Meet4 women who’ve got the fit fac­tor

Oxygen - - FUTURE FITNESS - By Maura We­ber

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.”

Harvest, Alabama

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

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