There’s more to me than you think! Or at least there used to be…..
I haven’t always lead a lifestyle of health and fitness. Just a few short years ago I was headed down a dangerous path to obesity and failing health.
I am a proud Air Force wife (retired) and mother of 3 grown children. At first glance, most people assume I’ve always been athletic. Some of my clients have admitted (after getting to know me) that they were intimidated by my physical appearance. Still others comment that I “simply couldn’t understand what it’s like to struggle with trying to lose weight, overcome an injury or turn health issues around.” They couldn’t be more wrong! I didn’t play a single sport in high school….I played clarinet and piano. On top of that, I was incredibly shy and had always struggled with confidence and self-esteem. Fast forward to my adult years…..
Our family was relocated to Landstuhl, Germany in May 2002. The first year overseas proved to be very difficult with the onset of seasonal depression, in addition to adjusting to life in a foreign land. In 2007, I came to the realization that I was on a dangerous path of failing health. My weight had reached 175 pounds, I had suffered a major knee injury in a skiing accident, was being monitored for high blood pressure and discovered that the majority of my maternal family members were type II diabetics. I had my gall bladder removed and was told the typical markers for that were 3 “F’s” – Female, Fat, and Forty……but I was only 33! Unfortunately, I used all of these things as excuses for being overweight and unhealthy instead of the REASONS I should be in the gym. I was definitely the queen of excuses!! My poor husband had to endure it all…..he tried everything from “I’ll love you no matter what size you are” to “hunny….those jeans are looking a little snug on you”. Lacking any self esteem, I felt completely defeated. After a dear friend of mine, who also was overweight and had high blood pressure, nearly died from an aneurism, I was scared. I didn’t want to be disabled – or die – because I was too lazy to change the way I was living.
In August of that year, I decided to start on road to personal fitness and healthy living – not only for myself, but my family as well. God blessed me with a beautiful family and they deserved a healthy mom and wife. It began simply by making healthier choices at mealtimes and getting to the gym on occasion to rehabilitate my knee. That soon grew to venturing into the cardio room. With those small additions to my activity level (which was nothing previous) I lost my first 20 pounds. I ran into someone at the gym who hardly recognized the “shrinking” me and commented on how great I looked. That was all it took to rev me up and beginning in January of 2008, I set my goal to finish losing the weight and compete in my first-ever military bodybuilding/figure competition. I weighed in at 124 lbs.
Having a fitness goal saved my life…literally, and continues to help me stay on track with healthy living. I was headed toward high blood pressure, diabetes, and was the perfect candidate for heart disease if I didn’t change my ways. It’s not only the physical changes that occurred in my life, but the emotional as well. I now recognize how strong I truly am, both inside and out. The confidence I’ve gained in the sport of bodybuilding/figure has opened up a whole new world for me. (There’s nothing like stepping out on a stage in front of 100’s of people in a tiny little suit to develop confidence!). I live each day to the fullest and try to invest in each person I’m privileged to work with as a trainer so that they might discover their strength as well. Most importantly, I want my kids to have a healthy mom for a very long time so that I can enjoy every minute with them. My family is amazing!! I tell my husband all the time, “you created this monster!” He taught me how to lift weights, held me accountable to my goal, and was – and still is – my support, even when I didn’t think I would succeed. My kids are not only my source of motivation, but support as well. They helped me cook my meals and were my biggest and loudest fans at my competitions. Even now that they’re all grown (2 are in the Air Force and 1 is in college), they are still my motivation. My coach and training partner are also a major source of encouragement and support. They have helped me accomplish things I never (not in a million years!!) would have ever dreamed of. In addition to this, I praise God for the gift of the many many friends that have and continue to encourage and motivate me. Their personal testimonies of the obstacles they’ve overcome in their lives have touched me beyond words.
I began learning the fundamentals with my husband and later began working with a coach. Soon after, I realized I had outgrown military contests and began to venture out into the international circuit. I now am competing with the German IFBB/DBFV Team as an American International Competitor in the women’s physique category. I’ve had the privilege to compete in some huge international shows and have met some incredible athletes. It’s amazing to think I barely knew the different between a barbell and dumbbell when I began. Now, there is no exercise, equipment or any obstacle that I know I cannot overcome. After my first competition, that became my passion….to push myself harder in the gym, gain more knowledge and strive to be even better the next time. I may not place first in a competition, but I will always be stronger, harder and more confident than the last time.
