Ann Bunge is not offended if you tell her that has the kind of physique that Arnold Schwarzenegger would be impressed with. In fact, she’d take it as a compliment.
Bunge, you see, is a female body builder. She hopes to one day strut her stuff in front of Schwarzenegger, himself. That’s why she spends numerous hours in the gymnasium working on exercises and techniques that will shape mold and form her physique into a picturesque figure that would cause anybody to pause.
“I like the athletic appeal to body building,” Bunge said. “I like feeling strong and healthy.”
Bunge, 45, moved to Woodland Park five years ago with her husband and two boys.
A certified personal trainer and certified nutritionist, Bunge spends much of her time at the Woodland Fitness Center.
“I truly believe that if you don’t become obsessed with it, exercise right, eat right, not taking any types of supplements that are bad for you, I think it’s the secret to staying young” she said.
Bunge earned her pro card July 19 at the Physique Committee (NPC) Teen, Collegiate and Masters National Championships in Pittsburgh, Pa. She took first place in the 45-plus “C” class and third place in the 35-plus “C” class.
Her first professional competition is Oct. 12 in Houston. The top prize is around $6,000.
“I’m trying to bring my shoulders up a little bit, put a little thickness in my back and tighten up my legs and butt a little bit; that’s always a problem for women,” said Bunge, whose competition swim suits cost up to $2,000.
Bunge began bodybuilding in 2003. An avid sportswoman and athlete, she entered about one competition per year for several years. In 2007, as a way to celebrate her 40th birthday, she competed in the Ms. Fitness America Competition in Los Angeles and placed second in the Masters Division.
“I thought “Wow, I can to this,’” Bunge said.
But by the next year, however, Bunge was feeling that perhaps she made the wrong choice to take up the sport after a poor showing at the NPC Carla Sanchez Fitness Fiesta in Denver.
“There were only three people in my class and I finished third,” Bunge said. “I got discouraged. I still competed, but my heart wasn’t really into it. I wasn’t really excited about it.
“I was too small, I guess. At that point (the judges) were looking for girls with bigger muscles. That was too much for me. I didn’t want to go there.”
Bunge decided to all but walk away from the sport in 2011 when she finished 16th in her division at the Arnold (Schwarzenegger) Classic in Columbus, Ohio.
“When I got back from that I had a really hard time,” Bunge said. “I was done. I was sick of it. I stopped for a few years.”
Last October, Bunge was encouraged by friends to compete again. So she set a goal of competing in the NPC Northern Colorado Figure Championships in Golden in April of this year.
She took first place in two classes, including overall (all ages), and regained her confidence.
“It really felt good,” said Bunge, who has a 25-inch waist and wears a 00 dress size. “I thought `Maybe I should try and go a little bit further and see if I can get a pro card. I got it on my first try, and honestly that’s very rare. A lot of my friends have tried several times and they still haven’t gotten it.
“It’s not an easy thing to do, but I think I put enough time in to where I knew what I needed to do between my workouts, what I eat, cardio and posing.”
Bunge (5-foot, 120 pounds) more than holds her own at the gym, where she often out lifts the men. Her workouts include lifting two 40-pound dumbbells over her head 10 to 12 times, leg pressing 600 pounds eight to 10 times, curling 67 ½ pounds 10 times, as well as four sets of 10 pull ups each. She also does squats, a lot of stretching and aggressive cardio workouts.
Bunge takes great pride in her career as a personal trainer.
“A lot of people up here in Woodland Park are very athletic,” Bunge said. “They just want something that’s going to help them get in condition with their skiing, their hiking, etc. I try to create a program that will benefit them in those areas.”