Student Bodybuilder Trisha DeHall a National Contender
Date: Nov. 26, 2001
By: Jennifer Carter
Photos by Andrew Higley
University of Cincinnati nursing student Trisha DeHall returned to perfect form this summer, winning her weight class in the bodybuilding Master's Nationals.
Since returning to competition after a 10-year retirement, DeHall has won the regional Battle of the Champions, the Ohio state competition, and the middleweight class of the Master's Nationals.
DeHall began bodybuilding in 1983 during her freshman year at U.C. While majoring in Design in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), DeHall decided to get into shape. "I thought, you know, I don't want to get old and flabby, and I've always been sort of into anti-aging, so I bought some weights and did them at home," DeHall says. She found that they quickly became too easy. That's when she decided to join a gym.
DeHall joined Parillo's Gym, which just happened to be owned by bodybuilding guru John Parillo. She began to train with Parillo and in 1985 won the "Ms. Cincinnati" competition. "I just got so into it that it just was a natural progression," she says. "It was just by accident that I hooked up with John."
After winning Ms. Cincinnati, Dehall placed 6th in the North American Championships, 8th in the USA Nationals, 2nd in the Junior USA Nationals, and 1st in the Kentucky Derby Championships before retiring.
In 1989, DeHall decided she wanted to pursue her design career. She had already produced and sold a line of spandex sports wear and a line of coats. She now wanted to design costumes for entertainers, so she and her husband, Jim Smith, moved to Branson, Missouri so she could do just that.
In Branson, DeHall built a design company while Smith worked in an emergency room. During that time, Smith became interested in alternative medicines like herbs and vitamins. DeHall was also interested in the field because of her background in bodybuilding. Together, DeHall and Smith decided to open an alternative medicine clinic. However, they felt they needed to be in a more populated area.
In 1998, DeHall and Smith moved back to Cincinnati and opened Dr. Jim's Naturally Well Healing Center, a clinic in Sharonville that is still open today. DeHall decided to return to bodybuilding competition with the help of her training partners, Josh Burdick, Jamie Spottz, and Terry Bryan, the owner of Terry Bryan's Fitness Center, where she trains. She also closed her design company and made the decision to return to U.C. to pursue a nursing degree.
"I decided to switch careers based on that assumption that I need to help people do what I do," DeHall says. As a bodybuilder, "you constantly think of nutrition," DeHall says. She wants to help people understand that nutrition and "prevention is the key to most of your diseases.... It all goes along with diet, exercise, you know, taking the right supplements," she says. "I sort of put it all together now so that I can actually live the way I tell people that they should live. You have to be an example."
DeHall wants to continue bodybuilding for years to come. "I got back in bodybuilding because it polices me. It keeps me from eating the ice cream. It keeps me from drinking the three or four glasses of wine at dinner, because I know... that's fat I just have to get rid of," she says. "I compete now to sort of make myself eat right." And as Dehall points out, "it's the only sport you can wear."
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