Mom Competes in Bodybuilding Competition 8 Months Post-Partum

She never set out to be an Olympian for her Bodybuilding.  Amanda Runnels, the young mother of two entered the NGA Natural Open New Jersey and Pro World Championship  because she was inspired by her husband Zach Runnels.

Amanda and Zach Runnels after a Spartan Race earlier this year (Photo Given by Amanda Runnels posted to Facebook September 8, 2016)
Amanda and Zach Runnels after a Spartan Race earlier this year (Photo Given by Amanda Runnels posted to Facebook September 8, 2016)


Zach has been competing in the sport of bodybuilding for the past two years and has always placed well in his competitions.  “My husband competes in physique,” Runnels says of her inspiration, “So I wanted to see what he went through, and he wanted to see what I go through so we swapped roles and we are just seeing what the other one goes through.”

Runnels has chronicled her Journey on facebook and among all pictures of her growing family, there are the weekly posts of her reflections of the process.  She began this journey shortly after giving birth to her second daughter, now 8 months old.  “The very first time I ever attempted posing. I was 19.8% body fat. 133lb. 5 months postpartum, and totally clueless as to what this whole journey entailed,”  Shey says.  “I knew it required a disciplined lifestyle and a massive need for a support system.”


Amanda Runnels holding her two little girls Kezlie(2) and Calize (8mo.) (Photo Courtesy of Tina Cunningham)

Her support system came in the form of her husband, a bodybuilding champion in his own right, and her coach Phillip Ricardo, “Mr. Olympia” PNBA Pro Elite Championship on June of 2016.  “She is doing outstanding, her first time out, two kids, it’s amazing what she’s accomplished in these few months,”  Ricardo says of Runnels.  “I’m proud of her.”


Three months of hard work later, Runnels has no regrets, entering the competition and 6% body fat and 118 pounds.  With a smile on her face, she only had this to say.  “Just do it. Seriously. Whatever it is you think you can’t do – do it. I went a long time …. up until this morning… questioning if I was going to look like the hard work I’ve put into this. I had moments of hope and possibility, but never anything that said, yes – you’ll be ok. Now I’m not saying I’m going to win. Or even place. I may be blown off the stage by others who did just as much to prepare as I did. And that is truly fine by me. Because I know that what I did will be reflected on that stage. I know that the support from others wasn’t out of “just having to” or “just being nice “. But because people saw my hard work and believed in me.” 

Amanda Runnels (Left) Posing at the NGA Natural New Jersy and Pro World Bodybuilding Championship. She placed in 3 of 3 categories. (Poto: Zach Runnels)

There are people that will discount what she has done because, sure Runnels is Fairly young in her early 20.  The hard work she has done has paid off as she placed in all three categories.  Though the physical results are phenomenal, she is well aware that what she has done is a-typical.  On Facebook, she writes: “Do not compare yourself to what you see in the media. Sure, use it as inspiration. Motivation. Whatever. But for all you know they are eating no sodium, no carbs, and less calories than times they will say “good morning”. Don’t let the media fool you in the realm of fitness. They will always show the best angle. The day after a massive cut. In between a workout. Something. Use it as a source of motivation. But don’t let it defeat your self-image. Don’t let it declare your value or self-worth.”



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