Mom Of 3 Wins Figure Competition

Forty-seven-year-old Laura Zuniga of Kailua entered her first figure competition, the Fresno Classic in California, last month, and placed first in her division.

Two weeks later, she competed in the Stingrey Classic at the Sheraton Waikiki and again placed first in her height class for the master figure 40-plus. She also won overall in the masters figure 40-plus.


Image 1 of 2

Forty-seven-year-old Laura Zuniga |. Nathalie Walker photos

A nurse at Windward Surgery Center, Zuniga and husband Steve moved to Hawaii from California in January. “I just love the laidback, stress-free lifestyle here,” she says. “I had three boys – my oldest is 28 and youngest is 20. I just felt like this was the perfect time to move over here and enjoy life.”

Zuniga says she was always an active person, but in 2008 she had cervical fusion surgery on her neck and was told she could never run again. “They think it was caused by an injury that wasn’t detected,” she recalls. “And over the years it got worse. I had numbness down the entire left arm with headaches.”

She overcame it, and not only started running again,

but also enjoys hiking, riding her bike and more recently discovered paddleboarding.

Then, about a year ago, she decided to enter a figure competition. Her husband served as her trainer and motivator, and she would train for about an hour and a half a day, five to six days a week at 24 Hour Fitness.

She also changed her diet, eating five or six small meals a day consisting of high-protein, low-carbohydrate, low-fat foods, and almost no sodium. “And the big one, giving up the alcohol,” she adds. “This is the best (physical shape) I’ve ever been in my life. There is life after children and work and everything else.”

Zuniga, who stands 5 feet 2 inches, plans to continue entering figure competitions with the next one being the Ikaika in June, and then at the national level in July.

“I think it’s important for women to not neglect themselves,” says Zuniga. “Your children are your first priority, but don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I can now check it off my bucket list.”