Future of Fitness
Think you have what it takes? Send your story to futureoffitness @oxygenmag.com.
We hear from the rising stars in fitness.
Build up: Karey Northington has been an athlete since she was young — she was a soccer player and medaled as a track athlete in the state championship — but she immersed herself in bodybuilding to help build back her self-esteem that was shattered in adulthood. She is now a gym owner with her husband and is also an IFBB Bikini pro.
Foodie: Although she is a fan of frozen yogurt and Oreo cookies, she saves those treats for the weekend. During the week, her diet stays very clean. “I prep on Sundays for the week. My go-to foods to prep are ground turkey, grilled chicken and steak, roasted sweet potatoes, hard-boiled eggs and spaghetti squash,” she explains. “My meal choices include homemade chipotle bowls with chicken or steak, rice, guacamole, Greek yogurt and pico de gallo.” Frittatas and mini quiches are also in her rotation.
Why not: Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused and motivated, and Northington’s best advice is to “remember your ‘why.’ I keep a list of all the reasons — big and small. I want to live a healthy lifestyle, and when I’m feeling unmotivated, I read from the list. Some weeks, I’m reading the list hourly,” she says. She also finds motivation from her mom. “She is my role model. She passed away when I was in middle school but was a shining example of hard work, ethics, love and kindness. I strive to emulate her light and loving personality.”
Adrenaline rush: Basketball was Melissa Klave’s passion. She made the varsity team as a freshman in high school and became an all-area athlete. “After high school, I was in search of a new goal,” she says. “I began running half marathons in search of the adrenaline rush. Once I did a couple, I needed something more. I began working out at a CrossFit gym and became addicted to the competitive atmosphere.”
Hard work: “My favorite move is a snatch. The most rewarding things in life are the things that don’t come easy, and this move has been anything but easy to perfect,” she says. Klave spreads her training out through the day. “I lift weights six days a week with two 20-minute HIIT cardio sessions a day — my first one is at 5 a.m., and it’s fasted to help with fat loss, and my second one is at the end of the day after all my meals have been finished. I lift in the middle of the day,” she explains.
Obstacle race: When asked if she had to overcome obstacles to her fitness, Klave says, “I don’t know anyone who was able to reach their fitness peak without overcoming obstacles. There will be days where you physically can’t get out of bed due to your workout the day before, and there will be days where you mentally quit because you have reached your limit. These are the days you look back on when you reach your goal and can say it was worth it.”
Homemade: Trisha Greenlaw started consistently training when she was 20. “Prior to that, I was doing Tae Bo with Billy Blanks in my living room along with Turbo Jam by Chalene Johnson,” she says. “I was always doing some sort of program, but I did most of my fitness at home.” However, it was always a part of her life. Both parents worked out, so weights were intriguing to Greenlaw. “The idea of sculpting muscles seemed fascinating. It made me feel strong, and I wanted to have big muscles like my dad,” she says.
Constant chaos: Greenlaw’s childhood was filled with substance abuse, physical and verbal abuse, and constant anxiety, and fitness was her only escape. “Fitness seemed like the only place to feel free and have a sense of control. I would run, ride my bike, go in our basement to train or just run around with friends,” she explains. “It helped clear my mind and calm my nerves, easing the anxiety and fear I felt.”
Positive outcome: After enduring that rough childhood, she found herself pregnant and in an abusive relationship at age 16. Fitness, again, was her only place of peace and empowerment. Now, in a healthy and loving relationship (she met her husband in the gym, naturally!), Greenlaw hopes to encourage and empower other women to keep pushing and never give up no matter their circumstances.
Role models: Although she has worked out most of her adult life, Nicole Alexander didn’t do it consistently until about a year ago. “I became inspired because I gained weight and I felt fatigued. My health is important, and I needed to do something about it,” she explains. She finds inspiration in every woman who takes the time to not only care for their family and friends but also to take care of their own mental, spiritual and physical health. “Loving and caring for ourselves does not have to be put to the side,” she says.
Go figure: Alexander is currently training for a figure competition, so she is strength training six days a week. “I also do fasted cardio four to five days a week,” she says. “I do my cardio at 5 a.m., and I weight train late afternoon.” She generally trains alone so she can stay more focused. “I need to manage my time, and this way I can utilize my entire time just on working out and not conversing.”
Food prep: Although she indulges once a week (“Lay’s potato chips and chocolatecovered almonds are my favorite cheat foods!”), she eats pretty clean the rest of the time. “I’m terrible at prepping, so I tend to buy frozen veggies, frozen chicken and beef strips, and pre-made salads, and I make rice in bulk and freeze it. Then I can just throw what I need in containers in the morning and go,” she says.
Body and mind: When she was 16, Tanya Offenburger started working out at the local YMCA. “My dad inspired me,” she explains. “He had a routine of lifting weights and playing basketball. Now he’s 63 and does CrossFit three times a week. My grandfather, now in his 80s, can still do a pistol squat! I believe my body and mind are extremely connected, and it’s apparent in both my dad and grandfather. It’s truly inspiring.”
Constantly varied: Offenburger, who usually trains in the morning, varies her workouts. “My training consists of sprints two to three times a week. The other days, I’ll rotate between reformer Pilates, Olympic lifts, HIIT or calisthenics,” she explains. “A few years ago, I created a class that incorporates reformer Pilates with kettlebells, lifting and HIIT. It’s such a good workout! On my one to two days of rest, I might go for a long walk or for a bike ride with my husband.”
Competitive nature: Although she enjoys training in a group, Offenburger prefers to train alone. “When I was going to a CrossFit gym, I found out that I had a competitive nature. Being in a group made me push myself harder,” she says. “I think it’s contagious to be around those who have a lifestyle you share. However, I’ve taken that competitiveness and have learned to push myself. When I need that voice to keep pushing, it’s there.”
Melissa Klave Troy, Michigan Stats: 29 • 115 lb • 5’2” Gig: Doctor of Chiropractic
Karey Northington Gilbert, Arizona Stats: 35 • 132 lb • 5’6” Gig: Business owner
Tanya Offenburger San Antonio Stats: 36 • 130 lb • 5’7” Gig: Reformer Pilates instructor
Trisha Greenlaw Saco, Maine Stats: 36 • 115 lb • 5’2” Gig: Health and wellness coach
Nicole Alexander Chicago Stats: 44 • 172 lb • 5’10” Gig: Nurse practitioner