DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, Utah -- What does it take to make a woman strong? There's a lot of free advice out there to help women merit the qualities of a strong woman: Stand up for yourself. Believe in you. Keep challenging yourself. Take care of you.
Those words are easy to say, but taking on a transformative challenge takes real grit. One woman at Dugway Proving Ground took on a personal challenge transforming her frame in just four grueling months of early morning hours at the Shocklee Fitness Center, sculpting her body into a bodybuilding wonder woman.
Alesha Davis, an administrative clerk for Chenega Corporation at Dugway came to Dugway from Korea. A native of Alaska, she said she had always wanted to see the world. This longing for new experiences also brought her to Utah and to a new challenge: bodybuilding.
"This is first time in my life to compete in bodybuilding," said Davis, a petite, quiet spoken woman with a warm helpful manner.
She arrived in November of last year. The remote location and winter weather made it difficult to meet new friends, but led her to pursue a new interest.
"I didn't know many people those first few months, so I needed something to focus on in my spare time. I needed a goal to complete and Dugway has a great fitness center so I wanted to get in shape," she said.
She began by researching exercise programs. She wanted something demanding. Her research told her weightlifting would be time-consuming, even arduous, but that didn't stop her.
"I wanted a challenge, one that was time consuming and tough," she said. "Bodybuilding meant I need to commit to following a strict meal plan."
Davis next had to choose one of four categories to compete in: Bikini (a softer look focused on the traditional female body shape), Figure (feminine, but emphasizes muscle definition and symmetry), Physique (muscle size and development), or
Bodybuilding (heavily muscled with low body fat).
Davis choose to compete in the Figure division.
"For me, it was about having a figure that looked athletic and healthy. I had always wanted to compete," she admitted. "Being new at Dugway, I had zero distractions, it seemed the perfect time to begin."
She also decided that she needed a coach. In South Jordan, Utah, she found Jeff and Jen Leter, a well-established training team who encouraged her to take on the new challenge.
"Jeff and Jen gave me all the tools I needed to make it up on stage. All I needed to do was execute. I could not have done it without them," she added.
Her first competition was April 22, it meant she had just 19 weeks of preparation. She knew it would take discipline.
"I gave it my all, though it was difficult training a lot by myself," she said, but was swift to mention it was a big help to check weekly with her coaches, though sometimes because of the stormy weather it was by email."
By setting goals, maintaining a routine and working hard to maintain a balanced nutrition schedule, she whittled her body fat from 27 percent to eventually weighing a lean 125 pounds. Her sculptured body won her first place in Figure Division.
For now she is taking a brief break, but her dreams include working toward the national competitions.
"The truth is, I love a challenge and I view it all as an adventure," she said. "And I like being in shape."
With determination, perseverance and grit, Davis is likely to make that dream