Future of Fitness
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We hear from the rising stars in fitness.
Sporty girl: Madison Schnarr was extremely athletic growing up. “Not only was I enrolled in every sport I could fit into the week, but I had to do each of these sports at the highest competitive level,” she says. “I was truly born to be an athlete.” Schnarr credits her mom with helping her get where she is today. “My mom never missed a show or game or even a 6 a.m. practice. She taught me how to train hard, manage my time and be competitive.”
Healthy changes: As a teen, Schnarr was involved in modeling, and she became overly concerned with her weight. Along with that came a lot of unhealthy lifestyle habits. Fortunately, by the end of her first year of college, she realized she needed a change. That’s when she started to lift weights and developed healthier food choices. “I love the way weight training makes me feel,” she says. “It has changed my body. Most of all, I love lifting because it makes me feel strong, powerful and healthy.”
Strong drive: This personal trainer is very goal-driven. “I’m a bikini competitor, and my main focus for 2017 is to qualify for Nationals,” she says. “Looking beyond 2017, my ultimate goal is to be a successful IFBB Bikini pro, grace the Olympia stage and be among the best in the fitness industry! It is my mission to inspire others and change their lives through health and fitness.”
Early adversity: Colleen Van Dam’s early life was fraught with adversity. After both parents passed away when she was very young,Van Dam went to live with another family. Although the kids she lived with were active, as the “extra kid,” Van Dam’s activities were never the priority. But in high school, she managed to make the volleyball and basketball teams.
A lifetime of fitness: This mom of two has always tried to make fitness a priority. She started training after high school, taught aerobics classes in the ’80s, did a few 10k races and half marathons, and a few years ago, she began bodybuilding again, winning her first figure show at the age of 48. However, it wasn’t until recently that she has felt she was in the best shape of her life. Six years ago, she cleaned up her diet, refocused on weights, increased her intensity and started to see major results.
Goal getter: Van Dam is inspired by sixtime Ms. Olympia Cory Everson. “She has demonstrated that muscle is beautiful and timeless and that strong is sexy … at any age,” she says. Van Dam has qualified for a national competition and looks forward to pushing herself during that 16-week prep this year. “One bonus of being an older woman is that I can focus my energy on myself after many years of raising my kids!”
Role model: A dancer and avid mountain biker, Jennifer Roberts started working out with her mom when she was 13. “She inspired me to take care of myself and to have a strong body,” Roberts says. Her brother, however, is her role model. “He broke his back in 2001 and was paralyzed from the waist down. His motto is ‘never give up,’ and after intense hard work, determination and a small miracle, he is walking again!”
Morning girl: Roberts does weights and cardio five times a week, practices yoga twice a week and squeezes a massage in once a week. “I train first thing in the morning — not because I love the morning — but because my husband and son are still sleeping and it doesn’t interfere with their schedules,” she explains. “I do my cardio on my lunch hour or later in the evening, depending on my work schedule.” When she can, she likes running while her son bikes alongside her. “I get to be outside, and I get to listen to my son chat for an hour!”
Overcoming obstacles: “I used to have a very poor self-image,” she says. “Even when I was skinny, I didn’t see myself in a positive way. I kept myself small and didn’t think I deserved to feel success. Once I understood what was going on, I was able to move forward and enjoy being fit for life. I believe I am worthy of success now. This is about my happiness and my journey.”
Late bloomer: Debbie Westby didn’t start training until she was in her 30s. At 40, she felt like something was missing in her workouts, and that’s when she discovered
Oxygen. “I was very intrigued by the way the women looked, and I felt like I could do it, too,” she says. “I brought a copy of the magazine to my gym and showed a trainer one of the models and told him I wanted that kind of body.” He took her seriously and put together a training and nutrition program. A couple of years later, another trainer encouraged her to compete in figure. “It was something I never thought I could do,” she says. “I feel like I finally found my passion and a fit lifestyle in my 40s.”
Flying high: Westby started flying when she was 19. She tries to train three times a week, but her flying schedule makes things complicated. “I lift and do cardio when I can,” she says. “Since I usually fly longer routes, I have longer layovers, which gives me plenty of time to get a workout in.” She also brings a cooler with her packed with healthy meals and snacks so her nutrition stays on point.
Good advice: “I usually fly three-day international trips, so my food, sleep and workouts get affected,” Westby says. “But I have learned not to be hard on myself and just do the best I can. I am proud of my age, and I’ve never let that stop me. I believe that the gym is my fountain of youth!”
Turning point: Tammi McDonald “dabbled in the gym” and did various types of exercise since high school. “I wasn’t one to do these things on my own, so I was never really able to get into a gym routine,” she explains. Turning 40 was a turning point for her. That’s when she decided to get in the best shape of her life. “It was time to do something for me, which was tough at first. I had spent 20 years focusing on my husband and three children,” she says. McDonald stepped out of her comfort zone and joined a gym. A few months later, she was inspired to start a 12-week transformation and enter her first bikini competition.
Weights over cardio: Although McDonald doesn’t dislike cardio, she loves lifting. “I train five to six days a week, working legs/glutes twice a week and cardio and core about three times a week, all preferably in the morning,” she says. “It’s a great way to begin my day and get it all done before work so I have time with my family in the evening.”
Be unstoppable: “It’s never too late to make a change,” McDonald says. Her favorite quote is, “Believe and you are unstoppable!” Now she is planning to become a personal trainer. “I’m excited to work with others to help them achieve their individual fitness goals.”
Calgary, Alberta, Canada Stats: 51 • 150 lb • 5’9” Gig: Licensed optician
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada Stats: 26 • 135 lb • 5’10” Gig: Personal trainer
Squamish, British Columbia, Canada Stats: 42 • 117 lb • 5’2” Gig: Sales associate
Kimberley, British Columbia, Canada Stats: 45 • 113 lb • 5’5” Gig: District principal
Temecula, California Stats: 51 • 134 lb • 5’8” Gig: Flight attendant