Meet4 women who’ve got the fit factor
ARMY TRAINING: Holly Cortez was athletic through her school days but really got into working out when she joined the military. “I joined the Army when I was 26 — a bit of an old recruit — and I loved the rigorous training,” she says. “I started working out after I got out of the Army because I loved my new level of fitness and wanted to maintain it.” Now her Army training lives in her memory as a potent motivator. “When I remember what basic training felt like, it reminds me that I can do anything.”
BUSY LIFE: These days, in addition to working as a computer systems analyst, Cortez teaches fitness classes and is a wife and mother. “My son, Devin, is 11, and sometimes I’ll have him ride his bike with me as I run. I go faster that way,” she says. She fits in her strength training around indoor cycling, boot camp and yoga classes. Cortez explains that her husband, Luis Cortez, understands her passion for exercise. “He is in marathon training, so we have different goals, but he gets how important fitness is to me,” she says.
INSPIRING WORDS: Cortez is a believer in the power of the mind. “When the going gets tough, remember what you’re working toward. Get a vision of your destination and push toward it,” she says. Her advice is to think positive. “When you start thinking of yourself as a healthy person, guess what? You’ll make the decision to do the healthy thing every time.”
TRAILBLAZER: Melissa Marks is a teacher at Rio Rancho High School and also strength coordinator for the school’s varsity football team. “As of right now, I’m the only female on a varsity football staff in New Mexico,” she says. She trains alongside the football players, using high-intensity intervals to help them get conditioned for games. Plus, she enjoys weight training and finds it rewarding to show the football players how to lift the right way. “I love showing the football boys proper form and seeing them improve,” she says. When she’s digging deep to get that last rep, she’s motivated by hearing the football players say, “Come on, Coach, you got this!”
RAISED ON THE FARM: Marks credits husband Nathan Marks and daughter Madisynrose with helping to keep her on track with her diet. “My favorite fitness-minded dinner is beef with sweet potato, I guess because I grew up on a farm,” she says. Her greatest challenge in the gym comes in the form of pullups. “Pull-ups are a love-hate thing for me. I love that I am getting stronger, but I hate that I can only get two or three on my own,” she says. She’s proud of the muscular development in her back. “The definition shows the years of hard work on the farm,” Marks says.
ALL IN: “I love that I am a 41-year-old wife, mom, teacher, football strength coordinator and figure competitor,” she says. “I love that I can be an example to women that you’re never too old.”
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Gig: Computer systems analyst
Gig: High-school science teacher