When it comes to staying in shape, Margaret Negrete, D.O.’89, does some heavy lifting.
This DMU grad gives new meaning to the phrase, “abs (and everything else) of steel.”
Her knowledge of the body has enhanced her success in bodybuilding, says Margaret Negrete. Even more important are her love of exercise and rock-solid workout ethic.
She has the medals to show for it: In the past year alone, she captured third place in the lightweight division of the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) North American Championships in Cleveland and first place in the National Physique Committee (NPC) Masters Nationals in Pittsburgh. She also won the 2009 NPC USA Championships in Las Vegas in the lightweight class.
“When she took the stage here, flashing an insanely well developed set of abdominals and a polished overall stage presence, the El Paso anesthesiologist took the judges’ breath away,” wrote equally breathless IFBB women’s historian Steve Wennerstrom.
The accomplishments of the five-foot, one-inch, 113-pound Texan are even weightier in light of her longevity in the sport. As a DMU student, she landed a part-time job as a gym attendant at the city’s downtown YMCA, where she started lifting weights. Her workmates encouraged her to enter the Des Moines Classic bodybuilding competition in 1985. She won.
“I continued competing all through medical school and my residency,” says Negrete, who practices at El Paso’s Las Palmas Medical Center. “I’ve been competing for so many years. One of my main goals was to place first at nationals, so that was nice.”
Another highlight was winning a competition in Venice Beach, CA, in 1997. Her husband and bodybuilding buddy, Scott Stein, also won. “It was a spur-of-themoment thing. We were there on vacation and were getting ready for a competition in Texas a few weeks later,” Negrete recalls. “It was fun to be at the old Gold’s Gym where Arnold [Schwarzenegger] worked out.”
The couple has made fitness part of their family life. Their daughters, Alex and Daryl, each have won teenage fitness national titles in competitions involving gymnastics, dance and cheerleading. Stein, a dentist, and Negrete also help keep each other on track in the gym.
“It’s easy to blow off working out with the activities of daily life,” Negrete says. “With work, we usually don’t get to the gym until 9 at night, then we have to be at work early. My husband helps me because he works out, too.”
Competing regularly is motivating, too. “I think most doctors are goal-oriented people,” she notes. “When I enter a competition, I know, for example, what I have to do the next six months to get ready.”
Achieving the physical symmetry, muscularity and definition needed to compete successfully entails disciplined, strategic workouts and a high-protein, lowcarbohydrate diet, she explains. “I’ve learned over the years how my body responds,” she says. “Being a doctor has enhanced that. As I’m trying to develop certain muscle groups, understanding anatomy and physiology has helped me a lot in getting the results I want. And the mind-body orientation of osteopathic medicine has been good for me, too.”
Her preparation as a D.O. helped in another way. “When I was in medical school, I used to run every day around 5 a.m. with one of my classmates, and it was so darned cold,” she laughs. “I guess that’s why I took up weightlifting.”