Name: Sandra Nelson
Location: Duluth, MN
Weight: 115-118 lbs off, 111-112 lbs contest
Years Bodybuilding: 30
How did your fitness journey begin?
I started being competitive in my mid-teens on skiing and water skiing teams in Canada. Body strength was a must to manage the daredevil avenue I chose. I recall beginning each water skiing season after winter feeling every muscle in my body after a great run behind the boat. This form of exercise continued into my late 20s.
In my early 30s, I had two children, gained 70 pounds during each pregnancy, and lost the weight. Losing weight became a lifestyle exercise with good nutrition. Staying fit and healthy isn't easy for parents with young children because we have lots to deal with. It's about choices, and it can be done.
I have a great home gym setup that I refer to as "Salons Dungeon." It used to be a place for me to go and escape everyday life, but it blossomed into something more. I continued working to maintain my fitness level and became educated in the field. I'm now a holistic columnist for Duluth Superior Magazine and hold ACSM CPT, NETA GEI, and MH (master herbalist) certifications. I'm also a CNC (verified nutrition consultant) and hold my license in practical nursing.
As a trainer, I embrace spinning, yoga, and figure competition training to enhance my profession. I do this because it's my passion. I walk the walk and believe that everyone can make gains. We're all different with various limitations, but there are ways to work with our differences and achieve our personal goals. We never stop learning.
At age 49, I decided to compete in May 2013 and wipe it off my bucket list, but I tore my subscapularis, which required surgery in October 2012. I worked my lower body hard for about 10 weeks until I could use my upper body again. In January 2013, I was cleared to lift, so I called Ruben Sandoval from Fit To Be In Your Kitchen to assist me with a competition diet.
I stepped on the stage in May 2013 and place third in the 35-plus category, third in C class, and second in the 45-plus class at the NPC Iron Viking. Looking back at the photos, I cringe a bit because it was my first show and my posing was weak, but I had the time of my life and it set the stage for my obsession with competing.
My next show was in October 2013 at the NPC North Star. To qualify for nationals, I had to place in the top five. I placed fifth overall in C class figure, 5th overall in 30-plus class figure, and third overall in 40-plus class figure. My plan is compete again in May 2014.
How did your passion for fitness emerge?
Several years ago, I was surfing the net and came across Bodybuilding.com when I was looking to get deeper into weightlifting. I spent hours on the site and was inspired. I made cool friends and continue to send my clients here for great deals and articles.
What or who motivated you?
Bodybuilding.com helped me in my early years with fitness plan comparisons, food plans, and independent feedback on supplements within the forums.
Where did you go for inspiration?
My present inspiration comes from my gym, clients, coworkers, family, friends, and Bodybuilding.com. Pushing myself farther and showing people that age isn't a barrier is amazing.
What are your future fitness plans?
My plan is to compete in a natural figure show in May 2014. I will work to build my shoulders up and define my lower body.
What is the most important fitness tip?
Listen and learn to work with what you have. Life is a gift. Always strive for more because improvements can always be made. Be happy with where you are today and never judge others, because we all have a separate journey.
Who is your favorite bodybuilder/fitness athlete?
Nicole Wilkins is my favorite. She has had ups and downs and always comes back on top. She's beautiful and I enjoy following her.
How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?
Sandra's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "Wonders Of The Deep" by The Chemical Brothers
- "Touch Me" by Rui Da Silva
- "Raise Your Glass" by Pink
- "Cochise" by Audioslave
- "Splitting The Atom" by OTT
- 2013 NPC Iron Viking - 3rd Place 35-Plus Figure and Class C Figure, 2nd Place 45-Plus Figure
- 2013 NPC North Star - 5th Overall Class C, 5th Overall 30-Plus and 40-plus
To Ruben Sandoval, Karen Johnson, John Yobst, my family, and all who crossed my path.