Bucket list item leads to bodybuilding

Photo by Renee Beasley Jones, Messenger-Inquirer | rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com Natali Hall, 39, of Daviess County, took up bodybuilding in early 2017. That year, she won several awards in three competitions. These trophies represent only two of her awards.

At home, Natali Hall looks like every mom in her jeans, long-sleeved sweater and slippers.

It’s easy to tell the mother of two – 17-year-old Kegan and 13-year-old Tinley -- is fit and active, but, at first glance, few would guess her hobby.

Hall is an amateur bodybuilder.

She stands 5 feet 1 inch, and her weight fluctuates between 118 and 120 pounds.

Don’t let her small frame fool you.

This powerhouse has squatted 225 pounds.

“Shorter people sorta pack a punch,” she said, with a smile.

Hall is a self-confessed tomboy who was raised to shoot guns “and do what boys do.”

As a kid, she remembers watching bodybuilders on TV and hoping to try it someday.

In 2015, she started training for the Tough Mudder, a 10.1-mile, 25-obstacle course in Sparta. Competing in the challenge was one of her many bucket list items.

She and her husband, Brandon Hall, completed the course in 3.5 hours.

“After it was all over with, I stuck with the gym,” Hall said.

Before long, friends and family started to notice a transformation in her physique. They encouraged her to compete in bodybuilding shows.

In December 2016, she decided to go for it. She trained three months and entered the Indiana Muscle in March 2017.

That autumn, Hall competed in the Kentucky Muscle and Tricky Jackson shows.

The novice brought home several awards and trophies. She earned awards from each show.

“It’s mentally hard and physically hard,” Hall said.

While training for a show, she works out six days a week for a couple of hours each day. She sticks to a diet and drinks a least a gallon of water daily. That bumps up to 2 gallons the week before a show.

“I didn’t know what to expect at the first show,” Hall said. “You are backstage with all these beautiful bodies, but they aren’t catty. They’re sharing recipes, talking about their struggles and peak week.”

Peak week is the week before a show, when the pressure really starts to mount.

Some competitors – men and women – are in their 70s and 80s.

“It’s impressive,” Hall said.

To maintain her current level of fitness, Hall works out up to five days a week for about an hour and watches what she eats.

However, one “cheat meal” a week won’t hurt, says the woman who loves pizza and steaks cooked medium to medium rare.

Before the Tough Mudder, Hall wasn’t into exercise. She kept her figure thanks to “good metabolism and good genes.”

She’s thinking about competing again in 2020; however, Kegan is a senior in high school. Hall, who works as a nurse and esthetician at Premier Medical Group, wants to be home with him as much as possible during his final year.

In the meantime, she’s clicking off other bucket list items.

Earlier this year, Hall went skydiving and hiked the Red River Gorge, a canyon system near Lexington.

Still on Hall’s list: an Alaskan cruise; trips to New York City, Paris, Ireland and Thailand; making a quilt with her grandma and paying for someone else’s groceries.

There is little doubt she will accomplish each one.

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

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