Danica Atchley - Physique Competitor

I began competing at age 42. When I was 19 I watched Cory Everson every day on tv. This was 1989. I lifted all throughout my life but not with competing in mind. I was also starstruck by Monica Brandt and Jenny Lynn. When my husband, who lifted also, was dying from cancer I told him someday I would like to compete. He said, you should, you would be good at it. And so I did, and I won a pro card on my first try.

I do eat clean year round. I will have my peanut butter in the off season, and protein bars, and I eat more cheese. However when it comes close to a show I won’t eat pb, fruit, protein bars, alcohol, or dairy.

My first coach starved me and took away everything, carbs, fruit, and water. I took the stage at 113 pounds and looked wasted and too lean. I did look lean, so I guess it was effective in that sense, but I was emaciated. He put me on a cookie cutter diet. My muscles were not full.


A photo posted by Danica Atchley (@bodybydanica) on


Components of my weight training are simply this: have fun. I am working out to have fun. Crank up the music, I may lift heavy or I may do a lot of ploymetrics and not lift heavy, but you can bet your ass I will have fun every workout. How do you balance training with diet? Simple… I say to myself I train hard and work hard for my physique… I am not about to put shit into this body…..(cake, sugar, donuts, burgers, etc.)

Self-confidence: That is a trait I think you are born with. I believe in myself and I will bring it. I am an extrovert and since I started competing I have been told I have great stage presence. So, basically you gotta love it. If you do not, you won’t bring the ‘wow’ factor, the stage presence. I love it, so I think I naturally bring it.

I am two weeks out from last show. I placed 11 out of 13. I am 46. Check ins were great, venue was great, I am just not up to par. Now that I do Physique I have to take long off seasons to build muscle. Since sarcopenia is a real threat to me, I have to fight harder than girls who I compete with who are 30.

My future plan is to get my Masters in Exercise Physiology, my thesis is Sarcopenia: building muscle in adults 40 and over. I will not compete again until 2018 because of my thesis and school. But when I come back…People will remember me.

Facebook: BodybyDanica
“YOU MUST DO THE THING YOU THINK YOU CANNOT DO.”


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