I was your typical overachieving athlete growing up. I always pushed myself to excel at every sport, but didn't pursue sports in college. That's when I found the weight room.
The problem was I didn't know a thing about nutrition. The mentality of eating whatever I want and not gaining a pound worked well until my second child. At age 27, I found myself in a high-risk pregnancy and my son was born one month early.
Little did I know, the causes likely had much to do with my lifestyle. Nutrition plays an integral role in every aspect of life, so even if I 'looked' good on the outside, my body was screaming for nutrients. After my son was born, I felt fat and unhappy. I thought I was stuck with my new body forever and I hid beneath frumpy clothes. This went on for a good two years until I finally had enough.
I wanted my body back, but knew it wasn't going to happen overnight. I began training hard and the weight started coming off. I started out taking group fitness classes and eventually wandered into the weight room at the local YMCA. Eager to learn more, I joined a typical chalk and sweat power lifting gym where I met some figure competitors. I took a weekend introductory session on the sport, and soon I was hooked. Within six months of reintroducing myself to the gym, I graced the figure stage for the first time. I competed again six months later, and have since been in five total competitions.
I am constantly striving toward bigger goals and reach new heights in training every month. Today I can perform lifts that I never even thought possible a few years ago. That first time I pulled over 200 pounds on a deadlift, or when I hip thrust over 300 pounds. All of it blows my mind, like it's not even me behind the bar!
Now, I'm getting into Olympic lifts and exploring kettlebells. Every week I step into the gym ready to try something different and I never grow bored. I'm surrounded by incredible influences in the industry who are always offering advice, discovering new techniques, and uncovering new research. The possibilities are endless with training and I feel blessed to be a part of the strength culture.
My kids are my largest motivators. As they grow and learn, it's my job to keep up with them. I don't want to be the mom who sits on the park bench, but the mom who hangs upside down from the monkey bars laughing with them.
Children learn by example. What better way to teach them about fitness and nutrition than to show them through experience? I bring my kids (age 6 and 9) to the gym with me and teach them how to use the equipment. We dance after dinner, ride bikes, go hiking, cook healthy meals, and explore the world together. I never want to sit on the sideline and watch their lives pass by. I want to be in the game with them all the way through.
2009 NPC Gulf Coast Classic: Fourth
2009 NPC Western Regionals: Third Place
2010 NPC Western Regionals: DNP
2011 INBA America's Natural Bodybuilding
Champions: First Place Overall
2011 OCB Arizona Natural: Fourth
After I had my son, I felt old and worn out. I was still young and needed to feel and act my age. I knew I had so much life ahead of me to live and I wanted to agelessly thrive in each coming year.
Once I gained momentum, there was no looking back. I still reflect on where I sat three years ago and marvel at what I've achieved. The best thing I did was throw out the word "can't" from my vocabulary.
Right now my biggest project is the book I co-authored with strength and condition expert Bret Contreras. Strong Curves: A Woman's Guide To Building A Better Butt And Body is due out in stores by the end of 2012 and I can't wait for it to hit bookshelves. It really is a passion project for us both and I am so proud to be a part of it.
In addition, I am building my fitness coaching business online and working as a fitness and health writer. I've turned my love of training and competing into a career by sharing my knowledge and experience with others. For now, I don't have any competitions planned for the future. But that doesn't mean it's the end of the road for me.
Don't train to compete. Compete as a reward for your hard work. Your journey to the stage should be a great experience. If it causes you stress, runs you down, or interferes with your relationships, ask yourself why you are doing it. The stage will always be there waiting for you. Make sure it's the right time in your life to get up there.
I adore Erin Stern. She has such an incredible presence about her. I love her positive attitude and that she is an athlete through and through.
The video library is hands-down one of the best on the web. The training articles provide some excellent information from top professionals in the industry and I always look forward to new posts.
Trainer Credits: Bret Contreras, Strength and Conditioning; Alan Aragon, Nutrition