WEIGHT 153 lbs
BODY FAT 30%
WEIGHT 123 lbs
BODY FAT 23%
At about 16 years old, I picked up my first copy of Muscle and Fitness and automatically fell in love with muscles. I admired bodybuilders for the dedication it took to get their body into peak condition. I grew up on a farm and played sports, so I was naturally skinny and fit, but wanted to add muscle.
I joined the military and graduated in 1992 at age 20 from US Navy Boot Camp in Orlando, Florida. I served four years in Norfolk, Virginia, two years on the USS Yellowstone AD-41, and two years of shore duty. My rate was damage controlman, or in civilian terms, a fire fighter. My last year in the military, I was chosen to go through a civilian firefighting academy in Chesapeake, Virginia. My body was tested like never before through strength training and running up to five miles per day.
The service ended in 1996 after four years and I moved back home. I worked a full-time job and started working out a few months at the time. In 2001, I became more serious and started running up to five miles 4-5 times a week. I idolized Monica Brant and attended a fitness expo and show in Fairfax, Virginia. In 2002, I was almost in competition shape and dreamed of competing. I got engaged that same year.
In 2003, I got married and was surprised to find out a month later that I was expecting. I gave up working out and eating clean to be a mommy. My son was born eight months later and five weeks early. I left my full-time job and decided to stay at home and babysit. Within two years, I had a second son. My pregnancy weight was 165 with my second son. I left the hospital after having a four-pound, seven-ounce little boy and still weighted 161. I didn't care at the time. I only cared about my family.
I babysat 3-5 kids each day on top of my two boys and ran a home business. I didn't realize how depressed I was. I wore my weight well at 150 and started walking and running each summer just to stop a month later. In 2008, my marriage failed and I became a single mom with two little boys. The next two years I managed to scrape by working full time and raising my boys. In 2011, my stress level reached an all-time high. Something had to be done. I was 40 and never did anything for myself. I never reached a goal or a dream that I set in life. I was a proud mommy, but that wasn't enough.
I joined the local YMCA in February of 2011 and worked out when I could. It was hard to set a workout time with boys in school and a full-time job with no set shifts. It took about a year to work out the kinks. In spring of 2012, I decided to accomplish my goals. I wanted to be a positive role model for my boys and realized it was okay to do something for me. I signed up for a personal trainer class; a dream of mine.
May 2012 was when I started at 142 pounds. I didn't make excuses and found the time. I started eating clean and went from walking to running. I went from two days per week at the gym to 4-5 days. I feel better than I have in years and have more energy than ever before. I found what I've been missing and don't plan to give it up again.
I accomplished my goals by learning it is OK to take time for me. I go work out and let my boys stay at daycare for an extra hour—I may have picked them up in the past feeling guilty if they weren't with me. I need to be in the best shape I can to live healthy for my boys.
I want them to live a fit lifestyle and hopefully if they see me fit they will want to be fit also. They enjoy protein shakes with me and would rather have water than soda or juice. I started cooking meals in advance and cooking a different meal for the boys than myself if it's something they don't like. I let them have cheat treats and I have a cheat meal or treat with them once a week, usually on Sunday.
My biggest challenge is my full-time job that has three different shifts and being a full-time mom of two boys. I've learned to plan my workout times a week in advance. I've learned to roll with the punches.
If I miss a day, I work extra hard the next day and jump back right on track. With kids, things happen. Just roll with it.
Within a year, I would like to compete in a fitness or bodybuilding competition. I would like to complete my personal trainer courses and become certified and help others realize they can be fit too.
- You will have to give things up. I slowly cut back and then cut out. I gave up sodas for sweet tea, sweet tea for unsweet tea, and then switched to all water.
- You have to put in the time. Don't make excuses, make time. You may have to go to bed early or get up early. You may have to cut out time for another activity that you're doing. It will be worth it in the end.
- Surround yourself with people who share the same goals as you. I used Facebook to reach out to other fitness competitors.
- Educate yourself on food labels. You need to know how many calories you're taking in each day. I sat down and realized I was taking in hundreds of calories in coffee creamer alone. You have to make changes.
- Keep healthy foods on hand and junk food in the store. If it's not at home, don't eat it.
- Don't be afraid to say no. If you're at work or at a family event and others tease you or make you feel bad about your eating habits, stand your ground. I bring my own water, eat smaller portions, and don't hit the dessert table.
I'm new to Bodybuilding.com and love the thought of all things fitness in one location. I love seeing what works for others and discussing their goals. I hope I can inspire others to realize it is OK to be a mom and still have dreams of your own. It's ok to put kids first, but don't give up on your hopes and dreams. Let them be a part of your journey.