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Meet Tomoko Kanda, Japan’s Cutest Female Bodybuilder. She Is 48 Years Old!

People often believe that female bodybuilders have to compromise on their feminine charm in order to lift heavy and win competitions, but Japanese bodybuilder Tomoko Kanda is proving them wrong. The 48-year-old has dedicated her life to bodybuilding and weight training, but also managed to retain her feminine beauty.

Tomoko, who lives in Abeno-Ku, Osaka, was introduced to the world of bodybuilding during her years working for the Department of Defense at Yokota Air Base. “I got fat very easily because of my body type, so a soldier there told me about weight training,” she recalled. “I first did it to lose weight. I was 23 at the time, a late bloomer.”

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Although she was happy with the results that weight training gave her, Tomoko said she wasn’t interested in bodybuilding competitions at first. “I thought I didn’t have the body type for it,” she said. “But then people started asking me if I wanted to enter competitions. That made me think that maybe I was actually cut out for it. After that, I figured I could at least try competing in Japanese tournaments, so I did.”

So Tomoko entered her first competition in 2002, and then again in 2004. After that, she trained for a few years and competed for another three years since 2010. So that’s a total of five to six years of professional bodybuilding. Tomoko says that the attention she gets is amazing, and that it inspires her to keep going. “I realized how interesting it was to be admired and praised,” she said.

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Tomoko’s training involves various aspects – diet, gym, and a solid beauty routine. “Of diet, rest and training, I think the most important aspect is diet,” she explained. “I’m sure that many people work out, but most people don’t end up looking like bodybuilders. I think that’s because of diet. I’d say that diet is 80 percent of it.”

She starts her morning with a soy milk and yogurt shake. “This helps with digestion, contains lactobacillus bifidus, provides soybean nutrition from the soy milk and provides animal-based nutrition from the protein,” she said. She also eats oatmeal for breakfast, because she wants a carbohydrate that’s high in dietary fiber. “The goal is to have a perfect body, like from an anatomy textbook. If I’m not careful about things like sodium, my body becomes weak and round. So if you want a hard body with well-defined muscles, you need to eat right.”

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Tomoko hits the gym every single day, spending two to three hours per session. She trains the larger muscles of her body three to four times a week, and spends the remaining days doing cable training like TRX to work her smaller muscles. “I communicate with my muscles as I train,” she said. “My body feels weird if I take even one day off.”

“Sometimes when I’m feeling down, it’s hard to be motivated,” she admitted. “It’s a slog just to get to the gym. But I feel better as soon as I enter the gym. You have to love this to do it, but I really enjoy it.”

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Tomoko is quite clear about the look that she wants to achieve, so she makes sure to keep in touch with her feminine side as well. “When you start training for competitions, it’s easy to fall into the same mindset as the guys,” she said. “That’s why I’m careful to think about things like doing my nails to maintain my femininity.”

“Creating a feminine, textbook-like body in a creative way is a lot of fun for me,” she added. “My goal is to put on as much muscle as possible while keeping my curves. If I have big shoulders, a little roundness, and a small waist, I can get a nice body shape. An S-shaped body.”

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She also spends a considerable amount of time tanning herself, in order to look good at competitions. “I start tanning outside as soon as it gets warm in the spring,” she said. “I just tan on my roof. I don’t tan my face, I just use dark foundation during competitions. I have to pay special attention to my armpits. I start by applying cream, to smooth out the wrinkles. Then, I hold my computer up to get some sun in there. The light halos around you on stage, so your muscles look more defined if you’re tanned. We all tan.”

Tomoko’s story is truly inspiring – the dedication with which she pursues her passion is really admirable. “Being able to add more weight means I’m gaining muscle, so it’s very satisfying to me,” she said. “It’s a great feeling when I can do those last three reps. Competitions are almost like recitals to me.”

 

“I’m happy I decided to do this for a lot of reasons. I’m who I am today because of bodybuilding. I think it’s what gives me confidence,” Tomoko concluded.

I don’t know about you, but I think at age 48 Tomoko Kanda looks young enough to give Masako Mizutani, a.k.a. Japan’s Lady of Eternal Youth, a run for her money.

Photos: Bodybuilding.com

via VICE Japan

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