I get a lot of questions about where I am from, and what I have done, how I got started, etc. so hereís the short version for you:
I've always been a Midwestern gal. Born in Marion, Ohio, I grew up in a "Leave it to Beaver" lifestyle. I went to Sunday school, made mad dashes to the ice cream truck that would chime down the street during the hottest part of the day, and hit up the A&W Root Beer stand with my mom and dad on Saturday nights. Yes. I was even a Girl Scout and my parents would send me to Girl Scout camp every year. I loved it, and I am sure that they loved it more:) I was not one to sit around and play dolls and color! I lived out in the country farmlands of Ohio.
Being somewhat of a country gal, I was a tomboy too. I know that I drove my parents crazy by collecting frogs and bugs... but even then I had my soft side...I would sleep with ALL of my stuffed animals so that none of their feelings would be hurt by being left out. Awwwwwww. Now I just sleep with my big 90 lb. yellow lab "Harley", and my sweet and sassy husband whom I thank God for every day.
In grade school, I was one of the "big girls", as we all know girls mature earlier at that age... I was definitely no exception. I was a good student, but could sometimes be somewhat of a bully. I'd monopolize the monkey bars, and be a 4-square hog, always being in square #1...Fine! I was the Janet Reno of Worthington Hills Grade School, but lovin' life. I hated having my picture taken, because they always turned out looking like the "Mona Lisa"... hahahahhaha!
Things changed a little in high school, as I quickly discovered that I would never had any dates if I was "manly", so I put on my best feminine routine, and yet still maintained my tough girl edge. Growing up, I was always fiercely independent, and said what was on my mind...gee how things have changed...NOT! It worked well for me, as I was not one to succumb to peer pressure, and be pigeonholed into a clique. I remember being voted as the person that people wanted to get to know better...go figure. I think that I was hard to figure out, because I had lots of friends from different groups. Even then, I took people at face value, and didn't put up with negative attitudes... methinks I thought too much in high school. **smile**
What did I like doing in high school?
Well, I played Varsity Lacrosse (Grace comin' at ya with a stick baby), and it was great for getting out the frustrations! Piano has always been a big part of my life. I took lessons for 12 years, but the thing that held me there was my teacher - one of my best friends to this day! A lot of times, I would spend the night at her house (a huge mansion with a studio apartment called "Grace's Room"). In the mornings, I would go horseback riding, and/or snow mobiling in the winters...I always loved the wide-open speed of being on a running horse, or the surge of the snow-mobiling. To this day we are fast friends, and call ourselves "soul sisters". She still invites me to stay at her house to this day and we shop and rent movies. I recently shot with Rob Sims, the world famous celebrity/fitness photographer, on her estate. He told me that he saw me in a completely different light... being there pulled out the child in me.
As I matured, my sister and I would be shipped off to camps... but these camps were way more active than Girl Scouts. I loved the horseback camps, and did SCUBA camps in the Bahamas too. We would camp on the beach for a couple of weeks, study married life, and revel in the sand, sun and SCUBA...did you know that soap does not lather in salt water? I quickly found that out, P.U! No shower for this fitness pet for 2 weeks... we were all in the same boat. I had tons of fun diving with my friends (and sneaking into town to buy rum), but felt like the contents of a litter box on a daily basis...YUK!
I also had, and still have, a family reunion in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland every year. All 28 of us stay at a lakeside place (separate units thank GOD!), and eat, drink and be merry. My grandpa, who foots the bill (thanks grandpa!), still loves his Tangeray Martinis, and steals an occasional smoke when Grandma isn't looking...as a kid he would give me his gin-soaked olives (probably hoping that it would shut me up). I hope to be a lot like them in my older years...they still to this day eat well, and exercise daily. They live life, and have traveled all over the world soaking it in. That's me...the Wanderlust Queen!
I went to Miami University of Ohio...college was a blast...but seemed to blast past me! My freshmen year, I partied WAY too much. I guess that I was used to getting good grades in high school, and was then slapped with the reality of Accounting, Pre-Med and Economics! I buckled back down and made it though with flying colors. I drove an MGB convertible, which was fun too. The guys that I dated would beg to take me to class...then cruise around campus in my car. I would catch them by checking the odometer...HA! They usually 'fessed up to the sneak cruise... After school, I worked for The Limited Inc, and started out at the bottom. I was soon managing lots of stores, other managers and employees. The best part about this career was the people that I met, and the work ethic that the company instilled...sometimes when there was a corporate bigwig coming I would work 18 hour days...definitely not enough pay for that!
