FORT BRAGG, N.C. -Much like being part of the US Army Special Operations Command, Female Bodybuilding is a rather small community comprised of some of the most elite athletes around. In order to be competitive, my day begins at 4am every morning. I start my day at the gym, end my day at the gym, and when I can make the time, I spend my lunch break in the gym. It sounds crazy I know, but this is what it takes to compete. I cook, measure and pack all my meals for the week every Sunday and ensure that I make time to eat every three hours on a religious basis. I constantly get questioned about and ridiculed for the snack pack bags of supplements I take throughout the day. I sit on a stability ball at my desk in the office to keep my muscles engaged even when I am forced to be in front of a computer for hours at a time. Bodybuilding is a lifestyle that many people do not understand and one of the most common questions I get asked is, "Why?"
I body build because I love the personal challenge and the constant pursuit of self-improvement. The human body is an amazing thing and is capable of much more than which we give it credit. Constantly striving for that extra 5lbs, that one additional repetition, that incredible feeling of "the pump" that Arnold famously speaks about, never gets old. The physical, mental and emotional tests never end. Are you going to quit when you feel tired and sore? Will you still get out of bed when the alarm goes off at 4am and you've only had 3 hours of sleep? Are you going to cheat and eat that homemade cookie or doughnut that someone brought into the office? For me the decision to stick to the program is easy. Watching your body transform and seeing the direct physical manifestation of all the hard work you are putting in is definitely worth the extreme discipline and sacrifice.
The gains in physical strength and lessons in mental discipline body building have given me are invaluable life achievements that have allowed me to test my limits. Competing in this unique sport is not for the faint of heart. Lao-Tzu says it best, "He who gains victory over other men is strong; but he who gains victory over himself is all-powerful." For me, body building has allowed me to do this very thing.
This past spring I took 4th place at the NPC Beverly International and 3rd place at the NPC North Carolina State Championships. I plan to compete again this fall. My goal is to get at least 2nd place to qualify to compete at NPC Nationals in Atlanta. If you have never been to a live competition I highly recommend you make it out to one. It is a very unique experience to witness all the hard work the competitors have done. It is truly amazing and inspirational.
Story By Rachel Theisen