Alana Shipp, the former U.S. marine turned bodybuilder and Jerusalem resident, has taken third place in the Ms. Physique category at the NAC Championships in Hamburg, Germany.

"It was very exciting, a bit intimidating because it was my first tie internationally," Shipp told Haaretz yesterday following Saturday's meet. "Most of the people have been doing it for years, but everyone kind of kept to themselves, and we had a great team, so I wasn't alone."

Israel sent a delegation of six competitors to the Mr. and Ms. Universe competition. Shipp, who won the Miss Israel Fitness title earlier this year, said the categories for the women included physique, figure, fitness and shape.

She said she was originally planning on the figure category but gained muscle mass faster than expected. Towards the end she was training about three hours a day, six days a week.

Shipp skyrocketed to the top echelon in just over a year. The Barbados-born wife of U.S. Consulate employee Kenneth Shipp was a bored housewife last year before she took up bodybuilding, she told Haaretz in July.

Although the competition came on the heels of Operation Pillar of Defense, Shipp said politics was left out completely. She noted that all the competitors were mainly into themselves, so she didn't really talk to the other entries until after it was all over and people congratulated one another.

Coming to watch the tournament with her husband, Shipp's children - a nine-year-old girl and five-year-old boy - followed the competition keenly. "They're always looking for the trophy," she said, adding that her daughter had a bad feeling when she saw the Italian entrant, who eventually won the category.

After the championships, Shipp and her family took a vacation before returning to Israel on Wednesday. "I'm just resting for right now," she said. "I definitely want to continue competing. I'm thinking about the world competition in May or June." Her children are probably thinking about what trophy comes next.