In The Locker Room with Anna Slebonick, EMT, Fitness Enthusiast


Curtesy of Anna Slebonick

College third-year and softball player Anna Slebonick.

Over quarantine, College third-year and softball player Anna Slebonick became an EMT and bodybuilder. She competed in the Organization of Competition Bodies Battle of the Great Lakes Naturals of Cleveland, entering two weeks before the event and winning first place in her open bikini class and second in bikini novice. She has applied this same drive to her work as an EMT and plans on attending medical school after Oberlin. 


This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 


What are you looking forward to this upcoming season of softball? 

I’m excited to have a real season — the first since my freshman year — to just play with my fellow seniors and have one last really good season. Even with COVID-19, we’ve had such a good time together. Even in our final season, we’re not going to feel a lot of pressure and we’re not going to take anything for granted, because we know what it’s like to not have a season. 


Over quarantine you acquired some new hobbies, how did you get into bodybuilding? 

I’ve always really been into fitness, and especially lifting. I’ve been lifting since I was 13 years old. I’ve also always been into body physique but I didn’t really have the means to do so, and with playing sports, I never had the time. But when we got sent home because of COVID-19, I was able to focus more on fitness. So I did whatever I wanted and got to where I wanted to be physique-wise. When I found out that I wasn’t going to be allowed back to Oberlin in the fall I was kind of like, “Shoot, I don’t really know what to do with myself.” Because we had the whole semester off, I decided to look into body building. I met with a coach to learn more about competitions and about the whole world of bodybuilding. She told me that I could compete in the physique that I was at, so we looked at competitions and found one that was two weeks out that I could compete in. 


What was your workout plan leading up to the competition? 

As far as lifting and running, she told me to keep doing what I was doing. I had an upper-body day, lower-body day, and I would throw running in the plan every so often. She guided me so that I was running five miles one day and then three miles another day. The main thing she guided me on was eating. She gave me certain gram amounts to eat for protein, carbs, and fat. I tracked it with a fitness app, which wasn’t too bad, and I only did the intensive food measuring for two weeks. The most difficult part was that I had to drink a gallon of water every day. And the week I competed, I couldn’t eat any salt, so I would only eat plain chicken, plain vegetables, just everything plain. But again, I was only doing that for a week, which is what I told myself to get through it. 


What was it like winning your first bodybuilding competition? 

I was shocked. I was competing to see what it was like and to experience the competition world and just to see where I would place. A lot of people train for months, eat so restrictively, and do two workouts a day. It just seems crazy to me that people can do that for so long and be that disciplined. So, when I ended up winning in my class, I was so surprised but also so happy, because I’ve been lifting for so long and working on my physique during COVID-19. It was rewarding to know that, what I did, I did myself when other people couldn’t even do it with coaches. 


Have the skills you’ve acquired as a bodybuilder translated to softball? 

I honestly think that my skills for softball translated more to bodybuilding. I remember the day of the competition, none of the girls were talking to each other; they weren’t catty, but it wasn’t a team environment. But I brought that team environment. I was talking to the girls, asking them questions about how they trained and what they do outside of bodybuilding, but no one did that. And that really surprised me because in softball we’re always encouraging each other and always picking each other up. So it was two very different environments. 


Are you planning on entering more competitions? 

No, I think that’s my one-and-done. I did pretty well in it, and I don’t want to do the restrictive parts of it again. It was really cool to see what it was like, and it was a bucket list thing, but, moving forward, I want to get into other athletic stuff that isn’t bodybuilding. I’ve always liked running half-marathons, so I’ll definitely do more of those. Maybe a full-marathon if I could get someone to train with me. I think that those are more my speed because they’re less restrictive. 


You’re also an emergency medical technician, what inspired you to join the field? 

I work for an EMT medical transport agency right outside of Cleveland. It was another COVID-19 thing where last summer I didn’t really have anything to do. And I’m on the pre-medical track and want to become a doctor, so I needed more patient experience. I’m glad that I did it, because I got to volunteer as a 911 dispatcher in the fall when I didn’t take classes. I got to do CPR on someone, and this summer, I’m working full time. It’s given me exposure to a lot of different medical conditions that I had never seen firsthand. I’ve seen someone in liver failure, post-stroke patients and the impact of the stroke on their mental status, and hypoglycemic patients. 


What are your aspirations for the future? 

I’m definitely going to take a gap year in between my senior year and hopefully medical school.  I’m either going to keep working as an EMT or look into some sort of research position in that gap year.