Radical Recreation: The weight of college has been lifted

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Kally Greene-Gudmundson, left, strikes a pose at her bodybuilding competition in October 2016. Greene-Gudmundson placed first in her class of 11 and second overall in three classes. Photo credit: Kally Greene-Gudmundson

After four years, Kally Greene-Gudmundson, double major in marketing and business management, will be graduating from UAA this spring. Throughout high school, Greene-Gudmundson was active in sports and once she started college, she had to find a new outlet for fitness. Greene-Gudmundson started going to the gym regularly, grew interested in bodybuilding and eventually began training for competitions.

“At first, it was just something to keep me in shape and occupied until I started meeting people who competed,” Greene-Gudmundson said. “After watching them compete, it really enticed me and made me feel like it was something I could do.”

Greene has been bodybuilding for a year and a half now and has participated in two competitions, one in April of 2016 and the second last October. In her first competition, Greene-Gudmundson placed seventh out of eleven and didn’t do as well as she thought, this pushed her to work even harder for the next competition.

“I was not nearly as prepared as I could have been, I approached it with the ‘It’s not that hard’ mindset and I couldn’t have been more wrong,” Greene-Gudmundson said. “I began training for the October show in June, pushing myself significantly harder than before and practicing my posing everyday.”

Greene-Gudmundson’s training paid off for her competition in October. She placed first in her class of 11 and second over all three classes. She plans on competing again this year.

“I’ll compete again within the next year at the state level and based on my performance there. I’ll consider a national show; I’m the kind of person that doesn’t like feeling like I’m not the best I can be, so I’m very anxious to work my way up as far as my abilities will allow. It’s honestly so amazing what the human body can do and just in the short time I’ve been training, the changes that have taken place keep me motivated to see how far I can push myself,” Greene-Gudmundson said.

Watching her body transition through training is what keeps Greene-Gudmundson motivated to push even harder. Sometimes she is surprised by what her body can do compared to where she was a year and a half ago with training.

“My favorite thing about bodybuilding has got to be the high you get when you hit a new PR, it’s honestly the most gratifying feeling,” Greene-Gudmundson said. “When I first started training, I was excited to even be pushing half of my body weight, now after 18 months, I’m pushing almost double, sometimes triple my body weight and just the concept of knowing you’re physically capable of doing that blows my mind.”

Most people dread going to the gym, but this is not the case for Greene-Gudmudson. Not only was it a stress reliever through busy times, but it was a way for her to escape.

“The gym has become my favorite part of the day, whether it’s been a good or bad day once you get there and put your headphones in, you’re in your own world and knowing you can move that kind of weight makes you almost feel invincible, it’s my outlet for everything,” Greene-Gudmundson said.

Like many students starting college, Greene-Gudmundson was unsure of the direction she wanted to go in school. She was drawn to marketing because she knew business would give her a decent foundation for future careers. During her junior year, she was advised by a friend to double major in marketing and management, which only has a difference of seven classes. Taking on school full time, she is able to graduate in four years.

“I went into it with the mindset that I’d be set back a semester, but after weighing in a full course load during the summer time and 21 credits per term I was able to graduate on time,” Greene-Gudmundson said. “I wasn’t at all expecting to enjoy my classes as much as I have and a big part of that goes to some of the amazing professors the college of business has, overall I know this was a perfect choice for a career field for me.”

To celebrate her achievement, Greene-Gudmundson has a trip planned after graduation and will come home to a full-time job.

“I leave the day after graduation for Costa Rica, I’ve never been outside of the country aside from Canada so I’m really looking forward to it,” Greene-Gudmundson said. “When I get back, I’ll start full time at NANA Development Corporation where I’ve been for the last two school years.”

Through the dieting, training and taking on 21 credits per semester, Greene is proud of her achievements and is looking forward to being a part of commencement. At this spring graduation, Greene will be doing a different kind of walk down the stage, striking a pose in her cap and gown.