I started lifting weights when I was 14 years old. I was a freshman in high school when I came across a magazine with Rachel McLish on the cover. I was mesmerized by her combination of beauty and muscles! I wanted to look like her! The magazine said that she had sculpted her physique by training with weights. Well then, that’s what I was going to do.
I started taking gym class more seriously. A weightlifting class was offered and I signed up. Soon, my friends in the class were calling me “Brute” because of the focus and desire I put into learning proper lifting form. The paper route that I had after school began to serve a double purpose. Instead of dreading the challenge of pulling heavy wagons weighed down with papers, I saw it as a means to an end. I could feel my legs burn as I pulled the wagon or climbed countless steps, but with the burn, I knew they were becoming more muscular and shapely. Even today, I attribute much of my hamstring sweep to meeting the challenges of that paper route. The paper route also allowed me to save some money. You see, there was a gym in town (Rob’s Gym) and I was saving up to purchase a membership. Finally, I had enough money for the membership but ran into a problem. I was 14 and you had to be 16 to join the gym. Well, I begged Rob, the owner, and he finally relented. I was in! My love of lifting grew and I slowly added muscle as the years went by.
I married my high school sweetheart, Jeff (I was “the girl next door”), and gave birth to our son, Lance, during our senior year. School was out, I was a teen parent, and most of my friends had gone away to college. Jeff also went on to college where he played football. Meanwhile I stayed back, worked, took care of our son, and guess what? Lifted. Luckily, Rob’s had a day care option so going to the gym became part of our daily routine. Although I had wanted to compete since I was 14, it was not an option. There were no funds available in those days. When Jeff returned from college he encouraged me to attend nursing school where I earned my R.N.
As time went on, I continued to lift when I could, but family and work came first. My occupation during this time was as an “on call” Operating Room nurse. So for many years I did what I could to preserve my health and muscles. You might say I looked “sturdy” during these years. I kept most of my muscle because I still loved lifting and proteins were some of my favorite foods. But sweets were another favorite, so I was far from the Rachel McLish look I desired as a teen. I stayed active playing shortstop on adult softball teams, speed walked a 3-day, 60-mile walk for Breast Cancer Awareness, completed a half marathon, sprint triathlon, and a duathlon. I won two, 6-week body transformation challenges at my current gym, 3D Fit. More recently I teach fitness boot camps and developed a Tabata class to help others who compete in our gym’s ongoing transformation contests.