I was born in Kitchener, ON, Canada. My journey into fitness started at the age of 16. Shortly after, I joined a local gym and started weight training. I can honestly say I was hooked at such a young age. I dabbled in powerlifting and running but kept coming back to weight training and cardio and then later began competing in fitness competitions. I graduated college with a Business Degree. My first career was with a Housewares company in Mississauga, called Precidio. I proudly started off as a customer service rep, and after 12 years of leaving out at 4:30 am and getting back at 7-8 pm at night and many weekends traveling, I worked my way up to the VP of Sales.
In 2002, I met my husband, to which I proudly asked him to marry me! His career was in the US Energy Sector, and we moved to Texas in 2004. After many years of amazing success, I ended up changing my focus to the energy sector as well. We had 2 amazing little boys. I did my first fitness competition years later in the NPC after my second son turned one. It was a goal I had set after having kids. I put on between 50-60lbs with each pregnancy and not only wanted to get back in shape but wanted to get competition form. My husband and I decided to step back from corporate life to start our own Energy Brokerage, Sales, and Marketing Firm. Life was getting less hectic for a while, and I decided to start competing. With my size and shape, I settled into Figure and placed 1st to 3rd in almost every competition. I always wanted to compete at national and pro levels but couldn’t as I was a Canadian living in the US. It meant I had to fly back to Canada to requalify and compete as a Canadian. Finally, after 10 long years of competing, the door opened and in 2020 I was given the opportunity to move onto a national stage in the US. Although it was a very challenging year with Covid and gyms being closed, I pushed harder than ever, stayed focused, and won Two IFBB Pro Cards on the same day in December of 2020. Besides, the days my children were born, that was probably the greatest accomplishment and feeling of fulfillment and happiness I have ever experienced. Plus, at that very same last national competition, I met a new girlfriend. We got along so well, that she is my new best friend and we have been pretty much inseparable since. We ended up getting along so well. We both learned we had very similar goals and desires for fitness. My husband and I were going to open a fitness line, but after seeing us together, it was all too obvious the ladies should rule that world lol. He at least got the naming rights, it’s named Buff and Bougie. In addition to that, I’m also a published fitness model, sponsored athlete, and coach. I am married and a mom to two amazing boys. I am still the CEO and Co-founder of Pure Inc, we have expanded from an energy brokerage/sales and marketing company and added, solar and water purification in Texas.
Fitness & Nutrition Coach, CEO of Pure Inc -Energy/Solar/Water Brokerage, and Co-Founder of Buff and Bougie Fitness Apparel.
Is weight loss more of a fitness issue or a health issue in your opinion and why?
There are several things that are necessary for weight loss. Fitness leads to improved health. I feel 80% of weight loss is diet. Change your diet and you will lose weight. Add fitness and you will further improve your health. It’s also important to get you’re your hormones checked. As you grow older, have children, and age, many things change in your bodies, and these are all tied together. Change your diet, fitness and keep your hormones in check and all will positively affect your weight loss.
If you have 100 tokens in total and you could apply them to the following categories, how many would you apply to each?
- Fitness level: 40
- Health level: 60
Thoughts on HIIT, Powerlifting, TRX, Yoga, bodybuilding, others?
HITT is a great way to burn calories quickly.
TRX training is great for building strength, balance, and flexibility.
Yoga is a great way to improve balance and flexibility.
Bodybuilding is key to strength as well, but I feel it really shapes the body. Each one has its purpose depending on your likes and goals. If you find you love one type of training over another and that will keep you motivated to hit your goals, then do it!
Share your unique training/coaching methods?
I’ve been seriously training for 10 years, and the main challenge has been the diet. Getting a diet that fits your lifestyle and tastes is the most important thing. Nothing is worse than working with a coach that has the attitude “do what I say, just eat it”. That’s such an old-school way of thinking that has no place now or in the future. I feel that I really listen to the client. I don’t want them to feel that their diet or training plan is torture. It should be something that they look forward to and if not, I like to try and figure out how we can change that together to make it a success.
