BODY BUILDING: Shanna Rice has fun, claims two titles in first competition |

BODY BUILDING: Shanna Rice has fun, claims two titles in first competition

Shanna Rice was a little nervous before taking the stage, but for the most part she kept calm and collected. After all, this was just for fun.

“I had always said ‘it was just for fun,’” Rice said. “I took it seriously, but I had to keep it fun… I told myself, ‘it doesn’t matter if you get first place or whatever, it’s about your journey through the entire process and how you’re changing mentally and physically.’”

That was the mindset Rice had when she started a year-long quest to compete in her very first body building competition, and it was the mindset she took with her in late July when she competed at the 2018 California Natural Muscle Mayhem competition in Sacramento.

That mindset — along with a year of relentless dieting and training — paid off.

“I was nervous, but I kept my cool which is surprising, until I got on that stage,” Rice said. “Then poof, I was very, very nervous. I may not have shown it, but I was shaking. I could barely smile because my lips were quivering, but I guess what everyone saw was a confident (competitor).”

That’s exactly what the judges saw and, in her very first body building competition, Rice earned first place in the novice figure tall division and was also the overall winner in the novice division.

“I was trying to keep my cool,” Rice said of the moment she was revealed as the winner. “All my friends and family lost their minds…I was just trying to hold my smile and not show too much emotion, but it was very exciting.”

It was the culmination of a year of dieting like she had never done before, lifting weights like she had never done before and preparing for a competition she had never participated in before.

To reach her goal, Rice had to change her diet drastically and switch from her more traditional dynamic workouts to a program that focuses more on heavy weight lifting.

“It was a completely different style from where I was at before,” the 2008 Nevada Union grad said.

It was a matter of months before she started to notice her body changing as she dove completely into her training.

“My body was completely changing and I needed to eat more to sustain what I was doing,” she said.

Rice, who was a standout on the NU girls basketball team and went on to play for Sierra College, also had to adjust to a different mental approach than she had been accustomed to.

“It’s a completely different dynamic and mental game than a team sport,” she said. “Growing up playing basketball, you could rely on your teammates. If you were having a bad day or a crappy game, you had teammates to lift you up. When it’s just you, you have to force yourself to wake up every single day and go to the gym. I didn’t have a coach or trainer really, so it was like a whole different level of dedication to something. When you’re doing this sport it’s all you. It’s 100 percent you.”

For Rice, though, that journey was just as rewarding as the competition.

“Just seeing what the body is capable of doing, and learning all the different styles of weight lifting,” said Rice of what made the process fun. “I love lifting weights, I’m one of those people who are addicted. And, all the friends I made along the way, and all the people who helped me through it.”

Rice, who is a trainer at Anytime Fitness in Grass Valley, specifically wanted to thank her husband Cody Rice, her mother Dawn Stefani and the rest of her family, her friend and trainer Chris LaCentra, and her “gym” family that supported her throughout the endeavor.

Now that Rice has won a novice division competition she can no longer compete at that level and will be moved up to the open division. If she wins four open division competitions, she can then compete at the pro level. She plans to continue with the sport and hopes to go pro one day.

“It’s a totally different world with natural body building,” she said. “I firmly believe that anybody could do it. It’s hard, but if you really wanted to do it, do something for yourself, anybody could do it.”

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email

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