Rachel McLish-The Very First IFBB Ms. Olympia

Rachel McLish
Rachel McLish

Rachel McLish - Bodybuilder, Ms. Olympia and Fitness Model

Probably the very first woman to open my eyes (and for that matter, the whole world's eyes) to the fact that a woman can be very fit, muscled and still be very, very hot was the beautiful Rachel McLish.

Rachel McLish was born Raquel Livia Elizondo on June 21, 1955 in Harlingen, Texas.

Besides being a female bodybuilding champion (the first IFBB Ms. Olympia), she is also an actress and an author.

Rachel attended Pan American University and it was there that she met her first husband, John McLish.

She burst wide open onto the bodybuilding scene and won the 1980 US Bodybuilding Championship, went on to place second at the 1980 Frank Zane Invitational and then won the 1980 IFBB Ms. Olympia in rapid succession.
This was followed up by a 2nd place finish at the 1981 IFBB Ms. Olympia, another 1st place victory at the 1982 Pro World Championship and another win at 1982 IFBB Ms. Olympia.
In 1983 she came in 3rd at the Caesars World Cup and in 1984 she placed 2nd at the IFBB Ms. Olympia.

In 1985, Pumping Iron II: The Women, a short documentary about the competitive female bodybuilding scene during the early 1980s was released.
It showed the controversy between female bodybuilders Carla Dunlap, Bev Francis, and Rachel McLish as far as female body types in fitness competitions.
Rachel did not come off in a very favorable light to a lot of people.

Despite that, Rachel continued to be in the public eye with roles in the movies Getting Physical (1984), Aces: Iron Eagle III (1992) and Raven Hawk (1996).
B-movies to say the least.
In 1983, she appeared in the video for Herb Alpert's song ''RED HOT''.

Red Hot - Herb Alpert with Rachel McLish

Rachel has written two books, Flex Appeal (1984) and Perfect Parts (1987) that have made the New York Times bestseller list.
In 1999, Rachel was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame along with two other female fitness and bodybuilding stars, Carla Dunlap and Cory Everson.
Rachel looks amazing today at almost 50 years old.
Most of the pictures below were taken in 2007 and 2008.
She is truly a testament to what a fitness lifestyle can do.

Rachel McLish
Rachel McLish

Rachel McLish - Pumping Iron 2

Rachel McLish's Female Fitness Competition History

1980 US Bodybuilding Championship - 1st Place
1980 Frank Zane Invitational - 2nd Place
1980 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 1st Place
1981 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 2nd Place
1982 Pro World Championship - 1st Place
1982 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 1st Place
1983 Caesars World Cup - 3rd Place
1984 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 2nd Place

Rachel McLish
Rachel McLish

Rachel McLish Workout

Here's an article from Livestrong that only only touches on Rachel's workouts, but her diet as well...

"Winner of the first ever Ms. Olympia title, Rachel McLish has published two "New York Times" best-selling books on women's health and fitness. With a background ranging from a bachelor of science in exercise physiology and nutrition to starring in fitness related films such as "Pumping Iron II, The Women," it is not surprising that Rachel McLish has come up with a diet plan that embodies the combination of femininity and health."

The McLish Diet

Rachel Mclish Interview from 2010

Rachel McLish Photo Gallery

Yes...In the beginning, this is what a female bodybuilder looked like.
Yes...In the beginning, this is what a female bodybuilder looked like.
Rachel McLish
Rachel McLish

TLC - Tighter and Leaner to the Core - The McLish Diet

Now in her mid fifties, Rachel has released a diet plan.
The diet plan embraces a holistic lifestyle approach and includes a diet (of course), weight-training, stretching and breathing exercises.
Rachel also uses supplements, a variety of teas and omega-3 oils.
The diet is supposed to be in her new book, "TLC - Tighter and Leaner to the Core", but it hasn't been released yet.

Female Fitness at Amazon

Rachel McLish in Raven Hawk (1996)
Rachel McLish in Raven Hawk (1996)

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Rachel McLish Comments 7 comments

Gymjunkie 7 years ago

Pretty sexy, her arms are too muscular for my liking but at she is still hot!


Heather Frey 7 years ago

As I make my way through the NPC competitions both locally and nationally, Rachal's name pops up quite a bit as the mother of Figure..."feminized bodybuilding" as I call it. She made muscularity beautiful and feminine in a way that had never been done before so I thank her for going in her own direction and starting something that hasn't stopped but only grown.

Heather Frey, President and Founder, SmashFit.com


sibaja_health profile image

sibaja_health 7 years ago

Thanks for the hub, the pictures are incredible, I especially enjoyed the Iron Man magazine cover


jerry c 6 years ago

This the most beautiful woman of ALL TIME!


casper 5 years ago

glad to see you put her real name. and i think her movie career was underused. she could've been RavenHawk: the vimpire slayer or something?


Fitness Photographer 5 years ago

Great hub! Rachel looks amazing in all these photos.


Liz Mayes 4 years ago

I have admire Rachael for many years. She still looks healthy and beautiful. I would like a copy of the television documentary she acted as hostess, Active Women in the 21st century. If anyone can help me get a copy, I would appreciate any information.

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