Body Transformation: Derby Queen

Becky's fountain of youth spouted from roller derby, but her transformation occurred in a weight room. See how she clobbered her doubters and achieved fitness!

Name: Becky Johnson
BodySpace: cbjohn68

Becky Johnson Becky Johnson
AGE 43
118 lbs
AGE 43
100 lbs

Why I Got Started

When I was 18 I started dating a beast of a powerlifter. I had lifted a little before that, but it wasn't until dating him that I really learned to build muscle and strength. We spent all our free time in the gym, trained HARD and lifted heavy. I got hooked.

About that time a pro female bodybuilder saw me in the gym and told me I had the build to compete (I have a very broad back and shoulders from 13 years of competitive swimming). I never found out who she was, but she inspired that dream in me. So after high school and all through college I lifted. I trained how I was taught and worked my butt off.

Unfortunately training for bodybuilding is much different than training for strength. I got big, but had no balance or definition. I knew nothing of nutrition. And I had no one to give me advice or direction (this was back before the Internet and before incredible websites like I never transformed my physique or made it on stage.

After college life got busy I stopped lifting weights. I got married, had 3 kids and became a stay-at-home mom. Around the time I turned 40 the world started beating me down. People said I needed to accept that I was middle-aged, that gaining weight and having health issues was just part of life now, and that it was time to watch my kids play sports, not to compete myself.

That was a bad year. I became very depressed, ate badly, felt crappy and gained weight. I stayed home all the time and became afraid of trying new things or even leaving the house. That year I got OLD.

But then ...

One day a friend showed up at my house with exciting news: she was playing roller derby. I was shocked because she was older than me! I was totally jealous of her courage to play a rough, tough sport with a bunch of bruiser 20-year olds whose whole mission in life is to "F you up" (their words, not mine).

I was too scared to EVER consider playing derby. And I told her that. And then she bullied me into doing it anyway. It ... was ... awesome!

Derby gave me my courage back. I became empowered. I got in shape and felt young again (I even got a little wild wearing fishnets and booty shorts!).

Although I was feeling good and very happy, people around me started discouraging me again. I was constantly told "you're too old to play derby" and "you're making a fool of yourself." I struggled all the time to keep the negativity out of my head. I felt great ... why couldn't they support me? Then I got injured (I broke my leg & tore 2 ligaments in my ankle in a bad fall) and the criticism got worse.

I kept trying to tell everyone that even the 'young' players get hurt, that it's not an age thing, but they wouldn't listen. I was pressured to quit, and almost did. But my husband encouraged me to live life on my terms and do what makes me happy. So I rehabbed my ankle and fought my way back. I finished out the season very successfully, had a great time, and retired from derby on my terms.

After retiring from derby I was determined to never go back to my old ways. I needed to find something else to keep me in shape and feeling good about myself. After a little soul searching I knew it HAD to be bodybuilding. I never realized that dream (and had even lost the courage to pursue it) but now I was no longer afraid. My lifelong dream was finally within my grasp.

How I Did It

All throughout the month of October I "interviewed" local gyms looking for the right place to train. I was looking for a gym that had more than just good equipment or cheapest prices. I needed support, so I was looking for experts.

On November 1st, 2011 I walked into FitStop 24 and found my new gym home. FitStop is owned by two big bodybuilders, employs Figure competitors for trainers, and is managed by an IFBB Pro. Who could ask for a better gym family!

I made an appointment to meet with owner/trainer Donnie Whetstone. He questioned me. I questioned him. We discussed goals, experience and expectations. We hit it off and I hired him immediately. After the initial body composition testing, Donnie designed a 5-day split lifting workout, plus cardio and nutrition programs. He coached me, I gave it 100%, and over the next 5 months I transformed my body.

They told her she was too old, too weak. They were wrong!

On March 31st, 2012 I competed in my very first bodybuilding competition (The NPC Vancouver Natural & Tanji Johnson Bikini, Figure & Fitness show) at the age of 43. AND I took home a 4th place trophy in Open Figure B! It truly was a dream come true. I've never felt so proud and accomplished in my whole life.

But this is just the beginning. I've learned that I can do anything I set my mind to. I love the bodybuilding lifestyle and intend to ride this dream as far as it will take me.

Suggestions For Others

  • Surround yourself with like-minded people who understand your dreams. People who will celebrate your successes! People who will support you through all the tough times and pull you back up when you fall. Even if you have a good support system at home, I recommend you make friends and groom relationships on BodySpace. I never could have survived the hardships of pre-contest training without my very dear friend and "cyber accountability partner", bcorny. Thanks Brett! You're the BEST!
  • The world may try to beat you down... to tell you it's a foolish or impossible dream, but don't listen! Dreams are personal and only need to make sense to you, so be true to yourself and follow your heart.
  • Don't be afraid. And if you feel afraid. DO IT ANYWAY!
  • Spend time on It's the best resource for everything and anything bodybuilding. Period. And as the old saying goes, "knowledge is power."
My 2 Favorite Sayings

"Don't let anybody tell you YOU CAN'T... just because they can't."

"If you want it bad enough you will find a way. Otherwise you will find an excuse."