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Maria from the VERY beginning:
I was born fighting! I learned early how to focus and take care of myself. Because of an abusive family environment, my sister and I lived in fear. The only positive influence was my maternal grandmother who enrolled me in ballet at age five. Ballet gave me a positive view of myself; it nurtured discipline, athleticism, and goal accomplishment. The abuse ended in junior high school, but even though the damage left scares, I did not stop ascending, I made honor roll with the help of the teachers, and I was able to walk with my class! Despite my upbringing, I knew I was made for greatness. I know that sounds funny, but it’s true. Everything came natural to me, and I knew I was special.
After high school graduation I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. I married and gave birth to four wonderful children. My marriage ended, and I became very depressed and clinically obese at 217 pounds. It was hard for me carry that weight, and not just physically. Deep down, I knew I was an athlete, but all anyone could see was an overweight and out of shape person.
Even when out of shape, I believed in an athletic goal. At 180 pounds, I remarked to a friend, “I’m going to be stronger and faster, and my body will be even better than when I was 23.” She replied, “Face it, you’ll never be the way you were at 20…” and then chuckled. That comment both focused and inspired me! Time and time again, I experienced naysayers, but, more importantly, I also began to find the most amazing supporters! I educated myself on nutrition and the ABC’s of training. I became a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). I was introduced to Ms. Olympia Adela Garcia, and I had the opportunity to attend one of her OFF Challenge camps. She continues as a strong presence in my life, a dear friend and coach.
In 2008, I reached my fitness and weight goals, and it felt great! But due to the stress of my job and family issues, I suffered a TIA (a.k.a. mini stroke) that left the right side of my body with permanent loss of full sensation, strength, and slowed motor skills. That set me back to 150 pounds, and it wasn’t pretty. One value I always remember is, “Life is an investment so fill it with people of value. Be loyal, genuine, and virtuous to yourself; those with alternative motives will weed themselves out.”
Now a single mother of four amazing children, I am stronger, faster, and leaner than I was at 20! I moved my beautiful family to Austin, Texas, and we have never been happier! Yes, starting life over again has its major struggles. Yet, I feel blessed. As fate would have it, I was sponsored by non-other than Ms. Adela Garcia when competing in my first Figure/Fitness show on June 19th 2011. Since then, I have done very well. But my most recent benediction is special. I’m honored to say that I have been chosen for the Capital Idea program in order to obtain my degree in Respiratory Therapy.
My focus for 2012 is double; I will fight to obtain the IFBB pro-card, and I will continue to improve my family’s quality of life. I know I can do this. My background illustrates the drive, strength, and mental toughness to confront and overcome anything placed in my path. I will succeed!
• 2nd Place Fitness – Adela Garcia Classic 2011
Maria's love for NOW Foods
The year 2005 was my first introduction to NOW, when I decided to take Eve Women’s Multivitamin. I specifically remember I felt a tangible physical difference within two weeks, which was amazing. During this time I had friends recommend other multivitamin brands, which I would try, but I always returned to Eve.
No other products provided the tangible results of Eve. Presently, 95% of my supplement intake is NOW because I feel the quality, and the price is affordable. When I added other NOW products to my daily supplement regimen (Multivitamin, L-Glutamine, Omega 3-6-9, Potassium, B-Complex, 7-Keto, etc.) I couldn’t believe the difference! True to form, in two weeks time, I could feel the change…AMAZING!
In addition to the great products, NOW’s website has recommended supplements that best fit my health goals, empowering me to accomplish my health and fitness goals. A single mother of four, knowing that I can afford the quality supplements my children and I need is a wonderful thing!