Some might describe fibromyalgia as unrelenting aches and pains that wake you from sleep. Others might say it’s injecting vitamin cocktails that help numb the pain, but never cure it.
To 45-year-old Naples resident Tammy Cazares, fibromyalgia is raising three kids through painfully restless nights, chronic fatigue, and a miraculous story of beating a disease and chasing a dream.
In 2005, Cazares started to notice severe drops in her energy because of her fibromyalgia while working at Gulfcoast Foreclosure Solutions. She visited a pain manager center that suggested exercise would help combat the pain. She began to work out haphazardly, but the heavy lifting seemed to only make her pain worse. Then close friend and body builder Jeanette Carrillo suggested training with her. Along with a strict workout regimen and increased protein consumption, her fatigue and pain increased.
She went on to continue the training at JABZ Health and Fitness gym, located on Trade Center Way in Naples, with trainer Sylvester “Sly” Solomon. After a short time she began to express an interest in competing in a local body building show. Solomon had already earned his pro card, won multiple pro body building competitions, and trained many other successful first place competitors in body building events.
Cazares selected her first show — the National Physique Committee’s (NPC) Southeastern USA competition — which is ranked among the highest levels for women’s amateur body building. Cazares was put through rigorous training and taught poses to accent particular muscles. Despite the pains of her fibromyalgia, she and Solomon finished the training for the competition without the help of any pain medication.
Although Cazares was always in reasonably good shape, she described her body building training as very difficult. Some of her training included increasing her meals from two to six times a day. She also did weight and cardio training at least three times a week with Solomon for eight months. This was not only to gain muscles, but also to become as defined as possible while staying under the 115-pound weight limit. One of the other requirements for the tournament was 90 seconds worth of muscle posing. These poses needed to include moves that enhanced her chest, bicep, tricep and latissimus dorsi muscles. With the help of Solomon she developed her body and routine and readied herself for the competition.
“She’s a natural. With the experience I have with athletes, I knew she was ready to compete,” said Solomon when asked about training Cazares.
Cazares and Solomon entered the 2010 NPC Southeastern USA and placed first for their 90-second choreographed muscle poses. She went on to the NPC All South Championship Body Building Competition and took first place again.
This unmeasurable accomplishment inspired her to earn a pro card like Solomon. This will allow her to compete in paid competitions and win thousands of dollars. She continues her hard training and is working towars the USA International Federation of Body Building Qualifier in Las Vegas on July 29, where she could potentially win her pro card.
When asked about how she pushes through the pain of fibromyalgia, Cazares said, “This is my way of life,” and went on to explain how she plans to win the Ms. Universe pageant after she gains her pro card.
But Cazares still suffers stiffness from fibromyalgia.
“I don’t want to fool anyone, weight training is not a cure,” she said. “But it surely helps manage the pain and helps you live a productive life.”
She went on to say that body building isn’t for everyone, but anyone can benefit from having a healthy body. She believes this so much that all three of her kids also do some form of weight lifting.
The road to becoming a pro body builder is a very costly endeavor and Cazares is currently looking for any assistance through sponsorships or donations that would help support her journey to becoming a pro lightweight bodybuilder. She can be reached via her web site at TammyCazares.com.