Bodybuilding is for men! Period. At least that is how many people look at 49-year-old Lisa Scott Jones when she attends social events. “I get strange looks from people when I go out with my friends. I started training in my 30s. I was self-conscious during the first couple of years of my fitness training, but now I don’t care. This is my passion and I enjoy it,” says the 2012 International Natural Bodybuilding Federation title holder.
Female bodybuilding has gained significant attention in the past few years. In 2010, at age seventy-three, Ernestine Shepherd garnered the Guinness World Record for Oldest Female Body Builder. In March 2014, CNN covered her monthly community walk at Druid Hill Park in Baltimore, Maryland where 125 people came out to get moving and inspired to improve their health. “Ernestine is my idol,” added Jones.
But even with Shepherd and Jones’ successes, bodybuilding still comes with a stigma for women. As Jones puts it, some say “Women are not supposed to be muscular. And women who do not participate in body building competitions think that no man is going to want (them as) a female body builder.” However, Jones even admits that being a bodybuilder puts a damper on her social life. “As I have gotten older, I continue to come across men who have never dated a female body builder or a woman who likes to lift weights. I’m constantly hit with the question, ‘Why are you trying to look like a man?’”
A lack of time limits Jones’ dating opportunities. A liability claims supervisor by day, Jones’ trains after working hours. Her typical training session is two to four hours per day, Monday thru Saturday. She alternates training heavy muscle groups including her legs, abdominals, chest, and arms each day. And after spending six days creating a sculptured body, she rests on Sunday.
With bodybuilding challenging her social life, one would think that strong-minded Jones must have had the support of friends and family to keep her spirit tough. That was not true. “The first reaction from friends and family was that I was too small to body build,” she recalls. It was only after friends and family understood Jones’ “natural” focus did they change their opinions. “Once people saw that I was competing with other natural bodybuilders (builders who do not use performance enhancing aids or supplements), did they start to show support,” Jones says. Even still, it took some time for Jones' dad to weigh in with his support. “He saw me as daddy’s little girl and being a bodybuilder didn’t support that image,” she continued.
Bodybuilders are often viewed as the epitome of perfect health. Nonetheless, Jones also admits that her health issues ended her training for a period even though weight training is generally good for one’s overall health. In 1995, she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an inflammation of the large intestine that can cause internal bleeding. Jones had surgery to remove her large intestine, but a second attack of the illness triggered a series of heath conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and the development of an ulcer on Jones’ right ankle. She was physically unable to train for five years while she recovered.
Even with the ups and downs of bodybuilding, Jones says she has only one regret: “My only wish is that I had started bodybuilding sooner."