Never judge a book by its cover, they say, and that is especially true in Agueda Blake’s case.
The grandmother, who stands at just 5 feet tall, is involved in many sports and is super-competitive.
She has been playing flag football for five years, and earlier this month was a proud member of the Anytime Fitness Wolverines who won the women’s championship, beating Maples Lynx 7-6.
Blake’s nippy runs as she was handed the ball from quarterback Antoinette Lewis were a regular feature of the game. Her low center of gravity and innate natural strength, boosted by years of bodybuilding, make her an exceptionally useful asset in flag.
Blake’s positions for the Wolverines are corner, rusher and running back, or anywhere she is required to fill in to get the job done. “Our team is small compared to most in the league, but we are very versatile.”
She sees the Wolverines as a unit and refuses to single out players as being more important than others. “We all played major roles in winning this championship. There’s no ‘I’ in team.
“I enjoy interacting with my teammates and achieving our goals as a team,” she confirmed. The women’s flag scene has evolved quickly in its six years in Cayman, but Blake has reservations about its setup.
“I enjoy the competition of the women’s league but fear we may lose teams if improvements are not made,” she said.
She wants to see better officiating and an independent disciplinary board that has no ties to the league, which she believes would greatly improve the running of the sport.
Blake has also been active in the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association youth league over the last four years, as an assistant coach.
This year she was elected treasurer of the youth league board and feels she is giving back to the community.
“It all starts with the kids and youths as they will be our future adult players.”
Constantly on the go, Blake also plays Gaelic football, soccer, touch rugby and beach volleyball, as well as bodybuilding, figure championships and running a few times a week. She will soon add basketball to the list.
She is training for the Cayman Islands half-marathon in December and works out at Anytime Fitness several times a week.
All this super-fitness has an ultimate goal: Blake would like to attempt a Tough Mudder or Spartan race in the near future.
“I’ve taken part in the Pirates Week Mud Run locally and that has sparked an interest for me.”
Name a sport and she has probably tried it. “I’ve been involved in sports from primary school age and throughout my entire academic years and tried just about every sport because I just love to be on the go all the time.”
Blake received her World Natural Bodybuilding Federation pro card in 2004 and has competed internationally ever since. She is also a certified personal trainer.
“For me, it’s not just about being involved in sporting activities, it’s about being healthy and treating my body well. In essence, it’s a lifestyle.”
Age wise, she only admits to “entering middle age.” Born in the Bay Islands of Honduras, Blake migrated to Cayman at age 10. She works at UBS Fund Services as a deputy group head in the wealth management division.
“I’m proud that as I enter middle age I am still able to compete in sports,” she said. “I don’t worry about what other people say about my achievements. I do this for my own satisfaction and well-being, challenging myself to new heights.”
Married to Jarard Blake, they have an adult son, Kameron, and teenage daughter Kalie. Their grandson, Angelo, is almost a year old.
“I encourage my children to lead a healthy lifestyle, one that includes exercise and good eating habits.
“My daughter is involved in flag football along with other sports and has been dancing since the age of 3. I will encourage Angelo to also lead a healthy lifestyle as he grows up.”
She likes to post on Facebook healthy meals and food advice. “I don’t really have a typical diet, I don’t like the word diet. I basically try to have a balanced meal plan.
“Eating well for me plays an important part in maintaining good health. I try to consume five or six small meals throughout the day from the different food groups in the right quantities.”
As far as she is concerned, the main food groups are whole grains, fruit and vegetables, protein, dairy and fat and sugar. Lots of water is consumed throughout the day and sodas avoided.
“An easy way to stay in shape is to make choices that will fit into your lifestyle. It requires discipline, determination, dedication and hard work. However, you get out of it, what you put in.”
She loves to encourage people to be active. “You don’t have to partake in sports per se, but there are many other activities, such as walking, jogging, playing with your kids and [using] workout DVDs at home.
“The idea is to remain active and make healthy food choices. Parents and adults generally should also encourage the youth to lead healthy lifestyles as well so that they will continue to be active adults. What better way to teach them than by example?”
Blake’s height has never deterred her from competing and winning at whatever she puts her mind and energy into. “It is not the size of a person, but the size of one’s heart that matters.”
That’s why she has an unswerving belief that the Wolverines can repeat winning the championship next year. She is grateful to Anytime Fitness for their support and sponsorship of the Wolverines over the past two years.
“I’d also like to give a shout out to my team and the coaches, Phillip Brown and Adrean Russell … we could not have done this championship without their guidance and coaching skills.
“It won’t be easy, but we have a great team and are ready for the challenge. It’s too early to say who our closest rivals will be next year but I am sure they will be ready to compete.”
Of all the quirky things she’s done, the most memorable came with a twist. “I waited until my 40th birthday to jump out of a plane at 14,000 feet with a total stranger strapped to my back. My husband was such a gentleman and insisted I go first!”