Tell us a little about your health and fitness journey so far! Have you always been interested in fitness and working out? Were you an athlete in high school? What brought you to where you are right now?
I’ve always been pretty athletic. My family is very outdoorsy, and my dad and his siblings played on several coed teams, including softball and soccer, while I was growing up. So I lived a lot of summer nights out on the fields. I played my fair share of T-ball and peewee soccer when I was little, and even showed horses in competitions for several years. I ended up joining the cheerleading team in 8th grade because I wanted to be popular (true story!), but I became intrigued by how challenging it was. I would beg my mom to let me take tumbling lessons whenever there were classes, and spent a lot of extra time at my local cheerleading gym. I worked really hard to make my high school cheerleading team, and even harder when it came time to tryout for college. Most of my senior year was spent at that same tumbling gym with college cheerleaders who were willing to show me the ropes. It was like a dream come true! I loved the sport so much that I coached Jr. High teams my Junior and Senior year of high school, and that’s when I knew I loved supporting and teaching others.
I learned along my journey that I absolutely love coaching, and I even hold a small group of personal training clients. However, I also learned that I’m more of a solo sport kind of person. So when I discovered bodybuilding I was instantly intrigued, and fell in love after my first competition in 2014.
What kinds of activities do you enjoy, tell us your favorite ways to break a sweat.
I love hiking. There’s something special about being in nature while you’re getting exercise in. Growing up in Utah left a lot of opportunities to be in the mountains, and we took every chance we could get to be outside. My family even hiked Timp as a group when I was still in elementary school. I’m very lucky now to be married to someone who also enjoys the outdoors, so we’re always up for something challenging. For our anniversary this year, we hiked all over St. George, and explored Zions National Park and it was the most beautiful vacation we’ve taken.
Take us through a normal day. How do you structure your time and balance your different responsibilities with your hobbies and interests?
I mainly nanny during the weekdays, so luckily they’re pretty structured. A typical day for me starts at 2:30 AM. It’s worth the empty gym, plus after years of trying to find the “right” time, this happens to be the perfect time for our schedules. We get to the gym by 3:30, leave by 5 so I can pick up the boy I watch. While my little dude naps, I make it a point to work on myself all morning. I’ll work on content for my clients, I like to read a little bit, and I try and research 1 topic per week that interests me. Plus it gives me time to stretch and recover my body. Obviously the rest of the day goes to entertaining the cutest 1 year old. After I drop him off in the afternoons is when I typically take my clients. Some nights I’m done by 7, and other nights my last client leaves at 9:30. It’s lights out by 9 most nights though.
My husband and I share a 4 day work week schedule, so we consider ourselves lucky when it comes to balancing work and life. We work hard during the week on what needs to be done, and take the weekends to rest, recover, and get things done around the house that we want. We have fully dedicated our Sundays to meal prep, and each participate in our own preparations. Which makes the rest of our week run so much smoother.
What advice do you have for people who are just getting started or are just getting back into it from taking time off?
If you’re just starting out, I suggest you do your research, and ask LOTS of questions. There is so much conflicting information out there when it comes to our nutrition. It can be very easy to get wrapped up in fad diets and unnecessary supplements. It can be beneficial to ask questions as well, but be careful with who you take advice from. We are quite lucky to have something like social media, where professionals and knowledgeable people are so easily accessible. We are also quite unlucky to have so many “influencers” who put out false, and possibly harmful information. On that note, it’s going to make you feel more comfortable about making lifestyle changes if you’re in the ‘know’. When we figure out ‘why’ we are doing something, it always seems to make it easier to do. As I tell my clients, “Knowledge isn’t power, using knowledge is power.”
Who are your favorite people to follow on social media and why (list their handle)
I love Brooke Poeppel (@brookepoeppel). She’s very insightful, and completely genuine. She’s on social media to help lift others, and cares about the friends she makes there. I also know her and her boyfriend personally and know them to be a really awesome example of the ultimate power couple.
Shawn Stevenson (@shawnmodel) is a MUST follow. He’s a nutritionist and runs an amazing podcast. Full of knowledge… like.. OVERFLOWING with juicy golden nuggets of knowledge.
I honestly just love following my family and friends. My friends kick so much ass, that they keep me interested. I have a friend that runs a gym in Utah (@awayathletics) whos always posting really interesting tidbits and quizzes on his story. I have a friend that just started a supplement company out of Arizona (@beunbowed), and they’re booming! Of course my favorite though, the most kick A of them all, our girl Kaytlin with Bad Athletics (@kaytlinkatnissmma). Her workouts have new and challenging exercises each time, and I always love her point of view and what she thinks on women’s empowerment.
