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Very few people in the United States know what it is like to serve in the Armed Forces. Very few athletes know what it is like to compete on the Olympia stage. So, finding athletes that have done both puts those people in rarified air.
Lenda Murray and Whitney Jones had two such athletes on a recent episode of “Femme Flex Friday.” Julia Waring is an IFBB Figure Pro and United States Army veteran. She is also a two-time Chicago Pro champion, and she’s been on the Olympia stage three times. Stephanie Gibson is also a Figure Pro that is in the U.S. Air Force, and she is coming off a third-place finish at the 2021 Olympia.
Both athletes know the rigors that come with preparing for a competition while performing their duties in the military. Waring spoke about her reasoning for getting into bodybuilding, and it stemmed from needing to find a way to channel personal pain she was struggling with.
“My grandfather died, and I was just needing like a venue for all the pain to like, channel all the pain,” Waring said. It would be her husband that encouraged her to get onstage.
“And he was like, ‘we should do a bodybuilding show.’ I was like, okay, you know, already I’ve been lifting weights literally since I was 14 years old. So, I had a good base. I just hadn’t been lifting to build a shape obviously, because I didn’t really follow bodybuilding when I was younger. So, he introduced me to th sport. That was my first introduction to the sport of bodybuilding. Did my first show, I think it was the Mississippi, it was a Mississippi classic in Jackson, Mississippi, and 2014. I did the novice category one and then I was hooked.”
As for Gibson, she turned pro in 2020, and thanks to her first win in Savannah and her surprise placing at the Olympia, she is now considered a potential star of the future. The military has helped Gibson stay disciplined when it comes to commitments, but she can also thank genetics for her success in the sport.
“My father was actually a bodybuilder. So, he did quite a few shows in Mexico. And he never went pro. But he loved it. He had such a passion for it,” she said. Gibson is still on active duty, which means she could be deployed at any time. She knows that first-hand because she had to miss an Arnold Classic. Fortunately, the supervisors she works they know that I do this. And that, you know, so like, they’re very accommodating and supportive. for are understanding of her commitment to the sport as well.
“They know that I do this. And that, you know, so like, they’re very accommodating and supportive,” she said proudly.
Waring and Gibson share more about both careers and a lot more. Catch Femme Flex Friday every week over at www.wingsofstrength.net .