By Sgt. Ricardo Branch, 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public AffairsJune 4, 2009
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii (June 2, 2009) - A military spouse, personal trainer and mother may be a lot to juggle for one woman but Christina Mace also challenged Hawaii\'s top female bodybuilders.
During the 2009 Armed Forces Hawaii Bodybuilding Championship, she joined more than 40 participants vying for the title of overall champion.
"I was a little disappointed because I lost in a figure competition a few weeks prior and I was confident going into that one," said 35-year-old Christina Mace, personal trainer and military spouse from Cobb Mountain, Calif. "When I did this competition I went in with the hope of winning, but I didn't expect it."
Standing at 5'1, 118 lbs, it's hard to imagine someone of her stature as a bodybuilder but don't let size fool you, Christina's been an aspiring bodybuilder for some time.
"I have been a personal trainer for about 10 years, and one aspect from my job is that I get a whole variety of clients, ones that are out of shape and you want to help them maintain some form of fitness, to clients who are extremely conditioned."
The extremely fit clients would on occasion be bodybuilders themselves, which intrigued the veteran fitness trainer during her time on the island.
"Once we were assigned here in Hawaii, I had the opportunity to be around a lot of bodybuilders and many of them offered their encouragement that I should compete as well," she said.
Mace, who teaches cardio kickboxing classes, then heard about the Armed Forces Hawaii Bodybuilding Championship and saw the opportunity to challenge herself.
"There's a lot of dedication involved with doing these competitions," she said. "You have to be very disciplined. The exercise part came naturally to me because I enjoy exercising on a daily basis. That's part of any fitness trainer routine."
Mace trained for 49-days before the competition with two-hour routines in the gym, which include a strenuous abdominal workout, weightlifting and extensive cadio regimes to hone her body for the event.
"Because I have a family, I had to plan my workouts a day in advance," she said. "I would get up by 5 a.m. and make sure I have my meals for the day. I'd make myself oatmeal, take my daughter to school, and then go straight to the gym for two hours. Depending on my focus, that would determine my workouts. Every day was an abs workout, along with two days a week working my legs. While I did all this, I was still working full time as a personal trainer."
Mace said the competition was a personal challenge but one she felt she was ready for all along.
"When I set my mind on a goal, I don't deviate," she said. "You can't cheat; my opinion is that if you cheat on your diet or exercise, it's going to show on the stage."
It never showed on stage when Tina Mace was performing. Even when her routine began with the wrong music, it did little to hinder the goal-setting competitor.
"I was worried that maybe I mistook the music or that it really wasn't the right music. I turned around, tried to look graceful, and then heard my husband in the audience yelling, "That's not her music!"
Christina Mace credits her family and friends who supported her with helping achieve top honors in the women's lightweight division, and also the women's overall crown.
"I had immense support," she said. "My father actually helped sponsor me for the competition because it can get quite pricey when you try and get a custom made body suit. Everyone was really, really supportive. All my clients and students in my classes and my family ... they were my number one."
Her husband, Sgt. Maj. Kent Mace, munitions sergeant major for the 8th Theater Sustainment Command at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, saw his wife through every step of the way. From the strict diets, to the gym routines, Kent Mace saw Christina's drive to compete and knew she would succeed.
"With all the hard work she does -- going to the gym every day, the meals she was eating -- she never cheated her body," he said. "She was dedicated to it and I knew it would pay off in the end. I tried to go to the gym whenever I could with her. She always lifted light and wanted to lift heavy, so I'd take time out of lunch to go over there and lift heavy with her, but most of the training she did on her own."
Kent Mace said he's proud in his wife for doing what she loves for her fitness.
"My wife is the best person I have ever known," he said. "She's so supportive with anything and everyone, and she'll do anything for anybody. Her discipline and determination is what makes me love her more and more - I knew she could win it."
The competition may be over for Christina Mace in Hawaii, but the bodybuilding is far from done for this former Soldier. She's moving to Europe when her spouse is stationed there but will continue to pursue her newly established role as a bodybuilder.
"I plan on competing again," she said. "Once you get bit by the competition bug, it doesn't go away. I have everything ready, and I feel I can actually perform better the second time around because a lot of the learning curve is already completed. I am already hearing about a competition over there and I intend to take it. I'm even encouraging my husband to compete this time, as well."