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How did you first get started in the bodybuilding and fitness industry?

I began my fitness journey in high school playing VB, BB, and softball which continued in college. After that I did the life things, got married had children and then at age 33 was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. That’s where my journey to the stage began actually. I started first with triathlons which ended up with finishing the Ironman in 2008. Then I decided to get in the best shape of my life and began training with a personal trainer and doing boot camps. My trainer had competed and mentioned it to me so I said I’d give it a shot. My goal for my accomplishments is to show women that there is beauty, strength, and hope in our scars and in all are obstacles in life. So that was it, I began. I have been competing since 2009, I have won some, placed top 3, and not even been called out, but I was there on the stage representing. I continued by adding personal trainer to my resume and then in 2010 started my own studio, Lifeway Fitness; www.lifeway-fitness.com where I am able to now help others achieve their personal fitness and health goals.

What are the top 2 or 3 ways you keep yourself motivated?

Motivation is key!! And it is very hard to keep it, especially when you work full time during the day; own a business at night, and raising two teenage boys… but it can done. My faith keeps me motivated, I am just thankful that I am able to work out and I keep remembering all the women that I am representing. I also keep motivated by following my idols; the Shannon Yorton Penna’s; Gina Aloti’s and mostly my facebook friends that compete and all look amazing!!!

If you had to ratio the importance of training, diet and rest, what would the percentages look like. And why? (e.g. 20% training, 30% diet, 30% rest)

What I have learned over the years is diet is really key so I would say 60% diet; 20% training; and one we tend to forget but is vitally key, rest at 20%. It’s hard to distinguish what is exactly the right formula, many say 70% diet 30% training it’s really what works for you and your body type. I have been realizing how important rest is and the more I’m allowing myself the stronger I feel so it’s on the top of my list now.

How useful do you think supplements are? Do you use supplements? What is your current top supplement?

I do try to get all my nutritional needs from food, naturally, but I do believe supplements play a key role as well. I am big on Protein powders to help get in the high protein needs; dynmatize ISO 100 is one of my favorites. I also take CLA, green tea, B complex for fat lose and energy. My favorite pre/intra workout drink is Amino Energy by Optimum Nutrition great flavor and gives me an awesome boost of energy. When in a time crunch or caught without a meal, (which never happens right?), I always carry around my Quest Bars; these are the best quality bars around high protein at 20grams a bar; and 19 grams of fiber making them only net 5 grams of carbs and place in a microwave for 10 seconds it’s over brownie heaven. They are on the top of my list!

In general what does your current training and diet routine look like?

I train early because once the day gets on its way I will never have time or energy to get it all in. I wake up 4:30 at the gym by 5:00am I do strength and cardio 6 days a week with Sunday off completely, Due to the fact I go everyday my week looks like this: Monday: back/abs Tuesday Hams and glutes, Wednesday; Shoulders/abs, Thursday Chest/ calves, Friday Legs, Saturday Arms. Cardio right now off season is pretty minimum only 30minutes mixing it up between treadmill, elliptical, bike etc.. i still have plyo days every now and then.

As far as my diet; off season now; so a little less structure but getting back on track. I stay away from processed foods and keep it clean with higher carbs in the morning and taper off in the evening. Evening carbs mostly fibrous veggies and chicken. Of course off season means a day here and there where I have a little fun and maybe get an ice cream cone with the boys and then the next day remember why I don’t eat that way..lol… I have found carb cycling works the best for me and when I need to drop a little that’s what I go to.

If you were to upload your arms to our muscle voting site (http://vote.ratemyarms.com/) right now, what do you think you would rate?

Ha! Some of your girls have amazing arms; I have a ways to go in my mind but getting there. Always room for improvement and I am always looking to better myself.

How did/do your family and friends feel about your training?

My family and friends sometimes think I am crazy and they assume we don’t eat.. when actually we probably eat more than they do. It’s the quality of food we put in our mouth that makes the difference, not only in our appearance but how we feel and perform. Overall they are great! My boyfriend comes to all my shows and is very truthful about where I am and what I need to improve on; no holding back from him and that’s what I like and need. My boys came to a few shows but then they really don’t want to see their mom on stage in a bikini anymore, gotta love teenage years.

Can you give us a brief summary of your competition history?

2009 Muscle Mania- didn’t place

2010 Natural figure and bodybuilding championships 3rd in tall class

2010 Freeport and Northwest IL Bodybuilding championships 1st tall, 1st Masters, and Overall winner

2011 Freeport and Northwest IL Bodybuilding championships 1st tall, 2nd Masters

2011 Ms Reno, Reno Nevada 3rd Masters, 3rd in Open

2011 Central USA Championships 2nd Tall, 3rd in Masters

2012 Freeport and Northwest IL bodybuilding 3rd Masters, 2nd in Tall

2012 Central USA Championships 4th Masters

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 20 years?

I struggled a little this past year trying to get lean had a lot of issues going on during prep so I am taking some time off from competing but keeping my feet in it. I am a judge for the Midwest Championships and will continue to judge and help women prepare themselves for the stage. Will I compete again? I am sure I will when the time is right and my body cooperates with me. I am enjoying this time and getting back to the true reasons I began in the first place; to inspire and to motivate everyone that no matter what your obstacle you CAN achieve your dreams and goals.. What are you Waiting for?….

Who is your favorite fitness model or bodybuilder? (other than yourself!)

Shannon York Penna (love her she is my idol at 5’11 she is closest to my bodytype)

What do you feel is the best type of cardio for yourself and why?

Intervals!! No doubt. So many studies have been done on it and it does work plus it takes less time and you burn more calories for longer too… win win situation.

Outside of training and dieting how do you like to spend your time?

Training my clients and seeing them achieve their goals and motivating them to see their strengths and abilities. And of course catching up on all my DVR shows American Idol, Extreme Weight Loss Makeover; Biggest Loser I don’t have time to watch many shows so I keep them simple plus I miss all the commercials too..

What is your favorite cheat meal?

This is so funny because everyone that knows me knows my cheat meal. Applebee’s : First start with mozerella sticks then Quesadilla Cheesberger with fries and top it off with chocolate molten lava cake!! yum yum.. I know and yes I make myself sick every time but it’s soooo good.

What is the one question you hate hearing the most? (e.g how much do you bench?)

What place did you take? Please.. it’s really not about where you place; our placements are decided on what the judges think what they are looking for that day, it’s very subjective and in the long run does it matter!! We got up their stood in a tiny bikini with how many other amazing beautiful women standing next to us; that in itself deserves a first place in my book!

Photo Credits: Kelly Ann Images

Categories: Interviews, Women