Toronto Pro Supershow, Wellness – 1st place

2021 Texas State Pro, Wellness – 4th place

2021 San Antonio Classic, Wellness – 4th place

2021 Mr. Olympia Wellness – 11th place

2021 Chicago Pro, Wellness – 1st place

2021 Milwaukee Pro, Wellness – 9th place

2019 Vancouver Pro, Qualifier, Figure – 2nd place


Motivate to appreciate.

Kassandra’s motivation became her son and the hope that if he saw her achievements and the realisation of her dreams, then he could have that same confidence to achieve his own dreams and follow his desires in the future. Being able to support him and help him achieve his own goals would be an achievement for her. Both men and women can be afraid to ‘not know’ at a gym. Be it an exercise or how to use a machine – men and women can be intimidated trying something and the thought of the whole gym watching them. The reality of that is that (unless you are in the worst gym in the world) no one cares if you fail, they just want to see you try. An oft-used term in the bodybuilding community is ‘empowering’. The feeling of achieving or being able to is magnificent. To inspire others to do the same because you did, that is empowering to you – which you then pass onto the people watching you and being inspired by your struggles and achievements. By redefining her own standards, she hopes to redefine the standards of others.



As a child, Kassandra enjoyed her sports, softball and football (soccer) were the highlights as she was growing up until she found distractions outside of the sports field once she got to high school. One of the most interesting threads that runs through these profiles is how nearly all of the athletes’ profiled – played sports or were involved in athletic performance from a young age – right through to finding a love of the gym. Kassandra was very different. Her passion for sports died off relatively early in her life and it wasn’t until the birth of her son that she realised how being athletic and physically active could truly help in her mental growth, as well as offering her the chance to live a healthier life with a huge emphasis on the mental aspect that a life of physical fitness can offer. Remarkably she had only been training inside the gym world for around a year before she had decided to hop on a stage and use her focus to direct her life. As a self-professed goal driven woman, Kass finds it easier than most to push forwards when she has a decision made and a clear line of sight to reaching an objective.

Bc Abba was her 1st show, 4 weeks later she was on the Popeyes stage in 2018.

a game of 2 options…

Kassandra was faced with an issue she needed to address after the great showing she had at the Arnold Classic show in 2002. She had finished her performance and, upon speaking to a few judges, was told that if she was to consider losing a little overall size – she could finish much higher and achieve greater success in future competitions. For men, this is seen by some as counterproductive. For the stage, this is a necessary adjustment sometimes. Moreover, in the women’s divisions where the differing categories require subtle changes from fitness to wellness to bikini, etc.

   She always had an issue coming into her shows with an upper body which was too muscled, which she had to work on – that was coupled with being too hard for her category. The issue with that was her needs weren’t rock solid muscle, but defined and built with a shape, but not bodybuilder sized proportions. Her legs grew too easily for her division, so this had to be monitored carefully, along with an increased focus on not letting her upper body outgrow the shape she worked so hard on. In order to ensure she follows a balanced physique, Kass started working on a 1 one, 1 off split. Years of training allow for a mindfulness within her training. She can tell when her body is needing rest and listens to that. Negative reps and mind to muscle connection is the most valuable training method she has employed – weight isn’t as important nowadays.

   One of the most interesting aspects of her career is that she really began to shift gears into a fully fledged pro as Covid hit the world! With this in mind she had to do what most of us did – home workouts and safeguarding of her mental status. Kass decided to go about this slightly differently by having her own home farm. This kept her sanity, her safety and a sense of wellbeing that allowed her to keep balances in her life, without overstretching her training vs homelife.

Her husband was a huge inspiration for her with his own transformation being a motivation with his loss of around 100 pounds. The females that motivated her as she first started were Vivi Winkler, Steph Sanzo, Anita Herbert and Lauren Simpson.

   Kassandra should be the envy of most men and women out there as she finds that she leans out very quickly, when dieting. Sometimes she doesn’t even start her cutting cycle until around seven to eight weeks out from the competition. Too early and she finds that her metabolism kicks up into the higher gears too early and she tends to come in too conditioned for wellness! The current feedback from the judges dictated this need, otherwise she risked dropping placings.

   When Kassandra won at the Arnold Classic, this year – the world took a deep breath and collectively roared. She had hit of target placing at a dream event, while the rest of us looked on. She looked every bit the winner and she held herself as a champion. A real contender on the biggest stages and in the eyes of her fellow competitors. She hasn’t stopped there though.























With the launch of her own clothing range, she has opened up new avenues for athletes and competitors. But…these are not gym tops or leggings. These are jeans and clothing options for people with a physique, with a figure and with a need to wear comfortable clothing that fits!

   “I’ve been working on this project for about a year now. I wanted to create a jean that I would actually wear. I hate the feeling of jeans, and I find that I’m always in leggings or workout clothes. The jeans are designed for athletes and curvy girls in mind but do fit most body types. They have a four-way stretch and are designed to shape your glutes. They have an elastic waistband to prevent the gap that most girls with bigger lower bodies get.” K.G.

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