I am 44 years old, a single mom of a 10-year-old boy & now a fiancé to Scott Gray. I competed 12 years ago in figure compétitions 2006 -2008, placing 5th achieving national level, leaving the stage losing the drive to compete & my passion for the gym. I got married in 2009 & had my son in 2010, becoming a single mom shortly after lasting about 8 years. I’m a full-time employee at Costco for 15 years now, doing part-time cleaning on large job sites and homes for extra income. A single mom, being a full-time job in itself, created a challenge to afford a lot of extras in life such as vacations or even a gym membership. Realizing this, I found myself in 16-17hr workdays which include most weekends, in order to be able to provide the life I wanted for myself, and, my son.
MY STORY BEGINS 2 YEARS AGO WHEN EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE CHANGED.
I’ve never shared this, being very private, and stepping out of my comfort zone, I have finally found the strength to tell my story. I hope this reaches those who can be inspired, to find the motivation needed to take control of their destiny themselves. 2yrs ago, I found myself in a very toxic, abusive relationship mentally, verbally, and in the end, physically. I had planned over months, in secrecy with my parents, to move out and move out fast. After leaving the relationship, in the following years, I fell into a deep depression with anxiety, using antidepressants, and unhealthy emotional eating. My “go-to” were bags of chips, pickles, and cheese every night, THIS, was my routine. I drank 3-4 Large double coffees every day, becoming a major addiction. I always prioritized being the best mom I could, all the while carrying the pain, depression, low self-esteem, and stress shedding daily tears coupled with a huge amount of guilt and anger. I had a heavy heart carrying deep guilt for what I had put my parents, my child & myself through in that relationship. Being an extremely overwhelming and heavy burden to carry, the evenings were my dark secrets laid, hiding my tears and unresolved pain. I had been isolated in that relationship, now isolating myself in my room every night. EVERYTHING hurt, my heart, my mind, my body but most of all, my soul. I was lost. I had lost who I was as a person, as a woman. Who was I? Where did I go? How do I find my way?
How do I get, “ME” back?
I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, or how I felt. I had completely lost myself and any glimpse of who I was. Now in my own toxic relationship, with myself. I was unhealthy, unhappy, unmotivated. Totally absent. A day came when I woke up and realized, even demanded, that I didn’t want to feel like this anymore. I needed to find myself again. No matter what it took, I had to do this, for myself, even more importantly, for my son. Terry Senyk, my ex-husband who is a trainer, a bodybuilding competitor, the owner of Self Made (Body Transformation Coaching), and a brand rep for Mutant; was the one person who I felt could help me get started. I shared everything with him, opening up to him on how I was lost, struggling, and needed help. It was extremely hard to show him the vulnerability of feeling completely broken. I showed him a picture of this beautiful fitness woman in her 40s, I didn’t know who she was or what her name was, but her picture was my goal. If she could look like that in her 40s why couldn’t I? He was more than happy to help, wanting to see me get myself back for not only myself but to show his son what his mom was capable of this whole time. Honestly? I thought I was being unrealistic, HOPING that I wasn’t “too old” to start over. I NEEDED out of this depression, and to find myself again.
Around this same time, I had met a wonderful man, now fiancé, Scott Gray. Being the most caring, thoughtful, and supportive man I have ever met, he understood my past and pain. Talking about getting healthy, deciding to do it together ensuring I had the utmost support, I remember him saying “we will do whatever it takes” That same day, we purchased a little bike to put in my room and THIS was the only tool I had to start my journey. We started out with cardio every day, getting up at 4 am to ride our exercise bike for an hour before work. Being easier to reach a dream or a goal as a team together, we both started to lose weight and set more goals to achieve. To the average person I was not obese at all, I looked like an average woman, but it was the health issues that lied underneath the skin. It wasn’t about losing fat, it was about being healthy in mind, body & soul. Feeling better as time went by, eating healthy & cardio becoming easier and a regular routine. Terry gave me boot camps to do at home. Let me tell you, they were not easy! I hated every moment of it. They were a struggle and challenged me on EVERY level. I was gonna prove to him, that I could do these nasty boot camps. I wasn’t gonna let this defeat me.
It is 12 years since a stage, I recall saying to Scott one day, “let’s go watch a bodybuilding show just for fun”, then decided to go to the 2019 TNT Bodybuilding competition in Edmonton AB. Seeing some familiar faces from 12 years ago, I received a few remarks like, “Tina you should do another show”, and, “I bet you still got it!”, while replying in laughter with, “OMG I’m too old!”. When I saw the master’s figure women come out on stage, I got nervous AND excited. They stepped on stage with their beautiful toned bodies, hair, makeup & sparkly suits. They were absolutely stunning. They were masterpieces of hard work & dedication. I was witnessing their best self & a finished product of their accomplishments. All the way home that night a voice in my head said, “you can do another show” battling with another laughing saying, “No way, you can’t do that! That’s crazy!”. Silencing them both, I looked at Scott and made the definitive statement “I’M GONNA DO ANOTHER SHOW”. He smiled, almost ready for it. Not fully understanding what this meant and took, he replied with, “I’ll support you in this 100%”. I went from pure doubt to 100% all-in, in less than 24 hours.
