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Donaldson achieves personal fitness goal

Paw-Paw was right.

Leslie Donaldson proved her grandfather, affectionately known as Paw-Paw knew what he was talking about when he told his grandchildren to chase their dreams.

"My Paw-Paw used to tell me that if you have dreams you dream or goals you strive for, you can achieve anything if you put your heart into it," Donaldson said.

She proved her grandfather's words by not only competing in the fourth annual Supernatural Bodybuilding and Fitness America RayFlex Gear Capital Classic in Montgomery this past weekend, but by also finishing fourth.

She and the rest of the participants were judged based on their performance in a fitness round, a swimsuit round and an interview round.

Her fourth place finish just missed qualifying for the SNBF Fitness America Nationals in Georgia. The participants at the SNBF Fitness America Nationals will compete for the chance to move on to the Fitness America Pageant as seen on ESPN.

Donaldson said her goal was to participate in the event and she was overwhelmed with joy once she achieved her goal.

"To place in the top five the first time I competed is really a big honor," Donaldson said. "It was really just a wonderful experience. It's just a great experience. I had so much fun.

"If I have the opportunity to do it again I'd like to compete again," she added.

In preparation for the competition, Donaldson spent countless hours working out while also continuing to do her job as a trainer at Ladies First and USA Gym.

She worked out for three hours a day, six days a week in the final months of preparation. She said she usually works out four to five days a week for about 90 minutes each day.

Her workout scheduled kept her busy, but she always had time for her husband, Jake Donaldson, and her two children, six-year-old Kortni and five-year-old Gunner.

When she wasn't training, her many roles at Ladies First and USA Gym helped prepare her for the competition where she teaches kickboxing and tumbling classes.

Her job also helped her in a way many people do not realize.

"I want to give the biggest thanks to my family and friends who supported me," Donaldson said. "I really had the most support from the members of USA Gym and Ladies First. I couldn't have done it without them.

"These people here have motivated me 100 percent," she added. "I am inspired by the people who come in and work so hard to reach a goal and how they respond when they reach that goal really inspired me."

Paw-Paw was right. Donaldson knows that now and is reminded of his wisdom every day when someone reaches a goal.

Also, she has many fond memories from competing in the fitness competition that prove her grandfather knew what he was talking about.