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Dannielle Goulet

I AM ALFA because of my innate perseverance. Tough is not taught and being pushed down has only made me rise higher. I, like coal under pressure, strive to be a diamond.

Photography by: Ali Sohrab

Hair, Makeup, Tan: Shannon Payne

I first became conscious of weight in high school. Since I was a little girl I was always active. Being in a military family we moved around a lot. We were a strict household that placed a high value on discipline and achieving our best. I learned the value of hard work at a very young age. I was in horseback riding and gymnastics, always striving to be my best whether in my extracurricular activities or school.

When I was 8 my father went off to fight in the Gulf War. I watched my mom struggle as basically a single mom raising my baby sister and I while my dad went to go fight for our country. After returning from the Gulf War my father’s work took him to various locations. My mother worked multiple jobs all the while raising me and my sister, getting me to my after-school activities and always pushing me to be the best version of myself.

In junior high school my activities changed, I got out of gymnastics and horseback riding and shifted focus to band, (playing the saxophone), theatre and my part-time job at Dairy Queen. I never had really thought about my relationship to food having always been active and having the metabolism of a young child. I always had been a picky eater, I didn’t like vegetables and with my part-time job working at Dairy Queen my diet was horrible and I started packing on the pounds. I began to hate my body, being self-conscious of the added weight and society’s expectations on what an ideal body should look like. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin.

In grade 9 my parents' relationship was beginning to deteriorate and my mom started her own fitness journey. I think she found it empowering and something to focus on while dealing with the stress at home. While I was struggling with my own body issues I saw her taking charge of her body and doing something to better herself in both body and mind. By grade ten my parents relationship ended. My dad was away in Afghanistan fighting again in another war. Under all of the stress my mom finally broke and began partying, what started as the occasional partying eventually turned into drug addiction. From 18-21 I became my sister’s legal guardian and felt the weight of that responsibility while my heart broke watching my mom spiral.

While struggling with all of this I was also trying to figure out who I was in this world. I had some fun and made some bad decisions as all people in their early twenties do. I struggled with trying to find my purpose in life. I started to experiment with new foods discovering that I liked vegetables and things other than fast food. I lost the weight starting to feel better in my own skin but was still searching for direction in my life. I worked multiple jobs always needing to work hard as that was instilled in me at a very young age but none of them felt fulfilling to my soul.

Feeling like I needed some direction I decided to open a business. I finally decided to open a store in 2008 with my partner at the time. That is when my first business was born. Herb n’ Wear, my natural fibre clothing company, became my purpose. I was still working other jobs to keep my dream afloat. While working at the store my eating habits began to slip into old patterns again. While it wasn't fast food, I became quite a foodie focusing on flavours and using foods as a crutch while feeling overwhelmed from running my own business during the day and serving and bartending at restaurants during the evening.

My relationship with my partner ended and I took over full ownership of Herb n’ Wear. I met another man who I began a relationship with about a year later. In 2011 we went to Thailand. He went to Thailand every year to train in Muay Thai kickboxing. The next year when we went back I decided to train alongside him. This is what began my fitness journey. I loved being in Thailand and training. It made me feel strong and empowered. I fell in love with the food, the people, and the adrenaline rush of training. I started making drastic dietary changes as I began to make the connection between diet and health.

Back at home my mom had begun a new journey of her own. She had risen above her former addictions and went back to school for Veterinary Care Aid while working at a Veterinary hospital. Not only had she beat her addiction but she continued to inspire me as she went after her childhood dream of working with and helping animals.

Time moved forward and a couple relationships came and went and I began to do some soul searching. Who was I? I felt like a chameleon, always changing to fit other people’s expectations. Whether it was parents, partners, or society in general I felt like I was always trying to find myself through making others happy. I came to the realization that happiness comes from within and making time for me was important. My entire focus changed to what I could do to fulfil myself.

I decided to dedicate myself to fitness. I had already been training in Muay Thai but I shifted focus to body building. I was ready for a challenge. I was ready to finally focus on me. I decided to enroll in the BC Cup Naturals in the women’s classic physique category. I found a competitive fitness coach through a friend and started my competitive training. Thank god for my coach Nicole Janveaux. Her detailed diet and exercise plans helped give me a road map to reach my goal of competing and she was there with me all of the way. The most challenging part was sticking to the diet. When I started I had no idea what macros were, had never calorie counted and had never been on a strict diet. In other words I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I worked hard and followed all of her instructions. I was so determined as I had no idea what the competition would be like. I sweated it out at the gym for hours at a time while balancing running my own business (which by this time had transitioned from a traditional store to an online clothing boutique) practicing dance, and my new passion of competitive training.

