Friday, May 11, 2007

59-year-old female body builder taking the stage for the first time

Most of us imagine that by the age of 59 our bikini days were over.

But when you’re a body builder that changes everything.

“I’ll be wearing heels and getting painted (spray tan) and all that for the first time,” said Fannie Hubanks, 59, entered in NPC (National Physique Committee) Southern Cup USA Bodybuilding championships held this weekend at the Bossier Civic Center. “The biggest challenge will be getting on stage in front of all those people.”

Weigh-ins for the competitors will be tonight at the Louisiana Boardwalk from 6-8 p.m. with prejudging beginning Saturday at 9 a.m. at the civic center. The finals show begins at 6 p.m. the same evening. Tickets are $15 of prejudging and $25 and up for the finals.

The NPC Shreveport-Bossier will be judged in conjunction with the Southern Cup.

The body building events are part of a variety of other fitness events held throughout the day as part of the Fit for Life Day.

The Desoto, Texas, resident took on the challenge of entering a body-building competition as a motivational tool for her workouts.

“I started working out at the gym about 10 to 15 years ago but really started lifting to body build this year,” said Hubanks, who works a 40-hour week job with the Social Security Administration. “Working out at the gym I met a young lady there that begin talking to a group of us about staying healthy, eating right and talked to us about ways for us to reach our goals. She suggested we pick something to work toward.”

A smaller contest earlier this year fueled the fire and then Hubanks and a friend, 20 years her junior, began the more serious goal of getting stage ready.

“I’ve got a long way to go, but people tell me I’ve done well,” said Hubanks, 5-feet-2-feet and 125 pounds with less than 18 percent body fat.

Her schedule includes two-a-day workouts. The first workout begins at 5 a.m. with 30 minutes of some type of aerobic activity. The second workout — 45 minutes aerobic, and 45 minutes of weights — is done in the evening. She also rides a bike to the gym.

“We needed to get my body fat down and my trainer said two-a-days would do that and it did. I also work with the personal trainer twice a week with heavy weights,” she said. “My diet has also changed drastically. I use to be a yo-yo dieter, but in the past year I’ve learned so much about nutrition and how important choosing the right food is.”

Another motivation for Hubanks, who has challenged herself off and on throughout her life, is a society of so many people struggling with weight and her family’s health history.

“There’s some heart disease in my family, I had a brother who died of colon cancer and I have another brother who is a diabetic,” she said. “If any of those happen to me at least it won’t happen because I’m not taking care of myself.”

Hubanks says she dealt with the age issue and now she’s over it.

“We all have to get there and considering the alternative, I’m grateful that I’ve gotten here,” said Hubanks, who has not had any cosmetic surgery for her body. “You’ll be getting the real me.”

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