44, Fit and Fabulous
"Sherie Salvadori Tell Us Her Secret!"
Written by Cynthia Lechan-Goodman
A woman’s magic mirror, whether on the wall or in her own mind’s eye, lets her know two truths—how she looks and whether or not she matches what she would like to see. One woman who knows the life of looking fabulous, no smoke and mirrors involved, is Sherie Salvadori, professional figure and fitness competitor.
The realm of professional figure and fitness competing is very different from what probably comes to mind about body building—becoming as big as you possibly can. This competition is about soft feminine muscle that is aesthetically pleasing, rather than the bulges, striations or veins accompanying big power. The IFBB, International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness, the professional organization that judges figure and fitness categories, maintains a judging criteria that involves body symmetry, balance of the body, muscle proportions and consideration of the conditioning, and unique results the female competitor has achieved through her training.
“I was always an avid participant in sports—tennis, cheerleading, softball, swim teams, weight training. But it wasn’t until I moved from Pittsburgh to South Florida in early 2004 and I happened to meet Coach Marc Leflere of Elite Training Systems that my life took a real turn. We became instant friends, and he encouraged me to go for serious training to enter competitive events,” says Sherie. As with most new career choices, there was the excitement potential and the challenges to overcome. The most difficult challenge for Sherie was psychological–the mindset to put on weight and muscle. At 5’3 and 106 pounds, Sherie felt good about herself “No woman wants to get bigger,” she recalls lamenting. She says it was a long process of focusing in order to change her body composition. She gained weight, but she actually was leaner with more muscle. The real deal began for her in April 2004-training for a first challenge! That took place in November right after Thanksgiving, she recalls, “Because it was so hard to maintain training through that holiday!” Stages of “clean diet” consisting of oatmeal, egg whites, broccoli, green vegetables, protein shakes, and water are part of what training for a figure and fitness competition entails. “It’s very scientific,” she says. “It’s prescribed in eight or 12 week stages with an increase or decrease in carbs and water (a natural diuretic) at particular stages. Exercise is two hours a day, varying parts of the body each day. Determination and devotion to taking care of one’s self are essentials to training.” Earlier in her life, Sherie loved reading about successful female bodybuilders like Rachel McLeish, Monica Brandt, and Jenny Lynn, and she’d say to herself, “I want to look like that!” Lo and behold, now, in real life she found herself actually on stage competing with girls from age 23 to 30’s. At 44 she was the oldest! With passion, discipline, and a mindset to “see what I could do with myself” that November she won the show! “It was incredible. I didn’t expect it!” she bubbles.
Sherie achieved an “Overall Win” from an amateur show in Florida that qualified her for the National Level of competition– a competition against 300 “young” girls as opposed to 10 in the Amateur League! Her determination plugging, in July in Pittsburgh, her hometown, in front of her family, she won the National Competition, thus earning Professional Status.
For certain, Sherie is an inspiration to any age. “I’m blessed to be able to do this at my age, to stand on stage and be competitive. It’s not over at 30! Women feel at a certain age they are not able to be fit or have the bodies they once had. But that’s not the case.” Sherie confides that looking lithe and toned was not always a given with her. Sherie feels that with her experience and knowledge she is now embarking on a new chapter in her life of giving back the kind of generous support and encouragement she has received. “My goal is to empower women to better themselves by coaching them with self-esteem and confidence issues. Women often let themselves go beyond who they are with their bodies and the way they feel about themselves. Women aspire to look like magazine pictures, to feel a satisfaction with the way they look. I want to help these women to never settle, to strive for what the woman herself is capable of.” She has developed a fledgling company, SheFit and coaches women on the one-to-one, as well as conducting boot camps. She is also planning a camp for overweight women.
Sherie’s daily inspirational message is to, “Go beyond your limitations and develop into who you are. Meet that with enjoyment day by day. Challenge yourself, don’t be sedentary. Make better choices.”-DUO