Angelita Iracheta looks over her workout plan for the day after stretching March 30 at TruFit Athletic Club. Iracheta’s workout plans are prepared for her by her coach, Jorge “JoJo” Gonzalez Jr. in San Antonio depending on how her body performs.(Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

BROWNSVILLE — It’s 6 a.m. and Angelita Iracheta, co–owner of Complete 180 Nutrition, is already hard at work. Stretching with her husband Mike and a fellow trainee on the workout floor, Iracheta readies herself, queuing up her workout jams and her training regime checklist on her phone, before breaking off to her 5-days-a-week workout at TruFit Athletic Club.

Since February she’s been preparing to compete at the NPC Junior USA Championship in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 14. The national competition is a chance for bodybuilders like Iracheta to break through to the pro-level. For Iracheta winning this competition would, she believes, make her the second woman in the Rio Grande Valley to do so, but also the youngest at 28.

“It’d be a little tougher on my end because I wouldn’t be competing against older people, I’d be competing against girls who are my age. People who have done many of these shows,” Iracheta said.

After starting training in April of 2019 alongside her husband, the couple entered a state-level competition in Belton, Texas, and did well, qualifying for the national level. At the competition they met their coach, who told them he believed they could aim even higher if they were willing to work at it and improve their posing skills.

“In bodybuilding you can have all the muscles you need, but if you don’t pose correctly you are going to get outshined by someone who knows how to show their body in the sense of the terms of the judging,” said Jorge “Jojo” Gonzalez Jr., professional men’s physique athlete, Olympia level bodybuilder and trainer.

With Iracheta competing in the open class for the Figure division she needs to work on how to best show off her body and get the judge’s approval. Each division focuses on a different type of build, and while Iracheta has competed in both Figure and Bikini categories before, Figure works better for her body type.

“Picking a division, you’ve got to know where your body personally sits best. Let’s just say I wanted to do Bikini again, honestly my structure and the way that I’m built — I wouldn’t even stand a chance. Those girls are more petite, dainty, and they want more of a glutes and hamstring type. Every category has its own qualifications to what it’s supposed to look like,” she said.

Bodybuilder Angelita Iracheta does a quick run through of her competition routine March 31 in one of the group excercise rooms at Crunch Fitness North.(Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

In her case Figure prioritizes a striated look, with equal emphasis on building her upper and lower body, while maintaining an overall symmetry. Iracheta will use four poses on stage to show the judges what she’s got and hopefully pull ahead of her competitors both in her own class, A which is for competitors under 5-feet, 4-inches, and seven others to get into the top three overall.

“So the goal is to bring her at her absolute best, crush the entire competition and win overall. That’s my dream for her. From there I believe she can go right into a pro show and do well,” said Gonzalez Jr.

Whatever the results of the competition, Iracheta is excited to start on the couple’s next journey —expanding their family, they currently have two young boys, and finishing her degree in nursing at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley to become a registered nurse.

For women in the Rio Grande Valley looking at getting into bodybuilding, Iracheta is encouraging, but honest about the work ahead of them.

“I would say go for it. Just be mentally prepared to face battles that sometimes can seem a little overbearing, but it’s not impossible,” she said.

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Photo Gallery: Brownsville woman to compete in national bodybuilding championship