“Muscle is a really interesting thing,” 35-year-old professional bodybuilder Aleesha Young told In The Know. “People either really like it or really don’t.”
Young followed in her father’s footsteps and became a bodybuilding champion; she started training with him when she was only 15 years old. In 2014, that training paid off: She won the National Physique Committee’s USA Championships.
“Most of the people close to me are used to the reaction we get in public,” Young explained. “Some people will just stare or, like, secretly video me or some people will come up and ask questions, which I would prefer.”
Young’s biceps clock in at just over 18 inches, while her quads are 28 inches. For context, she’s only 5 foot 3 inches — and according to Healthline, the average woman’s bicep for the 30-39 age bracket is 12.9 inches.
According to Young, the bodybuilding lifestyle is tough. She follows both a restrictive diet and a thorough exercise regime.
Young is willing to put her strict lifestyle aside when she needs to, though. And that’s exactly what she did when she had her daughter, Olivia.
“I think people in the fitness world are surprised that I’m a mom because it’s pretty rare at my level of female bodybuilding,” Young said. “I knew that being a mom was a number one priority for me — it had to happen.”
Young considers the birth of her daughter to be what truly propelled her into the bodybuilding world. Being pregnant as a female bodybuilder might scare off some, but Young knew she’d be able to bounce back and feel more fulfilled.
“Getting on stage when she was 10 months old was a huge accomplishment for me,” Young said about Olivia.
A common misconception and assumption about Young is that she’s not feminine because of her muscles and career. The professional bodybuilder has never seen being strong and being feminine as mutually exclusive.
“Being a female bodybuilder sets me up for not being normal,” Young said. “But life would be so boring if we all looked exactly the same or if we were all attracted to the exact same thing. It would be so boring.”
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