Category you compete in: Bikini
Competition history: I am 47.5 years old and Nov 8, 2014 was my first competition EVER!!
Date of birth: May 27, 1967
Hometown: Fruitvale, BC, Canada
Career: Clinical Counsellor
What started you on your road to bodybuilding competitions?
In 1989 I was in a very severe car accident where my 8 month old baby and I were thrown 65 feet from the truck and then laid in the snowbank at -25C/-13F for two hours in the middle of the night until the ambulance arrived. Miraculously my baby was unharmed but I had severe leg injuries as my right leg was almost amputated and my artery was fully exposed. The extreme cold temperatures saved my life by clotting my artery and kept me from bleeding out. I had 9 operations over 5 years and almost died twice on the operating table. From there I ran away from surgeons and focused on raising my children until July 2011 when my adopted dad died suddenly. Through that loss; I decided that I needed to get my own life and health under control.
What were the steps you took to achieve your goal?
My first step was to lose my +35% body fat and build some muscles for my upcoming surgeries so with the support of my Team Beachbody Coach Brenda Stine, I began exercising and in Dec 2012, I had leg surgery #10 and spent three months recovering and then had leg surgery #11 in June 2013. On a follow up appointment I asked the surgeon if he thought I could do body building competition one day and without blinking he said yes! It was at that instant that tears flew out of my eyes and my unspoken secret dream became an actual goal!!
My next step came in June 2014 when I found my Coach IFBB Pro Tammy Patnode who despite me being 47 years old, automatically told me I could compete. I knew that my decision to compete was the only way I was going to be able to force myself into addressing my deepest fears and vulnerabilities about how I felt about myself and my leg. I knew it was the only way that I could take that journey through my repressed emotions, look at them and begin the “letting go” process.
What was the most difficult part of this journey for you?
As I started into my prep I was surprised to discover that I had been secretly dealing with deep depression and grief for 25 years and how much deeper I would need to go on my healing journey. I grew up in a violent home and experienced all types of abuses and as a result of that, I never truly developed into my womanhood which became very apparent with my difficulty in learning the posing routine and many tears of frustration were shed trying to learn how to move my body and pose. I remember when my Coach told me that I needed to find my inner sex kitten and I laughed but seriously said “she is awol!” Sadly, I had never developed that part of my womanly identity.
My biggest challenge was knowing that I was going to publically reveal my leg damage and my hidden secret which caused me many panic attacks as very few people in my life had actually seen what my leg looked like. Despite the extreme difficulty, many tears, sleepless nights and structural leg challenges, I was determined to leave no emotional stone unturned. I kept acknowledging each feeling as it came up and kept training with the love of my family, many friends, my amazing Coaches and teams of women who kept encouraging me.
How did you feel on the day of your first competition?
Ironically my first competition and my chance to finally close that long overdue chapter of my life happened on the 25th anniversary of my car accident and became my “Coming Out Party” and on that day, I was oddly calm!!! My husband kept me laughing and we just walked through each appointment together. At stage time I gathered all the energy and strength of everyone who supported me and I felt ready to truly let go of all of the weight I had been carrying. I’m not going to lie, I was terrified but I also felt very excited to embrace the new Rhonda. The stage experience was very surreal and felt like a dream that I never wanted to end and I honestly felt like I belonged on that stage!! It was a completely overwhelming experience!!
How are you feeling since your competition?
Since the competition I have had several opportunities to test myself to ensure that I have let go of my past grief and leg insecurities and I am proud to say that I actually wore shorts in a public gym and to Bikram Yoga for the first time and it felt good to not be hiding myself behind clothing anymore! Now that I have achieved my goals to walk that bodybuilding stage, I am extremely grateful for this healing experience. I feel like the pieces of my puzzle have come together, more whole and complete, like I have become a woman, enlightened, released and set free!!
Who would you like to thank for supporting you?
During my three year journey I have lost a total of 45lbs, more than 36” and dropped from size 14 to size 2. I couldn’t have done this alone and must thank my beloved husband Grant who always supports my crazy dreams, my children Sonny and Destiny, my family, my TBB Coach Brenda Stine who is always my biggest cheerleader, my Coach Tammy Patnode who has taught me to be fearless and an entire Nation of Women from my online workout groups who I have immense gratitude for. I love you all!
Next competition: May 3rd, 2015 for the NPAA BC Classic and May 9th, 2015 for the Western Canadians and then in July 18, 2015 I will be doing the Team Beachbody Classic in Nashville, Tennessee.
If I have inspired or helped anyone in anyway, I am completely honored <3
With love Rhonda Loewen Hutchinson <3
Fb – Rhonda Loewen Hutchinson
Email - [email protected]