Over 40 Amateur Of The Week: Feminine Force!

She didn't have a healthy upbringing and was oblivious to overtraining. But that didn't stop Colleen. She put the past behind her and created a future full of happiness and health!

Name: Colleen Van Dam
E-Mail: colleen.vandam@gmail.com
BodySpace: musclemum1965
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Age: 47  Height: 5'9"  Weight: 152 lbs
Years Bodybuilding: 2

How Did Your Fitness Journey Begin?

My life started with a ton of adversity. My father died on my eighth birthday and my mother died the following year on Mother's Day. To say the least, my upbringing was far from "normal." The kids of the family's I lived with were always active, but my extracurricular activities were never a priority as I was the "extra" kid.

In high school, I managed to motivate myself with no support from parents to make sports teams. I became hooked on physical fitness at age 18 I actually over trained. A typical day would consist of riding my bike to the gym, training, attending physical education classes at University, and teaching aerobics at night.

I took pride in portraying the "jock" image, but most of all, what inspired me was my gym's atmosphere. It was very hardcore there. Mr. Canada owned the gym. NHL and NFL athletes trained there, and even a few WWE wrestlers. There were very few women training there in the early 80s and I felt privileged.

How Did Your Passion For Fitness Emerge?

At 47, I'm in the best shape of my life. I often think back to my early 20's and remember how I hard I trained with few results. There were so many things I did wrong in regards to training and eating.

First, I over-trained. Physical education classes at University, weight training, and teaching aerobics class in one day was foolish. The body needs time to repair and build. I rarely took a day off to rest and was prone to injury. When I did strain or pull something, I kept training through the pain instead of changing my exercises to take the strain off my muscles. Daily stretching was something I failed to do. I regretted it as I grew older.

I failed to prepare proper meals for myself. I knew that fast food wasn't an option, and would go hours without eating anything but a piece of fruit here and there. Because I starved my body, it quickly learned to hang on to all the fat it could. When I finally arrived home after my physically demanding day, I would binge eat. The depression from eating so much at night made me think I should eat less the next day, and so on.

I created a vicious circle for myself. All these fitness "faux pas" from my youth helped me in many ways. However, I have ton of advice for those want to transform for the first time. We need to create a lifelong routine of clean, sensible eating, and daily exercise to feel confident in the body God gave us. I challenge anyone to stick to it for 90 days and they'll be hooked.

What/Who Motivated You?

My sister, who lives in another city, started competing. She helped me make slow changes to my diet. I remember asking her how she cooked chicken and she said, "With heat!"

Within a few months of clean eating and weight training, a trainer approached me and said, "So when are you competing?" "I'm not," I replied. She said, "Oh, yes you are, and I'm going to help you get there!"

That was exactly what I needed at that time in my life and I'll always love Kamber Lindenbach for giving me the kick in the glutes. I needed to go to the next level of bodybuilding! Since the age of 18, I dreamed of competing. Now that my kids are growing up and don't rely on mom as much, I can fulfill that ambition.

Where Did You Go For Inspiration?

The more I saw changes to my figure, the more it fueled my dedication and passion for training. It's hard to not to go to the gym when you have women and men asking you how you stay fit. I realized life's more enjoyable when you feel confident and strong.

I tell people, "Don't ever think about if you're going to the gym. Set your training days and show up no matter what." Feed your body with clean food so your hard work isn't wasted.

What Are Your Future Fitness Plans?

I'm shooting for my pro card. I was close with my second place in May 2012! I want to enter a contest in Vegas someday. I love training at the Gold's Gym down there. It's world renowned and many of the top bodybuilders train and film their workouts there. We met Jay Culter during our last visit.

What Is The Most Important Fitness Tip?

Women must lift to transform their body. Women believe resistance training will make them look manly. In reality, it's the only exercise to add the curves.

Who Is Your Favorite Bodybuilder/Fitness Athlete?

6-time Ms. Olympia winner, Cory Everson. She maintained her physique through the years, even after her competitive retirement in 1989. She demonstrated that muscle is beautiful and strong is sexy, especially for older women.

How Did Bodybuilding.com Help You Reach Your Goals?

I've always trained with a journal, and people come up and ask about my book. They want to know what I'm recording. I always tell them to go to Bodybuilding.com for great printable workouts. I love that it shows a video of exactly how to perform each exercise. The Motivation section is another personal favorite.