How did your fitness journey begin?
I was anorexic from ages 15-20 and reached a low of 79 pounds. I hated my body and had an extreme fear of food. The doctors informed me that I was going to die and I had a decision to make: health or death.
I hired a personal trainer who taught me the relationship between food and exercise, as well as what true strength was mentally, physically, and spiritually. He helped me get back to my fighting shape and weight. In the process, I learned to respect and love my body and fell in love with weight training. I enjoyed watching my muscles move and grow and found new ways to challenge myself.
The scale doesn't matter anymore. Food became my fuel and friend, not my bitter enemy. It was me versus me and I made up my mind to be strong.
How did your passion for fitness emerge?
My fascination for fitness started young. I've always been very driven and athletics allowed me to shine. I love competition, but my favorite part of athletics was and still is the journey. It's just you and your body. Nothing else matters. It's the most liberating feeling. I find peace in the gym. My motivation comes from my desire to keep improving. I love lifting because I'm never done. There's always more I can do. I plan to lift until the day I die.
What/Who motivates you to live a healthy lifestyle?
My motivation comes from my past and how hard I worked to get here. I love the feeling of freedom and strength that health brings. I'm a personal trainer and get lots of motivation from my clients. If they're working hard to make changes, it's my responsibility to progress also.
Where did you go for inspiration?
Entering the gym gives me a kick in the butt. There's never a lack of people like me in there who want results. I also turn to fitness role models like Erin Stern, Heather Dees, and Candice Keene. They put in time and got results. It helps me remember to stay the course and look ahead.
What are your future fitness plans?
My fitness future is wide open. It's a never-ending journey of joy, sweat, and spandex. I plan to compete this spring and take fall and winter off to add size in my upper body. I'm fascinated with Olympic lifts and would like to get more training and experience in them so I can implement them into my program.
What is the most important fitness tip?
Love the journey. Change doesn't happen in one day. It's a process; the day-to-day work, effort, and egg whites that make the difference. Stay consistent and focused and you'll reap the rewards. The journey is about the destination. Love every blessed second of it.
Who is your favorite fitness competitor?
Erin Stern has the athletic build that I want to develop. I admire and follow her ideas on lifting and nutrition. She found what works for her body and sticks to it, which takes guts with so much contradicting advice and training philosophies.
How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?
Bodybuilding.com is a fitness encyclopedia that I count on for reliable information to answer my questions. The articles are easy to understand and to the point and the videos help me understand new exercises. I appreciate the BodySpace community. It's nice to know you're not alone.
Kelli's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "Beautiful Day" by U2
- "Paradise City" by Guns N' Roses
- "Can't Stop" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
- "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC
- "Seven Nation Army" by White Stripes
- 2013 NPC Complete Nutrition Championships - 3rd Place Figure Open Class C, 5th Place Figure Novice Class B