“I was never very outgoing growing up so to be up on a stage in front of hundreds of people in a tiny bikini was terrifying the first time.” – Janel

If you run into Janel in the grocery store, she’ll likely have her two adorable kids in tow. You’ll notice her bright smile and beautiful long blonde hair—something you’d expect from a hair stylist, right?

But underneath those street clothes is an award winning physique. Janel is 35 and started bodybuilding two years after her son turned one. She’d been to bodybuilding shows with her husband before but never thought she’d be one of the ladies on stage—completely lean muscle, from head to toe.

Ready to take her fitness to the next level, Janel got to work, giving herself three months to train. With a good friend by her side, they both entered a competition in San Jose. Her friend hired a coach as most competitors do. Janel decided to train herself. Placing 14th out of 28 women, she learned a lot from that first show and promptly hired a coach to train “the right way”.

Janel on stage Janel on stage

Her next National Physique Committee (NPC) bikini competition was a few months later and this time, Janel placed 1st in the the novice category for her height class and took 1st place in the open bikini category. She said it “felt amazing!” Since then she’s competed in five shows, taking 1st place in the Masters category for women 35 years old and over, in Tahoe last fall.

TrophiesJanel’s trophies proudly displayed at home

Being on stage in a bikini in front of hundreds of people is still a nerve-wracking experience. The first few times she was terrified but it’s getting easier and she’s proud to show off her hard work. Today Janel works out 5-6 days per week and does all her weight training alone, with a friend who also competes or her husband.

What’s next for Janel? Definitely more competitions, but for now, she’s looking forward to taking the summer off to have fun with her family.