Bodybuilder Joy Eve reaping the fruits of hard work and dedication
After suffering a torn meniscus in both knees and undergoing surgery eight years ago, becoming a professional bodybuilder was the last thing Joy Eve expected.
Things took root when she was smitten by the fitness bug during her rehabilitation, giving growth to an interest in bodybuilding competition.
Eve did not achieve immediate success on the competitive scene but her passion for training and the sport inspired her to soldier on.
Years of hard work and dedication ultimately paid off for the 51-year-old during the IFBB Pro League Caribbean Grand Prix Bermuda Pro Qualifier at Ruth Seaton James Auditorium at the weekend, as she won her class and overall title competing in the women’s figure category.
“I worked really hard for this over the past two years,” Eve told The Royal Gazette. “I guess it’s been a long time coming as I started training with Ross Caesar in 2014.
“I actually had surgery on my knees and my physiotherapist suggested I get a personal trainer to help me strengthened around the knee joints and stuff like that because my knees were just horrible at the time. That’s when I reached out to Ross and told him what my conditions were, and he was like ‘yeah, I can help you’.”
Eve, who trains at the Ultimate Fitness Club, made her debut in competition at the Bermuda Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation's 30th Annual Night of Champions at Fairmont Southampton in 2017.
“I don’t think I placed; probably sixth or seventh,” she added. “But I liked the feel of it, like the competitiveness and the atmosphere.
“I have always watched people that came before me like Mel (Melanie DeRosa), Candy Foggo, Sandra Simons and Renee Cann. I have always watched these girls but I never had the resources to really get into it until 2014 and just finding the right person to actually train me like that or just give it a chance and see what happens.
“That’s what it’s been for the most part. You really enjoy this, so let’s see what happens, let’s see what sort of opportunities present themselves, and this is where I am today.”
Eve has also worked with North Carolina-based IFBB professional certified coach, Donya Jackson in recent years.
“I started with her just before the 2019 Caribbean Grand Prix and asked her to perform a miracle; get out her magic wand and make me transform,” she recalled.
“That didn’t work out but I continued to work with her. I think a female perspective to a bodybuilder is important and it’s also important to get your trainer involved in the whole process as well because the communication there is important for your progress.
“A friend of mine recommended her (Jackson) because she was using her as her coach as well. I called her up one day and said I need your help. It was like an online relationship where we would pass information back and forth.
“Ross would get involved from time to time with the training and she would recommend A, B and C. If he wasn’t happy with that, he would say ‘it was not necessary, go back and see this’, and the communication definitely had to be open going back and forth, so that everybody was on the same page.”
IFBB professional bodybuilder and multiple national champion Caesar reckons Eve’s fitness journey can inspire others.
“The whole idea of these tours and we as competitors and stuff, is not just about winning Pro cards and becoming professionals,” he said. “It’s really to inspire people and I think Joy has a tremendous story from where she started initially, the ups and downs to now and that will resonate.
“She has a very good story that can inspire a lot of women out there that are overweight and stuff and think they can’t do nothing about it or start and stop.”
Eve went into the last weekend’s Pro Qualifier determined to improve upon her previous showing on the big stage.
“I didn’t have any real expectations,” she said. “I just wanted to present a better package than I had before.
“The sport being as subjective as it is, I’m never sure what the judges are looking for. But I do feel I fit the standard for figure with my shape and conditioning, so I am happy with the outcome.
“The line-up was okay and I was familiar with everybody that was in the line basically. I thought the girls looked great and it could have gone any way, really. But I felt I fit the standard pretty closely on the day.”
Eve experienced a range of emotions after being declared as the overall winner in her category.
“I cried a little because the mission is accomplished at that point and you’re like ‘wow; finally, this is where I am and I did it’,” she added. “It was a great feeling and almost a relief really to be able to get to this point.
“It’s more or less now I will be starting straight from scratch. But the journey to this point has been really hard at times, and just being able to progress in this type of sport is not the easiest thing all the time.”
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