Israeli bodybuilder Dana Shemesh retires

Citing age and other reasons, such as having reached her goals of winning first place in multiple IFBB PRO (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness) competitions, Jerusalem-born bodybuilder Dana Shemesh announced her retirement this week at the age of 46.

It all started one fine day, in her early twenties, while Dana was working as a graphic designer in Tel Aviv and her friend took her to see a bodybuilding contest.

Little did she know that this program would change her life; She was so captivated by what she saw and from there things happened quickly. She realized that this was the sport for her and decided to make bodybuilding her lifestyle.

At 29, she quit smoking and started running and lifting weights for the first time in her life while changing careers to become a personal trainer.

“Everyone said I was crazy, but I never listened to them. Instead, I followed my heart and did what made me happy. “

Shemesh competed for the first time at age 35 and won first place in a competition in Israel. She noted that even if she hadn’t won, her first competition was still a very defining moment that would encourage her to be consistent and persevere.

During IDF service at 18, she still had an “average” build and, although she had played volleyball and other sports before, she was not used to lifting heavy weights.

Moving forward in time, since that first contest, he has competed in several more, such as the Arnold Classic in Ohio, and has taken the first-place trophy in some.

Shemesh moved to the US in 2016 to fulfill his bodybuilding dreams and immediately noticed that the US definitely has a larger lifting culture than Israel.

She also found that many of her American-born competitors were half her age and began lifting weights in high school, at 16 or even 14. She has the distinction of being the first and only Israeli woman to compete in the IFBB PRO.

He now lives in Florida and says that although he has retired from competition, he has not left the sport entirely and will continue to coach and coach others to help them achieve their fitness goals.

“Although it is very rewarding and I enjoy doing this, it is definitely challenging,” he said. “After all, I made it to the top and that’s quite an achievement.”

Shemesh added that “weight lifting is a great way to stay active and healthy,” and recommends it to anyone looking for a new activity to engage in. He also said that “it is the best anti-aging action you can do for yourself, even if you are not going to compete. After all, it is never too late to change your life, and you are never too old to improve your health! It all begins. by making a decision and sticking with it! “

He also mentioned that the COVID-19 pandemic affected the nature of the competitions. Specifically, things got tough when gyms closed, competitions were postponed or canceled, people were unable to travel, etc.

“But we got through it and I raced in Tampa Pro and Pittsburgh Pro last year despite the crown! So, we won a lot!

“Bodybuilding will always be a part of my life. In 2018, I got my IFBB Pro card and became the first and only Israeli professional bodybuilder. But all athletes, regardless of their sport, have to retire at some point ”.

When asked how much he could bench press, Shemesh laughed and replied, “I don’t usually max out as bodybuilding has more to do with physique than brute force, but I can do two plates (225 pounds) for reps and 300 for a one rep max on a good day. “

He commented that in the last 10 years things have definitely changed.

“Judges today demand a more ‘dry’ physique than before. Also, if you realize then and now, female bodybuilders have definitely gotten bigger and more ‘wrecked’ than they were in the past. “

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