This is Emma, and this is her story: "Before college, I was a cheerleader for 6 years. After my 5th year of cheer, though, I was really burnt out and I didn't have the same passion or drive to do it as I once had before. I had surgery on my foot and was out for the beginning of my senior year of cheer. Going through physical therapy, I realized that I really enjoyed all the exercises we were doing. However, I never pursued the idea of going to a gym until I came across a fitness instagrammers page about lifting weights and seeing the transformation before and after lifting for several years. I was absolutely blown away and decided that this was what I wanted to do. I needed something to spark a passion in me again. Little did I know weight lifting was that something. I was very petite all throughout my life and never truly needed to exercise for weight related purposes, so this was something totally new for me. I also didn't have the greatest support going into it. My parents didn't understand the world of bodybuilding and thought I wanted to turn into a huge hulk girl. My boyfriend didnt understand why I wanted to either, because he had always seen weight lifting as a punishment in football. I was all on my own in my pursuit of lifting and wanting to change my body composition. When I started to track my food intake my parents would look at me like I had two heads and get irritated with me if I asked what we were having for dinner too frequently. I wanted to be so dedicated to the lifestyle of bodybuilding, yet no one else really understood my passion for it. A little more than two years later, I now weigh 15 lbs heavier than I did before weight lifting, yet I am in 100% better shape. I'm currently on prep for my first bodybuilding show; this day could not come any sooner! I now have such amazing support from my friends, current boyfriend and my family. So whatever your passion may be, go follow it and believe in yourself, even if no one else does." #featurefriday

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