At 41 I realized my life was incredibly out of balance. I had spent nearly the last two decades working 50 hour weeks (and the last decade simultaneously raising 2 energetic kids) and had defined myself by my career. Newly divorced and with some free time without the kids, I started attending group fitness Body Pump classes at the gym, 3 evenings per week. Within 6 months my tall, thin, skinny-fat physique showed noticeable changes, going from 25% body fat to 17%. Soon curious co-workers were asking me what sort of exercise program I was doing.
Shortly thereafter, two women in different parts of my life suggested I consider doing the upcoming local figure competition, the NPC Miles Productions Western Regional. I thought they were crazy at first. I had never even SEEN a body building show. Then a voice inside of me said, Why not? You can do this! It’s healthy to step outside of your comfort zone (in this case in 5 inch clear heels).
It keeps you ALIVE!
With 8 weeks to the show and with the enthusiasm of a child with a new toy, I decided to embrace the challenge, step onto the gym floor and tackle the intimidating free weights and machines. As I prepared for show, I determined that success for me would be walking with pride and grace in those 5 inch Lucite heels and looking like I belonged there in the line-up.
I brought home a 5th place trophy and that was the start of an incredible journey that I’ve been on for the past four years. The trophy I will always cherish as it was my first. Though what I really won that day was a wonderful sense of accomplishment, self-esteem and confirmation that (1) smart girls with no athletic background can be beautiful and fit too, (2) when you stretch your boundaries earth shattering growth can occur, and (3) it’s never too late to change your lifestyle, priorities and health! To me it’s not just about the external benefits of being in shape. It’s about being healthy, vibrant and self-confident inside! Honestly, I feel deep within my soul that I can do anything I set my mind to.
Now, 4 years later, I’ve recently become the 2nd oldest IFBB Pro Bikini competitor on record in the world!
My first competition was doing Figure at the Miles Productions NPC Western Regional in November 2008 at the age of 42. I placed 5th and was hooked.
In 2009 I competed in two Miles Productions shows, placing 4th and 5th. In 2010 I competed in 3 shows (including two Miles Productions shows) bringing home a total of 3 trophies (a 3rd and two 5ths). That year we decided I was ready for my first National show, the IFBB North Americans, where I placed 7th.
In 2011 I won a total of 7 trophies (3 firsts, two 2nds, a 4th and a 5th), competing in 5 shows (one a Miles Productions show), including 2 national shows, Team Universe and North Americans, nearly getting my Pro Card at Team Universe by placing 1st in the 35+ tall but losing the pose down for the card. As I watched the judges often gravitating to the more muscular girls, I realized that I was pleased with my physique and really did not want to put more size on. In addition, the leaner my body became the older and more drawn my face looked because of the lack of fat. This phenomenon, often called “runner’s face,” is unmistakable back stage at competitions, especially among the Figure girls and bodybuilders. So in November 2011 I decided to try Bikini (which requires less muscle, a little higher body fat and a whole lot more sass on stage than in Figure), placing 2nd and 4th.
As for 2012, I’ve done 3 shows, all in Bikini, bringing home 4 first place trophies and a Pro Card (won at Team Universe in Bikini Masters- Over 45). I recently made my Pro Debut at the IFBB Pacific USA Pro Bikini Show placing 10th in an amazing line-up of girls who were 15-25 years my junior. I am simply honored to share the stage with them.
Today I continue to be as energized and committed to my fitness journey as I was back in 2008 when I started! While the trophies are a nice way to mark the accomplishments, they sit in the exercise room at home where only I see each morning them as I run on the treadmill or do drills on the Stairmaster. Each one is a reminder that I had reached my personal best at each stop on my journey. But at the end of the day, my healthy strong body and sense of confidence is truly my reward. I’m living proof that you can start your journey AT ANY AGE with any sort of background! It’s a truly a marathon, not a sprint. Each week, I’m amazed at the new gym personal records I achieve -last night it was leg pressing 615 lbs.
On NPC Miles Productions Shows: I’ve done six NPC Miles Productions shows since Fall of 2008. Miles and his excellent staff put on fabulous shows, not only for the spectators but also for the athletes. After competing in multiple shows in other states and several National Level East Coast shows, I can honestly say Miles’ facilities are second to none and are often much nicer than National and Pro level shows.
The shows are run very well. What stands out the most is the good communication and organization so that the athletes can stay focused, relax a little, and enjoy their time on stage. The expediters are always friendly and patient when dealing with stressed- out, carb and water- depleted athletes.
Thanks to Miles Productions for providing such outstanding shows for athletes to shine in this wonderful sport!