Nobody expects to be in the best shape of their life in their early 50s.
It’s an especially impressive feat considering the already high bar Lorie Muller had set – the preceding decades were spent running marathons. But that’s where she is.
And the proof is the medals she won at the 2022 Natural Canada Pro Qualifier body building competition in Toronto last month. She took second in the women’s figure masters 45-plus class, and a masters 35-plus, and in an open age category she finished third.
The open category was particularly gratifying.
“There were girls in their 20s in that class, so I’m really proud of that.”
Muller turned 53 in June, and last month won her medals.
Muller is well known locally, as she and her husband Eric own the Sole Experience Running Company in Pitt Meadows. She is the founder and race director for the Athletes in Kind – a local charity that supports families struggling with the costs of childhood cancers. She also has a career as a paramedic.
Her new fitness journey started in 2019. Turning 50 was an emotional milestone in her life, because her mother Jan Saunders passed away from cancer at that age. It’s jarring to think that she’s already had three years more than her mom was given, she said.
Muller is known for running, but loves hitting the weights. Strength training comes naturally. Even when she was a girl, her mom called her “Muscles.”
She had “no idea” about proper nutrition, she said.
“It was good nutrition, it was just too much.”
Muller was never going to compete, but some of her friends are natural body builders, and she was interested in their process – building muscle, then dieting down to a superhero version of their former self. It’s natural competition, with testing for performance enhancing drugs.
Her plan was to train to get her ready to be on the stage, but she was never planning to walk on it. She gets stage right.
She hired Sonja Cermak of Fitlife Nutrition, then even got some fitness coaching from the former bikini-category competitor.
“I lost 10 pounds of fat eating more than I’d ever eaten before,” said Muller.
The Envision Fitness staff also coached her, and she had a good team that was giving her outstanding results.
Muller was in the gym twice a day for a total of about three hours, and sustained a diet heavy in protein to build muscle.
Her weight dropped from 165 pounds down to 135, and her body fat shrunk from 28 per cent down to just nine per cent on competition day – although she said that is not healthy to sustain.
She said it was like a “crazy science experiment,” and virtually every day she could see changes in her body.
Finally, she decided to compete at the 2019 BC Cup in Kamloops.
“I should experience it – do something that scares me,” she told herself.
After she put on her bikini and high heels, but before she stepped out on the stage, Muller suffered an anxiety attack. But she got over it, and she medalled.
“I was pretty excited. It was a week before my 50th birthday. It was empowering.”
Because of her family history, Muller gets regular cancer screening. At the end of 2020 she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She had surgery, recovered for six weeks, and got back to work.
She meditates daily, keeps her stress levels low, practices gratitude and says “I take care of myself.”
Muller hired trainer Dean Brandt, and she went back and won the BC Cup in November of 2021, and that qualified her for the nationals in Toronto.
The coach said the secret to Muller’s success is dedication. Even though she does shift work, she always makes sure she gets to the gym.
“We was excellent – never missed a workout,” he said.
The dieting can be difficult, but it’s critical for athletes in their 50s, as their metabolism slows. Again, he said “She was great about that.”
He said she started strong, and finished strong.
“Everybody is gung ho for the first four to six weeks,” Brandt said, but too often he has to be a cheerleader for them the rest of the way. That wasn’t the case for Muller.
But he did give her a nudge to compete in Toronto. He said a lot of body builders need reassurance to take that kind of step.
“To not look good on stage is everybody’s fear.”
Muller has been inspired.
After getting so close, she might go back to Toronto, to try and turn those silver medals into gold next year.
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