Fitness Amateur Of The Week: Jacqueline Thomas

When an injury sidelined Jacqueline from ballroom dancing, she looked to bodybuilding to help her heal. She returned stronger than ever!

Name: Jacqueline Thomas
BodySpace: Jax1087
Age: 25  Height: 4'11"  Weight: 108 lbs
Occupation: Ph. D Student/Biomedical Engineer
Location: Chicago, IL
Years Competing: Since 2009

Q /
How Did You Get Started?

At an early age I loved being active and I joined any sport team that would take me. From hockey and basketball to dance and gymnastics, I kept myself busy and out of trouble all through my adolescent and college years. Working out was always fun and seeing the older female athletes with such great muscle maturity inspired my own goals to gain strength and build muscle.

In 2007, I started personal training to help pay off college debt and I found myself immersed in the bodybuilding community without even knowing it! About 30 competitors happened to workout at my gym and I began noticing the phenomenal physiques and work ethic of these athletes.

During that time I was also involved in Latin ballroom dancing. Unfortunately, I dislocated my knee during rehearsal and was injured for several months. Taking this hurdle was hard, but I looked to the weights to help ease the stress and hopefully regain strength. Not only did my knees heal without permanent damage, but I was able to make incredible gains in strength as well as size. The next year I was encouraged by friends to compete and show off my hard work and that's exactly what I did!

During my last year in engineering school (with finals and all) I prepped for the 2009 Collegiate Nationals. Watching the master figure and bodybuilding competitors during Master Nationals opened my eyes to such amazing talent and dedication. Ever since I have been hit with the competing bug! This is my third year as a figure competitor and I love it! I hope to improve with each show I do and express to other girls the importance of staying active and having fun!

Why Do You Love Fitness/Bodybuilding?

Fitness is my de-stressor and motivation in my life. I have a hectic career and school schedule, but when I enter those gym doors I can release any anxiety or frustration from that day. Getting through an intense workout and diet helps keep me disciplined for other responsibilities. Being active keeps me focused, alert, and energized for the rest of my day. Fitness has also brought great people into my life, including my boyfriend! As an athlete in such a demanding sport, having a good support system with people who know what you are going through helps a lot. Moreover, fitness has improved my way of life. I have several health conditions, including problems with my heart and lung, which have been subsided with this active lifestyle. When one thing can bring so much benefit, how can I not love it?

What Motivates You To Follow A Healthy Lifestyle?

Following a healthy lifestyle in hopes of improving not only my way of life but also my loved ones keeps me motivated. I hope my health conscious habits with diet and exercise brush off on my friends and family. At the end of the day whether on stage or on the couch, living and feeling well is all that matters.

What Made You Want To Achieve Your Goals?

My initial reason for staying active and increasing my strength was to improve my health rather than sulk about the diagnosis. Three years later, my cardiovascular endurance has gone up and my energy levels are the highest they've ever been. I always keep in mind the state I started this journey in and I continue to reach my goals with the aspiration to affect the people I love.

What Are Your Future Fitness/Bodybuilding Plans?

I intend to compete on the national level this year; continuing to improve and learn as much as I can about the fitness industry in general. I want to showcase the improvements I have made and be competitive alongside other women with great physiques.

Transformations change more than physical appearance. The change forces those around you to look at you differently as a person.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Fitness Competitors?

Give it your all and you won't ever be disappointed!

Who Are Your Favorite Fitness Competitors/Bodybuilders?

Nicole Wilkins, Erin Stern and Cheryl Brown are my favorite competitors in figure. These women represent class, integrity and some amazing physiques. I look up to the many pro figure athletes for inspiration and insight with this industry. The work ethic, sportsmanship and character I see in these ladies make me proud to be part of the sport.

What Features Do You Use On is the one stop shop for everything related to fitness and competitions. From contest pictures to supplements to cute workout gear, I use for everything!

Thank You

I want to send out special thanks to everyone who has supported me throughout all my shows. I really do appreciate my friends and family showering me with tons of love and encouragement each and every day. Particularly, my boyfriend, Mace Oropeza, has kept me going during my weakest moments and my Coach Mike Davies who believed in my potential from the start; with these two men in my corner I am able to fight hard through the challenges faced on and off stage. Thanks for keeping me smiling everyone!

Photographic Credit

Jeff Binns for Muscular Development