One might imagine then this superb heavyweight muscle woman had dedicated her life to the sport, perhaps starting in high school track and field and moving on to decades of pumping iron.
Well, prepare yourself for a shock. Just five years ago Wendy Watson was an obese, unhappy and unhealthy, working mom-of-two (see our before / after pic above).
Bodybuilding simply changed her life. It may even have saved it.
Wendy, 51, told realfemalebodybuilding: “I was overweight and hated my body for most of my adult life, until about 5 years ago.
“I started bodybuilding May 2008 just to get in shape I knew nothing about the sport but it has simply changed my life.
“I used to drive my body to extremes in weight with food, now I do it with muscle. Some say it's swapping one vice for another but at least it's the healthier one these days. Now instead of eating, I go to the gym.
“And the result of my bodybuilding is that I love the way my body looks!
“I know muscle isn’t everyone's cup of tea but I love looking fit and looking like an athlete, especially after years of not loving my body or how I felt in it. I am at peace with where I am at now.”
And where she is right now is 161lbs, with a 40 inch chest, 15 inch biceps and 24 inch quads.
Yet the raw stats do not to this muscle lady justice. The superb balance and shape of Wendy's physique conspires to make her look both hugely muscular and hugely sexy! It is a genuinely revelatory transformation and one that will bring Wendy years of success in competitive female bodybuilding.
She said: “As much as I try and consign the 'obese girl' to my past she lives on inside me as a constant reminder to get my butt to the gym and eat clean.
“I refuse to slip back into an unhealthy lifestyle, which is easy to do when life gets complicated. My motivation isn’t for anyone else but myself. I like proving to myself that I can set a goal and accomplish it. I have been that way all my life. Now its proving my age does not define what I can do with my mind or my body.
“I compete not for anyone or anything else other than to prove to myself change is possible and sustainable if you want it bad enough.”
Full Profile after gallery.
FULL PROFILE OF FEMALE BODYBUILDER WENDY WATSON
Name: Wendy Watson
Job: Director, Network Operations (Engineering manufacturing company)
From: I am from a small town in a small eastern province in Canada called New Brunswick. After I graduated from University I moved away but all my family still lives there. I have been living in Atlanta, Georgia for almost 10 years now.
Height: 5ft 3in (160cms)
Weight: 161lbs (73kg)
Body type: Bodybuilder
Measurements: I didn’t know these but I just took the measurements for this article!
Chest: 40in (102cms)
Waist: 29in (75cms)
Quads: 24in (61cms)
Biceps: 15in (38cms)
Calves: 17in (43cms)
Squat: 365lbs (166kg)
Bench: 275lbs (125kg)
DB shoulder press: 60lbs (27.25kg)
Bicep curl: 35lbs (16kg)
Contests and results
2010 Georgia Coastals 1st in Open heavyweight, 4th in Masters over 35
2011 Southern States 1st in Open heavyweight, Overall winner in Open
1st in Masters over 45, Overall winner in Masters
2011 North Americans 9th in Open heavyweight, 7th Masters over 35
2013 North Americans 6th in Open heavyweight, 8th Masters over 35
What contest are you prepping for now?
NPC Nationals in Ft. Lauderdale November 22 & 23rd, 2013
How's it going?
I am 4 weeks out and on target. Working on my conditioning mostly and maintaining the muscle I have as we cut bodyfat.
How many years have you trained?
I started training almost 6 years ago.
I didn’t know anything about bodybuilding until 5 years ago so its been a big learning curve but I love the science behind building muscle through weight training and diet. While there are tried and true approaches to show prep, everybody's body is different and figuring out the right formula for your body type is exciting to me. I love taking the body to a place its not naturally suppose to be and exposing all the muscle you have worked hard to build.
Outside of competing, bodybuilding is my retreat from the world. It’s the one time during the day where its just about me and it isn’t for anyone else. I love putting my music on and pushing iron. Its rewarding when you hit another level.
How and why did you start ?
I was very overweight throughout my 30’s that carried into my 40’s. I had all the same excuses as everyone else…job, kids, no time. January 2008 I decided it was time to get it together and joined a gym I could take kids to with the goal of losing my weight. Didn’t know anything about bodybuilding but the trainers at the gym could see I had muscle once the bodyfat started to come down so they suggested I try a local natural show. I got on stage for first time in October 2008. Started at 195 and 40% bodyfat in January and weighed in 10 months later at 138 and 11% bodyfat.
What is your dream?
My dream is to one day walk on the Olympia stage as a Pro.
What is your short term goal right now?
Get my pro card then I will figure out the rest.
What keeps you motivated?
It’s a combination of not wanting to slip back into an unhealthy life style which is easy to do when life gets complicated. Now instead of eating, I go to the gym. My motivation isn’t for anyone else but myself. I like proving to myself that I can set a goal and accomplish it. I have been that way all my life. Now its proving my age does not define what I can do with my mind or my body.
What do you love most about bodybuilding?
I love the way my body looks. I know muscle isn’t everyone's cup of tea but I love looking fit, looking like an athlete especially after years of not loving my body or how I felt in it. I am at peace with where I am at now.
And what do you hate the most?
I have a short attention span so doing cardio is hard for me. The clock just seems to sit still. When your lifting you can modify sets, change machines, your constantly moving and doing something different. Cardio just seems monotonous but I also know its part of the process and I can’t get on stage until I put my time in on the cardio machines.
What is the biggest thrill or moment you have got from bodybuilding?
The most rewarding moment was at this years North Americans. Last year I was nine weeks out from the 2012 North Americans and tore my hamstring which required reattachment surgery. I couldn’t walk for several months and could go back to gym for 6 months. I started back training in January and got on stage at the North Americans in August. I was just happy to be healthy and able to be there competing again.
This Nationals will be my first. I got my citizenship last December so competing at Nationals as an American will be special as well.
How often do you train?
I train 5 days a week. Wednesday is just cardio no lifting and Sundays is a complete rest day.
What is your program/split?
I do quads and hamstrings on separate days, arms, chest/shoulders and back
Favorite bodypart to train and why?
I love legs. That’s where my power is and I just love pushing heavy weight.
Biggest improvement in last 12 months?
Having to be out of the gym for 6 months, everything was an improvement coming back but I have been focussing on my chest and lats
Improvements you are targeting ?
My lower back is an area I am targeting to improve and my conditioning when competing
What tips would you give to newbies?
Get a trainer to help you start. I invested in training to learn about diet, supplementation and lifting. Think that’s why I progressed quickly. Trainers can help with proper form as well to prevent injury. The trick is finding a good trainer. Don’t be afraid to move onto another one if its not working. Its your money and your body.
Any training secrets or amazing exercises which have worked for you?
There are no secrets to this. Put in your time at the gym, lift smart and eat clean. All the standard exercises you see in all the mags, books etc work…just got to be consistent and do it. There is not magic pill – its called hard work.
Favourite supplement and why?
I love my BCAA’s in powder form in my drink while working out. I also drink it in the morning when I get up to start my day. I try all different brands just to mix things up but always come back to ALRI Chain’d Out Appletini.
I have two children – my son is 13 and my daughter is 15. I started lifting around the same time I was going through a divorce so they have been by my side supporting me through this journey. They accept this is our life and have had to fend for themselves while I was at gym too many times without complaint. They are great kids and I am thankful for that every single day.