Unfazed by a five-year layoff, Cesli Grimes won both her classes Saturday in Shreveport.
Cesli Grimes was planning to ease her way back into competitive body building. Then the unexpected happened.
Five years and a baby after her last competition in 2013, Grimes surprised herself by winning the open and novice classes at the Robert "Super Mann" Blount IFBB/NPC Optimum Classic Championships on Saturday, May 19, in Shreveport.
"I was just wanting to get my toes back in," Grimes said. "I didn't expect to place, much less win."
So much for easing her way back. By winning Saturday's event, she has qualified for a national show.
"I'm all in now," Grimes said. "Once you qualify, you have one year to compete at a national event or you have to re-qualify."
Grimes' goal hasn't changed, but the results of Saturday's competition put her plans on an accelerated pace.
"My first goal was to compete at a national qualifier, like I did Saturday, win and get nationally qualified, then to go on to nationals and obtain my pro card," said Grimes, who graduated from Prairie View Academy in 2005. "Getting my pro card is the ultimate goal."
Grimes' story is atypical for a body builder. She dabbled in youth softball and played a year of junior high basketball while growing up in Bastrop, but that is the extent of her athletic background. As a student at ULM, she began working out and it took off from there.
Now 30 and the mother of 3-year-old Brylee White, Grimes finds herself competing against a younger generation.
"A lot of them are 20 year-olds with no kids," Grimes laughed.
Grimes isn't going to rush onto the national stage.
"I'm going to wait a little while," she said. "You're competing against the best of the best at nationals, so I feel like I need to train a little more. I want to give my body a little break and get back into it."
It's going to be a short break. She has entered the Dallas Europa on June 16, and will perform in upcoming events in Utah, Slidell and Little Rock.
Grimes keeps a demanding schedule. Besides raising a daughter and training, she started a new job Monday as manager of Intensity Fitness in Sterlington. She holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing from ULM, and is currently pursuing a second degree in Science, Nutrition and Dietetics from Louisiana Tech. Her career aim is to become a registered dietician.