The Candy Jar, Money (copy)

Kimberlee Greenough sits on the counter of her shop, The Candy Jar, in 2017. She took first place in the Masters Over 45 Class F division at the National Physique Committee national championships.

Kimberlee Greenough sometimes cried in exhaustion during her training. She always hoped it would be worthwhile.

Greenough, from Bozeman, took first place in the Masters Over 45 Class F division to attain professional status at the National Physique Committee national championships July 17 in Pittsburgh. And she said it was one of the best moments in her life.

“I have been training and competing so hard for (the) last several years and was always shy of the prize,” Greenough said. “My dreams and goals have centered around this title.”

Greenough, who’s 50 years old, began her fitness involvement 13 years ago. After a back surgery limited her activity, she was introduced to bodybuilding. She dedicated herself, paying close attention to form and diet, and slowly progressed. She thought she would be satisfied after one competition, but she noticed she felt stronger and healthier as her process continued, so she kept to it.

Greenough was met with immediate success, but after qualifying for nationals five times, her best place was third, keeping her from her pro card.

She took about two years off to open The Candy Jar in Bozeman, but after her father died last July, she started training again for as many as three hours a day nearly every day. She qualified for nationals in Boise, Idaho, and after last-minute adjustments, felt mentally and physically ready for nationals.

“Something changed in me from this experience with my dad,” Greenough said. “I felt strong, powerful and supported like I never had. I no longer allowed myself to fear anything.”

She now plans to focus on her business ventures, including fitness training other women, and doesn’t rule out continued competition now that she’s at the pro level.

Colton Pool can be reached at cpool@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.