About Noelle

Tear Sheet--2

Our little Oregon town had only 300 residents. As a result, there were 86 students in my graduating class. I joined the basketball, cross-country, and cheerleading teams in my tiny Yamhill Carleton High School. School sports failed to provide sufficient exercise to satisfy my passion for fitness, so when I was 15 years old I decided to join a health club. The closest fitness club was a half hour drive away. My step-father couldn’t understand the impulse, but I was determined to not let myself sink into the obese condition Mom had warned me about, so I faithfully made that one-hour round trip every day, five days a week, working out with a trainer doing mainly weight training.

Besides school activities and working out, I had a job in a small family run general store where I cut meat, bagged groceries, stocked shelves, counted returned empties, mopped the floor every night, and did anything else required. The storeowners were wonderful people. I took great satisfaction in doing anything to satisfy both my employers and our customers. Following graduation, I attended community college, studying Graphic Design and Business Management. To pay my bills I got a job working in a Safeway grocery, which was a good fit because it appealed to my service minded attitude. I began in the Produce Department and during the next 14 years worked my way up to management. I met the man who would become my husband at the Safeway corporate office. We’re still good two decades later.

I continued fitness training while going to school and working. When I was 20, I entered bodybuilding competitions. I loved the intensive training but didn’t enjoy the contests themselves. During that time I also did some runway and print modeling — showing swimwear in the summer months and ski apparel during the winter. I had greatly overcompensated for my fears of following my genes into obesity; I was in ideal physical condition, but sometimes had to face such challenges as losing 15 pounds while preparing for a modeling call.

Being fit is a good thing, of course, but I concluded that trying to get through a day on a single apple was just sad. For another thing, we had a child and the 10-hour days I was spending in retail were making too many demands upon my family. Therefore, when I turned 30 I took personal inventory and decided to reshape my life based upon my passion for fitness and physical training.

I enrolled in a Physical Fitness program with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. After earning my required certifications and accreditations, I got a job at a fitness center called the Rivers Edge Athletic Club in Lake Oswego, Oregon. It was a nice club and I moved effortlessly into my new life, even though my husband had warned that it might be a tough restart. It was only reasonable to suppose that assisting others in becoming fit at that athletic club was nothing like selling groceries at Safeway, but I discovered that my service minded attitude transferred seamlessly from the one position to the other. A focus on assisting others gives a person a leg-up in any job that involves direct contact with customers or clients. As a physical trainer, I discovered that I loved helping people transform their lives even more than I had in ensuring the freshness of their groceries.

 

Brentwood Trainer

We moved to East County nine years ago; I began as a trainer in the Delta Valley facility the week it opened. I love California, and enjoy the small community feel that is still here in Brentwood. A major disappointment is that a bodybuilding competition in July will cause me to miss the first Cornfest since we moved here. I am trying to think of how to Skype the event. (Can’t there be some kind of app that we could download on our smartphones or iPads that could remotely deliver the sights and sounds of Cornfest?)

I have always taken a lot of energy from my contacts with people and feel that I get more out of training my clients than I am able to give to them. As their personal trainer, I become involved with them on a personal level, with the result that some of my clients have become friends; I am on their Christmas card list. In the final analysis, relationships with others provide the basis for true satisfaction. My best payoff is being able to look around the gym and see people whose lives I have helped to improve. In some cases, clients who couldn’t do a single squat when they joined the gym can once again work in their garden, play sports, or go through many other doors that their newfound physical fitness is opening for them.

Since people’s dietary choices necessarily affect their health, nutrition plays an important role in our fitness training. We advocate nutrition in the same guilt-free manner that we do exercise. My clients are free to eat five pieces of pizza, but a lunch of yummy yogurt would be better because they wouldn’t have to walk every night for a week in order to burn off the calories, fats, and toxins that they would have ingested along with the pepperonis, sausages, cheese, or whatever else made that pizza taste so heavenly. They shouldn’t feel guilty if they choose the pizza and the exercise; some, however, will eventually come to realize the smart choice that yogurt might be.

I taught a circuit training class called Girls Club Fitness that uses positive peer pressure as an important fitness technique. The women in the class motivate and support each other. The class continues to grow because members don’t want to leave. We build on the principle that our lives are enriched when we connect with others. The members of Club Fitness enjoy comradery during the sessions. Afterwards, they will have coffee together or text each other just to keep the energy going. Accountability becomes a shared and pleasant byproduct of the relationships they have established.

 

Body Builder

Seven years ago, I rediscovered the world of bodybuilding and entered my first competition when I was 39. I competed in figure training, which focuses on creating an ideal feminine sculpted look. Last year I won the Sacramento Figure and Body-building Competition, which is one of the industry’s most important shows, taking first place in the Women’s Open/Tall division. The win was a particularly satisfying victory since, at 43 years of age, I triumphed over some young things who were still in their 20s. Now I am preparing for the Women’s Masters competition at Team Universe — competing in the 35-45 years old division as well as the Unlimited Open/Tall. A good showing on my part would be great for me, great for our club, and an honor for Brentwood. Farther down the road, I am preparing to compete at the Annual Olympia Body Building and Figure Pro Championships, which will be held September 2012. I’ll be 45 by then — and still be getting better.

Competition bodybuilding requires commitment from me at an intense level because, as my mother indicated during that long-ago conversation, I am in a ceaseless battle against my genetic heritage; I have to work for everything. As a result, I work out with weights and do cardio an hour a day, 4-5 times a week. Two months before a competition, I move into training mode with two-hour sessions seven days a week. During that time I live on a diet that consists mainly of asparagus and chicken. The regime becomes tough, at times. I sometimes find myself laughing at the pain and sacrifice so that I won’t break down in tears. Winning a competition becomes like giving birth; the thrill of the accomplishment eclipses the memory of the pain that brought me to that place.

My son, Brandon, is following his mom’s example. As a young child he asked me about the foods I was eating and I described how my dietary choices were based upon health. He just got it. Without urging from me, he is following a training-table diet — eating egg whites and doing such things as choosing a lettuce salad over brownies. He plays football and has been a passionate student of martial arts since he was six. Now he is 13 and closing in on his black belt. He’s beautiful to watch — delivering parries, punches, and blocks as though karate were a performance art — which at that level it certainly is.

Part of my work is training other women for competition bodybuilding. One of my students, Edy Avila, recently took sixth place out of 20 women in a 35-And-Older Masters Class competition. Edy was 44, has seven children, and was dynamite on that stage. None of the judges could have imagined looking at her that Edy’s weight had dropped 52 pounds since she came to us. The transformation has affected all parts of her life. There’s something fiercely wonderful for people like Edy and me to be in our 40s and know that we’ve never been better in our lives. Edy walks taller now; her kids are proud.

A win at Team Universe would be the culmination of my seven-years of effort aimed at earning a Pro-Card, which will qualify me to become a lecturer and seminar speaker about fitness and health subjects; people would profit by my example. I could challenge women and children to live healthy lifestyles. I’ll figure out how to inspire them and send them out with a smile on their face and a new resolve in their heart.

My bodybuilding career got its real start when I took a spin-class with a National Aerobics Champion, named Mindy Mylrea. She described how she had committed seven years of sacrifice and effort to achieve her own National Champion dream. She said that she had a “burning desire” and told us to follow our dreams. “Dig deep,” she said. “Don’t question it!” I heard what she said; I knew what she meant.

By putting to work the motivation that my stepfather modeled for me and Mindy spoke about, I’ve accomplished a lot in my body building sport. I am not finished yet! Not nearly! When you do your very best, you can’t tell where life will take you.