Lincolnton resident, Marisol Rodriguez is in a competition where she’s made her way to the semi-final round, beating out more than 6,000 other women to get there.

A resident of Lincolnton for more than 20 years, Marisol Rodriguez, a native of Costa Rica, didn’t set out to be a body builder or to compete in any fitness-related events. She’s found herself in a competition where she’s made her way to the semi-final round, beating out more than 6,000 other women to get there.

Rodriguez exercised to feel better and stay fit. Then when she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia six years ago and became bedridden taking pain pills, she discovered that exercising made her feel better. She’s now recovered.

“My mom came to work in Lincolnton and when I came to visit her, I decided to move here,” she said. “I became a United States citizen within two years.”

As the only girl in the family with three brothers, Rodriguez was a tom boy growing up. 

“I competed with them all the time,” she said. “The hometown where I come from, everybody is athletic. I was always running and doing things like that.”

After she married and was bringing up two children, Rodriguez slowed down, but she never stopped completely. Now, at 48 years old, both of her children have left the home and she’s found herself with a lot of time on her hands. In an attempt to not go crazy with all of this free time, Rodriguez has returned to the gym. She works out at Rock Fitness in Lincolnton.

“I travel a lot for a living, so I always make sure I stay at hotels where they have gyms,” she said. “It’s very good therapy and good for my health. I love to stay fit. I don’t want to be a body builder which, to me is more muscular and a career. That’s not in my plans at all. I just want to motivate other girls my age to work out and get fit.”

Some of Rodriguez’s women friends endorsed her to enter the competition which is sponsored by “Muscle & Fitness Hers” magazine. More than 6,500 women across the United States and Canada were entered. The winner will take home the title of Miss Health and Fitness, $20,000 cash and be on the cover of the magazine. Through an on-line voting system and sponsors, Rodriguez has made it into the semifinal round. Prior to this cut, Rodriguez was tied with Miss Nebraska, Meghan Swanson for votes.

“I used to have a very private Facebook and Instagram, but I opened it up for this contest,” she said. “This is not normally what I do. I’m overwhelmed, but it’s fun, I’m enjoying it.”

Rodriguez caught the attention of Lincolnton photographer Greg Bailey and he’s done several professional photo shoots, so she’d have better photographs for the contest. Prior to that, Rodriguez was using selfies.

Her fitness routine is done for fun, it’s just a hobby. Rodriguez is employed in a professional career that she loves as a technical sales representative for a Latin American company that sells inks and coatings for labels.

“With this opening up so much for me, there’s been a lot of opportunities,” she said. “I’m actually supposed to be meeting with the marketing manager of GNC in Tampa, Florida. Someone sent him my pictures. That’s something I might look into. I’m not saying no.”

Free votes can be placed on a daily basis at this link Paid votes, which benefits Homes for Wounded Warriors can also be made. The final will be announced on Sept. 24. 

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