Bodybuilder Sarah Shraiberg of Otisfield poses in September at TruStrength Athletics in Norway. Andree Kehn file photo/Sun Journal

OTISFIELD — Sarah Shraiberg of Otisfield is proud to have competed in September in an international bodybuilding competition in Barcelona, Spain.

Shraiberg, who managed to rise from a novice to an international competitor in 21 months, said although she did not finish near the top in that competition, she remains inspired to compete.

At the event in Spain, hosted by the International Federation of Body Builders and Fitness, Shraiberg finished 19th out of 21 competitors in her Masters 40+ category.

Shraiberg, who was hosted by IFBB Physique America’s Northeast chapter, said she is comfortable with the fact she did not finish among the top competitors in Barcelona.

“I am totally OK with that,” Shraiberg said, noting that even being on the same stage with those athletes was a privilege and a big boost to her confidence.

“It was nice to see that I didn’t look out of place,” she said. “I was nowhere near the best there, but I also had only been doing it a short time. For me to feel like I was not out of place there was empowering. It felt good to know that I held my own.”

Following her experience in Barcelona, Shraiberg said she decided to push herself harder as a bodybuilder to perfect her technique.

“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do,” Shraiberg said. “The whole process has been an organic thing, and I didn’t really set out with a plan. But I think now I definitely will do more.”

Shraiberg is coached by Shaun MacAlevey and trains at Rush Fitness in Paris and TruStrength Athletics in Norway. MacAlevey is encouraging her to compete in another event in April.

“I’m still taking it day by day,” Shraiberg said. “My goal is similar. I just want to be fully happy with what I put on stage, with my physique and my display. My goal right now is to do another one and try and beat the package I have in Spain.”

Though winning is nice, Shraiberg said she competes mostly for her own happiness and fulfillment. She said her goal is to continue improving until she feels satisfied with her body and her performance.

“Somebody asked me the other day, ‘Are you not going to do that one (competition) again, because you didn’t place very high?’ I said, ‘No, that has no bearing,'” Shraiberg said.

Shraiberg maintains a realistic and optimistic view of herself as a bodybuilder.

“You’re being compared to other people up there,” she said. “I might look great, but that doesn’t mean I look as good as somebody else. You can’t assume that just because you look pretty darn amazing, that you are the best one out there.

“I have just barely tapped the surface of what my body will be able to do. That’s the fun part. Now, I should actually see some fairly good changes over the next few years. My body will react even better to changes.”

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