Amazing Local Overcomes Adversity

Body builder injured in horrible fall

Carmen Centeno is a Mexican bodybuilder living in San Jose. Her story is unique on so many levels of the human condition, one being her continued bravery as a professional bodybuilder in a male dominated Mexican field.

Carmen grew up in Mexico City, where as a young teenager became passionate about classical and modern dance. She trained hard, and she got good, really good, to the point she was dancing onstage in her late teens: and like many other young women of Mexican tradition, she was already married.

In 1995 and almost 19 years of age she was dancing in a performance when the unthinkable happened,  and as she puts it, "In one second my entire life changed." During a move she had practiced thousands of times and had perfected, she fell and hit the stage, not in any ordinary way, but in a way that would end her dancing career. She fell hard, and she broke her knee and her leg and some fingers, and more severely crushed her lumbars and damaged her neck. She became wheel chair bound and was told she may never walk again. The hard impact of the fall also left her with a brain injury which affects her vision and hearing to this day

As if her future wasn't already tearfully sad enough, her family abandoned her in this time because her strict and hard hearted father did not approve of her husband. They said, "He is not a good man, he is a macho man. You do not have our support as long as you are still married to him. As she explained his behavior, "My father also was a macho man, and I now understand he was rude and hard with me because he was trying to protect me in that moment. I was his little princess."

Alone in her small room with no money, no job and no support from her often abusive husband or her own family, she sunk into a deep depression. "When you have money, you have a lot of friends, when you have a good job, you have a lot of friends. But when you are in a wheelchair, not so, and in one second, everybody left."

Unable to move around or exercise in her physical state, Carmen found herself as a former dancer unable to control her weight. As she puts it, "I was getting fat and I wanted to get up out of my chair and exercise and do what I learned from dance and yoga and pilates." So in her small square room, alone, she pulled herself up every day and made herself exercise.

As she was gathering strength through exercising every day, she learned that her husband was having a relationship with her former best friend, the surrounding neighbourhood knew this as well, so when he left Carmen and moved on, the entire neighborhood came around with food and support. "They gave me money for my rent because they knew me." So with the wealth of her friendships and her hard work and determination, Carmen got up out of that chair 18 months later. Determined to dance again, and unable to find work in Mexico City because of the rumored tales of her fall, she accepted a job dancing in a resort in Cancun. She left with a one-way ticket and 100 pesos in her pocket.

"It was my first time on an airplane and I lost all my contacts and phone numbers for my new job. For two days I slept on the beach, crying, what have I done, I left my family and friends, I have no money. I was walking around Playa Del Carmen, looking for a job and I couldn't find anything." Carmen was sitting on the side of the road, crying, when a French guy on a motorcycle stopped and asked, "Are you okay ?"  That was Denise, and he offered her an audition for dancing in big shows at a local resort. She got the job and spent the next three years dancing in Playa Del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta, and with other resorts in other locations. What a comeback. Boom! She was back!

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Carmen Centeno is a Mexican
bodybuilder  and former dancer

In 2001 Carmen was given an opportunity to dance in Cabo San Lucas, where she danced for nearly a year before finding herself landing a job as personal trainer in the well known Las Vantanas. It was here that she met Diana Halle, whose husband Bruce founded Discount Tire. This couple took a liking to Carmen, her strength and positivity, and asked her to be their exclusive personal trainer, training, advising, and traveling with them over the next few years.

In 2006 the Halle's generously and with loving hearts sent Carmen to school in Arizona to study and receive her certification as a personal trainer and a nutritionist. In 2009 Carmen started her own personal training and nutritionist business in San Jose. With her background in yoga and fitness and nutrition, she was able to help many people.

Then something more incredible happened. In 2011, Carmen, ever challenging herself to grow and become better and stronger, decided to become a professional athlete and train to compete in the National Physique Committee, which is the largest amateur body building in the United States. Amateur bodybuilders compete in competitions from local to national, sanctioned by the NPC. Carmen trained hard, five hours every day for three years, and in 2014 entered the NPC in competition as a woman bodybuilder on the world stage starting in Colorado.

Carmen continues to train and compete on this level today. She is looking for sponsors to help with the costs that are involved for such things as costumes, vitamins, travelling expenses, and more. She will compete in Pittsburg in August and again in Monterey in October. Equally of importance is that Carmen continues to train others and bring their lives around in a meaningful and healthy way through fitness training and nutrition.

This is a beautiful, bright and courageous woman who has never stopped growing and believing in herself. If you would like to transform your life in a positive way, or if you would like to support Carmen Centeno in her journey to compete in the NPC and beyond, please drop her an email or give her a call. You will never be the same once you have met this amazing human being. 624 125 3930, carmencenteno690@gmail.com.