Teen Amateur Of The Week: Cooking With Confidence

Teenagers aren't known for their focus and dedication. Ellen is the exception. She eats chicken and salad while her peers gorged themselves on desert. This girl is committed to the future!

How Did Your Fitness Journey Begin?

I have always been very active. I started dancing at 8 years old and was a cheerleader throughout high school. My senior year, I decided to get stronger for cheerleading, but I wasn't sure how to go about it.

My mom suggested that I talk to her trainer, Bob Abner, about weight training. I started weight training twice a week. I immediately developed a passion for lifting weights and quickly increased my workouts to six days a week.

My trainer told me I have the perfect physique to be a figure competitor. I started researching in books, magazines, and on the internet; anything I could get my hands on to further my knowledge. It became my passion. Monica Brant was my role model. I wanted to look like her and have the same amount of confidence that she has onstage.

How Did Your Passion For Fitness Emerge?

I wanted to compete in figure, so I attended an NGA pro qualifying show to learn more. Monica Brant made a special guest appearance at the show. It was awesome because I look up to her immensely. I watched Allex Ellis win the pro-division. She had amazing stage presence with so much confidence. I have never seen someone be so comfortable and confident onstage.

With my background in dance and love for the stage, I was immediately excited to get involved in figure competitions. After that show, I had the motivation to embark on a journey of hardcore training and discipline to prepare for my first show. I spent a lot of free time researching different competitors and became obsessed. My trainer was with me every step of the way making my workouts more intense and coaching me on posing.

What/Who Motivated You To Be A Fitness Guru?

Results are what motivate me. It fascinating how much my body changed in a short time. I love that bodybuilding is a one man sport. While training for my first competition, I made a lot of sacrifices. The weekend prior to the competition was my senior prom. I didn't get to stay out as late as I wanted to that night. While my peers feasted on a big meal with dessert, I ate a grilled chicken breast and salad.

When I walked onstage, I knew the sacrifice and hard work was worth it. The greatest lesson I learned from this journey is that hard work pays off. I've always been a very competitive person. I love being onstage and showcasing my hard work. Thinking about my potential competitors keeps me motivated, focused, and driven. If my competitor is eating clean and working hard right now, then I need to eat cleaner and work harder.

Where Did You Go For Inspiration?

I have an amazing support group backing me every step of the way. My parents are the most supportive on the face of the earth. My mom is my workout partner and supports me in the gym and at home. Although my dad doesn't always understand my diet, he's always willing to cook my meals when I ask him to. I don't know what I would do without my personal trainer, Bob. He is always positive and motivates me more than any coach I've ever worked under. His wife, Terri, serves as my nutrition coach. They make themselves available to me day or night. I can never thank them enough for everything.

What Are Your Future Fitness Plans?

My future fitness plans include continuing weight training. I'm in the off-season currently. My next competition will be in the spring of 2013. I'm working hard in the gym every day and making lots of gains. My goal for next year is to earn my pro card and compete on a professional level. I would also like to pursue a career in fitness modeling and hopefully get endorsements someday.

What Is The Most Important Fitness Tip?

Your mind will give up before your body will. Doing a show is an emotional roller coaster. You will have good and bad days. Make sure you give it your all. In the end, you'll realize how much you're capable of and how mentally strong you are.

Who Is Your Favorite Competitor?

My favorite figure competitors are Nicole Wilkins, Monica Brant, and Alex Ellis. You can tell they have a huge passion for this sport. I've never seen Nicole Wilkins in person, but I've seen videos of her onstage and she's always perfect. I aspire to be like all three.

How Did Bodybuilding.com Help You Reach Your Goals?

Bodybuilding.com has been a wonderful tool for research. I use the forums for advice and can always find new recipes to try. I order all of my supplements from Bodybuilding.com.