Lola Nez is a 48-year-old grandma living in Florida.
She’s also a bodybuilder, who says she’s sexier now than she was in her twenties.
Lola had always wanted to be fit and healthy, but in her twenties she struggled to transform her body.
Things changed in 2014, when the grandmother began suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a digestive disorder that affects the lower oesophageal sphincter, which is the ring of muscle between the oesophagus and stomach.
The condition caused her continual discomfort and pain which affected her daily routine.
Lola had an annual physical exam which concluded that there were a number of concerns including high cholesterol, high bloody pressure, and pre-diabetes.
She was spurred to make a drastic change, and found personal trainer Rod Ketchens.
Rod introduced Lola to weight training and a strict cardio routine, which she ended up absolutely loving. Within four years she managed to come first place in six bodybuilding competitions, and her body has been entirely transformed.
And bonus, she feels more confident than ever.
Lola said: ‘In my twenties I was a young mother in a marriage struggling day to day with life; it really presented challenges and I was tired and stressed most of the time.
‘I would say that I also was still searching a bit for myself, for my purpose (beyond motherhood) and lacking somewhat in confidence.
‘In my early thirties, life was still a struggle, but I started to find my voice, assert my independence and ultimately found the strength to break free.
‘My initial motivation came less from trying to look good and mostly from trying to feel good and live a long healthy life.
‘That said, I had always admired women with a more athletic look and I did desire to be toned. For instance, at the time I had always wanted the arms of Jillian Michaels and so part of my initial desire was to achieve what she had.
‘GERD had me in near constant discomfort and regular severe pain. The feeling was a form of heartburn and it got worse after meals and when I lay prone in bed.
‘It basically terrorised me at night
and made it impossible to sleep normally – in fact, I had to sleep sitting up. The prescription medication I was taking did not help.
‘I then could see my quality of life deteriorating as a result. I had an annual physical exam and the results indicated a number of concerns including; high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and pre-diabetes.
‘Next, my eldest brother, Sonny, had a gruelling battle with tonsillar cancer. Finally, I now had two growing grandchildren and I realised that I needed to be extra healthy so I could be on this earth as long as possible for them.
‘All of these combined gave me pause to reflect that I needed to make a dramatic change immediately and begin the process of taking control of my health.’
Lola has found a true passion for bodybuilding, and says her new fitness routine helps to reduce her symptoms of GERD.
‘The sense of relief, and excitement that something was finally working, was tremendous,’ she explains.
‘My typical weight now is actually more than before I started. But, the distribution of my weight is very different. For instance, my waist is about four inches smaller and my shoulders and arms are much larger and more toned. I sometimes shop in the juniors and kid’s areas now.
‘I also have a tremendous amount of energy. I do not even remember the last time I got sick, I am not on any prescription medicines and I’m proud to say that I can easily keep up with grandkids in any of their activities.
‘I am much more confident in myself, certainly in how I look but now I can walk into a room of people or meet someone new and present myself with self-confidence.
‘My personality is now bigger and bolder, and I feel freer to express it. Not all of that is the bodybuilding, some is maturity, some is my relationships, and some is probably living in the US versus the Philippines and, finally, I feel sexier and more confident in my sexuality than at any point in my life.’
Her transformation alongside her bodybuilding skills have earned Lola a loyal online following of more than 180,000, who take inspiration from her dedication to fitness.
Lola hopes her story will show others it’s not too late to find a type of exercise they love.
‘The comments and messages I receive daily are overwhelmingly positive,’ said Lola.
‘If you read through the comments on my Facebook page, they are loaded with comments about me looking ‘beautiful’ or ‘sexy’.
‘I am amazed that they come from people ages eighteen to eighty too. Occasionally, someone will cross a line and get sexually aggressive or offensive and once in a while someone will say something negative like ‘you look like a man’ but those are fairly rare.
‘Same with women; I get comments like ‘idol’, ‘inspiring’, ‘beautiful’, ‘sexy’ but on occasion other women will fit-shame me.
‘When I am around my grandchildren, most people assume they are my children, and when I am around my children, especially my daughter, more often than not they think we are sisters.
‘To start with, make sure that you know: ‘what is your why’. Honestly, if the motivation is solely to ‘look good’ or ‘look youthful’, I think it will be hard to maintain the discipline needed to be successful in the long run.
‘But if the motivation comes from getting rid of an illness, or relieving pain, or improving the quality of your health and wellbeing, or being there for someone you love, then I think it gives you a different perspective in wanting or needing to achieve a goal.’
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