@AARPPHOTO

Sherry Strong, Images by: Bess Adler

Sherry Perper is a 51­-year-­old single mother of three living in Marlton, New Jersey. She is also a bodybuilder.After suffering a stroke in her mid-­twenties, the incident prompted a deep interest in health and fitness. Eventually, in her mid­-forties, she began entering into bodybuilding competitions to prove that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. After a five year break from competing, Sherry decided to get her pro­ card in an all natural organization called National Gym Association (NGA) at 50­. She wakes up at 4:30 am every morning for strict training in order to be a present mother for her youngest son Justin, who is in high school. Sherry works as a personal trainer and coach to clients that compete in bodybuilding competitions. Her boyfriend Dan, a bodybuilder as well, has been Sherry's nutrition and workout coach during the entire process. Sherry maintained a very specific diet for the shows.


Sherry trains at Smart Bodies Personal Fitness Center in Marlton, New Jersey, where she works as a personal trainer and coach. 

Sherry practices figure poses at her gym in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey after working out. To train for a competition, Sherry will generally start her workouts at 4:30 am so that she will be home in time to take her son to school. 

To begin the process of preparing for her first competition in five years, Sherry gets her hair dyed at a local salon. 

In another step in the process of preparing for a competition, Sherry gets a spray tan at a gym in Bloomfield, New Jersey. 

Sherry flew to Florida with her son Justin and boyfriend Dan for the National Gym Association (NGA) Universe bodybuilding competition, an all natural show. The Universe show is NGA's last competition of the year. Pictured, Sherry takes advantage of her hotel's sauna after working out.

After a fresh spray tan, Sherry puts on her suit and practices her figure poses in the mirror at home, with her dog Leia at her side. 

Sherry kisses her youngest son Justin in their kitchen in Marlton, New Jersey. 

After a fresh spray tan, Sherry tries on her suit in her bathroom the day before a competition. 

Sherry helps her boyfriend, Dan Margolis practice his poses for the Europa Games Expo 2015 bodybuilding competition at his hotel room in Atlantic City.

Sherry's boyfriend Dan sprays some oil on her at a bodybuilding competition in East Orange, New Jersey. At this show, Sherry received her pro card with the National Gym Association. 

Sherry does push ups before getting on stage at a bodybuilding competition in Bloomfield,New Jersey. 

Sherry has a quiet moment to herself backstage at a competition in East Orange,New Jersey. At this show, Sherry received her pro card with the National Gym Association,an all natural organization. 

Sherry touches up her make­up at a bodybuilding competition in Bloomfield, NewJersey. 

After getting her tan touched up, Sherry spends some time with her youngest son, Justin at a competition in Coral Springs, Florida. 

Sherry competes in the Pro Figure categoryof the NGA's Universe show at a high schoolin Coral Springs, Florida. She received thirdplace. 

Sherry wears her pro medal at NGA'sUniverse show at a high school in Coral Springs, Florida where she received third place in her category. 

Sherry tries on her new suit in her hotel room in Coral Springs, Florida hours before competing in the National Gym Association's Universe show in the figure category. 


Using Format