Collin Fischer grew up in Queens with tough neighborhood kids who fought with knives and weapons. As a teenager, Fischer trained at the school gym to protect herself.
What started as a hobby to build strength became a passion as she pushed her muscles further and became a professional bodybuilder. While years of training helped Fischer win competitions, it didn't prepare her for life's obstacles.
After winning first place in the middleweight category at the 1997 NPC National Bodybuilding & Fitness Championships, Fischer received an invitation to the Ms. International competition.
Soon after that, her father suffered a stroke and was diagnosed with vascular dementia. Fischer postponed her bodybuilding career to care for her dad and attend Queens College in Flushing.
In 2001, the family moved to Bridgeport to live on Oneida Lake and Fischer transferred to the State University College at Oswego. Fischer's father died in 2003, which was the same year she graduated from Oswego with honors. She went on to earn a full scholarship at Syracuse University as she works toward her doctorate in biochemistry.
In 2004, Fischer married. The relationship was abusive and her husband would not let her go to the gym. One year into the marriage Fischer discovered she was pregnant. After giving birth to her son, Nolan, Fischer divorced her husband.
Fast forward to the present.
As a single mom now in her 30s, Fischer wants to make a comeback and compete as a professional bodybuilder once again. The last time she stood before a panel of judges was a decade ago.
This time around, she's juggling time at the gym, her duties as a mom and a career as a researcher as she works toward her doctorate discovering new medicines and anti-HIV therapies.
"I had to leave my dreams of competing as a pro on the back burner before, but now things are finally calming down enough for me to dig my heels in and do something for me," Fischer said.
For the remainder of this year, Fischer will be scoping out the competition at bodybuilding events in Dallas, Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J. Fischer said she will continue to network and talk to judges before selecting a show for her comeback in 2008. A typical Collin Fischer day, in her own words: 7 a.m.: I get up and run for about one hour on the treadmill while my son tries to pull me off. He also tries to stand on the treadmill or throws Cheerios at me so I would stop running.
8 a.m.: I get in the shower and hope he's not screaming or crying. Sometimes he'll scream the whole way through my shower and I'm trying to shave my legs as quickly as possible.
8:20 a.m.: When I'm done, I'll give him a bath if he needs it. Then, I get him dressed and put him on the high chair to feed him breakfast.
8:40 a.m.: While I'm feeding my son, I'll do my makeup. When he's done with his breakfast and wants to get out of the high chair and I'm not moving fast enough, he will take the top of the high chair and throw it on the floor with all the graham crackers, Cheerios and bananas. Then, I'll make his lunch and get him ready for daycare.
9:40 a.m.: I drop him off at Childtime Learning Center, on East Genesee Street, and then go to work.
5:30 p.m.: I get off work, pick up my son, get him something to eat and head straight to the gym. I train for about two hours while my son stays at the gym's daycare.
9 p.m.: I get home, prepare dinner and eat.
10 p.m.: I have a little bit of digestion time and then I look at mail, pay my bills, return phone calls, clean the house, take out the garbage and change the cat box.
11 p.m.: I do another hour of cardio while my son watches Disney movies. He won't go to bed early without me so I don't even try anymore. He doesn't see me all day so it's our time together.
Midnight: I wash up and go to bed.