One year ago, our community cheered the achievements of first time competitors Robbin Morton and Doug Adams, as they each returned home with third place trophies following the 2018 Night of Champions Bodybuilding, Fitness, and Figure Championships at Spokane.

For Robbin, Senior Branch Office Manager at Edward Jones, the decision to enter last year’s competition took place in August, allowing a ridiculously short period of time to prepare before the show in October.

It’s important to note she was no stranger to the gym and in pretty good condition to begin with, prompting encouragement from her friends to entertain the idea of entering the competition in 2018.

The training was particularly intense last year, and when the competition was over, Robbin shared it was almost impossible not to workout. It had become a habit, a change in lifestyle. “When you stop working out, you feel terrible! We continued going to the gym and doing what we do,” and before long Robbin and Dawn found themselves focused on this year’s competition

By the time this year’s competition came around, Robbin had trained for a whole year.

Robbin explained that having participated in the 2018 competition, they knew what to expect. “Dawn knew what it would take to win and did the research to discover which exercise would best work to achieve specific results.

“But she did the actual work,” replies Dawn, handing the credit back to Robbin.

“Even while knowing what to expect, it’s never a sure thing,” continued Dawn. “It can actually be a little more intimidating once you know. There were more participants than last year. We had signed up and trained for the 50+category. This year they had enough entries to have a 55+category, so Robbin, who is 57, was placed in the latter category.

“We spent more time training at the gym. We tracked her workouts every step of the way,” said Dawn, “We recorded her daily workouts, and everything she ate, her weight, measurements, and body fat.”

“We worked hard, but it was fun, and it was worth every bit of it the night of competition.

“We received such support last year from the community,” said Robbin, “it really helped to motivate and inspire us. As we worked out we met other women who recognized the benefits of staying fit and they were inspired to become more invested in their own workouts. Age has little to do with it, and it’s never too late to begin!

Robbin and Dawn spend about an hour working out at the gym in the morning before work, returns to the gym during Robbin’s lunch hour. She has lunch before going back to work. In the evenings, Robbin does a cardio-workout before retiring. Then she gets up and does it all over again!

Dawn shares that training became much more intense about 12 weeks before the competition, but Robbin pushed through it. “It was difficult physically and mentally. We added calories to her diet to build as much muscle as she could. At six weeks, she started cutting calories to become as lean as possible. She drank two gallons of water a day and was limited to 700 calories per day. It’s a fine line where you can burn too many calories and start burning up the muscle as well.”

Dawn wanted to keep her motivated, but also was careful not to overdo it. “Robbin was serious about wanting to keep going and giving it her all.”

“But we trusted each other,” said Robbin.

Indeed, Dawn knows how it works. She was on the ski team in college and the scholarships she earned paved her way through college. She’s remained active her entire life and at 58, still has the physique of a 20 year old. Since she and her husband moved here about five years ago, Dawn has become actively involved at Bald Mountain, teaching others the art of navigating the slopes on skis, fostering a love of winter sports essential to surviving the long winters.

Dawn admitted that if it weren’t for Robbin, she probably wouldn’t be spending that kind of time at the gym, and the same goes for Robbin. It works both ways. Knowing the other will be there is a huge motivator.

Robbin tells me pain is also a motivator. “When I’m not at the gym, my lower back starts hurting, and I know what I need to do to alleviate that pain.

“We have fun and we feel good. My doctor was amazed at my last annual physical. I was off the charts!”

Dawn added that she was told she was the healthiest person her doctor had seen all year!

For certain, not everyone has the goal of competing, but if you’re is in pain, if you’re stressed, or just want to feel more fit, everyone can improve the way they feel and move. You may not know how to begin, but the most important thing is to start! Start slowly and learn the proper way to lift and move.

“When people walk into a gym for the first time,” notes Robbin, “they are often intimidated by all the unfamiliar equipment, or they may be intimidated that all the people working out. How many turn around and walk back out because they are shy or embarrassed of not knowing how to start? Perhaps they are afraid of being judged. That’s not what we do.

“It’s those people we want to reach out to,” says Robbin. “We’ll be glad to show you how the equipment works and once you learn the equipment, you’re good to go. You’ll be able to walk into any gym with confidence!

“Inspiration runs both ways. Some of the folks you’ll notice working out are well into their 80’s, and that’s an inspiration to me,” said Dawn.

“We have a great support team at the gym. The staff at Orofino Physical Therapy has been a tremendous help and were great to make suggestions as well as provide monetary support. At OPT, it’s like we’re one big family,” notes Robbin.

“We’d also like to thank Doug Adams, (who did not compete this year) and his daughter, Courtney Ohlson who are still regulars at the gym, for all of their ongoing help and encouragement.

The Ponderosa Restaurant has shown incredible support. “Anytime I needed to eat here in town, I could depend on the Ponderosa to accommodate and prepare exactly what I needed to eat. They were wonderfully supportive.

Thrivent Financial, owned by Robbin’s step-son also contributed funds to show their support and help with expenses. Robbin shared that a lot of local businesses utilize their services to save and reduce the cost of processing credit card transactions.

Last but not least, “Our husbands have been really supportive of our schedules and diets,” said Dawn. “It takes a lot of time, so it’s a commitment for them too.”

It took a village. With all the support from the community, Robbin said it made her think, “Wow, they really believe in me, there was no way I could let them down. It was all that support to give me the drive and determination to move forward on those difficult days. And let’s not for moment forget my coach, who was there every step of the way, we really are a team.”

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