Jim Aranda wanted to improve his golf swing, so he began lifting weights. He lifted and lifted and lifted some more, and before he knew it he lifted his way to a second-place finish in his class at the 2006 NPC Teen, Collegiate & Masters National Bodybuilding Championships.
Although he played a lot of sports in high school and was a four-year member of the University’s golf team, Aranda didn’t get into weightlifting until the late 1980s. By then, the 1968 graduate was long out of law school at the University of Notre Dame and well into his own law firm, Stebelton, Aranda & Snider. But his training quickly gained momentum.
By 1995 Aranda was ready for his first bodybuilding competition. He competed sporadically—a year here, a year there—until finally giving up serious training in 2001. But when a general dissatisfaction with his lifestyle—and his golf game—brought him back to the gym, the old motivation returned. Aranda lost more than 20 pounds in two months, and headed for Pittsburgh for the two-day competition. When the results were in, Aranda missed first place by one point. Although a win would have qualified him as a professional bodybuilder, Aranda was pleased with the result.
“It wasn’t like I did this to win—that wasn’t my goal,” he says. “It was that attitude of ‘Do your best’ and take what comes. When you stand up there onstage, there is no way you can hide your mistakes, negligence or defaults so if you’re going to do it, you have to give it a 125-percent effort.”