I grew up in a small, farm town in New Jersey where I was a tiny blonde girl under 100 pounds that could eat two cheeseburgers from the nearest fast food joint and never gain an ounce. College was a whole different story. Between late nights and poor eating habits, I put on about 20 pounds my first year. I was devastated when I saw pictures of myself. Around the same time my dad found out that he needed to have an Angioplasty because of an 80% blockage in his left descending artery. In an Angioplasty procedure, a long, thin plastic tube is inflated to open the artery, deflated and removed. Dad also had a small wire mesh tube (called a stent) permanently placed in the opened artery to help it remain open. After that incident, I vowed to lose the weight, at whatever cost.I did lose the weight, but I had gained an eating disorder in the process. I had to make peace with myself and my relationship with food before I could move forward in my life.
In 2006 my grandmother had given me a subscription to a fitness magazine for Christmas. I had never heard of Oxygen Magazine, but I was instantly drawn to the athletic physique of the women on the cover because I could relate to their body shape having been a gymnast for half my life. There in the pages of Oxygen, I found myself. Oxygen also introduced me to The Eat-Clean Diet book. After I bought this book, I was excited to begin a new lifestyle full of clean foods loaded with essential vitamins, minerals and vibrant colors. The eat clean way of life was exactly what I needed to stay inspired by eating healthy food, respecting my body and doing it with a positive attitude. It took me a long time before I started loving the gym again. I tried new classes. I tried new recipes. I started loving the satisfaction of sweat. I found it motivating to challenge myself. And I began to feel my own strength again. I felt empowered.
Three years later, in 2009, I joined the Cathy Savage Fitness Team. Committing to the competitor lifestyle and CSF was the best thing I ever did for myself. These women motivate me to be a better person, but most of all, I am learning how to control the cycle of negative self-talk and live a life of balance. My positivity and motivation comes from staying inspired with a goal on the calendar. With a background in Gymnastics, Pointe Ballet and Modern Jazz I know what it means to be disciplined, dedicated and focused. It was my love of being active and performing that inspired me to become part of the fitness industry and ultimately attracted me to competing. As a Fitness Competitor, I believe that competing has been about personal triumph, challenge and positive enforcement. It is a lifestyle that I truly love. I realize that it is a gift to be able to have the physicality to push my body to new levels.
I am incredibly inspired by the everyday people that I see at the gym. Some people approach me with questions or compliments and pushes even harder during my workouts! I consistently see the same faces, but one woman in particular stands out in my mind. She is an older woman who may very well be in her eighties, but she always has her cute little workout outfit on and red lipstick to match. Every morning she does cardio on the bike and then she lifts weights. She does the leg press, free weight bicep curls, calf raises… you name it, she does it. It makes me feel like I can run a tiny bit faster, do a couple more reps, and lift a little heavier today. I am also inspired by women that either have a similar body type to mine or a shape that I aspire to be. Right now, I am incredibly inspired by Emily Stirling, Pauline Nordin and Ashley Horner.
- Training Routine
My training consists of 6 days per week. I do 35 minutes of high-intensity interval training such as sprint ladders or speed intervals on the stair mill three days per week. I do 45 minutes of steady state cardio such as spinning, walking on an incline or jogging the other three days per week. My strength training consists of five days per week with different body part splits such as a back/biceps, shoulders/abs and so on. In addition, I schedule in choreography practice, gymnastics class and yoga weekly. I am also the creator of a functional training class called IGNITE that I teach monthly in my local park. As my show gets closer and choreography practice becomes more intense, this substitutes my cardio for the day. Boxing is one of my favorite workouts too. When I hit the gym, every minute counts, but I also make sure to take at least one full day off from training to let my body recover.
- Major Achievements
I am really proud of training with the University of Delaware Cheerleaders. I always wanted to be a cheerleader growing up .I learned proper strength training technique at my early morning practices and I began to love lifting. I have also competed on stage with fellow UD Alumni Cheerleaders, which is always really fun. Go Blue Hens! I was also really excited when I was teaching a spin class one morning and nearly fell off my bike when Gerard Butler walked in! I had to tell myself to keep it together. Class was a blast! My most recent accomplishment was becoming an officially signed and sponsored athlete and spokes model for Gifted Earth Originals, or GEO, Organic Egg White Protein Powder. I love collaborating with them on projects and I can’t thank them enough for believing in me to be the face of their brand. In the short time since I entered the fitness industry I have seen quick success. My personal training career began a few years ago in Hollywood, California at a private gym where I helped organize and teach boot camp classes sponsored by the Jillian Michael’s online program. I had one-on-one training with celebrity, Alison Sweeney, for her appearance on “The Biggest Loser” finale and post-pregnancy. Part-time, I instruct spin classes, with previous clients such as: Gerard Butler, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jamie Kennedy, Cristian de la Fuente, Jonny Lee Miller and Kaley Cuoco.
- Future plans
This year I have a few fall shows planned. I will be competing at the Fitness America Pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada in November of this year debuting a new fitness routine that is much more challenging than last year. Next year I would really like to break into the WBFF competition scene and work towards becoming a published magazine cover model. In the meantime, I plan to continue to push my body to new levels while inspiring and educating others through my IGNITE program. In addition to all of my fitness goals, I hope one day to start a family with my supportive and amazing husband.Pull Quote: “My personal training career began a few years ago in Hollywood, California at a private gym where I helped organize and teach boot camp classes sponsored by the Jillian Michael’s online program. I had one-on-one training with celebrity, Alison Sweeney, for her appearance on “The Biggest Loser” finale and post-pregnancy. Part-time, I instruct spin classes, with previous clients such as: Gerard Butler, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jamie Kennedy, Cristian de la Fuente, Jonny Lee Miller and Kaley Cuoco.”
Keri Lynn Ford is a Gifted Earth Originals (GEO) Sponsored Athlete, ACE certified Trainer, National-Level Fitness Competitor, Fitness Model and Columnist. To find out more about Keri, follow her on Twitter or like her fan page, go to kerilynnford.com.