PASO ROBLES — Three weeks ago the Paso Robles Press sat down with local amateur bodybuilder Linda Flynn who finished in second place for three consecutive years at the Masters National Championships in Pittsburgh, Pa. This year the 58-year-old changed her trainer and changed her approach to the championship and made her return to Pittsburgh two weeks ago and absolutely blew the competition away winning not once, but in three different classes, officially earning the IBF Pro-card she has been chasing.
Flynn is a competitor of the highest degree and because of that drive, she entered the over 50 division, the over 55 division and the overall division to complete her bodybuilding trifecta. In the morning before the competitions, all the competitors must report for their prejudging where the ladies are judged as a group and individually on stage. Following this preliminary judging process, the bodybuilders are put into orders of five with the first group obviously containing the five favorites. Flynn was in the top five for all three groups but as a veteran of the Masters competition, she did not let it affect her emotions.
“I’ve learned in this sport to never believe it until you are actually called out at night,” Flynn said with a smirk and that is exactly what she did.
Coming out onto the stage in six-inch heels and a pink and silver sequined bikini, Flynn sparkled in front of everyone as her body replaced her normally effervescent personality as the brightest thing in the room while she stayed reserved and hit her poses.
In years past with her former trainer, Flynn would begin her laborious cardio regiment that consisted of 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes at night while not consuming any carbohydrates in her diet about four weeks out from the competitions.
“It just strips your muscles,” Flynn pointed out. “I was ending up on stage stringy and very tired and you could tell I was tired.”
This year, after reaching out to some of the judges from years past, Flynn decided it was time to make an adjustment and changed both her posing and nutrition coaches. As her new nutritionist, Blaine Hare encouraged Flynn to achieve her optimum weight purely through nutrition rather than long cardio sessions which leave your body looking depleted and it made all the difference.
“I think the number one thing that was important to winning this year was the no cardio,” she said. “It made me lift more and heavier so I think my body was fuller.”
Standing on the stage with four other women, Flynn waited to hear her name in the first of her three groups, the 55 and older. They called the first name, second and then the third with no mention of the No. 812 she had pinned to her bottoms meaning she was in the top 2. However, this time, they called her name and suddenly the four years of waiting became worth it. Linda Flynn took first place and officially became a professional bodybuilder, but the winning didn’t stop there.
“It was surreal,” she said. “It was just kind of unbelievable because I have waited so long and worked so hard but then immediately because of how competitive I am I started thinking about going for the overall.”
Five minutes later she was back up on the stage in the finals for the over 50 class and once again heard her name called as champion.
“After she won her second class, all nine judges applauded her,” Bob Flynn, Linda’s husband said. “And they don’t applaud anybody, but they did because she made such a difference in her body this year.”
Just two minutes after receiving her second trophy she was back up on stage, this time for the overall competition, and walked off the stage with her arms full of awards like Shaquille O’Neal after the Los Angeles Lakers won three consecutive titles.
“It was such a blur because it was such a big thing for me,” she said. “And I was trying to absorb it but I said it was like getting married because you try and absorb the day and it goes so fast.”
Now as a professional Flynn can begin competing internationally and most importantly will be able to win prize money at future competitions. While most people might take some time off and eat some food, Flynn already has her sights set on her first professional competition.