Lady Bodybuilders Prep for Hialeah Competition

Annette Soler would make a kick-ass comic book character. The librarian by day/bodybuilder by night makes you wonder if she's sporting a Superwoman costume under her white collared shirt. Though she's not the largest of the oiled-up figure competitors, the formerly obese 32-year-old has overcome the most to produce her tight, chiseled body. Born with a thyroid disorder, Solar -- a five-foot-three-inch bookworm -- weighed 230 pounds and barely had the energy to get out of bed when she began training two years ago. "My friends were like, 'You're doing what?'" she says. "I just started working out like crazy." 

After a year, she got hooked on a seven-day-a-week routine, began to eat only regimented portions of fish, and was able to slim down to a muscular 125 pounds for competitions. Now this doe-eyed Latin beauty would put most guys to shame in barroom arm-wrestling match. She'll compete at the 2009 NPC Gold Coast Figure & Bikini Championships in Hialeah this coming May 9. Check out details here.

Between shoulder reps at Bodies by Mari --  a small all-female gym in Miami Springs -- Soler talks about the spray-tanning, primping, and lifting that goes on backstage. "It can be cut-throat," she says, out of breath. "It's big girls pumping iron and eating only rice cakes... I felt like a scared kitten at first."

Over the next two weeks, she'll cut sugar completely out of her diet, live off a few ounces of tilapia, and drink only carbonated water. It helps "get rid of jiggle," says her trainer, Mari Redondo. Soler has heard all the Schwarzenegger-in-a-bikini stereotypes, given up her free time to train, and dealt with a boyfriend who wants her to relax and eat a freakin' cheeseburger sometimes.

On second thought, forget the comic book. We hear reality TV calling.

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