OMG, it has to be FUN! If you dread training, diet, or your trainer, time to make a change fast! There are so many options for workouts, indoor, outdoor, group classes, and online options. We can find something that fits your style. Try different things and find something you love doing. Or find some friends that would make fun training partners so you can keep each other accountable. I also believe there are many ways you enjoy your meals. Dieting doesn’t have to be boring. You can add seasonings and veggies to find ways to make meals taste great. You can still make room to enjoy foods you love and have balance in your life. I’ll repeat myself, if you don’t love your diet, you have the wrong coach!
I currently train legs/glutes twice a week, and shoulders, arms, and back once a week. I also do cardio on the step mill or treadmill 6 days a week.
I eat 6 meals and drink a gallon of water daily.
I take a multivitamin, probiotic, Vitamin C, D & E, whey isolate, L-Carnitine, and BCAA’s.
Do you prefer to take and recommend all-natural (no sugar, no artificial colours/flavours/sweeteners) supplements or supplements with artificial flavours and sweeteners? And Why?
I try to stay away from sugar and use artificial sweeteners and drink sugar-free drinks. Although, I don’t like that artificial sweetener is not natural, I use them because it’s a calorie-free alternative to sugar.
What separates Status from other fitness magazines?
I love Status Magazine because it is packed with so many great articles, photos, and tips. I love that it covers everything from workouts to nutrition, supplements, and info for anyone that is into fitness.
Describe your coaches and the impact they have on you?
I have had a few different coaches, and each has taught me so much. I spent 8 years with my first coach who had originally got me into competing. I also worked with him through the first 9 months of 2020. This past year, we competed in 3 NPC shows in both Figure and Wellness and qualified for Nationals. I then hired another coach to get me ready for the National Stage. He helped me earn two Pro Cards on the same day! Having a good coach was crucial to being able to dial in perfectly for the stage.
If you could ask Status Fitness Magazine Editor in Chief Rodney Jang any industry question, what would that be?
Who was the most interesting athlete you ever met and why?
Status Fitness Magazine runs Model Searches across North America including the largest one at the Arnold Classic for the Status cover. As part of the Status family, you will receive a special participation invite. How excited are you for this opportunity?
I have seen the Status Model Search for years and I would be so honoured to be able to participate in this search!
Do you have a sponsor? List them and what they mean to you?
Yes, I am very fortunate to be sponsored by some great people. Younk’s Nutrition Central. Jeff Younker is very knowledgeable about supplements, protein, and everything nutrition-related for my fitness needs. The X Bands, Ken Schmidt has amazing bands that aid in my workouts. Atlas Swimwear, Gigi Atlas keeps me looking good and stylish in custom swimwear year-round.
Future fitness goals and plans?
I am planning on my Pro Debut later this year and would love to grace the Olympia stage one day.
To grow Buff and Bougie into a billion-dollar company, travel the world, and leave a legacy for my children.
5 things people don’t know about you?
- I’m a twin.
- I speak Croatian.
- I never drink soda.
- I get nightmares after watching horror movies, so I tend to stay away from them.
- I put hot sauce and/or jalapeño on almost all my meals…I like it spicy!
5 lessons you have learned?
- You can’t please everyone.
- Be grateful for everything in life because you never know when it will be gone.
- Never give up on your goals.
- Learn to love yourself.
- Save your money.
5 most important attributes you see in a person?
Drive, Integrity, Honesty, Kindness, Trustworthy.
If you could inspire one person, who would that be? And why?
I can’t narrow it down to one person as I would hope to inspire my kids. I want them to dream big, be happy and good people. I want them to set goals and celebrate them when they are achieved.
Who inspires you? And why?
My husband and children inspire me the most. My husband is my partner, he has pushed me to be my best and give my all in my career, fitness, and family. My children’s kindness and unconditional love inspire me to be a better more caring person every day.
Your transformation story:
I had my biggest transformation after having children. I gained 60lbs with both of my pregnancies. My second one took me up to 190 lbs. After that, I got very serious about getting back into shape and worked very hard for a year to lose 60lbs and get into competition form. I did my 1st competition and placed 5th in Figure. I ended up competing at 130 lbs.
“Nothing is impossible”