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Inspiring Face of FITNESS 2011 Entries

We may have only selected five finalists for the 2011 Face of FITNESS cover contest, but you can bet there were many stories that moved the FITNESS editors and judges. Because we're so proud of our inspiring readers, here are a few of the submissions we wanted to highlight.

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shay410

"In November 2008, after self breast examination, I felt a lump. This led to three surgeries from November to March, including a right mastectomy with reconstruction. Chemotherapy followed the surgery, and I still stayed active while fighting the disease. I had chemotherapy on Wednesday and was back to teaching Pilates on Friday, Zumba on Saturday, and kickboxing on Mondays...." Read her complete entry

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erin.hale1

"When I got pregnant last year I was put on bedrest for five months. I could not take more than 50 steps a day per doctor's orders. Do you know how often you have to pee while pregnant? I gained 100 pounds while being pregnant. After I had my daughter in January I couldn't believe how much weight I put on..." Read her complete entry

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chfinkbeiner

"Eight years ago I decided I needed to do something about my health. I was 28 years old and felt like I was about 50. I closet smoked, made poor food choices, overate, and was 35 pounds overweight. On a scale of 1-100% of how healthy I felt, I registered in at about 65% most days. I was depressed and worried about dying young. I knew I needed to change...." Read her complete entry

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Rosara

"As a new teacher in an inner-city school, I was concerned that many of my students were overweight and obese. Many spent their time completely sedentary. I wanted to help them to find ways to be more active. I began volunteering at Active Teens, a free fitness program for overweight teens. I led the participants through weekly workouts, and also trained a group of them to participate in a 5K race. Now, as I pursue my M.S. in Nutrition at Columbia University, I volunteer by teaching boxing and cycling classes in NYC public schools...." Read her complete entry

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sunita12

"I developed and organized a successful Zumba fundraiser for Girls to Women, a nonprofit organization in East Palo Alto. I will continue to support the organization through future fundraising events. I'm very proud of my fitness accomplishment and I feel very fortunate to be an inspiration to many of my students...." Read her complete entry

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dprestinario1

"I am overcoming the side effects of IBS with diet, exercise, and vitamins. For the past 12 weeks, I have been avoiding more than 65 foods and ingredients from my diet including gluten, yeast, corn, and dairy. I also started taking probiotics, vitamin D, calcium, fish oil, and powdered shake supplements. I recently had some bloodwork done and was thrilled to hear that my inflammation levels were in the normal range...." Read her complete entry

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emihill1

"I'm proud of being a Top 100 finisher in the Body for Life Challenge; marathoner (Kona marathon for the American Stroke Association); half marathoner (to support my sister's goal of running a half marathon); sprint triathlete as of last summer (competed in four and even finished third in my age group in one of the races); cyclist as of this summer (three events scheduled). I am an avid gym-goer and love mixing it up with spin classes, weight lifting, cardio, yoga, and Pilates...." Read her complete entry

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kseagle7

"I can't believe people didn't realize they had the power to look great if they wanted to! I started sharing my nutrition tips and workout program with anyone who asked, and I started a company called Earn That Body! (an online nutrition/fitness program). I now inspire moms and women from all over the country...." Read her complete entry

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jsambucini11

"I believe exercise and eating right are the key ingredients for a healthier, happier, and longer life. Some of my recent accomplishments are within the fitness aspect of my career. Fitness NY was my very first fitness competition and it truly was a life-changing experience...." Read her complete entry

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laura_hill84

"I used to hate the word cardio. Cardio meant a boring run resulting in aching joints and an unaccomplished feeling. Worse than the idea of a lackluster run was the idea of going to a gym. That changed in college when I moved to a dorm with a gym in it. I had a crush on a guy that worked out there...." Read her complete entry

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ahaftel1

"After years of being a chubby teenager, I am proud of living a healthy, active, and fitness-oriented lifestyle as a triathlete. I wholly changed my eating and exercise habits to have a healthy lifestyle. Because it was so difficult to change my habits, every day I strive to influence family, friends, and coworkers to eat right and exercise. Despite many challenges that I've faced, I've continued to race...." Read her complete entry

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coachtonyaalle1

"I completed my first Ironman in 2010 and I will be racing Ironman again this year. I gave up my sales job and focused on sharing my love of fitness with others. I am now a triathlon coach alongside my husband -- a professional triathlete who races for a cancer foundation (richardallenfitness.com). I am also a swim instructor, swim coach, spin instructor, and personal trainer. I work with all people of all ages now, helping them to achieve their fitness goals, and I wouldn't trade my fitness life for anything...." Read her complete entry

