MERCEDES, Texas (KVEO) – A Rio Grande Valley resident is reaching for gold as she prepares her body in hopes of becoming the first International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness Professional in the Wellness Division to come from the area.
Shannell Barbosa, 30, had different plans for her life prior to this year.
While the McAllen resident had been in the fitness industry since 2015, owning her own gym until the pandemic shut it down, Barbosa was aiming to become a registered nurse.
“I felt like something was missing in my life. I felt like there’s so much more that I could be doing,” said Barbosa.
In December 2020, that feeling lead Barbosa to her current bodybuilding coach, IFBB Pro Jason Martinez.
She trained for four months with Martinez at his gym, The Grinde, in Mercedes. When she finally competed at the IFBB/NCP Houston Tournament of Champions on April 3. Barbosa said it went better than she expected.
Barbosa ended up winning Overall Champion at the competition.
“I got incredible feedback from the judges, they just wanted to see me go straight to nationals and win my pro card,” said Barbosa.
In June and July, Barbosa will compete for her pro card, a bodybuilding accolade that proves you competed and won at a higher level.
She trains three times a day to compete in the Wellness Division, where physiques showcase body mass in the hips, glutes and thigh areas.
Barbosa said she will not stop once she gets her pro card. She said she became passionate about bodybuilding and is making it her career.
“God willing, if I do well in my national show, then I will be competing among a lot of pros and hopefully one day soon be in the Olympia,” said Barbosa.
Despite what her outcomes may be, Barbosa said that inspiring others brings her just as much satisfaction.
“I’m leading by example,” said Barbosa. “I just really hope to put the Valley on the map and be an inspiration to all women across the Valley. You can chase your dreams.”
For more information on how to support Barbosa, click here.