Heffner has been growing up on the west side of Indianapolis and she has always been a plump girl. She weighed 300lbs when she was 19. In fact, Rachel always thought her life will stop when she is 25 because of her weight.
However, in August, when she was already 27, Heffner appeared on stage at Indiana Championship Bodybuilding competition wearing a glittery two-piece and high heels. She felt as if she was always meant to be there.
The Journey from 300 lbs to novice bodybuilding championship
On Tuesday, August 21, 2018, Rachel Heffner holds a Wonder Woman bodybuilding pose at ARC Fitness Indy. She trains and works here as a manager.
Heffner managed to go from weighing 300lbs in 2011 to winning the 2018 NPC Indiana State Championships Women’s Open Physique Overall Champion.
Rachel took five first-place trophies and a state title. Now she feels a totally different person. Now Heffner can watch herself in a mirror lifting a large weighted plate.
Rachel can be proud of her now. She has new muscles, new tan, new bellybutton, and new attention. Now she is sure to be in the right body. Unfortunately, she avoided it for years. Now she is different from that woman who bought a pair of tennis shoes and could hardly walk on a jogging track in the basement of her University dorm.
Even moving was the challenge for her at first. She could hardly cut down to one soda per day. A bit later, she found some healthy options in the dining halls of the dorm and decided to lift weights after her physical conditioning class.
Heffner finds a new challenge all the time. Yes, her outlook and weight have changed, but her dedication hasn’t.
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i wanted to take a moment to shout out these amazing athletes that i had the honor of standing next to this past saturday at the #indianastatechampionships. what we do isn’t easy, which is why not just anyone can do it. we truly are the elite! thank you for making my first show one of the highlights of my year! i look forward to standing next to you all again soon ❤️
Rachel’s parents were police officers. For that reason, she was left to eat whatever she finds in the house. However, she started to get significant weight with grief.
Kim, Rachel’s mom, was diagnosed with a rare disease developing rapidly. Kim and Rachel were best friends, according to Rachel. They could go fishing, cooking, or baking together.
They did so many things together. Unfortunately, her mom died in 1998, when Rachel was only 7. She turned to food because of her grief.
By 2010, when she started her freshman year, Rachel wasn’t happy. She had some problems with her roommate. She felt insecure. She didn’t date anyone and couldn’t even look at herself in the mirror.
She went home for her winter break and something changed. Rachel realized she was tired to feel like this. Heffner decided to buy a pair of running shoes, got rid of all the junk food in her dorm, got a new roommate and set up a goal – to weigh less than half her current weight (139 lbs).
Rachel’s dad became her biggest support. In one month, when she came home for Valentine’s Day and had about 20 down, he bought her granola bars instead of chocolates.
Heffner still didn’t consider bodybuilding. It happened only in 2014 when she graduated. Weightlifting became her passion then.
In three years, 140 lbs were down. According to Rachel, her former high school crush rejected her because of her weight. And she was glad because this was actually the reason for her to lose weight.
Rachel met her trainer and bodybuilder Adam Cayce who offered her a job of his personal assistant. At that time, Heffner worked at a marketing firm and left her job. She became the Arc Fitness manager in the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood of Indianapolis.
Heffner and Adam worked hard and prepared for her abdominal surgery, she had to lift her skin after the weight loss. Rachel could squat 255 lbs (about her initial weight) when her weight was 140 lbs. The week before surgery, in October 2017, she could hit 130 lbs.
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long sappy post, so bare with me. ive been waiting a very long time to post this side by side. i remember in 2011, when i stepped on the treadmill at 300lbs, and began to walk, i thought about what drove me. i worked out in the basement of my college dorm at the time. as i walked, id stare at the cement brick walls and think about myself in the future and how i wanted to be. thin, sure, everyone wants that— but it was more than that. i wanted to see myself as a role model for those who never believed they could. my entire life ive underestimated. im quiet (but seriously i have a loud mouth lol), i keep to myself, only speaking my opinion when asked, i like to be alone and i try to be kind to everyone. i wanted to still be that girl, but also be comfortable in my own skin and know that when people looked to me, they saw hope. over the years, i lost weight, but i made sure to still keep that goal in mind: hope. . . yesterday, i achieved that goal. i stood on the stage at the #indianastatechampionships with my head held high because i deserved to be on that stage with all the other amazing athletes that i had the honor of competing against. it was a tremendous honor standing in front of the judges and showing them my best package. a huge thank you to the judges of the @npc_indiana for awarding me with not only 1st in Open and Novice Figure and Physique for my classes, but awarding me with the title of 2018 Miss Indiana Physique. i will carry the title with me for the rest of my life and honor it. thank you to @dave_bowers for taking the time to speak to me and awarding me the “best new competitor” award— a title that i will cherish for the rest of my life. it was an honor to stand next to all the figure and women’s physique competitors. thank you all for answering my dumb questions and befriending me. thank you to @fiercefitsteph for helping me with my posing and my routine, tanning me a million times, and helping me countless hours with my suit, make up, etc. a huge thank you to my coach, @arc_fitness_community, for never giving up on me. (READ THE REST IN THE COMMENTS) 👇🏼
Rachel Becomes and Athlete
In two weeks after her surgery, Rachel decided to become a bodybuilder. Her coach never had doubts she could do it.
Rachel says that she wanted to be an athlete and inspire other people. She wanted to be an example. Within just a few weeks, Heffner was back to her jogging track and in three months, she was back to lifting weights.
Heffner spent her next eight months in scheduled and portioned meals, cardio training, and an hour or a bit more of weight training daily.
As Rachel won her first competition, her reward was a bacon cheeseburger and fries. However, on Sunday morning, Heffner was back to her meal plan. She confessed that her body craved healthy food.
Bodybuilding became Rachel’s support and family. Everyone wanted to take pictures with her holding trophies. She constantly gets compliments and congrats.
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HARD 👏🏼 WORK . . decided to post this to show what hard work can do. mind you, i did get #excessskinremoval in october of 2017. my results from surgery astound me everyday. never give up on something you want. im living proof that you can do anything you set your mind to. hard work never goes unnoticed. remember that.
Rachel keeps improving her body and competing with herself. For now, Heffner is not sure if she keeps it in bodybuilding or if she tries to get to professional level. She just knows anything is possible.
And now, she is sure to live to see 35.