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  • Interview with inspirational bodybuilder Dawn Barnable

    The story of Dawn Barnable’s health challenges, which led to her losing a total of 144 pounds, have been an inspiration to many. This is a lady who fought off medical issues, the perceived stigma of being overweight and now visits her local gym on a daily basis. We are extremely pleased to publish Dawn’s interview in our second series of interviews with those involved in the bodybuilding world.

    Question: At what age did you take an interest in bodybuilding/exercise?

    Dawn: I was a late bloomer when it came to finding lifting. I was 42.

    Question: How long have you been bodybuilding?

    Dawn: I started in 2012 to begin trying out lifting programs , mostly isolation type exercises but not any heavy lifting. I then took up Crossfit in 2013 and that’s when I was introduced to Olympic lifts and actually lifting heavy.

    Dawn Barnable After

    Dawn Barnable After

    Dawn Barnable Before

    Dawn Barnable Before

    Question: What was your motivation when you began


    Dawn: My motivation was that In 2010 I had weight loss surgery ( RNY revision) as I reached my highest weight of 284lbs and part of my journey involved increasing my exercise. I started out by running but quickly found myself in the weight room.

    Question: How much time do you spend in the gym each week?

    Dawn: I workout 4-5 days a week and spend around 60-80 minutes lifting and doing a small amount of cardio.

    Question: Please list a brief summary of your exercise routines over an average week

    Dawn: My exercise routines involve a lot of compound lifting using pull and push days. I tend to do back, biceps and shoulders 2x a week. I do 1 heavy leg day a week and the rest is divided up between chest and triceps.

    Question: Are there any particular supplements you would recommend to others interested in bodybuilding?

    Dawn: As far as supplements go I don’t do a pre workout as it gives me negative reactions – I stick to coffee. I always end a workout with a protein shake but I’m not loyal to any one brand. I do use Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides daily too.

    Question: What general advice would you give to somebody interested in bodybuilding?

    Dawn: My advice to new bodybuilders is to start slow, research and learn proper form. Figure out your nutrition because you can’t out train a bad diet. Don’t lift too heavy as a newbie until you lock in the form.

    Question: What changes in exercise trends have you seen since you began bodybuilding?

    Dawn: The exercise trends I’ve seen is more focus on the primary compound lifts like deadlifts, squats, presses and rows. I believe you can target way more muscle groups with these lifts as opposed to strictly isolation exercises.

    Question: Is there anything else that you would like to mention?

    Dawn: As a former obese person lifting has given me so much confidence in the gym. I’m also in the older ladies group so hearing from my gym patrons who comment “wow you are strong” really pumps me up. I’ve managed to go from obese to pulling 260lb deadlifts and 320lbs rack pulls with ease.

    Question: Please list details of your website together with the URL

    Dawn: I do not have a website but I can be found on Instagram @inkdgirl55 and on twitter @inkdgirl55