- Single mom, can’t afford a gym membership, how do I build muscle without machines or weights? Take on more part-time jobs? I’m already at my limit.
- Scott, showing his support in actions, gave me the gift of a gym membership. I couldn’t wait until I was in the gym again. It was a different feeling this time. Before it was just going, getting it done, going through the motions. This time? I felt like I had a PURPOSE.
- My ex-husband became my trainer, nutritionist, and supplement advisor.
- My fiancé became my training partner and my biggest supporter.
For a year I did the boot camps & gym workouts prescribed, eating healthy while still working 16-17hrs in full-time and part-time jobs, as well as being a dedicated soccer mom. I hadn’t felt this good in years, then BOOM – Covid19 hit. The stress and panic I saw at Costco were overwhelming and scary. Our stores exploded with over shopping, confusion, panic followed soon by shortages. Yes, the toilet paper shortage was real. We struggled at work, keeping up with large demands for products and the overwhelming amount of members, it affected us all. Things changed every day, new fears, new policies, new safety measures, pushed to our limits and exhausted by day’s end. Thank goodness we still had the gyms keeping our sanity at that time. Then the gyms closed.
Now what? A show in 2.5 months and working so hard to get here, shortly after the TNT Bodybuilding competition was postponed then canceled. Overwhelmed with emotion, I thought to myself, “this is where the journey ends”. I had trained for a full year to compete after a 12yr leave of absence. I didn’t want all my hard work to be lost. I needed to keep going for my health, my body, mind & soul. I had to adjust my thinking process as everything was changing day by day with Covid19. Although a close friend lent me a home gym so I could train, it got harder to train at home and not at the gym. I questioned everything I was doing and why. Pushing through recurring negative thoughts, working too hard to throw the towel in and give up, it wasn’t about competing anymore.
This was MY journey, the changes I made in MYSELF, the feelings of self-accomplishment. Now? I felt alive again. Stronger physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. With that strength, I came off the antidepressants, refused food binges, and the urge to isolate again. I chose to keep the power I took back and wasn’t going to let anything, or anyone, take that away from me again. I have a wonderful man and a happy son with the most amazing things developing over this journey. Through this? I found ME again. I found new strength & love in my relationship that I never had before. My relationship with my ex-husband changed immensely, developing trust, communication, and true friendship. Our son now sees that his parents have a healthy relationship, friendship, and work together. My son benefits the most on this journey. I couldn’t have had two better men in my life at this time or a better kid. This journey has lead me to be able to share my story which I could never have previously even thought of sharing. As the Covid19 is continuously changing day by day & things are unknown, we just need to keep doing what keeps us getting up in the morning. Find a way. Find YOUR WAY. I found mine.
The TNT Muscle promises to be an amazing show. What helped you decide to enter it? What were you looking most forward to?
Watching the 2019 TNT bodybuilding show. I wanted to try another competition after 12 years and gave myself a goal of getting back on that stage, to be the best version of me. I was looking forward to having my new fiancé, trainer & family there to show them what I accomplished.
Your plans and fitness plans after the pandemic?
Keep on keep on! Stay on track, stay accountable, train, and stay healthy.
Weight training, with home training and boot camps, to leave no excuses when the gym isn’t an option.
Carb cycling and Keto.
- North Coast Naturals
- Daily Greens
- Vitamin C powder
- BCAA 9.7
What separates Status from other fitness magazines?
I find that Status magazine has a wealth of information for not only the athlete but the average person that wants to make a change in their life. It doesn’t just have pictures of famous bodybuilders but highlights regular relatable people that host their own journeys. I find this allows a much broader scope of subscribers that can relate to their content.
What would it mean to you to become a “Status Symbol”:
If my story could reach just ONE woman to give them the strength to push forward, to push through ANYTHING, showing them that there is a light at the end of all tunnels and that they too, can get their power back becoming their best version of themselves? That in its self would be an honor.
What would it mean to you to grace the cover of Status?
It would mean that I went beyond my goal, found my strength & now I am able to share my personal story out loud to help others with their own.
- Be your best self
- You have to love yourself to find happiness
- Power creates strength
- No one is you, and that is your power
- Dig deep.
5 things people don’t know about you:
- I have a huge heart and compassion for others
- I like savory, salty snacks most
- I love horses
- My biggest fear is not being good enough for my son
- I’m part French, Irish, and Scottish.
If you could inspire one person, who would that be?
That’s easy. My son.
Who inspires you? And why?
- My family – they will always be there for me no matter what happens in my life
- My son, to keep being a better mom
- My finance, unconditional love, and support
- My ex-husband reminds me to keep working at what I want in life no matter how tough it gets.