•NPC Masters Nationals 2017 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Women’s Physique Over 40 B Class 3rd place
•NPC Nationals 2016 Miami, Florida – Women’s Physique B Class 6th place
•IFBB Loaded Cup 2016 Bochum, Germany – Mixed Pairs 2nd place, Masters Women’s Physique 3rd place, Women’s Physique 4th place
•IFBB Arnold Classic 2016 Columbus, Ohio – Women’s Physique 12th place
•IFBB Arnold Classic 2015 Columbus, Ohio – Women’s Physique 16th place
•IFBB/DBFV International Deutsche Meisterschaft Bochum, Germany 2014 – Women’s Physique 2nd place
•Hosted DBFV/Sandi Griffin Fitness U.S.-German Cup Ramstein, Germany October 2014
•IFBB Arnold Classic Europa 2014 Madrid, Spain – Women’s Physique 10th place
•IFBB/DBFV International Deutsche Meisterschaft Bochum, Germany 2013 – Women’s Physique 3rd place
•IFBB/DBFV Deutsche Masters Meisterschaft Duisburg, Germany 2013 – Women’s Bodybuilding 2nd place
•IFBB/DBFV International Großer Preis Von Hessen & RLP Finale 2013 – Women’s Bodybuilding 1st place
•NABBA Universe 2013 Southport, England – Figure II
•WFF World Championships 2012 Linz, Austria – Figure (Superbody) 5th place
•NABBA Universe 2012 Southport, England – Figure II 7th place
•NABBA World Championships 2012 Dublin, Ireland – Figure II 8th place
•WFF Universe 2012 Baden, Austria – Figure (Superbody) 5th place
•WFF World Championships 2011 Gratz, Austria – Figure (Athletic) 3rd place
•International Deutche Meistershaft 2011 Witzenhausen, Germany – Figure (Athletic) 1st place
•Women’s 1st Place & Overall Winner USAFE Bodybuilding Championship 2010, 2009, 2008
•Women’s 1st Place & Overall Winner Armed Forces European Bodybuilding Championship 2009
•Women’s 1st Place & Overall Winner Stuttgart Bodybuilding Championship 2009
•Women’s 1st Place & Overall Winner Grafenwoehr Bodybuilding Championship 2009
•5th Place British Natural Bodybuilding Federation Pro Qualifier 2008
•Hosted Kaiserlautern Bodybuilding & Figure Invitational May 2013
•Landstuhl Bodybuilding & Figure Team Coach Volunteer 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009
•Ramstein HAWC Basic Weight Loss Class Volunteer Speaker
•Ramstein TOPS Group Volunteer Speaker
•Ramstein Spouse’s Group Volunteer Cooking Class Instructor
As a Certified Personal Trainer, I have the privilege of working with our Active Duty men and women in all of our armed forces, our Wounded Warriors, their spouses and dependents, as well as Department of Defense (DOD) civilians and contractors. I am also fortunate to be an active volunteer in our military community overseas, participating in events such as judging our military Bodybuilding & Figure competitions, coaching our military community Bodybuilding and Figure team and being a motivational speaker/instructor for several community groups including the Ramstein Air Base “Let’s Connect” mentorship program, our Military Health & Wellness Centers (HAWC/AWC), TOPS (“Taking Off Pounds Sensibly”), and the Ramstein Officer’s Spouses Club.
I became a Legal Power sponsored athlete in April of 2016. They are an incredibly generous company with awesome workout gear. I also have had the incredible opportunity to be sponsored by Suits By Amy for the 2014 competition season, NAR Labs supplements in 2012, featured on Bodybuilding.com and AFN Europe as an International Figure Competitor, ModelsObserver.com as a Figure Athlete, and the Kaiserslautern American as an inspirational mother and military spouse. I hope to continue to be a source of inspiration, motivation and encouragement.
If I could only share one piece of advice, it would be to step out and stretch yourself! I went from overweight and unhealthy to standing on a universe stage. Five years ago, I never would have believed such a thing was remotely possible. You’ll never know what you’re capable of until you step put and try…..and I promise you’ll never regret it!!
First, to my Lord and Savior. Without Jesus, I would have nothing.
To my amazing husband, Anthony Griffin, for being by my side through thick and thin (pun intended!)
My awesome kids – Kait, Jason & Billie – for being my motivation and just being terrific!!
My coach, Alex Thomessen, for investing your time, talents and belief in me.
My training partner, Britain Seaburn for holding me accountable!
My photographers and friends, Nick Cormier and Miguel Lechuga. You guys rock!!
The Landstuhl Fitness Center & staff and all my friends who continue to encourage me every single day.
I couldn’t do any of this without your love and constant support!! You’re the best! Love you all!!!