SURREY — When Dawn Alison stepped on stage at a bodybuilding competition with her husband, it was unusual that she didn’t wear her glasses or contact lenses.
With 30 years under her belt in the industry – including two years as president of the BC Amateur Bodybuilding Association – it was a first for her.
“It was just him and I,” she said excitedly, sitting in Newton’s Flex Fitness Club where she and husband Brandon Best run their business, Fit Body Training and Gear.
“I thought, all I really need to see is Brandon. I don’t need to see out there. So it was really cool because I was focused on him and I. Everything else was gone. I felt very connected to him.”
The Surrey couple took home first place in Mixed Pair Bodybuilding at the 2016 Canadian Bodybuilding Federation Bodybuilding, Bikini and Classic Physique Nationals in Winnipeg on July 23 (photo courtesy of CBBF).
That, after taking home second at the qualifying event, the BC Provincial Bodybuilding Champions, just weeks earlier.
The couples category is a somewhat obscure division experiencing a slow resurgence. The division was phased out in the mid-1990s, explained Alison, but was brought back to B.C. in 2014.
“I loved every moment of it,” said Best. “To be on stage with her, this is pretty much the person who has made this a reality for me.”
Their journeys to the stage have been starkly different.
Dawn grew up a Canadian, training Arabian horses in Texas until she met her first husband – powerlifting legend Doug Young – and got into that industry. She was a U.S. national powerlifting champion at her second meet. She soon went into bodybuilding and the rest is history.
Meanwhile, Best grew up in Memphis, learning taekwondo at an early age.
He’s spent much of his life learning Chinese martial arts.
As a thin man, his transition into the world of bodybuilding wasn’t easy. He first competed in 2012.
“So his journey and my journey are very different,” said Alison. “I’m from a long line of coal miners in northern England. I always saw I’m built from tough stock…. So I’m more naturally suited for this whereas Brandon, his road has been a lot tougher in the sense that he’s wanted to put on the size but he’s struggled with it. Really, until he met me.”
The couples’ love story is an unusual one. Their paths crossed, naturally, in the bodybuilding world. Best was the moderator of a forum and the two would message one another about bodybuilding. Soon, a friendship developed.
When the two realized they were both heading to the same competition – the Olympia Bodybuilding Championship – she joked that he better be careful or she’d get him drunk and marry him.
He replied, “You don’t have to get me drunk to marry you.”
That’s when things changed and soon the two had decided to get married – before ever having met.
“We met at the baggage claim at 3 p.m. on a Thursday and we were married on a Sunday,” said Alison of their Las Vegas wedding in 2010.
While many thought they were doomed to fail, they’re about to celebrate their six-year anniversary next month, and are still going strong.
So what does the future hold for this power couple?
Their eyes are already set on the World Bodybuilding Championships in Mixed Pairs. And Best is off to compete for his IFBB Pro Card, as is Alison.
For this Surrey couple, bodybuilding is life.
“Every second of the day,” Alison remarked. “It’s not how many hours a day, it’s every day, all day, every day of the week. Every month of the year.
“So to go on stage doing the thing you love with the person that you love, you can’t even really articulate that,” she added.