Finding it hard to shed the last few pounds of baby weight, I started lifting weights after the birth of my second child. I was new to the gym and started by taking a few classes just for women and running short distances. I eventually increased my distance to complete a full marathon. I continued lifting weights as part of my cross-training program.
I started seeing great results to my physique from strength training and enjoyed it very much. In 2008, I decided to leave my career of 17 years to become a personal trainer. My love for fitness grew rapidly. I wanted to expand my knowledge and help others reach their goals. At the same time, I wanted to take my weight training to another level. I loved working out every day, but I needed another goal to push myself further.
I read and collected all kinds of fitness magazines and envied the women who competed. After researching what was involved to compete in figure, I decided to hang up the running shoes and hire a personal trainer who specialized in contest prep. I first consulted with a trainer to see if I could possibly compete at that level. I wanted the challenge to develop a better physique so I could get up on that stage. I competed before I turned 40 and won my very first figure competition.
Being fit is a lifestyle that I have grown accustomed to. I know the effect it will have on my future health. Controlling and knowing your body is empowering. It's not an easy lifestyle to maintain, but commitment and dedication make it possible.
My motivation to follow a healthy lifestyle comes from many people: my clients, family, friends, and others in the fitness industry (Julie Bonnett and Emily Stirling, who trained me). But most important is myself. As a personal trainer, I'm a role model for health and fitness. I practice what I preach. I certainly couldn't expect to help others reach their goals if I didn't lead the lifestyle also. How I feel after a good workout motivates me to train and push myself to new levels.
I'm not a quitter. When you say you're going to do something, do it. I wanted to take my training to another level, but I needed a goal to push me. My goal to compete in figure didn't come easy. I had to lose more than 20 pounds of body fat, develop muscle mass, transform my physique, and get up onstage. Staying focused and disciplined through diet and training helped me achieve my goal of stepping onstage.
I had a great competition experience at the Ontario Provincial Championships in Toronto, Ontario, this year. The experience surpassed my goals and expectations. I started out wanting to try one show and have now done four. At this time in my life, I'm not sure what the future holds for me competition-wise. I want to pursue my personal training career and become qualified in nutrition and wellness. Training to compete takes 100 percent dedication. Sometimes I feel other important areas of my life are left on the back burner. During the off-season, I want to improve on areas that need it and build more mass so when the time comes to hit the stage again I'll be ready 100 percent.
"Winning a trophy merely collects five minutes of pride and a shelf life full of dust. But giving 100 percent and finishing what you started is irreplaceable confidence in yourself." - Unknown
Because this sport is so subjective you must be in it for yourself and only yourself.
I have many, but the two most important people who I look up to are Julie Bonnett and Emily Stirling. These amazing athletes brought me to levels I never knew I could be at through inspiration, motivation, and hardcore training.
I have competed in four figure competitions and exceeded my goals and expectations each time. I compete in women's figure open and women's figure masters and have been to the Ontario Provincials twice. Stepping onstage and realizing that I accomplished something amazing is overwhelming and a win in itself.
Photographic Credits: Chris V. Linton - Muscle Insider
Trainer Credits: Julie Bonnett of Contestprep.ca and Emily Stirling
Thank You: To my husband, family, and friends for believing in me, bearing with me, and helping me reach my goals and accomplishments.