Name: Rachel S. Williams
Location: Woodbury, MN
Weight: 146 lbs
Years Bodybuilding: 4
How did your fitness journey begin?
My fitness journey started in 2004 when I couldn't fit into size 12 pants anymore and tipped the scale at 176 pounds. This was my wake-up call. My false sense of being fit caught up with me. I was overweight, unhappy, and struggling to find my path back to health and happiness.
I was lost and couldn't grasp how I got out of shape even though I worked out consistently. I needed to be healthy again, so I decided to lose weight and regain control of my life on April 1, 2004. I joined Weight Watchers, committed to the program, and followed it religiously.
I started working out and the pounds melted away. I lost 40 pounds by July 4, 2004. The biggest lesson I learned was portion control. I wasn't 20 years old anymore. I was 33 years old with two kids. My journey started and I had much more to do.
I ran marathons but grew bored of them, so I stepped up the challenge and competed in triathlons for the next five years. I thought I discovered my passion. I'm a fierce competitor who loves to train but enjoys racing even more. I loved the variety of the three triathlon disciplines.
At age 38, I sustained multiple running injuries and was unable to compete and train at the level I desired. I was devastated and fearful of being lost and unhappy again, so I began the healing process with physical therapy and set out to find a new passion.
How did your passion for fitness emerge?
As I was leaving the weights area one day, a girl asked if I competed in bodybuilding. I told her I didn't and she said I should. This was the start of my new passion. I saw a girl practicing posing in her show suit and knew I wanted my physique to look like hers: muscular and ripped but feminine. I approached a male bodybuilder at the gym and asked him about the sport and he convinced me to train for my first figure show.
I won every class I entered and figure overall. I was hooked and strived to improve my physique for each following competition. I demand a great deal from my body and aim to improve before every competition. I maintain 10-11 percent body fat year round and stay within 10 pounds of my competition weight. I added 10 pounds of muscle in the past four years, which is difficult for a woman my age.
Women older than age 40 need to know that it's possible to achieve our dreams and goals despite the obstacles we face in life. It's about choices. Age isn't a factor. Single parenthood isn't an excuse. Working 50-plus hours per week is an obstacle you can overcome. If you want it, you have to work for it. If it were handed to you, it wouldn't be sweet or unique.
What/Who motivated you?
My motivation comes from competing against myself. I demand a great deal from my body and enjoy setting new challenges and tackling them head-on. I love to see the progress I make mentally and physically.
Where did you go for inspiration?
Losing my dad to cancer 10 years ago is my biggest inspiration. When times get tough and I don't want to train, I think of him. I know he would tell me to push through it because in the end it will be worth the pain and sacrifice.
What are your future fitness plans?
I reached my prime in my 40s and know better years are ahead. I'm a single mom and a federal agent. I know who I am. I'm comfortable in my skin and secure with my body image. I embrace my muscular physique and the power I feel knowing I'm responsible for working hard to make myself better.
Women need to know that we can achieve our dreams and have it all. It's not an easy journey, but it's definitely worth it. I strive to represent the aging female population who fail to put themselves first and take care of their mind, body, and soul.
I'm anticipating a transition to the physique category in the coming year and look forward to the new challenges in my training, nutrition, and body. I hope to obtain some sponsorship along the way to help inspire others about proper nutrition and training.
What is the most important fitness tip?
Train smarter, not longer. More isn't better. It may take time and financial investment but there's science behind good nutrition and training. Invest in yourself. Find a reputable coach or trainer. It will be worth it.
Who is your favorite bodybuilder/fitness athlete?
Larissa Reis and Pauline Nordin are incredible tributes to the sport. They blazed their own trails and don't adhere to popular trends. They committed themselves to their own ideal of how they want their physiques to look. I have a tremendous amount of respect for them and how they represent females in bodybuilding.
How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?
Bodybuilding.com is a great resource for support, new ideas, inspiration, supplements, and educational articles. It's a community that supports me in every way. BodySpace offers great networking opportunities for new workout ideas, recipes, and motivation.
Rachel's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "Treasure" by Bruno Mars
- "Mirrors" by Justin Timberlake
- "Diamonds" by Rihanna
- "Try" by Pink
- "WOP" by J. Dash
- 2009 NANBF Northern States Natural Classic - Overall Beginner and Open Winner
- 2010 NANBF Mr. & Ms. Natural Minnesota - 1st Place Open Tall, Overall Winner
- 2010 NPC Minnesota State Championships - 6th Place Class E, 5th Place Masters 35+
- 2010 OCB Midwest States - 3rd Place Masters 35+, 5th Place Open Tall
- 2011 NANBF Kansas City Classic - 3rd Place Open Tall, 1st Place Masters Tall 35+, 2nd Place Masters Tall 40+
- 2011 NANBF Northern States Natural Classic - 4th Place Open Tall, 2nd Place Masters 35+, 3rd Place Masters 40+
- 2012 NANBF Mr. & Ms. Natural Minnesota - 1st Place Open Tall, 2nd Place Masters 35+, 2nd Place Masters 40+
- 2013 NANBF Mr. & Ms. Natural Minnesota - 3rd Place Open Tall, 2nd Place Masters 40+
I want to thank my biggest supporter Chris Abbas. He's my coach, trainer, nutritionist, best friend, and boyfriend. He went the extra mile and obtained his physical training and nutrition certification through ISSA to keep me on the road to success. He's an avid lifter and stays current on research to offer the most beneficial training for me, him, and other trainees.