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jnbchick13

"A time not so long ago, I topped the scale at 197 pounds. Vowing that from that moment, I would not allow 200 to appear on the scale and that I was going to grab life by the healthy horns. I joined a gym, ate a similar plan to the Weight Watcher's diet, and never looked back. That was four years ago and after days of never giving up, but rather looking forward, a half marathon, a military mud run, and 6-7 days a week in the gym later, life is good and my body is great...." Read her complete entry

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jmarie14821

"In the fall of 2010 I ran the Susan G. Komen 5K in Cleveland, and when my stepdad asked me to train for a half marathon, I never thought I could do it. Although it was the hardest race I ever ran (mentally and physically), crossing that finish line and accomplishing my goal was incredible. My stepdad and I finished the race in 1 hour and 43 minutes, I placed third in my age division! I have never been so proud of myself...." Read her complete entry

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SsImageSpeciali

"I feel that it is of the utmost importance to share with women the benefits and strategies to realistically overcome these stereotypical facades. Not only will they better their physical attributes but they will definitely live a longer happier life. In order to achieve this I discovered that fitness was more than simply going to the gym five days a weeks and eating dry, tasteless food...." Read her complete entry

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brittanydcosta1

"I am studying to be a NASM certified personal trainer, working towards my 200-RYT through YogaFit and completed my first marathon in NYC this past November, all the while raising over $3,500 in funds for the American Cancer Society in honor of my grandfather and best friends' brother, both of whom passed away from cancer...." Read her complete entry

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bullockchristi

"Dancing seven days a week for over seventeen years taught me discipline physically as well as mentally and emotionally. I learned the real benefit of daily fitness and nutrition is a strong mind, an open heart, and a tough body. After a decade in the medical profession, I opted to devote my life to inspiring health and happiness to anyone within ears' distance. I have attained a yoga, Pilates, group instruction, and personal training certification...." Read her complete entry

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lauralstoll

"Along with fitness, healthy eating has always been important to me. I left my corporate desk job and started my own business called Wild Basil Foods. I make healthy snack bars with natural ingredients and no refined sugars. My favorite thing about what I do is getting people to change their minds that healthy food can't taste good. When someone is turned onto healthy eating because of my bars that is the greatest compliment I can receive...." Read her complete entry

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yasminflannagan

"I had broken both my femur bones in my leg, had a broken foot and hip, and fractured my knees. During this stagnant period of healing and reflecting, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. As I cared for my mother and continued physical therapy, my inspirations led me to a holistic lifestyle...." Read her complete entry

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Kimberly_smithwick

"While standing on the sidelines caring for my husband and children, I let my fitness fall to the wayside. Living off of soft drinks and fast food while in the hospital, followed by all of that baby weight, I packed on the pounds. When my husband left for his eighth deployment overseas, I made a commitment to myself and my family to work as hard as my husband and be the healthy mom and wife that I deserve to be...." Read her complete entry

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rashelle86

"At 6 feet and 165 pounds I was never overweight, but at 23 I was embarrassingly out of shape. When I went into the police academy I had no idea how I was going to pass the physical requirements, let alone survive. Being in the academy forced me into shape and to work harder than I ever have. Now I'm in the best shape of my life...." Read her complete entry

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amybcrandall

"On a recent adventure to Australia, I challenged myself to find ways to exercise outside of a gym setting, and had a blast exploring and finding creative ways to accomplish this. Whether it was creating circuits on the beach or hooking the TRX band to a tree, I came home in better shape than when I left! I am so inspired to help others experience how rewarding fitness can be and the amazing positive effects your physical well-being has on every aspect of your life...." Read her complete entry

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emilyweprich

"I am proud to say I have finished four marathons: Chicago '07, Baltimore '08, Niagara Falls '09, and Long Beach '10! Currently I'm preparing to train for NYC Marathon 2011. I am a dynamic woman who lives by my motto, "desire to inspire before you expire." I find solace and joy in training for marathons and weightlifting. I live a healthy balanced life by eating vegan and taking pleasure in life's simple joys like my family and dogs...." Read her complete entry

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amandaltyner1

"As a young dancer, I set a goal to dance in the NBA. Throughout my years of dancing, I also picked up instructing group fitness classes, long-distance running, and nutrition knowledge. These influences helped me reach my long-time goal to make my dream come true...." Read her complete entry

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desi13

"For the last two years I have been successfully competing at endurance sports as a sponsored athlete for Verge Sports. It has been an amazing adventure meeting individuals just beginning their fitness goals, to professional athletes, and sharing my story of how I got to where I am. I am excited to see my kids' interest in exercise and athletics piqued because they see their mom work out and train daily. It makes me know that everything I have done has been worth it...." Read her complete entry

Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, October 2011.

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