So how did I eventually get into fitness? Well, after too many hours and too little pay, I said ciao' to The Limited, and got a desk job that I hated. I quickly realized that I was not a desk person. I knew that I would have to get a new career to keep my sanity. I had been keeping up with my workouts and they had become more intense. I had always admired that sexy/muscle image, and would comb the internet and fitness magazines looking for inspirational pictures.
Somewhere there in the mix I had the biggest accomplishment of my life... my son. Yes, I am the proud mother of a fabulous young man who lights up my life daily. Those inspirational pictures soon became just a pipe dream. After giving birth I sat at a whopping 210 lbs. and was miserable (YES...210!!!) One day it was as if God reached out and popped me one on the head... I literally felt something! What came to mind was that IF THEY (the fitness women that I was so inspired by) CAN DO IT SO CAN I. From that moment on I was "one focused muchacha!" I went from 210 down to 128 at 10% body fat. It took me 2 years of hard focused dedication. I knew in my heart that I had the capability to help others do the same.
To expand my knowledge, I got my personal training certification from ACE. One thing led to another, and I started my "About Your Body" personal training business. I mainly work with women in their homes to teach them new ways of "thinking", and of course learning to make fitness a part of their lives. I get such a high watching people reach their fitness goals, and helping them to change their lives for the better. My in-town clients and I end up being very close...I am their trainer, friend (drill sergeant) and "sounding board". Pound by pound and inch by inch I watch them reach their goals. It is so exciting when I see them teaching others! Then I truly know that I have "spread the word".
My first big break in fitness modeling came from Michael Scott. I had always admired his photography, and when his staff called me to do a shoot for MUSCLEMAG, I was pinching myself!!! After being published, I was able to market myself to other photographers successfully. I will always be grateful to Michael for giving me my first break!
While I was working at the Arnold Classic, the promoter of the Womenís Tri-Fitness competition talked me into doing his show in Tampa Fla. I have never trained so hard in my life! After that, I was hungry for more abuse **smile** , so I sent in my application for the GALAXY competition and was accepted! I did much better in this competition! The training is brutal with "suicide" sprints, and lots of Plyometrics. Now why would anyone want to put themselves through this torture? For me, I get to meet the coolest people, and be around people "better" than me...if you know what I mean. The women are beautiful, smart, and have a passion for fitness. They motivate me to be my very best. This may sound corny, but I originally entered the contests, and have done many things on the premise that God gave me one life, and I want to experience everything possible, and not ever look back with regrets.
Entering the Galaxy Competition led to another big break for me. The staff, and the production company hand-picked 25 women to be on "Baywatch". I was FLOORED when I got the letter they wanted me to be on the show!. Being on the set was something that I had always dreamed of, and made me hungry for more. With the help of my agent I was able to get on several other television shows. I was pleasantly surprised that the crew and stars of the show were really down to earth. Of course I didnít stay out in Hollywood (against my agentís wishes)...my calling was here with my family and the people that I love. I know that I will never look back with regret on that decision. I am smart enough to know that the best things in life are free.
I was still doing my competitions, and shooting for the fitness magazines, and clothing lines when I met Dr. Scott Connelly, founder and creator of MET-Rx. I applied to be a MET-Rx team athlete, and was accepted! This was quite an honor in that literally thousands of women and men seek sponsorship for their competitions, and now I would be working with the finest athletes in the world. I have been a team MET-Rx athlete and product specialist with MET-Rx since 1998. The people that I work with continue to inspire me to be my best. Hands down MET-Rx has the best products on the market, and I use them daily. Be sure to visit their website for old favorites, and new up and coming products!
Currently what am I doing in fitness? Well I am still training and helping women to reach their fitness goals, and am inspired daily by them. I had the opportunity to train a team of women for the Dr. Phil Show, which was a very cool experience! I was commissioned by the U.S. Army (Ft. Bliss in El Paso TX) to train an army brigade. That was a trip! I admire these men and women for their intense dedication to our country. I am of course still on TEAM MET-Rx, and continue to travel and be a spokesperson for this fantastic company. I am currently enrolled in the American School for Alternative Medicine studying Massage Therapy, and Neuromuscular Therapy to enhance my knowledge of the human body, and help people with pain and disorders. I have lots of projects left in this lifetime to accomplish. I thank God every day for giving me the strength to continue and I thank my family, friends, and my MET-Rx family for their love and support.