Over 40 Amateur Of The Week: 'Mirin Merlini

The world leads us to believe a 40-year-old woman can't have the body of her dreams. Try telling that to Raquel. She throws expectations out the window!

Name: Raquel Merlini
E-Mail: raquelmerlini@gmail.com
BodySpace: Katmar
Location: Michigan
Age: 40  Height: 5'6"
Weight: 128 lbs off, 115 lbs contest
Years Competing: 1

How Did Your Bodybuilding Journey Begin?

In December 2011, I went to my friend and coach, IFBB pro Ken Jackson, to find a fresh approach to my routine. As my body started to take shape, I was inspired to push harder than ever.

Every year, I try to set a new physical goal (triathlon, Warrior Dash, or Tough Mudder). This year, I set my sights on competing in a NPC bikini competition.

In February 2012, I selected the NPC Natural Michigan Championships and Nicole Wilkins Classic July 14, 2012, in Rochester Hills, Michigan. I had to add about 15 pounds of muscle and as the months ticked by, the diet and training became more rigorous. I'm a mother of two teenagers, and I work and go to school full-time, so this wasn't a walk in the park.

My diet was challenging in the beginning due to the amount of food I had to ingest to build muscle. I consumed more food in a day than I normally would have in a week. Anyone who trains and competes knows to carry a cooler everywhere. I consumed a fish meal (cold) with raw asparagus in my 8:30 a.m. inorganic chemistry class. I eat every two hours. I don't carb deplete or dehydrate. I eat healthy fats like olive oil, almonds, and Greek yogurt. My favorite cheat meal is sushi.

Ken supported me through diet ups and downs and through bloating and self-doubt.

Why Do You Love Fitness?

I have worked out and lifted for years. Mentally, I feel better and it gets my endorphins going. I have competed in triathlons and Warrior Dashes. However, it wasn't until recently that I became interested in bodybuilding and competing. Weight training is amazing because you set a goal and discipline yourself to follow a plan and watch your body change.

What Motivates You to Follow a Healthy Lifestyle?

I'm a self-motivator and try to encourage anyone around me to do the same. We're not all at the same level of strength or have the same goals, but my belief is when our bodies feel good our minds follow suit.

What Made You Want to Achieve Your Goals?

My life has been in transition. I was approaching 40 and setting new goals. I'm working towards becoming a registered nurse and work full-time as an aesthetician. I'm a mother of two amazing teenagers. Ken pushed me to be the best I can be. He encouraged, mentored, and inspired me to obtain my dreams.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

I qualified to compete at nationals and Team Universe. My plan is to achieve pro status.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Fitness Competitors?

Don't get discouraged. This sounds so easy and simple, but it's the most important aspect. You will hit walls and your body will plateau. Continuous effort is the key to unlock your true potential. You will look in the mirror and see no change sometimes.

My Favorite Bodybuilder/Fitness Athlete?

IFBB pros Ken Jackson and Erin Stern.

How Did Bodybuilding.com Help You Reach Your Goals?

Bodybuilding.com provided me with motivational inspiration. The forum has been informational. It provides you with supplement info, exercises, and workout programs. This site is a useful tool.