Over 40 Bodybuilder of the Week: Maria Roelle

Over 40 Bodybuilder of the Week: Maria Roelle! - Pics and info and more!
  • Name: Maria Roelle
  • E-mail: hotrodria37@msn.com
  • Age: 42
  • Where: Edison, NJ
  • Height: 6'
  • Weight: 197 lbs
  • Years Bodybuilding :4
  • Favorite Bodypart: Legs
  • Favorite Exercise: Squats
  • Favorite Supplements: Whey Protein Powder

How Did You Get Started?

Although I lifted early in my 20's and went on and off through my late 20's I developed a degenerative disc disease and was pretty much halted in any progress in my early 30's.

At age 36 I was told after severe back surgery that I would never lift more than a bag of cat food, that I would be in for repeated surgeries, and that I would probably be in a wheelchair by age 50 and if I was LUCKY, I could use a walker by age 45. Screw that.

So began my journey to heal myself. I started 3 months after I got out of surgery on Sept 18, 2002. I was bedridden with my children and family helping me for 3 months. I got into a pool and started water jogging which I continued for three months until I was strong enough to start some basic strength training.

I am diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and hip dysphasia. My grandmother on my fathers side was bedridden for the last years of her life on such heavy amounts of prednisone that we couldn't touch her or her skin would fall off. My mother has had THREE hip replacements. My younger sisters both have had hip replacements, one at age 32 and one at age 36. My father has had one that they caught in time after it perforated his pelvis but before it severed his femoral artery. Basically if we were German Sheppard's someone would have had us euthanized at birth.

At one time I weighed over 240 and was a size 24 dress. I had breast reduction surgery at age 22 due to rising back issues but at 240 you couldn't tell the surgery had been done. I was in so much pain that I would have my children place pillows on the floor in front of me while sitting on the couch so when my back spasm would hit I could go to my hands and knees and catch my breath before trying to stand.

I tried to exercise and lose weight to take the pressure off my back but it honestly hurt so much I couldn't even put my back on a bench to lift. I was depressed and fat. I even had to put a belt under my leg while I drove to lift my leg from the gas to the brake. It sucked in general.

Now after a double fusion to my lower back where I FINALLY got a doctor to listen to me and do the surgery despite my age I have worked myself down to 200 lbs and solid muscle. It took 2 years for my back to heal and be strong enough to really lift. I got down to 168 at one point but became a cardio queen and carried too much body fat.

I started listening to and talking to Titania on bodybuilding.com and reading EVERYTHING I could get my hands on about different exercises that would relieve pressure and strengthen my back and basically if it didn't hurt- I would do it. I have been competing for two years now and work with a trainer in Bridgewater NJ, Randy Joseph.

Today I have little if any back pain. I will eventually need a hip replacement on my left side and sometimes have leg pain when I sit for many hours such as in a car. But the pain from a big squat workout is much more doable than the crushing pain of what I felt before my surgery. I did not PLAN to compete.

People started seeing my progress and mentioning that I may do well in a competition if I cranked things up a notch. I had to visualize it internally as I certainly didn't believe it of myself. Thanks to all the support from bodybuilding.com and my friends here in New Jersey I finally realized my dream to be on stage. I still have a ways to go- but it's definitely not heading into a wheelchair any time soon!

Maria Roelle
+ Click To Enlarge.
Maria Roelle.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

Although I change my workouts frequently, this is a typical week for me.

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arrow Monday: Back:
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arrow Tuesday: Shoulders:
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arrow Wednesday: Cardio and Abs:
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    Usually I hit cardio on the elliptical at a low range- for 60-90 min 2-3 times a week during off season- 6-8 times a week prepping for show. Abs I use the stability ball to support my back.

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arrow Thursday: Chest:
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arrow Friday: Legs:
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Weekends I either do some outside cardio and abs or try to hit the gym once to hit the cardio - also I enjoy swimming at the ocean on weekends and try to stay in the water as much as possible. As you notice I keep my weights low and my reps high for most exercises. I try to do at least one heavy exercise per workout.

Maria Roelle
+ Click To Enlarge.
Maria Roelle.

What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

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arrow Show Prep:
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arrow Off-Season:
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What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

Whey Protein Powder has been a main staple in my diet for a long time- the taste is good- I can shake it or blend it and it mixes well and I get great results with it.

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

I love bodybuilding because it is all based on your individual work. I depend on no one for my success and no one is to blame for my failure except me. I have limitations due to my bone issues, which I can work around and every day I wake up feeling stronger and looking like I never IMAGINED I could. Some doctors call me a medical miracle and perhaps I am in some ways, but more so I am healthy, strong, and look 30 when in fact I am 42.

Each day I lift, before my workout, I think it out in my head as to what I want to accomplish- and I do it- I don't stop till it's done- I do some crazy huge workouts and can bury most men my size and weight- which always makes me smile! Most people are amazed at how hard the lower weight higher rep workouts are. But the results? Well you can see for yourself.

Maria Roelle
+ Click To Enlarge.
Maria Roelle.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

I would like to win a major show overall just once. Due to my unique size and weight, many judges are hesitant to place me too high because it sets a precedent to the other women to get bigger, which the NPC seems to be shying away from. So it's a bit of a challenge as to how I should look going into the shows.

My trainer, Randy Joseph of Bridgewater Sports Arena, is constantly speaking to people on my behalf and we wrack our brains trying to figure out what is good but not too much as far as the size thing goes. Last year I went onstage at 176 but looked MUCH better this year at 197.

I have all the size I need, now its time to get as cut as possible. I am also working on building my own website in 2009 and shooting for the nationals before I am 45. But we will see.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Be consistent- If you are over 40 who the hell are you trying to prove anything to? Figure out your goals. Are you trying to lift a house or are you trying to LOOK like you can lift a house? Be safe! Heavy weights break down your joints and wear and tear on your body. With proper form and lower weights you can feel good and look great for much longer than if you lift that real heavy stuff all the time.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

I lived in Coos Bay, OR for 2 years and saw Sheila Bleck walk into my gym on a few occasions. The first time it happened I was in total AWE! I never mustered up the nerve to say more than a simple hello to her and would one day love to tell her a simple thank you, as she is the one who pushed me over the edge and I love her physique. She is an incredibly beautiful, talented woman whom I highly admire.

Rachael McLish is also another favorite. I poured over her photos in the 80's and dreamt of trying to look like her all the time. She kept my butt in the gym in my 20's before my back broke down.

Colette Nelson is another recent favorite. I have met her on several occasions and she is kind, friendly, and polite and always has a smile and nice word for everyone. She really makes me feel welcome into the competing world. Thanks Colette!!!