In the late 1990s, Nancy Rowe was worried about diabetes. “I was predisposed to it,” said Rowe, 56. “My mom has it, my dad has it and my uncle died from it. I wanted to take precautions and stop it. I decided it wasn't going to happen to me.” What Rowe did was change her lifestyle. She started eating healthy and began bodybuilding.
In the late 1990s, Nancy Rowe was worried about diabetes.
“I was predisposed to it,” said Rowe, 56. “My mom has it, my dad has it and my uncle died from it. I wanted to take precautions and stop it. I decided it wasn't going to happen to me.”
What Rowe did was change her lifestyle. She started eating healthy and began bodybuilding.
“A bodybuilder's diet is very much like a diabetic diet - small meals often, five to six times a day,” said Rowe, who lives in Sauquoit, N.Y. “No refined sugars, but you can have protein, fats and carbs with every meal. At 46 years old, I was prediabetic, so these types of eating habits fit right into my lifestyle. I am now 56 and diabetes free.”
Ten years ago, the 5-foot-5 Rowe weighed 122 pounds. “But 40 pounds of that was fat,” she said.
“I was clinically obese for a 122-pound person. Now, I'm 119 pounds, but my body fat is 10. … I finally allowed myself to be proud of myself.”
Dave Kingwater is affiliated with the Organization of Competitive Bodybuilders.
“The OCB is a natural bodybuilding group,” said Kingwater, who operates Kingwater Chiropractic in Whitesboro, N.Y. “All competitors are drug tested for the event. It is one of the largest, most prestigious organizations in the country.”
Kingwater, a certified strength and performance coach, said the purpose of competition is “to promote natural health and fitness.”
“By giving people a competition or a goal to shoot for, you give them a reason to go to the gym,” he said. “You give them a reason to watch their diet. But most of all it's fun.”
One of the competitors who is found often in a gym is Joanne Maly, a physical therapist who owns ADK Physical Therapy in Barneveld, N.Y.
“I started bodybuilding while in college in North Carolina in 1981,” said Maly, 47. “I later set a goal after years of weight training to win a bodybuilding show and graduate physical therapy school. I graduated, and competed in 1988 and took two first places.”
It's been 22 years since Maly was involved in bodybuilding. Now, the mother of two is back into competition.
“I chose to get back into bodybuilding and competing again to be a role model to my children and be an example for all my clients at the gym,” said Maly. “With a goal to compete again, it is easier to be disciplined in training and nutrition.
“I have weight-trained for years and I am competitive in marathon canoe racing, so I only needed to return to clean eating. Nutrition is the one of the most important aspects of bodybuilding and healthy living.”
Outsiders sometimes stereotype bodybuilders as steroid users.
“People that think everyone who is in bodybuilding takes steroids are ignorant in the importance of nutrition and weight training,” Maly said. “Most competitors take some supplements such as protein powder supplements, vitamins and minerals and amino acids. … As a physical therapist, I educate people every day on the importance of building lean muscle mass to prevent injury in sports and recreational activities, to maintain a healthy body weight and to achieve all the benefits of health, nutrition and wellness.”