What in the World?!

My First Figure Competition (March 2008)

My First Figure Competition (March 2008)


I always told people that I would never do it again. I said that I didn’t miss it. I talked about how I enjoyed watching other people do it, just not me. Well, fast forward two years and I take everything I’ve said back.

I was sitting at home on my bed and this random thought came into my head. The voice yelled in my ear, “Michelle, you need to compete again!” I NEED TO WHAT?! Huh? Do you realize I just had a baby last year and that my body is no longer shaped the same? What?! Have you seen my mommy pooch or my ‘close to 40’ butt? Yikes!!! Do you know how much I value a nap? What in the world?

I then found my fingers reaching for my cell phone to see when the next local competition is. It’s 9.5 weeks away. Oh boy! I begin to wonder 1) where were these thoughts coming from and 2) who will think I’m crazy for wanting to do it and talk me out of it.

So, I first call my friend Larry Jackson who trains ladies to compete. His response was, “Let’s Do It!” He said to throw on a bikini and send him a picture. A bikini? Me? I used to rock a bikini with pride, but now they hide in the back of my closet. Whew. I told him I needed to pray about it and that I’d either send him a photo in my bathing suit or some random crazy picture to let him know my mind isn’t right.

I knew there was one person I could depend on to talk me off the competition ledge – my husband. He always talked about how he didn’t like it when I competed because I was no fun to be around when I lack carbs. Surely he doesn’t want Carbless Barbie Michelle laying next to him every night. I picked up the phone to call him. His response – “Go For It!” Say what?! Do what?! Huh?

Everyone around me was supporting my decision. I thought it would be cool to try to get in shape to compete. My body is in no way the shape it used to be and my muscle defiinition has decreased. I may have to enter bikini instead of figure (which bothers me) but it could be fun.

So ladies and gents, my goal is to compete in 9 weeks. I’m hoping to bring my abs out of hiding and tighten up my glutes. I know nutrition is going to be key and I’ll be using a meal plan and the Visalus products in addition to my workouts. Wish me luck and say a prayer – I sure do need them!

A New School Year

A New School Year

After no school on Monday or Tuesday due the the weekend’s thunderstorm, JCPS schools have finally started the school year.  It wasn’t until Monday night that I realized something very important.  This is the first year since 1998 that I have not been associated with JCPS.

From 1998-2003 I taught first grade at Hawthorne Elementary School.  It was such an amazing feeling to see the ‘light’ come on when kids realized they could read.  We created our own classroom community and I loved helping them reach their fullest potential.

From there I was at Cochran Elementary School as their Math Coach.  I tried to make learning math both fun and memorable for both the teachers and students.  We would do whole school aerobics in the gym every Friday and it was a blessing to be able to work with each classroom in the school.

 In 2005, I left teaching to be a UniServ Director at JCTA.  In that role, I served as the union rep for teachers as was often the person they called when times got tough.  In a nutshell, if there was a problem or something bad happened, I was called.  Although I enjoyed the flexibility of the job and the teachers and my colleagues, I hated what I did and really hated all of the politics and backstabbing associated with it.

Although I miss working with kids and making that direct influence in their lives, I’ve found my passion with helping people in fitness and meeting their weight loss goals.  Over the summer I did fitness with some youth groups and that was just the perfect combination! I’m hoping to do some fitness activities in some elementary schools this year.

As we enter a new school year, I want to once again share my favorite teaching memory.  The student’s name is Cortney and we were at our 1st grade awards ceremony.  Her mother passed away from cancer earlier that month and she was sad that she wasn’t at the ceremony.  The irony of the video is that it was taken the day before I found out that my own mother had ovarian cancer.  This video reminds me how fragile all of us are and the importance of being there for one another.

August 2011

Teacher Making A Difference
Teacher Making A Difference

Fit Life

M.Y. Words of the Week


Fit Life

Do I love fitness?  Yes.  Do I love to see people accomplish their health goals?  Yep.  Do I love helping get them there?  Of course!  As a fitness professional I love being able to offer Zumba and fitness services.  It’s a thrill to see people young, old and older keeping themselves fit.  With each person that brags about losing weight or inches, there are also people that aren’t or that are at a plateau.  That can get frustrating for both the individual and myself.

