HR supervisor for Optimal Home Care, Inc.
conditioning coach at high altitude martial arts
Body combat instructor sub for Bladium Sports
Individually structured BA from UC Denver
Masters in healthcare administration and management/project management from CSU global.
Why do you want to get into the fitness industry?
I wasn’t always interested in the fitness industry. I grew up in rural South Georgia where the lifestyle is anything but healthy. My interest in fitness was birthed out of tragedy. In 2001 I was in a near-fatal car accident – a head-on collision going about 68 mph. My injuries almost cost me my life; in fact, the local paper reported that I died in the crash. Severe concussion, broken back, shattered pelvis, compound tibial fracture, complete radius and ulna break, internal crushing injuries, and some broken toes. At one point I could not feel my legs, and the doctors said I may not walk again. Then they said I would not be able to be active again if I was able to walk.
They kept me pretty sedated for almost a month due to the head injury. It took weeks for me to even sit up, and I stood only once, for only a few seconds, before they discharged me home after 31 days in the hospital. I was in bed bound or wheelchair-bound for another 8 weeks, and on crutches for a subsequent 6 weeks. I didn’t have access to physical therapy so I had to do the recovery myself, and that’s where my love affair with fitness began.
Throughout my recovery, I managed to gain over 50 lbs from good southern cooking and was totally dissatisfied with my body. My self-esteem was nonexistent, and I was depressed and tired. One late night infomercial binge led to the purchase of Tae Bo… which I instantly fell in love with. Then I purchased an Oxygen Magazine with Jaime Easton’s photo on the cover. I knew I wanted to be her one day. I lost the weight, got certified to train, and was a successful trainer for over 10 years before entering the medical field. I competed in the NPC, placing second in every show I entered (all national qualifiers), and I’m looking forward to competing again in April of next year. I even had the opportunity to do a photoshoot with Rob Sims, the creator of Oxygen magazine. After a few years of competing, I took a break to complete a master’s degree.
So to answer the question, I want to be in the fitness industry to help others who don’t believe they can achieve their goals, realize that they can do anything they put their mind to. I’m nothing special, and I’ve achieved everything I ever dreamed of and more. I’ve spent the last 15 years proving the doctors wrong every day. I practice Brazilian Jujitsu & Kickboxing and lift heavy weight. I can hike, bike, snow-shoe, jog, dance, do cartwheels, and just about anything I want – all things I was told I would never be able to do. If I can do it, anyone can. It takes determination…
Tell us about your routine?
I take jujitsu twice a week, kickboxing twice a week, and lift four to five times a week. I really hate gym cardio, so the martial arts serve as my cardio. I might also go on an occasional hike on the weekend. In the gym, I lift as heavy as possible. I’m stronger than many men in the gym and that makes me feel good. My split looks like this:
• Monday: jujitsu, Back, and Core
• Tuesday: Kickboxing
• Wednesday: Jujitzu, Quads
• Thursday: Kickboxing
• Friday: Bodycombat, Shoulders, Core
• Saturday: maybe a day off, or Arms and Core
• Sunday: Hamstrings
I stay in the 8-12 rep range for size right now. My goal is to put on about 7-8 more pounds of muscle before January when contest prep starts.
What are your goals competing?
Well, I’m tired of collecting second place trophies. I would like to win a national qualifier and step on the national stage next year. I won’t say that my overall goal is to become a pro, but I’m pretty competitive. Once I get the bug I get pretty focused on winning.
I also have a goal of fighting in a smoker in December of this year – a modified Muay Thai fight. I may only ever fight once, but it’s on my bucket list.
What is your diet like?
Right now my diet is fantastic. I’m bulking. I eat pretty clean, but I eat a lot of food.
• Breakfast: Protein shake, oatmeal with a ½ banana, 3 slices of real bacon
• Snacks: Beef Jerky and a Protein Bar
• Lunch: Green Veggies, Quinoa, Chicken
• Snacks: Carrots and Guacamole, pumpkin seeds
• Dinner: During the week it’s a shake with almond milk, beef protein, spinach, berries, and avocado. Fridays and weekends I eat whatever I want, which is usually a combination rice plate with chicken, egg roll, beef, and pork. Sometimes sushi.
When contest prep starts I’ll cut back on carbs, get rid of the fried foods and bacon, and up my protein… I’ll follow whatever diet Brian puts me on.
If you could change the world how would you do it?
That’s a loaded question. There are so many things one could say here. If I could change one thing, it would be the cost of education. It is becoming more and more important to earn a postgraduate degree to be successful in today’s job market. There was a point in time when a high school education was all that was needed to be a success, then it was a Bachelors, then it was a Masters, and now that isn’t good enough in many cases. The cost of education is a major barrier for many students to get their degree, which is creating a major disparity in the nation.
What’s more disturbing is having a master’s doesn’t guarantee that you can get a job that pays well enough for you to pay your student loans off. I believe that any student that maintains a 3.0 GPA or higher should not have to pay for their education. Books, OK… school tuition, no. Georgia had a program like this when I first went to college – the Hope grant. I believe it is still offered to this day. It would be amazing if the Hope Grant was nation-wide. The world’s future depends on our younger generations, and we need to provide them with every opportunity to be successful. Education is a major factor in that success.
What are your limitations and your strengths?
Limitations… time and money. In order to be successful as a competitor, it takes hours each day, and lots of dollars for supplements, trainers, food, tanning, hair, makeup, competition suits, photos, travel, etc. It helps to have a sponsor or a really good income – both of which I’m chasing after. I currently have to work multiple jobs to afford my hobbies.
Strengths… I’m diligent – relentless in fact…stubborn depending on who you ask! I’m strong, I love the process, and I absolutely love to work out. It’s my outlet to reduce stress and refresh my mind and spirit. I guess another strength is perseverance. Competing requires some degree of sacrifice and pain… and I just keep pushing forward… And probably my greatest strength is the people I have around me to support me. I work with some amazing coaches: Brian Komloske (contest prep coach, supplement guru, and owner of the Nutrition Company) and Cody Donovan (fight coach, retired UFC fighter, and owner of High Altitude Martial Arts)
How do you see yourself progressing in this field?
I believe the only way to progress is for me to surround myself with the right people. My trainer, Brian Kimloske has a bio-chem degree, exercise kinesiology degree is an ACSM certified trainer, and he is a competitive powerlifter and bodybuilder. I trust his guidance and will work my butt off doing whatever it is he tells me to, regardless of how bad it sucks! I know I will see results.
My fight coach, Cody Donavan is also someone I respect immensely. He is an excellent teacher and knows how to push my limits in the conditioning department… which means a few things… the fight is gonna be a warm-up for me, and I won’t have to go boring gym cardio! I’ll also be equipped with the techniques he teaches me… and he is pretty ruthless. Win-win.
I have a sponsor that will help pay for competition fees – Sam Hem of ATHL Apparel. ATHL stands for aspiring to healthy living. He is launching a few lines of fitness apparel at the beginning of 2017. The brand is about celebrating the hard work put into maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It’s about looking good and feeling good and having fun. I can’t wait to see the new line.
So, the long answer is I will draw from these wise counselors and let them guide my progress in the field. I know they will not steer me wrong. They have my best interests at heart and will stand behind me to help me achieve my competing goals.
And ultimately I’d like to help others achieve their goals. It brings me great joy to see someone transform their body, and to support them through the journey.