As women, a healthy, happy and fulfilling life is something we all strive for. However, it can often be challenged by busy schedules, taking care of everyone else, but most often, from lack of courage.
When I was 36, I walked into a gym for the very first time in my life. It was to purchase a gym membership for my husband as a Christmas gift. After signing the contract, I was offered a tour of the gym. I had never seen the inside of a gym before, and I could never have predicted what would happen next.
I watched, completely captivated, as people lifted heavy weights and walked around with a sense of determination and purpose. "Wow, what is this place?", I asked myself, totally fascinated by what I saw.
In that instant, I had such CLARITY about what I wanted more of in life. This busy Mom of 6 kids wanted to lift weights – heavy weights! I was quite sure, in fact, that I– yes, I wanted to be a Bodybuilder! Who knew?
That day would forever change the course of my life.
As I gave my husband his gift on Christmas morning, I could barely control my excitement. I told him all about the gym. He could see how 'charged up' I was by that experience. He insisted that I too should get a gym membership! Two days later, I began my health and fitness journey!
I started working out at the gym six days a week. My trainer encouraged me to read everything there was to read on nutrition and bodybuilding. I walked out of the library with an armful of books, and I began studying. I wanted to know everything about the sport. As the weeks passed, he told me that if I continued training like this, he could see me being a competitive bodybuilder in the very near future. He saw potential in me. He believed in me!
I was thrilled by this, and I continued training hard and growing in strength and knowledge. But sadly, I lacked the courage to move forward with my dream of being a bodybuilder. This lack of courage held me back for 10 long years.
In 2007, after 10 years of hiding behind my fear, my passion for the sport had finally become stronger than my fear. After much thought, and mustering up the courage to ask for my husband's support, I jumped into the sport of competitive bodybuilding at the age 46. Not even in my wildest dreams, could I have imagined that, 12 short weeks later, shy little ol’ me would be standing in front of a panel of judges, sporting a teeny tiny 2-piece ‘posing suit’. I had finally stepped into my COURAGE.
With the support of my family and my COMMITMENT to the sport, I kept going. I was determined to improve myself in every way. I competed again the following year. Through my efforts and the help of a bodybuilding coach, I took 1st place and was awarded professional status. I was a pro athlete! How did that happen?
I began competing internationally. This was an exciting step forward in my bodybuilding career. At age 51, an age when most competitors have long since retired, I brought home a 1st place award as a professional bodybuilder — an honour most athletes only dream of.
I know that getting over your fear is the key to growing, having new experiences, and moving forward in life. This is what I learned. Though it took me a very long time to learn it, I am so glad I did!
Through my sport, I also gained a great respect for what your body is able to achieve with strong determination and the right nutrition and fitness program — no matter your age.
My bodybuilding career also gave me the CONFIDENCE and the desire to share my passion for health and fitness with women all over the world. I love to encourage women to eat well, to stay active and to live a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life.
This is the goal of my book – HEALTHY BODY FOR LIFE – A Guide for Women Over 40, where I share easy-to-follow essential principles of health and wellness for women – especially for women over 40. No matter where we are in life, we can always take steps to enhance our well-being.
I also love speaking to women from all walks of life. Whether I speak from the stage or in a workshop, I endeavour to inspire and motivate women to strive for a better and healthier tomorrow.
May we always remember to take care of our health – our greatest asset!
Carla is a Motivational Speaker, Holistic Nutritional Consultant, and Author specializing in health and wellness for women over 40.
A mother of six grown children and a grandmother of seven, she lives in Calgary, Canada with her husband Dale.