Niagara Gazette — Corinna Booth entered her first figure competition in March, 2011 on a whim, with no formal training or coaching.
She wound up placing last.
Less than two years later, Booth has obtained her International Federation of Body Building Pro card and is preparing to qualify for Ms. Olympia.
Booth, a 2005 Niagara-Wheatfield graduate, won the Figure E Class over the weekend at the NPC Nationals in Atlanta, Ga.
"I'm still in shock," Booth said Monday in between classes at D'Youville College where she is set to graduate with a nursing degree in May.
"They say at this level it takes about four or five years before you can turn pro. I went down there thinking I would just bring the best package I can. When they called my name it was an amazing feeling because I wasn't expecting it."
Booth trains at World Gym in Niagara Falls, following a program designed by Team Bombshell Fitness, a Dayton, Fla.-based outfit that has helped more than 50 athletes obtain IFBB Pro cards since 2010, according to its website.
A cheerleader and track athlete in high school, Booth credited her military background with giving her the discipline to train daily. She spent four years in the Air Force and has been in the Army Reserves for three years.
"Training also helps with stress," she said. "It's my alone time."
Booth said she follows her prescribed diet year-round, which allows her to compete frequently. She won the overall championship at the Fort Lauderdale Cup last month and is planning to enter her first Ms. Olympia qualifying event next month.
"If you really want something and you apply yourself, you can do anything," she said. "I think this shows any woman that you should follow what's in your heart."