Over 40 Amateur Of The Week: Barbara-Mae Hits The Stage

Age doesn't faze this grandmother of four grandchildren from hitting the competition stage.

How did your fitness
journey begin?

I was not always a heavy person. Growing up in school, I had been a star athlete competing in all manners of sports: Basketball, volleyball, track and field, and competitive ladies fastpitch, to name a few. When I had reached my early twenties, I became a stay-at-home mom and a certified fitness instructor and trainer. This allowed me to combine my duties to my family as well as still be able to motivate and train clients. Even at my heaviest weight, I was still exercising and training others as manager of a community fitness center.

In 2000, my struggles really took off when my dad was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer. He declined rapidly and passed away six months after diagnosis. This event took a huge toll on my mom. Shortly after, my mom was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (a form of blood cancer). Unfortunately, the cancer eventually progressed too much, and she passed in January 2009.

After my experience with caring for others and noticing the illnesses that pervaded my family's history—cancer, hypertension, heart failure, and kidney failure—I decided I needed to truly monitor my own health. Later that April, I decided I needed to lose the weight and get back into the shape I longed to be in again.

"Although I did not place in that November competition, I was very proud of my accomplishment and how far I had come."

How did you accomplish
your goals?

I am a very goal-oriented person. The story of how I stumbled across figure competitions is quite amusing! One morning over coffee, I confessed to my husband, "I need a new challenge and I need to work toward a new goal. Things are getting stale!" After that, we both left for work. Later that morning I emailed him and told him, "I am going to enter a figure competition." He replied with: "You don't even wear a bikini."

It's true, I don't. Yet here I am with one competition under my belt and working toward at least two more this year. I hired a trainer and a nutrition coach (who happen to be husband and wife duo) named Tracy and Jeff, respectively. I worked with Tracy to develop a 4-day weight program and a 6-day per week cardio program. I worked with Jeff to develop a nutrition plan that allowed me to drop another 27 pounds before the competition last November.

I was focused and determined. When I make up my mind to do something, I go all-out 100 percent! Although I did not place in that November competition, I was very proud of my accomplishment and how far I had come from that person who weighed in at almost 250 pounds. Now I am striving to do better in the 2014 shows and hoping to place in at least one of them.

Cool Fact

Barbara is an independent country recording music artist with three albums released to date.

What workout regimen delivered the best results?

Day 1: Legs/Abs

Day 2: Chest/Biceps/Abs
Negative Reps: One or two spotters help you lift a weight up to 10-50% heavier than you would normally lift to finish point of movement. Then you slowly lower weight on your own.

Day 3: Back/Abs

Day 4: Shoulders/Triceps/Abs

Day 5: Legs - Trainer's Choice
Varies typically done in a circuit format 10-15 reps each.

Day 6: Cardio
Day 7: Off

Amateurs Of The Week

Bodybuilding.com honors amateurs across all categories for their hard work, dedication, and great physiques. Learn how our featured amateurs built their bodies and hit their goals!

What nutrition plan fueled your body?

Meal 1
Meal 2
Meal 3: Pre-Workout
Meal 4: Post Workout
Meal 5
Meal 6

What supplement schedule gave you the greatest gains?

With Meal 1
With Meal 3: Pre-Workout
With Meal 4: Post Workout

"For anyone out there saying they can't, you need to change that to 'I can.'"

How did your passion for fitness emerge?

As I mentioned, I was already very active. The most recent turning point arose from my desire to improve my health and better myself. Changing my diet was most difficult, but not in the way you would think. It was mainly about learning to eat more. Typically, I used to eat too little for the amount of activity I had been doing. I was very lucky to have someone create my diet and training regimens. I needed to learn my body for what it was.

I mean I am a 52-year-old grandmother, who had lost almost 130 pounds altogether and totally transformed my body.

What or who
motivated you?

Backstage at my first competition, I started to doubt myself and became intimidated by all the other amazing physiques. My coach, Tracy, pointed out, "Everyone here has a story and each story is unique. That includes you and your own story." You know what, she was right! Tosca Reno was a real inspiration to me when she chose to go back out on the stage after age 50!

What motivated me to live healthier was that both of my parents have lost their battle to cancer. When I look at them and my other family members who have passed, I realized I had to get my act together. I was overweight—albeit "healthy" so far—I wanted to get to an ideal body weight and be healthy. I wanted to be here for my children and my grandchildren.

Where did you go for inspiration?

My inspiration came from a variety of sources. I did a lot of research on the web looking for women my age and what they have accomplished. I read articles on Bodybuilding.com for inspiration and support. I also have excellent coaches, who push me every step of the way.

What are your future fitness plans?

My future plans are to compete this year in two figure and fitness competitions, hoping to place in at least one of them. I may do another show in November. I am also competing for the first time in a FemSport competition this year. Beyond competing, I'm passionate about motivating people and want to do some speaking engagements for women to show them that anything can be done no matter what the age.

What is the most important fitness tip?

For anyone out there saying they can't, you need to change that to "I can."

The cliché is true: Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Not everyone can do exactly how I did it, but each person can develop the necessary determination and drive to succeed in anything. Yes, there are going to be ups and downs, but that's life. We can just work to keep it from spinning out of control. Don't think that age is going to slow you down. I have been around a while, and I'll tell you what: I am no "spring chicken."

Who is your favorite bodybuilder/fitness athlete?

I would have to say that Tosca is my favorite. Erin Stern and Jamie Eason are also strong women to look up to.

How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals?

Bodybuilding.com has always been a personal favorite of mine. The articles on lifting and dieting are great. There's nothing like reading the transformations for a little push in the right direction. Thank you, Bodybuilding.com, for giving me the opportunity to be featured as one of those transformations. Maybe I can be the little push that helps another person reach their goals.

Barbara's Top 5 Gym Tracks

  1. "Dance Again" by Jennifer Lopez
  2. "Set Fire to the Rain" by Adele
  3. "What Doesn't Kill you Makes You Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson
  4. "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood
  5. "Believe" by Cher
Competition History

My very first competition was November 13th of last year (NPAA in Calgary). I did not place, but I had no expectations than to enjoy the experience and meet some wonderful people. I am competing this year on May 31st at the INBF (Calgary) and the IDFA (Calgary) and have greater expectations of placing this year.

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