My Journey to “GOING PRO”

By Doris Shepherd

My topic of discussion for you today is one of my favorite of all times, Health and Fitness. Those of you that know me, know that I dabble a little in it…LOL. How do I balance a full time job, family life, train others on a part time basis and still get my daily workouts in? Well that’s the million dollar question or I should say questions. This topic alone has so many different sub topics I could go on and on. Aside from the balancing act, I could talk about the benefits it provides, my own personal experiences in the fitness world, food and nutrition etc. So I struggled with what direction to take and after some deliberation, I decided to write about how I got started and a give a little insight about my journey. Then maybe I can follow up on how I accomplish it all and discuss the benefits along with food and nutrition.

Let me start by saying that I’m a 54 year old female, a mom, a wife, a full time employee, part time certified trainer and a physique competitor. How do I do it you ask? I’m a true believer in that “where there’s a will there’s a way”. When you want something bad enough, no matter what it is, you will find a way to get it done. I wasn’t always a bodybuilder, now also known as physique, but I had an interest in fitness. As a young adult prior to getting married I stayed active, joined a gym and tried to work out 3 – 4 times a week. However, after I got married at the age of 30, and had my daughter at the age of 34, I slacked off. Ultimately it caught up with me and I started feeling miserable, and unhappy with myself.

At the age of 37, I decided to make a change and do something about it. At that time, through a mutual friend, I met someone who would later become my trainer, and best friend to this day. I approached him and asked him to teach me the techniques of weight lifting. It took some time to get used to this type of workout because all I knew was cardio and that didn’t change me the way I wanted to change. The workouts were grueling, but I was determined. NO WAY was I giving up this time, I was going to stick to it no matter what. My trainer gave me two weeks, I later found out…LOL. I never let up, I had a goal, a vision and I was on a mission. Six months later, as my trainer began to see the changes in me and the beginning of my transformation, he began to talk to me about competing. I had no clue about bodybuilding competitions, all I knew was that I had to be on stage in a little bikini and pose. My first reaction was OH HELL TO THE NO!!! But my trainer wouldn’t take no for an answer. He was very persistent and he had a plan for me. He took me to a show so I could see what it was like, and my response was, “maybe,” he pretty much heard yes. I trained hard and was determined to get my physique in tip top shape. It took another year of him persuading before I agreed to do my first show so in 1998, at the age of 38, I competed for the first time. I took home a 2nd place trophy. Not bad right? Not good enough I said. When I was in high school I stayed active, played sports outside of school, so I had a competitive streak. However, it had been dormant for a while but this competition brought it back, so I decided to do better. I continued to train hard and the following year and in 1999, I competed for the second time and placed 2nd again, still not good enough. That same year I competed for the third time. They say the third time is a charm, and I took 1st place and the overall trophy in that competition. I guess what I’m trying to say with all of this, is that you CAN achieve anything when you put your mind to it.

Fast forward to the present. After my last competition in 1999, I stopped competing for about 10 years. I still trained during that time, it was in my blood. I also finished my masters in Accounting and Finance during my “retirement” phase. My workouts suffered a little but I never stopped. In 2009, I started training again with my old friend and coach and of course he started up again with competing. He had to beg a lot because I was away from it for so long I was nervous about starting up again. So after he wore me down, I said yes and started competing again at the age 49 PEOPLE. Yes that’s right 49!! I didn’t place at all in my first competition after coming out of retirement. That didn’t stop me so I did several more throughout the years and took home a few 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th place trophies. I was up against females a lot younger than me so I was happy with my accomplishments. Last year, in 2013, I needed a break so I took time off from competing, but never the gym. Earlier this year I decided to give it another shot. This time my goal is to compete on a national level and try and get my pro card. Yes I’m going PRO…LOL. Go big or go home!!! In order for me to compete on a national level, I had to place top 5 in a national qualifier, and I did. Recently I traveled to Pittsburgh for my first National show. I placed 5th out of nine in my class. It was a huge show with almost 1,000 competitors in total. In order for me to get my pro card I had to place 1st or 2nd in my class which I did not so I’ve decided to try again. I’m headed to Pittsburgh again to compete on August 30, 2014. If I don’t make it, then I have one more shot this year in November in Miami. I’m determined, but if I don’t make it, I’m still very pleased with the outcome of my hard work. As I mentioned, I’m 54 years old and when I hear people both younger and older than I am, say it’s too late or they’re too old, or they don’t have time, it’s not because of any of those reasons, in my opinion, most of the time it’s because they don’t want it bad enough. I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy and it takes a lot of discipline, another topic of discussion I can write about. It can be done, you don’t have to be like me, but my belief is that fitness should be a lifestyle, not an option. You need to find something you enjoy and stick to it, not only will you see results buy feel great.

The bottom line is that I’m not trying to beat the person standing next to me on stage. The person who I am truly trying to beat is myself. I want to be better today than I was yesterday. I’m always trying to improve, if I can accomplish that, then I’m a winner in my book. At the end of the day the biggest trophy that I can take home with me is me!! So I thought I’d end this blog with a little visual of what this 54 year old female physique competitor looks like today. Below is a recent picture of myself on July 19th, 2014 in Pittsburgh.

2014 Pittsburgh Pic


August 18, 2014|Archive|

About the Author: Doris Shepherd

Doris is a certified Brooklyn born numbers whiz. After 13 years with Northrop Grumman in Illinois as a Senior Accountant, she and her husband decided to come down to the Sunshine State

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