I’ve been involved in athletics since I can remember, it was never about being a superstar but about doing something physical to my best ability. As a child I was on the AAU swim team, played team sports in high school and after college joined a women’s softball league. After having my daughter, Shandi, I wanted to stay involved with a sport, but I needed to be able to do it on my own time. That’s when I found bodybuilding.
A year after that, I entered my first bodybuilding competition weighing 114 pounds. I won the novice division and lost in the open division to a woman who I was told competed nationally. Here I got the idea of someday doing that myself and quickly got “the bug.” The next summer, I competed in the NPC state show, won my weight class and lost the overall to a woman with a beautiful physique. A week or two later, I headed out of state for my first national show. I was so nervous! There were 25 women in my weight class and I just thought, “Dear Lord, if I make the top 15, I’m going to pass out!”
Let me set the scene for you. In 1990, women’s bodybuilding was a much different sport than it is today. There were no other divisions to compete in and women such as Corey Everson and Lenda Murray were winning the Ms. Olympia. They were beautiful women with physiques I felt that I could attain. National NPC shows had women’s weight classes with 25 plus athletes each. We would go on stage in small groups, do quarter turns and wait to hear who made the top 15. Only those who had would return for the night show. Back then, only one athlete received IFBB pro qualification at USA’s and only the weight class winners received it at Nationals. The smaller number of pros meant that the bodybuilding community was very familiar with who turned pro. .
Alright, back to my first national show. I was backstage, anxiously waiting to hear who made the cut when they called my number! We were sent right back on stage to do mandatory poses. It was an amazing experience and as soon as my class stepped off stage, I started crying because I was so happy. At the night show, the top 15 was introduced and hit two poses before filing off stage to find out who made the top five. I didn’t make the cut but did find out from my NPC State Chairman, Cal Lueneburg that I placed 9th. Being in the top 10 was more than I expected so I was beyond happy with my placing.
Shortly after that show, I took two years off from bodybuilding competitions to do some powerlifting. It was the best thing I could have done in regards to changing my physique for bodybuilding. It was rewarding and incredibly challenging, both physically and mentally.
I won’t go into detail about every show I competed in, you can see a list of those shows at the bottom of this page though. I’ll just say that I continued to compete because I kept improving, placing higher and was having a blast.
Throughout this time, I had been working as a graphic designer. During Desert Storm and the recession, I lost that job and couldn’t find another in the design world. I had bills to pay and a daughter to support so I took a job managing Twin Cities Gym where I did everything from selling memberships to putting weights away. While working at the gym and training for bodybuilding shows, people started asking me to train them — for money! It was the beginning of On Track Training and I was taking clients at $25 per hour. I didn’t think of training as a formal business at the time and was still looking for graphic design work, but as more and more people came seeking my help, I quickly realized I could make it one.
In 1995, I won my weight class at the USA’s and started to realize that there was a possibility I could turn pro. I knew that journey would help build a name to put behind my business, so I pushed forward.
The rest is history. I turned pro at the 1994 NPC Nationals in New Orleans, applied for IFBB pro status and requested an invitation to the Ms. International. I received my acceptance letter and away I went, it was phenomenal!
The highlight of my pro career was winning the 1997 Jan Tana Classic, of the three pro shows available, I had won one! I knew I would never win on the Olympia stage, but to qualify for and compete in it was enough for me. I managed to place in the top 10 twice at the Ms. Olympia.
That’s where my competition stories end. I was qualified for and training to compete in my third Olympia in 1998, but around eight weeks out the show was cancelled. I was disappointed and shocked but there wasn’t much that could be done. Three weeks later, I received a phone call from the IFBB President saying that the show had been picked up and he wanted to know if I still wanted to compete. Five weeks out after three weeks of free wheeling my diet? I asked if my Olympia qualification would carry over to 1999 because of the cancellation. When he said yes, I decided it would be best to wait.
Maybe I should have gone for it, but I knew I wouldn’t look my best. It was becoming obvious that women’s bodybuilding was slowly dying and wasn’t going anywhere that I wanted to travel anymore. I had met a lot of great people, traveled to interesting cities and countries and had built up a successful training business while doing it.
In 1999 the IFBB combined all of the physique divisions into one Olympia competition in Vegas, previously the shows had been separate and around the world. I called the president and told him that I wanted to compete in that year’s Olympia, but was told I would have to re-qualify. I wanted my third Olympia medal, but that change was enough for me to be done. I felt my competition seasons were over and it was time to focus on my business.
It was a good change for me. A typical pre-contest day included 1-3 hours of aerobic training, 1-2 hours of weight training, 1-2 hours of posing and routine practice plus time to food prep on top of training clients at any hour of the day and getting Shandi to school and soccer practice.
In 2002, I became the promoter of two local NPC shows, the NPC Gopher State Classic and the NPC North Star. It was a big change for my business and a lot of work to keep up with clients and show promotion, but I’m glad I took the plunge. It allowed me to stay connected to the NPC and physique sports. In 2010, I took over as promoter for the NPC Minnesota State Championships as well. The shows have become the perfect compliment to my evolving training business.
After a few years of promoting, I accepted the position of district chair in Minnesota, North and South Dakota. I was hesitant at first because of the time commitment that comes with the volunteer position, but I think that the district and I have developed a great team of volunteers that continues to grow with the sport.
Now, in addition to training, putting together seminars, promoting shows and working as the NPC district chair, I enjoy being on the NPC national judging panel and expediting team. Someday, I hope to continue on to be an IFBB judge as well.
1989 NPC Natural Classic Lightweight Champ
1990 NPC Ms Minnesota Middleweight Champ
1990 NPC USA Championships 9th Heavyweight
1992 APF State Powerlifting Champion
1992 NPC Minnesota State Ms. Minnesota
1992 NPC USA Championships 6th Heavyweight
1993 USA Championships 4th Place Heavyweight
1994 USA Championships 1st Place Middleweight
1994 NPC Nationals 2nd Place Middleweight
1995 NPC USA Championships 1st Heavyweight
1995 NPC Nationals 1st Place Heavyweight
1996 IFBB Ms. International 10th Place
1997 IFBB Ms. International 7th Place
1997 IFBB Jan Tana Classic 1st Place
1997 IFBB Ms. Olympia 8th Place
1998 IFBB Ms. International 7th Place
1998 IFBB Ms. Olympia 9th Place