So what did I do?  I went out and looked for a product that might help people reach their weight loss and transformation goals.  The company is called ViSalus and they run a Body by Vi 90 Day Challenge based off of a meal replacement shake.  The shake mix tastes like cake mix and only has 90 calories, 1 gram fat, 1 gram sugar and 12 grams of protein.  One person here in Louisville has already lost 5 pounds and inches and is only halfway through her first month’s kit.

Another person wrote the following: “I just made a Vi shake with almond milk, 1/4 pkg sugar free instant butterscotch pudding powder, 6-8 ice cubes in my Bullet! It was over the top delish!!!!!!!!! Just sayin’ and sharing;-) perfect for dinner! I could have eaten it with a spoon or used a straw.”  There are over 100 simple recipes to meet your taste buds.

It’s been a great month to hear people talk about being able to lose weight with a product that tastes great.  Others have taken the Vi-Trim, a product that makes you feel full so that you don’t binge with your late night cravings.  Aside from losing weight, people are earning FREE products just for getting three other people to lose weight with them and annually ViSalus gives away $10,000,000 in cash/prizes for transformation stories through their Body by Vi 90 Day Challenge.

From a business standpoint, it’s been a great opportunity to offer my clients the other half of a complete healthy lifestyle.  Nutrition and fitness must go hand in hand for the best results.  Now I can do just that.  Nutrition is a struggle for many of us, and when you find something that works you stick to it and tell the world about it.

In 30 days, I earned the title Regional Director for ViSalus which means I get to promote the Body By Vi Challenge throughout the region in a black BMW.  I love people emailing and calling about reaching their transformation goals, finding wonderful people to help me promote the challenge and creating a healthier Louisville.

So, here’s my challenge to you – if you’re interested in joining our Louisville Body by Vi 90 Day Challenge, we are going to give away $500 to one person.  You must select a kit by Sunday, August 7 to be eligible.  It’s not the ‘Biggest Loser’ it’s about meeting your transformation goal – whatever it is.  Someone reaching their 15 pounds goals should be rewarded just as much as someone meeting their 50 pound goal.  If you strive to make it happen, it will.  CLICK HERE to join our Challenge or contact me if you’re interested in being a promoter.

August 2011

They Make My Day

 YTurner gym

They Make My Day

I have absolutely found a job that I love and even better, I am surrounded by some of the most amazing people.  I think the fitness business is one of my callings and each day look forward to the people I work with.

Monday night was a typical Zumba (Learn the Steps) Class at my Fitness Studio.  At the end of each class, we go around, introduce ourselves and get to know each other.  Our groups are always so diverse in age, ethnicity and background.  This night we had one young lady from Iran.  She had a heavy accent and said she had been in the states since January.  After class, she came up to me and said how nervous she had been for the past couple of months to come to a Zumba class.  She actually almost didn’t come.  After attending the class, she had the brightest smile on her face and talked about how welcome she felt and how nice everyone was.  She made me feel good because she showed that the energy, dedication and passion that Jessica and I put into our classes in seen by our wonderful participants.  And, my smile was doubled the next day when I saw her return for another class.

I spend the other half of my time at the Fitness Center at St. Stephen.  There are many people there that are “young at heart” (but not necessarily young in age).  I’ll never forget when Ms. “E” came to the gym for the first time (she’s over 70 years old). Several of her friends brought her.  She walked with a walker at a slow pace.  She wanted to try to use the seated elliptical.  As she sat down, it was painful for her to even move her leg into position to pedal.  She didn’t even have enough strength to push the pedal down.  I suggested she take it easy her first day and not to do more than her body could handle.  She instead went and walked/pushed herself around the track two times.

