Six months, 25 pounds, 20 inches and an extra 11.5 percent body fat ago, I stepped into Sandy’s office after a 7-year battle of several failed attempts at shedding the final 20 pounds of the whopping 40 I had gained while living in the serene, chocolate-and-cheese-laden hills of Europe. Sitting in Sandy’s home studio, I couldn’t help but be inspired surrounded by the myriad of trophies, awards and photos denoting her amazing success and dedication to her figure competitions and career as an incredibly experienced, knowledgeable trainer. Though I originally sought out Sandy’s help to improve my marathon-running and decrease joint pain, I decided to take advantage of her training expertise and embark on the ultimate journey of discipline-mastery and endurance and train for a figure competition. It didn’t take long for the scale, mirror and my overall well-being to prove that Sandy’s intuitive program was the recipe to success. Not only did I start to look better and feel better, my back and knee pain from two herniated discs and IT band syndrome (runner’s knee) started to subside and feel significantly better. I was also amazed at the increase in energy I experienced as well as the amount of insight that I gained regarding my health habits and the implemented changes that made such a remarkable difference. Before I started working with Sandy, I would just go to the gym and jump on the cardio machines, avoiding all contact with the all-too intimidating and bewildering weights. With Sandy’s support and knowledge training three times a week in the early hours at her home studio, I quickly became comfortable with weight lifting and how to properly train and challenge my body. Along with personalized training, Sandy assessed my progress every three weeks by observing photos, testing body fat, taking measurements and surveying my overall satisfaction with the program. Based on the results from each three-week updated assessment, Sandy would customize nutrition plans comprised of six, delicious, client-specific meals to ensure ultimate success in meeting goals. While working toward the long-term goal to compete in the NPC 2011 Figure Competition in Utah, I was accepted to a PhD program at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. I debated continuing my training due to all of the stress that moving, school and work can create. I was also worried about moving out-of-state and not having the proper in-person support and training that had attributed so much to my success. After Sandy assured me that we could do training online with meal and training plans sent via email and recalling all of the hard work I had put toward my goal, I decided to continue to train for the competition and made plans to travel back to Utah to compete in October 2011. Sandy continued to support and encourage me from afar, despite my occasional bouts of “Can I do this?” expressed in complete panic via phone and email. As the competition drew nearer, I leaned on Sandy’s posing expertise in order to hone and polish my presentation on stage. Sandy also equipped me with all of the materials, support and confidence that I needed in order to step on that stage to present six months of some of the hardest mental and physical endurance training in which I had ever been involved. Unlike the marathon, which only has one 20th mile on which runners “hit the wall,” and begin to solely depend on mental capacity, I felt like I was running that same “20th mile” for the final three weeks before the competition. When it came time to step on that stage, it was exhilarating to see my six-month goal come to fruition and to even place third in height class and fifth in the novice class. It is interesting to look back and think how much this experience changed my life. My overall quality of life, perception, attitude, ability to handle and endure trials and challenges have all improved significantly. It is amazing to recognize how learning and exerting such self-discipline could help in so many different areas in my life. I couldn’t be more grateful to Sandy for the gift of fitness and life that she gave to me through her knowledge, support, friendship, sweet personality and optimism!! I am now gearing up to compete in the Emerald Cup Figure Competition in Washington in April 2012 and am excited to continue to work with Sandy until I once again step on that stage. Thank you Sandy!!