You’ve seen her gracing our November/ December cover and hosting our Facebook page last month, now get to know our inspiring Face of FITNESS winner, Caroline, a bit better! This fit inspiration kicked off her healthy habits early, playing soccer, softball, basketball, dancing and running track as a youngster.
Caroline Seymour, Atlanta
This has been a busy year for Caroline, who graduated an MBA program, got engaged and moved to a new city. Luckily, the 26-year-old’s exercise habits keep her sane: “My favorite way to clear my head is to hit the golf course,” she says.
My gym-free routine “Mixing up outdoor activities, like swimming and tennis, with Jillian Michaels workout DVDs inspires me to sweat five days a week.”
Nightly stress buster “I sleep at least eight hours a night. I make a to-do list for the next day before I hit the sheets so I can doze off with a clear head.”
Go-to snack “I make smoothies for an afternoon energy boost by blending 3/4 cup Trop50 orange juice, 1/2 cup V8 Diet Splash Berry Blend, a banana, 1/2 cup frozen fruit and a handful of ice.”
In case you missed any of the four finalists and their top tips, find them all here:
- Lauren Lopez, a multitasking military mom with a sweet tooth
- Melanie Millan, a gluten-free boot camp lover with Bieber fever
- Jordan Fish, a dancing queen with a taste for country
- Maria Pontillo, a personal trainer and physical therapist who loves her Sundays
So far this November, we’ve filled you in about three of our Face of FITNESS finalists. Now it’s time to learn about the fourth—multitasking mom Lauren! She straps her daughters into a jogging stroller, runs to the gym for strength training, and runs back home. But she also enjoys the occasional indulgence: Once a month, her whole crew walks the one mile to their local Dairy Queen for Blizzards!
Lauren Lopez, Greensboro, North Carolina
Motherhood hasn’t slowed 29-year-old Lauren down; it’s made her more active. Since her husband, a weapons chief in the Navy, is often deployed, she needs to stay fit to keep up with her two daughters, ages 3 and 1.
Marriage must “My husband and I met when I was in the Navy Reserve and he was on staff. We bonded over physical training on weekends, and we still love to work out together. We have several races lined up, including a half-marathon.”
My healthy indulgence “I eat peanut butter at least once a day—whether it’s on toast or straight off the spoon. It’s great fuel for my workouts.”
Action plan “Every Sunday I prep for a healthy week by planning dinners, cooking chicken, turkey and brown rice; making hardboiled eggs for breakfast; and scheduling workouts.”
You’ve met personal trainer/physical therapist Maria and dance queen Jordan, now learn more about a.m. all-star Melanie. While many are just beginning their casino games on the Strip in her hometown, Melanie is jumping out of bed for an al fresco exercise session!
Melanie Millan, Las Vegas
After Melanie, 29, was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity in August, she has completely overhauled her diet. Now she sleeps better, her complexion is brighter and she has plenty of energy for her evening kickball league.
Morning motivation “During the week, I get up at 5 a.m. for bootcamp on the Las Vegas Strip. We run stairs in parking garages, sprint the sidewalks and do strength moves like push-ups and squats. It inspires me to eat well all day so I don’t undo my hard work.”
Most embarrassing workout song “Anything by Justin Bieber!”
My aha moment “Three years ago, I saw a picture of myself 20 pounds heavier. It made me sad—why wasn’t I taking care of myself? The next day my friend and I made a pact to exercise at least three days a week and eat healthier.”
This marks part two of our Face of FITNESS features on The Fit Stop this November! Click here to catch up on our first highlighted finalist, Maria Pontillo.
Jordan Fish, Charlotte North, Carolina
“Fitness is my constant,” says Jordan, 24, who sought solace in dance as a kid when her parents divorced. She spent two seasons as a dancer for the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, and now, as she finishes college, she makes time to rollerblade, hike or take dance nearly every day.
Stick-with-it secret “I make myself do new activities a full month before deciding whether to quit. Yoga seemed boring at first, but now I love it and find it so relaxing.”
On my fitness bucket list “I’d love to run a marathon, learn to ski (both on water and on snow) and scuba dive.”
Workout playlist “My ‘country girl’ playlist makes me want to get up and dance.”
- “Sin Wagon,” Dixie Chicks
- “Undo It,” Carrie Underwood
- “Gunpowder & Lead,” Miranda Lambert
- “Me and My Gang,” Rascal Flatts
- “Am I the Only One,” Dierks Bentley
- “Crazy Town,” Jason Aldean
- “She’s a Hottie,” Toby Keith
- “You and Tequila,” Kenny Chesney, featuring Grace Potter
More than 3,500 of you entered our Face of FITNESS cover contest and blew us away with your enthusiasm and dedication to an active lifestyle. Some told us about losing 100 (+!) pounds, while others shared how they maintained their fitness levels after retiring their childhood gymnastics uniform. Readers voted for their favorites, and five women were flown to New York City this summer for a photo shoot.
While only one could be our November/December cover model, we were so impressed by all of the women that we wanted to tell you more about each of them. So each Tuesday during the month of November, The Fit Stop will be featuring one of the Face of FITNESS finalists. Get ready to be inspired!
Maria Pontillo, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
For Maria, 27, staying active isn’t about looking good: “I eat right and exercise not just for myself, but to have energy to care for others,” says the physical therapist who moonlights as an aerobics instructor and personal trainer.
Sanity saver “During the week, I’m moving from the moment I step out of bed to when I hit the sheets at night. On Sunday, I give myself permission to take the day off to get a massage or relax at the beach.”
