By Lisa Bielmeier
Orleans/Niagara BOCES Public Relations Director
Rachel Newman is not only an elite educator, but after the National Physique Committee (NPC) Universe Competition in June in Teaneck, New Jersey, she is now considered a nationally elite athlete, as well.
She took first place in the Over 35 Class A Overall in the Women’s Physique Division. That honor bestowed upon her an International Federation of Body Builders pro card, which entitles her to follow a genuine career as a professional bodybuilder. She also took second place in the Open Class A Women’s Physique Division at the same competition.
Female bodybuilders are some of the hardest-working members of the wider fitness community. Rachel teaches English Language Arts at the Orleans/Niagara BOCES’ Niagara Academy.
Niagara Academy Assistant Principal Michelle Kulbago said, “We are so proud of Rachel; she worked so hard for this, for so long. She is the embodiment of perseverance and has a positive, can-do attitude! Not only is she physically strong, she is an incredibly strong educator. She teaches English to her students with the same passion and commitment that she puts into bodybuilding.”
Rachel got involved in bodybuilding in 2008 after her children were born.
“I decided to see what I was capable of achieving,” she said. “This was before social media, so I was reading magazines and started training at BAC.”
A few years later while in attendance at the NPC Mr. /Ms. Buffalo contest, she decided to start competing.
“I wasn’t sure where to begin so, in 2013, I reached out to an old friend, who I believed could help me with this goal and he did!” Rachel said.
She competed for the first time that year and won and has been hooked ever since.
“I have competed 13 times with highlights being winning two overalls here in Buffalo,” Rachel said. “I also won in 2016 at the ‘Battle of the Border’ and in 2017 at the Mr./Ms. Buffalo and of course at the national level, winning my IFBB pro card.
“I love seeing what my body is capable of. I love the discipline, and the gym has become my second home.”
Another one of her passions is being a teacher. She is heading into her 25th years teaching at BOCES.
“I love being an educator because I am able to help, assist and motivate children into achieving their own goals,” Rachel said. “We sometimes discuss my training, discipline and nutrition, because they will see my muscles or what I am eating. I enjoy making a positive difference in my students’ lives. If I am a positive role model, then that is another huge goal I have achieved. I am consistent, disciplined, and always wanting to improve in both the gym and in the classroom. They go hand in hand.”
Rachel Newman on stage, and with her medals at the 2023 National Physique Committee Universe Competition in Teaneck, New Jersey, on June 30. (Submitted photos)