Over 40 Amateur Of The Week: Cynthia Beat Depression With A Set Of Abs

Cynthia bounced out of a bad point in her life with the help of bodybuilding and she hasn't looked back since.


How did your fitness
journey begin?

For most of my adult life, I have been involved in fitness either at the local gym, or in running or fitness classes. I ran about 25 to 30 miles a week and even participated in races of varying distances, including 5K, 10K, 15K, and half-marathon.

Right before my 40th birthday, I found myself in a deep depression. Running only temporarily relieved the symptoms of depression, but I discovered my runs were getting longer and longer—sometimes 10-12 miles a day—yet my psychological troubles weren't receding. I lost a lot of weight, which worried my family, friends, and doctors. Around the same time, I picked up a kickboxing class. A few months later, my boxing trainer suggested that I get involved in bodybuilding competitions. I gave it a shot. I had nothing to lose, after all.

"The training never gets easier; we only get stronger."

Depression is a complex issue. I learned that it could stem from any number of things. As it was in my case, it could be a chemical imbalance. For me, bodybuilding was the cure for depression. It gave me a goal, something to strive for, a release, a lesson in dedication, and a lesson in self-discipline. There was a mental as well as physical aspect to training—we can't help but grow in both aspects.

After a few months of hard training, therapy, and medication, my doctor and I agreed to wean me off the medication. At that point, I had my sights set on competing in the next year. I continued to train for the competition and never looked back. The training never got easier; I only got stronger.

What workout regimen delivered the best results?

My training schedule is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Occasionally, my off days will just include cardio. I am a "hard gainer" and quick to drop, so while in off-season I have to be careful about how much cardio I do in order to get the most out of my workouts and gains.

I usually do one warm-up set before each exercise.

What nutrition plan fueled your body?

My diet was written by Mark Metzger, an NPC competitor and owner of Metzgerbodies Personal Training. Through weekly progression photos, emails, and conversations, Mark structured a diet plan around my fitness goals and needs. Changes are often implemented as the weeks go by to promote growth during off-season and is refocused for fat loss during contest preparation. On each day, I drank about one to one and a half gallons of water.

"I am happier and healthier thanks to bodybuilding."

How did your passion for fitness emerge?

The sport of bodybuilding has become a lifestyle for me. I can't imagine doing anything else.

I've always been involved in exercise since my late teens. I've tried almost everything: biking, running, playing other sports, doing TRX, and kickboxing. There hasn't been an exercise that I've tried and haven't stagnated in. Bodybuilding constantly pushes me.

What or who motivated you?

The most motivating factor to me about bodybuilding is that you get out of it what you put into it. Once I started, I realized how much of an impact it had on my health. Not just the physical aspects but the mental as well. There was no turning back. It's very rewarding to see both physical and mental changes. I am happier and healthier thanks to bodybuilding.

Where did you go for inspiration?

Giving up and quitting are easy things to do. These days, the local gym is my main source of inspiration. The people, no matter whether they're young or old, are all struggling in their own way to tackle their demons and are very inspiring to me.

What are your future fitness plans?

I am currently back on an off-season diet and training program. My plans are to shoot for another competition in the spring of 2015. My goal is to take what I've learned over the last two years of training and competing, build on it, gain some good muscle, and bring forth a better and stronger physique to the stage.

What is the most important fitness tip?

Bodybuilding truly becomes a lifestyle change. Dedication, self-discipline and perseverance are three pillars that define this sport. It definitely takes time to see progress and to build your body. The important thing to remember is that everyone falls at some point. The biggest difference between winners and quitters is that winners learn to brush off failure, pick themselves up and keep pushing toward their goals.

This is a journey worth experiencing. The rewards are endless.

How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?

There is a great deal of valuable advice and knowledge out there. The site offers articles on the latest supplements and nutrition information, and provides video workouts to enhance your training. I've also met many wonderful and talented people who share the same goals and fitness objectives as me, and whom I am proud to call my friends. We never stop learning from this site.

Cynthia's Top 5 Gym Tracks

  1. "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus
  2. "The Edge of Glory" by Lady GaGa
  3. "Lose Yourself" by Eninem
  4. "Revelations" by Iron Maiden
  5. "Roar" by Katy Perry
Competition History
  • 2012 Kevin Noble Mid-States Classic
  • 2013 Kevin Noble Mid-States Classic