The following are brief profiles of interviewees. The full interviews and insights will be published in an upcoming book.

Maria in 2003, shortly after her accident

Maria in 2003, shortly after her accident

Maria four years later living strong

Maria four years later living strong

Maria Riquet is a 57 year old body builder who is originally from Brazil, and who came to the United States to get a college education. Maria used to dance ballet and play tennis when she was young and living in Brazil. When she moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico she took up running, and ran for many years, although not competitively. Maria was motivated to stay in shape and look good, so when she was raising her children, would run early in the morning before her husband would leave for work. When her kids got older, Maria discovered cycling, and went on to be a competitive master’s cyclist, winning Florida state championships in the road race, criterium, and time trial events.

In 2003, Maria had a horrific cycling accident, when the driver of a car hit the group she was cycling with head on. This accident left Maria fighting for her life, with many broken bones. One of the most debilitating was her broken tibia, which was left in 30 pieces.

Having been inspired by a body building show on ESPN that she used to watch while raising her sons, Maria visualized about body building, from her hospital bed. While the doctors were telling her that she would never be able to do hard work with her legs, Maria was visualizing strengthening and honing her body to that of a body builder.

Three years after the accident, Maria competed in her first body building competition and placed fourth. A year later, Maria won that same competition.

Maria works out with a bunch of very strong male body builders, who refer to her as The Beast, because of how hard she works out. I’ll bet the doctors who put Maria back together would be shocked to see her leg press 690 pounds.