The Summer I Trained With Body Builder Cathy Palyo

The year was 1988, summer, I was a mom in my early 30s, with three children, and had started seriously training with weights at home and at our local gym to get back into shape. I’d already been following the female body-building world (magazines, ESPN’s broadcasts of competitions, and up-close at a local competition where Marjo Selin and Charla Sedacca, known for her biceps, were guest posers) and I suddenly caught the fever; I wanted to be a bodybuilder. I was hooked.

I bought and read anything on bodybuilding, anything I could get my hands on. I even plastered posters in my garage—surrounding myself with motivation—of Rachel Mclish, Gladys Portugues, Carla Dunlap, Mary Roberts, Lenda Murray, Anja Langer, Cory Everson, and Arnold (“no-last-name-necessary”) and Lee Haney, just to mention a few. I was obsessed; I breathed, ate, slept, and dreamt bodybuilding. I wanted very badly to become one of them; to be up on stage, showing off my chiseled physique, my hard-earned bulging muscles.

If they could do it, then I most certainly could do it too, and why not?

And then I saw an ad that Cathy Palyo, recently a National Champ, for a fee, would train and educate a novice on the lifestyle of bodybuilding. The arrangements were made, and my hubby and I spent three days with Cathy and Bill Palyo. During our stay I was on cloud nine. Cathy and Bill were perfect hosts, and the meals they prepared for us were so delicious that one would have never guessed they were low fat and low sodium. We trained and ate and trained…and my hubby and I spent the next week feeling more pain in our entire bodies than we had a right to. It hurt to sit, to stand, to walk, to breathe…it hurt to be awake!

But I am not complaining; we had a wonderful time, we learned a lot, enough to keep us motivated enough into our advancing years of today, 2011.

A bodybuilder’s lifestyle was not for me. I was a stay-home mom—a full-time mommy—I made my children my priority. The amount of training-time required to be a worthy and acceptable competitor would not have ever fit into my Mommy Agenda. Sure, I continued to work out every day, I got up early, worked out while the children were still sleeping, and went to the gym when I was able to get a relative to sit with them. But you really can’t get very far on here-and-there little opportunities. Being a “bodybuilder” requires all your time and devotion, and I couldn’t afford to give that kind of time then.

I have no regrets today. My hubby and I continue to work out with weights, lifting 3-4 times weekly. We set good habits to follow, and I am sure we will continue to lift when we are wrinkled and possibly wearing dentures, but God forbid I lose my teeth!

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