Join author Elaine Morales as she shares what training for a bodybuilding competition taught her about life in “Bold, Bad & Better!“
Written by Elaine Morales
So at the age of 43 I decided to enter a bodybuilding competition.
Yes, me — the gal who was kicked off the Honor Society for failing gym and who still ducks when her husband tosses over the car keys.
A couple of years earlier I had gotten a taste of the weight room and the powerful feeling that comes with lifting things up and putting them down. I was hooked.
Engaging in a program of progressive weight training means you are bound to come up against physical limits. The weights become too heavy; you reach “failure.” You think, “That’s it, I’m done. I’ve given it my best.”
In that moment lays an opportunity to cross over into The Beyond. The Beyond is an enchanted place that lies on the other side of what you previously thought were your absolute limits. I must disclose that there is a certain amount of pain involved. However the emotions I have experienced after a trip to The Beyond are indescribable.
When I return from that euphoric place to the real world, the first thing I think is — “What else? What else have I been holding myself back from? If I can do THAT, then I can do anything!” and “How else can I get more of THIS feeling?!”
The weight room is a place of self-discovery that for me launched the genesis of a whole new mindset. One that has me regularly asking myself, “What if…?” and “Why NOT me?”
In 2011, I took this journey to a whole ‘nother level.
Some people spend a week in the wilderness, a month in an ashram in India, or a year on an analysts’ couch to experience transformation. I prepared for a figure competition.
52,560 grams of Protein.
The physical and mental training and dietary discipline needed to achieve an elite physique are hard. I didn’t always like it, sometimes I feared it, but every day I did it anyway. By doing this repeatedly — not giving up, not lowering the bar, pushing myself outside my comfort zone — it became a habit. A habit that I now apply to every aspect of my life.
I have found that when confronted with life’s inevitable setbacks, my impulse is no longer to run away, give up, or make excuses. Powering through has become second nature because of what I practice in the gym.
When it was my turn to step to the middle of the stage at the New Jersey Suburban Bodybuilding and Figure Competition, I was NOT thinking, “Gosh I hope I win!” I silently spoke the words, “Here I am. Unshakable. Unstoppable.”
And there I was – a middle-aged suburban soccer mom with no previous athletic experience earning two bodybuilding trophies.
Why NOT me?
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
What have you accepted in your life that took time, physically or mentally?
It took me a long time to realize that I am enough…just the way I am!
What do you appreciate about yourself and within your life?
I am a compassionate and loving person. I am blessed with a husband of 21 years who adores me, 2 awesome teenagers who still enjoy spending time with me, and the unconditional love and support of so many really cool family members and friends.
What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What goals do you still have?
On my dad’s side, I am first generation Mexican American and first generation to earn a college degree. I graduated cum laude from Princeton! One of my life’s goals is to own a home in Mexico and spend part of the year there.
What is your not-so-perfect way? What imperfections and quirks create your identity?
I still battle mild anxiety nearly every day. I have a little voice in my head that never shuts up, and sometimes she is a negative Nellie. I have lots of tools in place to help me have an awesome life in spite of that voice! Something quirky about me is that I wear zip-up footie pajamas to bed year-round. I hate to be cold at night. It is very sexy.
How would you complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my life!
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