Viridiana Sanchez, a bodybuilder and double major in engineering and architecture at Texas Tech, said her interest in fitness occurred after she graduated from high school. Sanchez said her boyfriend at the time had recently gotten a gym membership and she was interested in doing something with her spare time.
Sanchez said after she had gotten good at the exercises her ex-boyfriend recommended, she began to watch how people would use certain machines or how they would complete specific exercises.
A few weeks later, Sanchez said, she knew working out was paying off because she began to see results. She said she even made trips to the gym on her own because she was gaining confidence in herself.
“I started gaining weight, but it was good weight and I started liking it,” said Sanchez. “I was really insecure about myself because I was so skinny and thin. I thought to myself, ‘I can do this.’”
As she continued to workout, she said, people began complimenting her on how toned her legs were. Sanchez said that at first, she was overworking her legs because she did not properly know how to work her upper body.
Eventually, she said, a man working out at the same gym taught her how to work on the strength she lacked in her upper body. Sanchez said she began to work on one specific body part a day, instead of overworking her legs like she had before.
She said she was scared to lose muscle in her legs due to what she was used to. But, Sanchez said, it ended up having the opposite effect. Her muscles began to grow and sculpt as planned, she said.
From then on, Sanchez said, she continued to workout and eventually became interested in competing. That’s when she eventually found herself a trainer, who has helped Sanchez with workouts and much more for her health, she said.
As optimistic as she was about exercise, she said, working out does nothing to help individuals unless their diet is in tip-top shape. Giggling, she said she even purchased Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding as a guide to help her tweak her diet.
Sanchez proudly displayed her lunchbox she brings on campus and said that to compensate for how much she works out, she eats seven times a day. Typically, she said, her diet consists of a lot of protein.
“There’s a lot of chicken, fish, and egg whites. It also depends on what I’m trying to do,” said Sanchez. “Like, I just did a show and for that specific show I had to cut my carbs really low. But before the show, I had to gain weight and had to include more carbs like rice, potatoes and oatmeal. A lot of oatmeal.”
The bodybuilder said she has her trainer to thank for putting her on the extreme diet. She also said her trainer is the person who has helped her get through the good, the bad and the ugly while preparing for her show.
Sanchez said she recently participated in her first bodybuilding show on Oct. 13, and it was the most difficult experience she has gone through thus far.
She said preparations for a typical bodybuilding competition begins 12 to 15 weeks prior to a show. As she and her trainer were approaching week eight, Sanchez received a phone call that would change everything.
Sanchez’s sister had called that week to inform her that their father has suddenly passed away, she said. Sanchez said she immediately left to go home in Houston to be with her family.
She said she knew her thoughts of competing would have to be put on hold for the time being, because when she arrived home, everything was a mess, especially her family.
Sanchez said while she was home, she continued to work out and while she would be working on cardio her mind would wander and think about her father. She said her father had always told her to go for whatever she wanted and the more she thought about it, the more she came to realize that the show must go on.
After talking to her trainer and her mother, Sanchez said, she decided she would continue with the competition and participate in her first bodybuilding show.
She said she did not place, but the experience alone was positive and she knows her father would be proud.
“He was always proud of us, but I wanted to show him – I did it not to make him feel proud, because I knew he already was,” said Sanchez. “I did it to show him that my siblings and I are strong and my mom is in good hands.”
Sanchez said she is looking forward to her future in her career and bodybuilding. Her goals include making it on the cover of a fitness magazine and following in her father’s footsteps by applying her two majors to renovating houses.
And what about the ex-boyfriend who sparked her love of fitness in the first place?
“I’m far past him now, said Sanchez. “We’re friends, but I’m the one giving him tips.”