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Muscles and beauty not mutually exclusive, says bodybuilder

Aye Aye Soe, winner of Women's Athletic Physique Contest. (PHOTO: Aye Aye Soe's facebook)

In June, 24-year-old Aye Aye Soe won gold in the Women’s Athletic Physique contest in Singapore, beating her rival from the host country.

Though she has competed in four international contests, it was the first time she has won a medal. DVB caught up with Aye Aye Soe during a training session in Rangoon and spoke to her about her win, and what the sport of bodybuilding offers women.

Aye Aye Soe said during June’s competition, the Singaporean competitor stood out as the one to beat.

“Not only was she from the host country but also her muscle build was greatly improved from last year. So she became my main competitor,” she said. “Though her muscle was good, my advantage was my thigh. So I practiced hard in the beginning show and I got the advantage.”

Although Aye Aye Soe has a chemical engineering degree, her passion is bodybuilding, which she started when she was 20 years old. The training is gruelling and she must follow a strict high-protein diet.

When competing, Aye Aye Soe explains that female bodybuilders wear a two-piece swimsuit to show off their muscles. At first, she said she was shy competing in a swimsuit.

“At the beginning, I felt a little shy. But you only have to be on stage for one minute and remember that you are representing your country. Now, I don’t feel shy anymore,” she said with a smile.

Women in Burma have only been allowed to compete in bodybuilding since 2012, and few have taken up the sport. Aye Aye Soe wishes that more Burmese women would get into bodybuilding.

“Having muscles and being feminine don’t have to be separate. Some people think having muscle is masculine but we show on the stage that we are feminine too,” she said.

But Aye Aye Soe advised all women to exercise and stay healthy.

“If you exercise with weights, whether you are thin or fat, your body will become fit and healthy. You will be nice and beautiful! You will also be mentally strong. And it will help protect against diseases. There are so many benefits,” she said.

Spurred by her big win in Singapore, Aye Aye Soe now has her eye set on the Asia Level contest in August.