Jillian Beck 2017-06-01 20:41:13
Training to Win A Dallas judge spends her time off the bench as a fitness competitor. When Dallas County family law Judge Kim Cooks clocks out from her duties as a jurist, she trades in her gavel for dumbbells and doggedly trains for fitness bikini contests. Coming from a family that values exercise, she always maintained an active lifestyle but decided to kick it into overdrive when she noticed her health had taken a backseat in her busy first year on the bench of the 255th Judicial District Court. When one of the biggest Texas amateur bodybuilding competitions, Europa Games Dallas, came through town in June of last year, Cooks was ready for the challenge. She’s been hooked ever since. Similar to body building, bikini contests differ in that they focus on muscle definition rather than size. To excel in these events—Cooks has brought home two trophies so far— she focuses on fueling with healthy meals every two and a half hours to keep her metabolism going, drinks a gallon of water daily, and lifts weights and conditions sometimes twice a day. “I feel comfortable and excited to be onstage,” Cooks said. “But I also have to be humble because I am a judge being judged.” Tell us about the competitions you participate in—what do they entail? I have competed in three competitions so far. A lot of preparation goes into it, as far as working out, and a strict diet is required. How do you balance your job with training and competing? I train before work or in the evenings after so it does not interfere with my duties as a judge. Do you have any goals related to your hobby? I have aspirations of becoming a professional bodybuilder, and I recently hired a trainer to help sculpt my body into a masterpiece in order to compete at that level. What are your thoughts on maintaining a good work- life balance? It is vital because this is the only time I can really focus on my mind, body, and soul. As a family law judge, I help families and children come to a resolution, and then I get off work and assume duties as a single mom. All judges need some type of outlet where they can concentrate on themselves and on being healthy—this is the sole way they will be able to effectively perform the duties of their job. Why do you think health and fitness are important? Being a judge in family court where emotions run high, I want to have a welcoming, calming, and positive presence. Health and fitness play an important role. Living such a lifestyle allows you to focus on your mind, body, and spirit. When you look good and eat healthy, you feel better. When you feel better, you have an uplifting outlook on life. In turn, your energy radiates to others. Do you see any overlap between the law and your hobby? The legal profession is stressful. Being an attorney requires discipline, determination, and hard work in order to be successful. Bodybuilding also requires a lot of discipline and hard work. You have to be disciplined in what you eat, stay committed enough to work out consistently, and have the patience to wait on the physical results from your diet and workouts. Law and fitness both require you to mentally be in the game, meaning you have to be prepared and focused in trial as an attorney just as you do when onstage competing in fitness contests. And both in a trial and onstage, you are being judged. Judge Kim Cooks trains in the gym as a part of her daily—and sometimes twice daily—workouts.
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