PORTLAND -- Beaverton s Erica Blockman grew up in Mt. Shasta, in Northern California. As a youngster she dreamed of becoming a big time bodybuilder.

I love it, says Blockman. It s actually something I ve dreamed of doing since a very, very young age. My father actually inspired me to get into the bodybuilding industry when I was a kid. I m very excited about being able to live the dream.

Erica started competing in the sport four years ago and turned pro last year. She finished sixth out of 32 women in her first national physique show. Blockman is 5-foot-1 and 118 pounds, and she's closing in on the Emerald Cup Competition in Seattle.

I ll probably say the most difficult thing about it is sometimes the diet, says Blockman, adding, especially if you re one of those individuals that likes junk food like I do. But when it comes down to it, it s totally worth it in the end.

And practicing posing is much harder than it looks.

Sometimes you can be on stage for 10 minutes straight, holding the same pose, says Blockman, People have no idea how hard that is. You have to control your breathing. You have to control what your face is doing on stage. I mean you can feel it the next day. When you re done posing after, let s say 10 to 20 minutes, you feel it in your entire body the next day.

Erica is a fulltime student at PCC and a personal trainer herself. The Emerald Cup is April 25 and 26. It s a stepping stone to the Miss Olympia Competition in Las Vegas, Nev. this Summer.

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