What is your biggest win (when it comes to your own health and fitness)?
There are just so many small things I’ve accomplished, it’s hard to nail down the “biggest” win. I think overall though I’m just proud that I was brave enough the first time I competed. I had no coach, I made my own suit, taught myself how to pose, and my husband and I tanned each other ourselves (we competed together). I came out in the top 10 of over 20 girls in my class, and that was probably the most accomplished I’ve ever felt. I love this sport because you have SO much to be proud of, and all the effort is put out by none other than you!
Tell us about the hardships and challenges you’ve overcome and the lessons you’ve learned along the way. If there’s an experience that really shaped your journey and you feel comfortable with sharing it, please do!
I’ll be vulnerable and tell what made me shift gears from cheerleading to bodybuilding.
My senior year of high school, I quit my cheerleading team halfway through the year. My team decided not to compete after two years of being undefeated, and I was desperate to make a college team. So I quit and spent the rest of the year practicing every change I got at my local gym. Literally hours and hours of practice just to make this college team. I had a job so I would just dump my money into stunting and tumbling lessons.
I ended up making the college cheerleading team, and 3 months later I was kicked off. I received a call from my coach, who explained that a teammate of mine had gotten into trouble and mentioned my name. Despite my lack of association with the situation, she no longer wanted me representing their team.
I was extremely angry and I never wanted to cheer again. I was so stressed I gave myself Mono, I gained weight, and my self esteem hit rock bottom. It took me about 4 years to get myself together. Before I was kicked off, exercise and taking care of my body was life, after I ate fast food every meal and never worked out. I remember going to the store to buy new jeans with my (now) husband, and I cried. Sobbed in the middle of the store. I just felt gross, and disappointed with myself.
Bodybuilding was something I discovered on social media and was instantly interested. I knew it was something that I could do that wasn’t only going to make me feel better about my physical appearance, but it was going to make me feel better about me period. Between the healthy eating and exercise, my depression cleared up, I stopped getting sick so often, and my relationship with my husband started to improve. I became less introverted and my confidence skyrocketed. I remember being so bitter, and hating that girl that had ruined my college dream. But the first time I met my husband, was the first football game of the season. I wouldn’t have been where I was at the right time to meet him if I would have been on that cheerleading team. Life is kind of cruel, but kind of funny.
What (or Who) inspires you and why?
I wouldn’t say that there’s not one person that inspires me, but instead a specific group of people. Elite athletes, whether they be soccer players, crossfit, or bodybuilding, really get my fire going. I love how much passion they have, and such intense dedication to perfecting their skill(s). I never would have thought that watching a bunch of people work out could ever be entertaining. However, if you’re really looking to be inspired, the Crossfit Games is one of my favorite events to watch,.
In your observation, what do you think is the biggest road-block people face when it comes to reaching their health and fitness goals?
I think people being misinformed is such a big roadblock when trying to reach health and fitness goals. I’ve worked with many clients that think I’m going to tell them no more sugar ever, and assume all we’re ever going to do is cardio. When you learn the truth about eating, and that you don’t have to exercise 7 days a week for 2 hours, becoming “healthy” doesn’t seem so scary. There are lots of ways to reach your goals, and the best way is YOUR way.
If you help other women understand one thing about health and fitness, what would it be?
If there’s anything I want to encourage other women to understand, it’s the power of individuality when it comes to health and fitness. We are all at different stages of our progress, we all have different goals, and not one of us has a body that functions just like the other. I also would want to encourage women to take care of themselves. You DO have 20-30 minutes a day to exercise. You DO have the capability to eat a smarter meal instead of that leftover pizza. Taking your health one day, one small step at a time is better than doing nothing. [Most] Women claim they’ll do anything for their families, but the best thing they can do for their family is to take care of themselves . Your longevity and durability will count on it.
What makes you Bad?
I don’t let things get me down. I used to be someone who was easily hurt and my confidence was easily shattered. I was someone who would silently work, and then celebrate IF things turned out the way I wanted. Everything’s meant to be celebrated. Wins, losses, even complete failures. Life is life, things happen so you can learn lessons, and bad things happen to everyone. The winners are people who look at life’s challenges, find the lessons, and become better.
Bonus: What’s your favorite Bad Athletics product and flavor combo?
We’re super proud of Mady and her commitment to building herself and others up. She truly represents everything a Bad Athlete should be. Love stories like this? We’ve got more Big Bad Wins right HERE!
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