Caldwell Auditorium was home to a showcase of human discipline and perseverance on Saturday, as it hosted the PureBody Nutrition Extravaganza National Gym Association Bodybuilding Show.
Thirty-one competitors took the stage in several categories to showcase the end product of working out diligently and eating wisely.
Categories ranged from bikini, figure and physique for the women, and physique and bodybuilding for the men, including different weight classes.
While judges look for different things in various categories, the point is still to look conditioned and toned, said Alicia Burgin, owner of PureBody Nutrition, who hosted the day’s amateur event.
“What we’re trying to do is inspire people to get fit,” she said. “We thought we could do that through bodybuilding. … There’s a lot of ways to get fit, (but I think) that’s the best one.”
The honor guest of the day was Joshua Rucker, an International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Pro Wheelchair Bodybuilder, who shared his story of grit.
Rucker, 29, was in a car wreck at age 18 while working in his home state of Michigan.
The wreck, which included 14 flips, left him a paraplegic.
He was an athlete before his accident, playing football and wrestling while growing up, he said.
After his accident, he decided to get back into fitness by participating in wheelchair basketball.
He said he was then encouraged to get into bodybuilding by friends at the gym where he worked out about two years ago.
Rucker said he got into bodybuilding out of a desire to stay fit and prove himself to others.
“(I wanted to) just keep going and show myself and everybody else that I had a horrible tragic accident, I’ll never be able to walk again — but you know what? I’m going to make the best of it and do what I can.”
Another impressive example of perseverance and discipline at the show was C.D. Prince, who at 74 years old, puts many people to shame in the fitness category.
The retired father of three and grandfather of six stood proudly on stage, although he was nervous and scared about competing in his first bodybuilding show, he said.
His wife of 45 years, Lynette, was there to cheer him on.
Prince is no stranger to competition, however. He also played football and wrestled in his youth.
He said he also competed nationally in arm wrestling, placing a few times.
Prince, who said he has worked out three times a week for years, said he was approached by friends to compete.
They made him work out more often and they put him on a strict diet, which he grew tired of quickly, he said.
He said, however, that the experience of preparing for the show has given him many new friends and a healthy lifestyle.
“It’s just kind of lifted my spirits, and I hope made me a better person,” he said. “I picked up some good habits and it has rewarded me with a better physique, so I’ll be reluctant to give up some of these things.”
As for getting fit, he put it simply.
“I’ll be 75 (years old) in 10 days. I feel like I’m 50,” he said. “The reward outweighs the effort.”