In August, 2012, the OCB Natural Figure and Body Building Competition in Mesa, AZ saw a truly remarkable event – the launch of their new “Masters” category. The competitors include Isa Parrault (age 60), Sara Goldenberg (age 65), Christi Christiaens (age 62) and Christina Iriza (age 70).
When these ladies were introduced and their ages announced, the 300 plus in attendance at the Mesa Arts Center stood in amazement. People were so impacted they spoke out loud, saying things like, “Wow, this is unbelievable” and “I want to look that way when I’m their age.”
Attendees were affected not only by how fit these ladies looked, but by how joyfully they presented themselves, exuding vibrancy and confidence. They were challenging fundamental ideas about aging, what you’re supposed to look like at a certain age (not good) and how you’re supposed to feel about yourself (not good). In the process, they were breaking barriers, both in themselves and in those watching. The four women were trained by Ilana Arzt of Enerjoy Fitness. “It’s unheard of for women in their sixties plus to look and feel this good,” says Arzt, “so we were excited to break new ground.”
“Physically I am in better condition than I’ve ever been in my life,” says Isa Parrault. “The competition helped me break through to my next level of health.”
They started eight months in advance of the actual event, putting in six to eight hours per week of weight lifting, cardio, stretching, and posing practice. Along with their increased workout regimen, they also embarked on a special eating program to lean out. While there was plenty of hard work involved, these women saw it as an opportunity.
“I knew I was going to give myself fully to this competition,” says Sara Goldenberg. “It didn’t matter if I won or not, I knew I would win anyway by creating a beautiful feeling and an amazing body.”
While the “Fab Four” got the audience on their feet, the audience raised their spirits as well. “During the show I experienced freedom, self-confidence and total joy,” says Christina Iriza, “just by being a person that can touch and inspire other people.” Now, several months later, the “Fab Four” remain committed to their fitness and their aliveness. They’ve stayed slim and plan to compete again this year, bucking the traditional trend among people of their age Getting better D all the time: to slow down, fatten up and fade out. “I want to give the message to people that we never have to give up, that we can be fit, beautiful and attractive at any age,” says Christi Christiaens. “We can be in excellent shape forever, so why stop now?”
This kind of staying power was consciously nurtured by Arzt. “I felt that they could reach places they never dreamed of,” she says. “I knew that would give them a feeling of being unlimited and not giving in to the way that people think about aging. I wanted them to experience a different reality– that as long as they choose to, and are willing to work at it, they can get better all the time.”
Ilana Arzt, is the founder of Enerjoy Fitness. She holds a BA in physical education, and certification in weight training and fitness instruction, physical fitness in combat, aerobics and gymnastics. A former National Aerobics Champion of Israel, she has also won the NABA Ms. Figure National Championship, among numerous other events in her 15 years of competing. Find her at Enerjoy Fitness.comby