Spring forward a week later and Ms. E is sitting on the elliptical pushing the pedals down.  Week later, she has a full range of motion.  Weeks later, she’s doing multiple laps around the gym.  And each time she comes in, her smile gets a little brighter.  Here was someone so down on her health unable to do much of anything, now feeling on top of the world and celebrating all of her accomplishments.

Both of these ladies showed me that when times seem fearful and you feel you don’t have the strength to go on – don’t give up.  Sometimes you have to take that first step in order for blessings to come your way.  Remember, an object in motion stays in motion but you have to start moving first!

Fit Life

Fit Life

Feb 11-1If you know me, you know that I love fitness.  If you know me, you know that I love helping others.  If you know me, you know that I have been seeking a career change for some time.  This time last year, I was on a major search for new career.  I looked on websites, talked to people – I was a woman on a mission.  But nothing happened.

So, I became a certified personal trainer.  I trained at a couple of places, but still held my full-time job.  I continued my fitness competitions and working out.  One of the places I trained had negative energy.  I wasn’t happy there.  However, while I was there I had the opportunity to get Zumba certified.  And boy was I hooked.  I kept saying my prayers to do fitness full-time.

Then I met Tomarcus.  He gave me the opportunity to teach Zumba classes at APT Fitness in St. Matthews.  Loved it.  I then told any and everyone that I wanted to expand my business.  This was December 2010.  This led to classes at First G and Greater Friendship Church.  First G has over 70 women coming out weekly.  Then Living Social said they wanted to advertise my Zumba classes.  Then Velocity called wanting to put me in the Spotlight.  Then Fox 41 called about doing segments on Fox in the Morning.  Then I did a panel at St. Stephen entitled ‘New Year New You’.

We always say that we want a sign from God showing us what to do.  Well – all of my signs were loud and clear.  It was such a breath of fresh air to submit my two weeks notice at my job.  And then there was the offer.  St. Stephen’s Family Life Center offered me a position as their new Fitness Director.  They have so many amazing services there and I’m excited to create healthy lifestyles for all that want to be involved.   But there’s more.  I’ll be introduced to the congregation this weekend and every service.  So, if you’ve ever wanted to see one of my fitness routines – make sure you’re at St. Stephen Church this weekend!  God is good and I am embracing all of his blessings.  It’s all still a work in progress.  I am still a work in progress.  But, it’s great to see others believe in my passion!


M.Y. January 2011

It’s Not About Me

It’s Not About Me

Aug10-2If you’ve been reading “M.Y. Words of the Week” this year, you know I had a goal of becoming a fitness professional this year. All of the competitions have happened and I am still an amateur.  The weekend I flew home from my final competition of the year, I felt a little empty.  Training to compete had been all I had focused on all year and all of a sudden I didn’t know what I’d do with my time.   I didn’t feel like a failure (because I knew it just wasn’t my time to win) but I did feel empty.

What I didn’t realize, though, is that my life is about God’s plan and not my plan.  Because just two days after returning home I received a phone call from a local gym.  They saw me at one of the national shows and wanted me to be a personal trainer there.  After several days of meeting with them, I decided to start training at the LAC.  Then, two days later I received a phone call.

Back in April I had been talking with a lady in New York about a fitness concept.  She said she would follow up with me, but I never heard back from her.  Until that phone call.  She was had finished another project and was now focusing on ours.  I am so excited about the possibility that could bring.  And then there was the Facebook message.

Darla Carter had been working on a new “My Domain” feature for the paper and had taken pictures several weeks earlier.  She sent me a message to let me know my article would be in the Sunday of that week’s paper.  Darla is an amazing writer and I never knew the picture would be so big!

All three of these things happened in a week.  In a week where I felt I would be clueless and lost with no direction.  Little did I know that God had a lot of other things in store for me.  But in order for me to be able to accomplish them, he needed me to stay still long enough for me both be able to appreciate them but also have the time and drive to be a success.  Doors close in our life for a reason.  Don’t waste your time trying to bust down that door or break the lock.  You weren’t meant to be in that space.  Instead, turn around and realize there are a lot more doors and one of them has your name on it.

M.Y. August 2010