Personal trainer Veronica Paylor found an undeniable passion in bodybuilding at 22 years of age.
Now 47, Paylor has competed in more than 50 bodybuilding competitions both in and out of state and said she is currently prepping for two more competitions this year.
Paylor originally began competing in powerlifting shows, but decided to switch to bodybuilding because she did not enjoy the intensity of having to lift heavy weights.
She preps eight weeks in advance before attending a competition.
“I became Ms. North Carolina, I became Ms. Virgina, the NPA (Natural Physique Association) athlete of the year and I got my pro card all in 2008,” said Paylor.
In order to participate in national competitions she must follow a strict diet throughout an eight-week step program because, according to Paylor, the main key to bodybuilding is staying healthy.
Bodybuilding requires competitors such as Paylor to watch their water intake, follow a strict a diet plan, exercise properly and prep for a different series of poses for competition.
These eight-week programs take both physical and emotional strength as well as endurance.
Paylor said regardless of prepping in eight week sessions she motivates herself to stay lean all year round and her goal is to never stop working out.
“I don’t think I will ever stop. No I am not going to quit. I will be the oldest bodybuilder ever. I want to break Ernestine’s (Shepard) record. I think she is 82 and she still bodybuilds and that is my motivator right there,” said Paylor.
Strengthening and conditioning can be done anywhere according to Paylor.
This is something that can be done both in the gym as well as at home, but training your mind to eat properly is the hardest part about staying in shape.
“Prepping for a show is not easy. It is a mind thing. You have to get your mind ready for it. The gym part is the easiest part and the nutrition part is the hardest because you have to train your mind,” said Paylor.
Another challenging part of bodybuilding is posing on stage.
Judges can make bodybuilders pose on stage for a different range of time averaging up to five minutes said Paylor.
“You have a morning show and a night time part. You get on stage and you do your poses for whatever division you are in. I remember that I almost passed out on stage and I could hear someone in the audience telling me to breathe and they said they could see my eyes rolling in the back of my head,” said Paylor.
However hard it is Paylor said she loves it and there is nothing better than seeing her body transform over the course of the eight-week period until the moment she gets to stand on stage among other competitors.
She said she refuses to weigh herself until she arrives at competitions because this sport is more than competing in a weight class.
The competitions Paylor participates in average between 100 to 300 competitors.
“I’m going there to win and that is my goal – not to place. As long as I place in the top five I’m fine and every show I have done I have placed in the top five,” said Paylor.
Paylor last competed in 2014, taking time since then to establish her own personal fitness business, but she hopes to start competing again this year.