Photo by Jennifer Marvin
Former Ms. Olympian Sheryl Grant has an unforgettable presence. She has an infectious smile and a warm personality, and her abs are spectacular. It's important to emphasize that being in excellent shape at 61 isn't an anomaly. But what truly distinguishes Grant's decision is that she has chosen to embark on a journey to compete to become Ms. Olympia again in 2024.
Training at that level requires hours daily of hard work, a strict diet, and substantial personal sacrifice. If you scroll through her TikTok and check out one of her workouts, you will witness her dedication.
Although Grant has a busy schedule, she was generous enough to step away from training to hop on a Zoom call with BET.com. During our conversation, she shared why she's decided to take on this challenge and wants to reach 50 million women.
BET.com: What prompted your original journey to become Ms. Olympia?
Sheryl Grant: I worked in corporate America for 30-plus years at a job that I wanted and manifested through prayer. However, I didn't realize then that what I had prayed for would rip me apart. Because what most call a glass ceiling for women of color is actually a brick ceiling.
It seemed as though every time I would dismantle one brick, two more would be put in its place. I was on this evolution of just really trying to grind and figure out what was wrong with me. I was in the top one percent. I was leading in my sales. I was doing all the things that I was told to do. 'Put your head down and do the job; you'll get there.' I wasn't being elevated. I was getting promoted.
I would be in places and spaces where people would say inappropriate things. I was in boardrooms where it was predominantly white men. We weren't allowed. I was typically the only woman and definitely the only Black woman. So jokes were made that I had to kind of suck up. I had to take one for the team. I started to become depressed.
However, I remembered when I was in my 20s, I had a roommate that was a bodybuilder, and I thought, let me try that. And I went on a journey to become Ms. Olympia. I didn't know if I would win, but it was the goal.
BET.com: Why did you choose the Miss Olympia competition specifically?
Sheryl Grant: I didn't choose it. Ms. Olympia chose me. It's an all-natural competition. I didn't want to do any supplements. I didn't want to do any steroids or anything like that. My first competition was in March of 2017, and I eventually won the championship and became Miss Olympia.
I didn't know then that I would actually get it. The competition didn't just transform my body. It transformed my mind. And I came up with something called FIT, which stands for faith, intuition, and tenacity. I realized that when I was on that journey in corporate America, systemic systems were built against me, but I had also built those same systems in my mind. I had started to believe that I wasn't worthy or capable. I couldn't do it. Winning Ms. Olympia at 55 taught me that there's nothing impossible for me to do in my life. But I had to make the choice.
BET.com: What is Fit For Life?
Sheryl Grant: I have a workbook called Fit for Life. I want people to understand that getting fit is more than a physical journey. It's mental, too. You won't maintain the physical if you're not mentally tapped in. I can give you my diet, I can give you my recipe, I can give you all that, but if you're not ready mentally, you're not going to do the work, and it is work.
I am not saying that everyone has to become Ms. Olympia [but change requires commitment]. I had to make a choice. I had to change who I hung around with. I love a good glass of wine. My favorite things are good tequila and champagne. I don't do shots. I sip, but on this journey, I can't do those things. It's not just about losing pounds. It's about gaining muscle.
BET.com: You mention that you want to reach 55 million women. Can you talk about that goal?
Sheryl Grant: My goal is to empower women around the globe. I want them to understand that whatever you want to manifest in your life, you can have it, but it does take some sacrifice. But if I can become Ms. Olympia at 55 and try it at 61, then so can you.
I have a methodology. I want to get you fit in your mind and body. I want you to live a prosperous life. And I am building a network of professionals. I believe in the adage if you want to go fast, you go alone. If you want to go far, you go together.
This article has been edited and condensed for clarity.
This article was updated on October 31, 2023.
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