A champion female bodybuilder from Abbots Langley has spoken about her journey to success, how social media has changed the fitness landscape, and how bodybuilding does not make you manly.
Debra Geard, 49, is a champion bodybuilder in the Physical Culture Association’s (PCA) regional competition.
She also won sixth place in the PCA British finals in October and will compete in the World Championships in May 2020.
She said: “This kind of exercise is very empowering, especially being a female. I am 50 this month, I’m going through the menopause and it is positive to be able to lift weights at this time of my life.”
But it has not always been a smooth sailing journey for Debra, who enjoys a contrast of sports from bodybuilding to long-distance running, and is the owner local running club, UCanJog2.
She explained: “I first got into bodybuilding as a result of running injuries, I was advised by my osteopath to do some strength work and that was the catalyst.
“When I competed in September 2018, I didn’t place in the competition. I came back a year later and was not beaten, I wanted to show my kids you can work hard and achieve.
“I am not a natural bodybuilder or a natural runner. I have worked hard, and I want to show that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Success is not about luck; nothing comes naturally you just have to put the work in.”
Debra, who trains locally at Everyone Active and Graftism Gym in Bushey has praised the gyms for creating a positive environment and allowing her to progress.
Debra believes that social media has changed the fitness landscape in both positive and negative ways.
She explained: “Social media has given people a warped perspective of fitness with the editing and photoshop of photos. It tries to sell you quick fixes, but they don’t work. It takes healthy eating and exercise, there is no quick fix. I am still working on improving my physique now for the world championships, progression takes time.
“On a more positive side, social media has made fitness and bodybuilding more accessible. Years ago, you did not see feminine bodybuilders, all you would see were images of very masculine looking women, but the stigma is changing with access to more feminine images too.”
Over the next few months, Debra will be implementing changes based on feedback from the judges, ready for the world championships in May alongside training for the Brighton Marathon with her running club.