My mantra “I have several phrases that I repeat to keep me focused during races (I’ve completed 10 5Ks and five duathlons). My favorite is a take on something Lance Armstrong said: ‘Pain is temporary, quitting is permanent.”
Power foods “I eat every 90 minutes to keep my energy up, and I always have healthy snacks on hand. Here are five of my favorites.”
- Chobani Greek yogurt with almonds
- One egg cooked over hard on toast
- Slices of deli turkey
- Chocolate milk
As some of you may remember, we had a very exciting online competition going on just before summer hit: The Face of Fitness cover contest! After you selected the Readers’ Choice Winner, Lauren, the judges went on to select four more inspiring finalists. Since then, the finalists have flown to NYC, had a photoshoot, and we’re now in the process of choosing our cover girl! So exciting!
And while we can’t reveal all the finalists, we can tell you all about their trip to NYC! How it went down:
- As soon as they checked into their swanky hotel, each finalist had a car waiting for her to whisk her off to the FITNESS office for a fitting. A fitting is when the fashion editors see how the apparel they’ve selected actually fits on the model…and if anything needs to be adjusted or tailored.
- The Photoshoot Day was a loooong day: Our FOF finalists had to rise and shine by 7 a.m., and didn’t finish until early evening. Since each finalist had her own shoot, it was like five photoshoots in one.
- The next day, the finalists joined some of the FITNESS editors for a tasty-but-healthy lunch. After they explored New York for a few more hours, the women were then treated to a private, rooftop yoga session by Emilie Smith at The Sports Club/LA, a luxurious fitness center on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. “After yesterday, this is exactly what we needed!” one of the finalists commented.
What then? Well, we don’t officially know. But we’re pretty sure the five new friends took a big bite out of the New York nightlife…and undoubtedly turned a few heads while they were at it!
Next up: The Grand Prize Winner and Face of Fitness cover girl will be revealed on our November/December issue, which hits stands in October. Be sure to check for more info online, too: We’ll reveal some behind-the-scenes photos, finalists’ profiles, and feature other submissions we loved.
Advice for looking cover-worthy:
Ever dream of being on the cover of a magazine? Oh wait…who hasn’t?!
And yet we were still completely blown away by the 3,500-ish submissions we received for our first-ever Face of Fitness cover contest! The overwhelmed feeling wasn’t just because of the number of entries though; it was because of how inspiring, motivating, and amazing many of your stories were. The editors at FITNESS already know how awesome our readers are, but we couldn’t have been prouder to see who reads our magazine and visits our website. You guys rock!
But now for an update: We’ve officially declared a Readers’ Choice* Finalist!
(* = For 10 weeks, we posted the latest submissions here on FitnessMagazine.com and whoever got enough votes from other users was declared the weekly winner…and scored some cash, too. These 10 survivors then battled it out for a chance to be named one of the finalists who will fly to NYC next month for a photoshoot, along with four other finalists selected by the judges.)
So, everyone, meet Lauren Lopez. At 28, Lauren is a mother of two daughters under the age of three and she has been married for almost six years. Rudy, her husband, is in the Navy, and when Lauren isn’t playing with her girls, exercising, or volunteering, she is in the classroom working on obtaining her MBA. Here’s a little more of what Lauren wrote about having a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle:
“Fitness has always been an important ingredient in my life. I want to take care of myself so I can live a long, healthy, and happy life, but I also want to set a good example for my kids. They see me exercising and want to join in, which is awesome! But sometimes, exercise is my way of spoiling myself and focusing just on me, which I believe is very important to living a balanced life.”
After we called Lauren to officially tell her she was one of the five finalists and might wind up on our cover, she said, “What an extraordinary opportunity! I can’t put into words how happy everyone is and we’re all over the moon!”
Want to be on the cover of FITNESS Magazine? Apparently, hundreds of you do! And with our Face of Fitness Cover Contest off to a smashing start, we’re so excited about the first two weekly winners, aka semi-finalists. Take a look at who you’ve chosen so far!
Week #1 Winner: Shonnery Pettit
Shonnery’s story is about “Something to Call My Own,” and for her, that thing is fitness-slash-dance. Despite being a married happy mother to two children, she wrote that she felt like “I’d lost my identity somewhere along the way.” So she got back into the gym, started dancing again, and even tried out to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, at age 35! Now, she’s training for her first half-marathon and just completed her first “mud run” with some of her gym friends.
FITNESS says: Heck yeah! You go girl!
What Shonnery says about winning Week 1: “The support my friends and family gave throughout the contest was something I will treasure. Thank you so much for providing the platform that allowed for such wonderful things to come my way!”
Week #2 Winner: Liz Scott
When Liz’s mom was diagnosed with meningitis and encephalitis, she lost the ability to walk, talk, write, and other functions. Determined to help her mom get out of her wheelchair and have a healthy lifestyle, Liz started going on walks with her. Little by little, Liz and her mom built up from just a few steps to entire miles. Eventually, Liz’s mom was able to walk a half-marathon! Despite that Liz is a self-proclaimed “crazy-fit, exercise lover,” she says that inspiring her mom is actually her proudest fitness accomplishment.
FITNESS says: Awww! Warm fuzzies.
What Liz says about winning Week 2: “I am so excited about this contest! I entered on a total whim and all my friends and family jumped on board, majorly.”
Congrats, Shonnery and Liz!
So, who will win Week #3? Don’t forget to vote for your favorite!
And most importantly, make sure to submit your photo and story to our Face of Fitness Cover Contest! Five finalists will be flown to NYC for photo shoots, with one Grand Prize Winner scoring the cover of an upcoming FITNESS issue—and a 5-night vacation for two to an amazing Hawaiian resort! What are you waiting for?