There’s an old adage that says “we must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” No one knows the truth to this saying more than Alana Clark. The 51-year-old lady is a powerhouse of strength. Even with insurmountable odds, she conquered her fears and landed one of the most coveted titles in the country. She is the 2016 bodybuilding championship winner. She became a victor by using more willpower and grit than people half her age. And she’s accomplished this despite being born with cerebral palsy and experiencing a series of traumatic events in life.
Making Lemonade Out of Lemons
Clark has always been an overcomer. Born with a crippling condition, life was difficult. Yet, she married, had two beautiful sons and a full life. She started each day with a fresh outlook. Yesterday was the past and she prefers to leave it there. She learned to live with her condition and to keep a smile on her face no matter what she felt inside. At the age of 36, she had a stroke. For three weeks, she was wheelchair-bound and unable to speak. However, that wheelchair would never hold her back. She fought and worked until she was up and walking again.
The Strength To Keep Going
When children come into our lives, it completely changes our outlook and our lives begin to take on a new meaning. For Clark, her children have remained her inspiration and strength. However, one day her youngest son, Tom left to run an errand and never returning home. After a horrific car accident took her son’s life, Clark like any mother would suffered with the agonizing reality that she would never see her son again. But she knew that she could and would not let this cripple her either.
So Clark did what she had always done. She found a way to work through the pain. Her doctor suggested exercise to strengthen her body and mind. She first began swimming. It sounded like a great way to develop an exercise regiment, but swimming just wasn’t for her. Then, she took pleasure in remembering how much her son Tom, enjoyed bodybuilding and decided she would too. She recalls how happy and hard he worked to earn his six-pack abs and how often he would boast about it at home. Now at 51 years of age, Clark does the same. The gym became a way for her to find peace and competition bodybuilding has allowed her to find her peace, and her strength to keep going.
The Sweet Taste of Victory
She threw herself into her serious body building programs. While training for Pure Elite World Championships, Alana was getting up at 4:30 am. Her strict diet consisted of chicken, fish, steak, spinach and eggs. She knew that with enough determination, she would prevail. She kept going even when she didn’t feel like it and when the pain was severe. She cut out all sweets, and she turned down alcohol for a protein shake. After months and months of effort, she was in a size six dress, and her body was a work of art. She felt Tom was her inspiration from beyond the grave. She knows he would be so proud of her.
Instead of telling herself all the reasons why she couldn’t do anything, Alana Clark told herself all the reasons she could. As the Japanese Proverb says, “fall seven times, but get up eight,” and that’s exactly what Clark did.