Finally show day arrived. I had entered into all 3 physique categories; novice, open and masters. My friend woke me up on show day to the Rocky theme music. I went and got my make-up, tan, and hair done. I arrived at the Convention Center and got into my show suit. I was filled with anticipation and honestly a little nervous and definitely hungry. I remember practicing my dance routine with my headphones on backstage while being worried that I would miss my name being called to go onstage.

Finally they called me onstage, I was trembling like a leaf while doing my poses for the judges. After the morning poses were done for the judges, I went with my friends to relax a bit before the public portion of the competition. I had ½ a cup of coffee and 3.5 ounces of chicken before going back to do the public evening show.

By this time my nervousness had dissipated. I looked at my competitors and realized that I had a pretty good chance of placing in the competition. I went and did my poses again and then completed my dance routine. My goal was complete. All of my determination, hard work and discipline had paid off.

After everyone had completed their routines the judges called us all back onstage. As they called my name I was elated. I had won gold in all 3 categories! It was a surreal experience. I accepted my medals and went backstage. Overwhelmed with my fitness journey from start to finish I crumpled to the floor crying, feeling all of the emotions. I was happy to just have completed my first competition but to win gold in all three categories was more than I had ever dreamed.

I was ready to take it to the next level. I am currently in prep for a pro-qualifier competition. Fitness competitions give me purpose keeping me on track with my diet, exercise and self-care. It has taught me the value of balance and it still is.

I AM ALFA because of my innate perseverance. Tough is not taught and being pushed down has only made me rise higher. I, like coal under pressure, strive to be a diamond.

What are the most rewarding things that fitness has taught you? Fitness has taught me the value of making time for myself, goal setting and reinforcing the discipline that I learned from a very young age. It has taught me that self-love comes from within and inner strength is just as important as outer strength. Bodybuilding is a one woman sport- no one is going to lift that weight for you.

When was the most ALFA moment of your life? Definitely winning my first fitness competition. I had no idea where I would place or if I even would place. The moment they called my name and I realized that not only had I achieved my goal but I had surpassed it. For years it was a dream to be fit and now I was winning my first fitness competition.

How Has Covid-19 impacted your daily life and what did you learn from it? I have learned that no matter what life throws at you, you can always accomplish your goals. I ended up training for the last year for a competition that was cancelled not once but twice now. The gym’s new operating hours have made putting fitness first more challenging. I have also learned to love fitness for fitness’ sake not just the thrill of competing.

What is next for you? I am continuing to train for the Natural Canadian Pro Qualifier happening in Toronto which may be cancelled again due to covid-19 restrictions, but I will not stop until I have achieved it. I am about to start my next exciting journey in life; a personal training and nutrition course. They say “Do what you love and you will never have to work another day in your life” I love fitness and being at the gym, empowering others and helping them achieve their body goals so this next new career step just makes perfect sense. Make your dreams your reality!

Please share up to 5 things people don’t know about you.

I have owned a Natural fibre clothing store for 13 years (

I am a fire dancer- I perform with the Circus Troupe Ignisia Circus (

I can still do the splits. Thank you gymnastics!

My favourite food when not in prep is poutine

While working as a bartender I won the Mott’s Clamato Caesar Competition!

What does it mean to you to be on the cover of IAMALFA and have your journey featured? Being on the cover of IAMALFA has truly been a game changer for me. After an amazing and insightful photoshoot session with Ali has made me fall in love with fitness more than ever. It has inspired me to move forward with a new career in fitness as it is a deep rooted passion!

Please name up to 5 ALFA people you know.

Denyse Dansereau- My best friend, always has my back and knows me better than I know myself. She started her own circus troupe and helped me open my first business. She is always showing me the path to self love

Viki Cyr- My mom showed me how to be a fighter. No matter the obstacles she has always worked hard to overcome them

Chelsea Cyr- My sister, together we have overcome adversity in our youth. She is a badass who put herself through school and continues to build a life that she loves

Nicole Janveaux- My coach works hard training competitive fitness and built her business on her passion helping others to achieve their goals

Charlene Atkinson- Working mom of 4 who put herself through nursing school and one of my oldest friends

What would be the ultimate tips you could share with everyone about LIFE in general? Life is about more than work. Make time for the people and things that matter and don’t forget to take time for yourself too or you will have nothing left to give anyone else. Do things that scare you, you may find a new passion!

What are the most attractive attributes in a partner? The most attractive attributes in a partner are someone who accepts me as I am and builds me up. Someone who is kindhearted as beauty starts on the inside. Also someone who makes me laugh and is playful in nature. Someone who wants to make every day an adventure.

Your top favourite quote:

Again, Only Better.

Where people can find you?

Instagram: @Danniegoo

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