Name: Steffi Sorensen
Personal website: http://www.steffisorensen.com/
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Age: 24 Height: 5-foot-10 Weight: 136
Years bodybuilding: 1
The entire concept of bodybuilding is relatively foreign to me. The idea of athletics and fitness, however, is not. I've been a basketball player since age four. My mom had to sweet talk the camp counselor to sneak me in because the cut off age was five. Throughout my life, I traveled from tournament to tournament working on my basketball skills in hopes to play in college. I was a tall, gangly girl trying to compete with the best, and at times, felt out of place. But I was better than I thought.
After my senior year, I was named 2006 Miss Florida Basketball; a relatively prestigious award which typically results in big scholarship offers. But the phone calls for major universities never came and I was criticized for winning the award. I ended up playing for a Division-II school, and later a junior college. My dream was to be a Florida Gator, but it wasn't that easy. At 5-foot-10, 125 pounds, I wasn't exactly the prototype scouts salivate over. My junior college was located in the same town as the University of Florida (Gainesville) and I attended Gator games.
My uncle once met legendary University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt on an airplane. He explained he had a niece who played basketball and she should check me out. She signed and wrote a few sentences on Tennessee Volunteer letterhead telling me to always chase my dreams. I'll address that story of irony later. Florida ended up noticing me, but all they could offer was a position as a preferred walk-on and I gladly committed, knowing that I might never see game action. My coach forgot to put my name on the practice schedule during the first day of practice. The next day, coaches told me I would have a small role on the team. My belief remained intact and I knew, given the opportunity, that I was good enough to play.
I was put in during the first game of my junior year, and with the exception of that game, started every game for the next two years. I hit the go-ahead three-pointer to stop Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols from her 1,000th win on ESPN. That's the irony I can now smile about. These accomplishments showed me what self-empowerment can do for someone. I signed a pro contract to play in France following graduation.
Looking back at my collegiate career, I could barely bench 75 pounds for 12 reps during my freshman year. When basketball ended, I dedicated myself to lifting more frequently and eating cleaner. Now, I can proudly say I bench 135 pounds for 12 reps. I refuse to let others outwork me because I know how hard it is to achieve your goals and chase your dreams. Everyone has their own story. This is mine.
My body type makes it hard to gain muscle. This frustrates me, but it also motivates me. I strive for excellence. I have to work 10 times harder to make my body look a certain way and I'm glad to make gains and reach goals each week. Whether I'm entering a gym or walking onto a basketball court, if I don't give 100 percent someone else will.
The adjustment I made to eat clean was a big transition that became daily motivation. As an athlete, I watched what I ate, but it wasn't strict. The entire process is my every day inspiration to live a better life knowing I put good food in my body.
After returning home from France, I joined a local gym and caught the eye of the manager for the way I trained. He said I trained like a wild woman. In my eyes, I was doing what I knew. I love working hard and he enjoyed my enthusiasm, so he became my personal trainer. The trainers were in phenomenal shape, looked great, and inspired me to become more fit and muscular, which ultimately led me to Bodybuilding.com where millions of others shared the same interests.
I take each day as another opportunity to conquer a new feat or goal I have in place. I hope to continue my broadcasting career in sports and hope it can lead me to fitness opportunities where I can speak on behalf of companies or share my vision.
You will never leave a workout wishing you hadn't gone. You will only regret not going.
I personally have not encountered many fitness competitors, at least not professionals, but one who I admire is Dana Linn Bailey. She's constantly kicking ass in the gym and I respect people with athletic backgrounds who apply it to bodybuilding.
Bodybuilding.com does many wonderful things for people of all levels. There's never a dull moment on the website and there's always something insightful to read or information to be learned. I have many supplements from Bodybuilding.com and their reliable and quick service keeps me going every day. BodySpace helps you see what others are doing compared to what you're doing. That's always interesting because my philosophy is you can never know enough.
I've been a color analyst and sideline worker for ESPN3. I've also been featured in sports commercials for Gatorade and Omega during the Olympics.
Matt Pendleton Photography