My father was my role model growing up. I watched him lift weights, stay active, and consistently remain in good physical shape. In my heart, I knew this was the example I wanted to be for my children one day.
When I had my first son 13 years ago (at age 21) I gained more than 60 pounds. I felt horrible and needed to do something quick, so I hit the gym and haven't stopped since. After I had my last son three years ago at age 31, I was determined to be in the best shape of my life. I wanted to take working out and dieting to the next level and become a fit mom.
Four weeks after my caesarean section, I started exercising five days per week. Four months later, I fought to lose the last bit of baby weight, but my body hit a plateau, so I started a strict diet, ate every two hours, and continued to work out. Two weeks into the diet, I noticed big changes. Four weeks later, others started to see my results, and six weeks later I lost the baby weight and hit seven percent body fat.
My gym at that time saw my hard work pay off and I was featured in their magazine as a "Core Concepts Moment." Before I knew it, complete strangers approached me with diet and exercise questions. In April 2012, I was encouraged to compete. I didn't believe I had the physique to compete until I met bodybuilder/trainer, Kyle Witherspoon. He convinced me that I had what it took, but it wouldn't be easy. The challenge drew me to it.
I worked hard with Kyle to compete and make my figure debut at the largest, most difficult show in the state, The Arizona NPC, in July 2012. My dream/goal became reality when I took first in figure class A.
My fitness passion grows more and more each day. It emerged when my consistency started to pay off and I saw the results from my hard work. This lit the fire in me. I love the physical and mental strength it takes to succeed in this sport. I have a secret passion to inspire others and help them understand how to eat better and to stay on track. If I can help one person live a fit and healthy lifestyle, it's all worth it.
My husband is also a competitor. We help each other stay on track with diet and exercise. I'm a mom of three active boys and this is a huge motivation for me to set a good example of how to live healthy. I show them how to make good food choices, keep balance in their life, and still make time to exercise.
My trainer, Kyle Witherspoon, family, and friends motivate and support my passion. They are my biggest fans and encourage me to go after my dreams. Where did you go for inspiration? I learned to find my inner strength. My mom passed away when I was 19 years old and the pain of losing her was nearly unbearable. At that point, my determination was to be strong and a "Give-it-all-I-got" attitude took over. I wasn't going to give up or give in. When I feel weak, tired, or unmotivated, I think back to the time when I found inner strength.
The plan I live by never seems to change; always strive for more, never be satisfied, continue for more progress, and never settle for second best. A big goal for 2013 is to be featured in one of my favorite magazines. So far, I've been recognized by Muscle and Fitness Insider and The Female Hardbody, which was an amazing honor.
I've been training very hard since my figure debut in July 2012 to pack on more muscle. I plan to compete at a national show next. My ultimate goal is to earn a pro card.
Keep your eye on the prize. Never lose faith in yourself and stay away from negativity; it's like a disease that affects your entire process. Use complete tunnel vision and block out static. You must believe in yourself and visualize the outcome you desire. Dream big, believe it, and do it.
My favorite is Erin Stern because of her humbleness despite her success. She has the sweet, genuine southern spirit, which I like because I'm a country girl at heart and have roots in Tennessee. She is also a realtor (like me) and is the current Olympia figure champ. Her physique is absolutely stunning and I look up to her training and dieting styles. She's someone I idolize and it would be an honor to meet her.
I still get stumped and I'm always eager to learn new things in the industry. Bodybuilding.com helps me find the latest supplements available. I can also research training methods with videos on the site, which is helpful. Bodybuilding.com has top-of-line exercises, supplements, and product knowledge at my fingertips. My favorite features are the photo galleries of other fitness competitors and the transformation stories.
Photo credit: Danielle Paynter Photography