Cedar Rapids woman starts fitness journey after 40 and becomes champion bodybuilder

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – When she started seriously lifting weights, Nichol Toomire was around 40 years old. She was tired of the ‘role’ she was in.

“I spent most of my life identifying myself by roles. I was the mother, I was the daughter, I was the boss,” said Toomire. “Over time, I lost my own identity like who I was.”

Seven years after starting powerlifting – and soon switching to bodybuilding – she said her life has changed.

“I can do things that I couldn’t do. I have more energy now, I have more confidence,” she said. “It just completely changed my mindset. It kind of reignited in me a passion of my dreams.”

Nichol said bodybuilding requires immense discipline.

“Not only do you have to eat, you have to spend a lot of time in the gym, it is a lot of mindset,” she said. “It’s creating habits, and that’s what I tell a lot of other people. It’s a lifestyle.”

That lifestyle change gave Nichol the confidence to to compete in bodybuilding competitions.

“It was definitely a fear that I had, I’m going out on a stage and being judged by others,” she said. “It is really just a celebration of you bringing your best self to stage and kind of showing that off.”

All the time in the gym paid off for Nichol. Earlier this year, she competed against the best amateur body builders in the country in Atlantic City and won first place in the bikini 40-plus age category.

After seeing first what powerlifting and bodybuilding has done for her confidence, Nichol quit her job as the director of operations at Alliant Energy. She started her own company, called Exploration Fitness, to help other women change their lives through fitness.

“The goal that really is to help other women master their body, master there minds and help them be the most resilient strong healthiest versions of themselves,” Nichol said. “You don’t have to just identify as a mom, or the boss, or the wife. You are your own unique person.”

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