Cheryl Hutchinson (left) is bringing coach and daughter Nic Lee with her to eastern Canada for the 2018 CBBF (Canadian Body Building Federation) national championships on Saturday. Sheri Regnier photo

Trail trainer heads to Montreal for national body fitness competition

Cheryl Hutchinson started her fitness journey six years ago

Luck has nothing to do with Cheryl Hutchinson realizing her dream.

In peak physique after months of grueling training, she’s left no stone unturned and is more than ready to step into the limelight at a national body fitness competition in Montreal on Saturday.

“It feels unexplainable,” Cheryl told the Times. “I have worked so hard doing this, it was my third job and I put everything I had into it,” she said.

“My goal was to get to nationals, so I’ve already won. I’ve achieved my goal.”

Also going along for the ride is Nic Lee, Cheryl’s daughter and key task master.

“She is my coach and my rock and the most knowledgeable person I know when it comes to this sport,” Cheryl said. “I just do as I’m told and put in the work.”

Related story here: Big rewards for women bodybuilders in Trail

Nic Lee has shared this journey with her mom for the past six years.

“She got to tell me what to do for 18 years now it’s my turn,” Nic said with a smile. “It’s nice to see her achieve everything she has, and obviously you can tell she listens well.”

After placing first in the Body Fitness Masters 45+ at the 2018 B.C. Amateur BodyBuilding Association championships in Vancouver, Hutchinson returned to Trail with even more drive.

Many have seen her walking – tanned muscles taut with determination – along the highway through town as part of her strict regimen.

“I pretty much train every day and twice on my days off,” said Cheryl. “If I’m working the afternoon/night shift I only train in a.m., and I also have been getting up at 6 a.m. lately to do at least an hour walking for cardio.”

She has a message for all her fans who cheer her on with a wave, or a honk, during her daily routine.

“People think if I am not on the highway that I died,” she joked. “I just want them to know that I’m okay and in Quebec for a few days.”

Closer to 60 years than not, this is her first time – maybe not her last time – Cheryl has qualified for such a high level athletic competition in Canada.

So she has a sound bit of advice for women out there looking to improve their health, no matter the age or to what degree.

“I started at 215 pounds and on 10 medications after 25 surgeries,” she shared. “I was just sick and tired of living.

“I’m 56 now, so age shouldn’t limit us in terms of achieving a goal or a dream,” Cheryl said.

“And I have had so many people, men and women, that help me and push me and keep me inspired. They tell me I inspire them to do better or to not give up, it’s gratification.”

There’s been sacrifices along the way and some of Cheryl’s relationships have suffered.

But she had this to say, “I’ve lost many people I thought were friends because they don’t understand my drive for this, but I also gained many, many more.”

To make ends meet Cheryl works two jobs at the Trail Aquatic Centre. First she’s in the gym helping others during the day, then she returns at night as a janitor.

“I’ve done absolutely everything I can, so I am going there with the intention that I’ve made my goal and if I don’t place, I don’t place,” she said.

“But I got to nationals and that’s a feat in itself.”

Quick to smile and encourage others, the community has stepped in to help Cheryl on her fitness journey.

“I’m excited because I’ve never been anywhere,” she said. “So I took a couple of extra days so I can see Montreal. And I heard the food is awesome, so when I am done I am going to have something good to eat (laughs).”

Coworkers from the city surprised her on Tuesday with a card of encouragement and $850 toward her Montreal dream.

Champion Chevrolet has assisted financially as well as Adrian from Performance Fitness and Mr Carter from the aquatic centre, she said.

“Dave Harding helped me for over two years and is an amazing coach and friend and graciously stepped aside when Nic came on board,” Cheryl added. “This all started with him asking me what I was trying to do and now there is no going back from whence I came.”

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