"That's very nerve-wracking getting up on stage. Bright lights in a bikini being judged for what you look like," said Maria Rush, a former bodybuilding competitor.
Rush is a kindergarten teacher. She said she's always been an athlete and became interested in bodybuilding after college.
"I saw a friend who competed and I just admired her muscle and her strength and her beauty up on stage," said Rush.
Bodybuilding seems to be a growing trend among women, with different levels of competition for women including bikini, figure, fitness, physique and bodybuilding. Maria says she had her first bikini competition in April of 2016.
"Once I got on stage the adrenaline hit me and I was just hooked," said Rush.
Many doctors believe exercise is great for the body. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, people who are physically active can reduce their risks for stroke, heart disease and can improve their overall health.
"150-300 minutes of moderate to high intensity aerobic activity per week is recommended for healthy adults," said Dr. Tracy Bras, sports medicine physician at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.
But Dr. Bras said to use caution, and to do research to understand the workout before committing.
"Improper technique and you're poorly trained and you're doing it wrong, it can definitely lead to injuries," said Dr. Bras.
Both Dr. Bras and Rush agree to find a qualified trainer or fitness coach to instruct in proper strength training and to take it slow and it's not just about the weight training.
"Diet is 80 percent and exercise is 20 percent of the battle," said Rush.
"A lot of it requires planning, prepping. Counting macro nutrients like protein carbs and fat as well as the calories," said Dr. Bras.
After competing in three shows, Rush said she's decided to take a break . She said getting ready for a competition takes a certain drive.