NASM-certified trainer, functional-training specialist and Dymatize athlete Taylor Gallagher opens up to Oxygen in this Q&A.

Taylor Gallagher

Oxygen: How has strength impacted you?

Taylor Gallagher: Being an athlete has definitely helped shape the woman I am today. It has given me the ability to set goals and accomplish them, taught me the importance of teamwork and how to deal with disappointment, and gave me the strength to never give up.

Oxygen:Can you share something interesting about your athletic career?

TG: For a while, I wrestled with WWE’s Booker T Reality of Wrestling. I was drawn to the sport because of the mixture of strength, beauty, philanthropy and athleticism. And whether you believe it or not, wrestling truly is athletic! Those throws and bumps are real, and it’s tough on the body. Plus, there is the mental aspect, which is a combination of psychology and storytelling in a live forum. It was the most amazing and fulfilling experience I’ve ever had, and I loved every second of it.

Oxygen: What does being strong mean to you?

TG: Being strong means loving your imperfections as much as your strengths, being vulnerable, and being able to face disappointment with resilience and grace. And when you’re confident with yourself, it only shines in a positive light.

Oxygen: How has the perception of strength changed through society?

One thing I love about society these days is that every body type is finally being accepted, including being strong and athletic and having muscle.

Oxygen: What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

TG: The best compliment I have ever received is that I am “one of a kind.” I don’t think you can really top that!

Oxygen: What’s something people don’t know about you?

TG: One thing most people don’t know about me is that I love classical music. I love to go to the symphony and am currently learning how to play the cello.

Oxygen: Do you have any advice for your younger sel

TG: If I could give my younger self some advice, it would be to dream as big as you can. Believe passionately in that dream without doubt or fear, and work hard every day toward that dream and it will become your reality.

Oxygen: What’s an important part of your daily routine?

TG: Being grateful is very important. If you are having trouble finding things to be grateful for, all you need to do is volunteer for a cancer center, at a hospital or for any organization for the underprivileged. Your services will be appreciated and will bring positive energy and happiness to everyone involved.

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Meet five women who’ve got the fit factor.

Christina Koren

Christina Koren

Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Stats: 48 • 115 lb • 5’6”
Gig: Manager of customer service and billing

Revenge Is Sweet.  

It wouldn’t be fair to call her impressive results a “revenge body” — but a difficult end to an eight-year relationship helped prod Christina Koren into the gym on a regular basis. “Working out was an amazing outlet,” says the 48-year-old former competitive swimmer and aerobics instructor. “Before I realized it, I had lost 27 pounds and achieved a body-fat percentage of less than 10 percent.”

Flying Solo. 

Although she gets plenty of moral support from her three teenagers — Olivia, Hunter and Greighson — when it comes time to lift, Koren goes it alone. “I believe in forging a strong mind-muscle connection, and training alone helps me concentrate,” she explains. “Afterward, the feeling of accomplishment and being one step closer to achieving my goals keeps me motivated. I’m always striving to be the best version of myself that I can.”

Putting in the Work. 

Koren squeezes in workouts six days a week, knocking out 30 minutes of cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach before heading to work. She then lifts weights for 45 to 60 minutes at lunch or after work with her eyes on a bigger prize: getting ready for her first figure show and launching fitness-themed Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Jennifer Bayntun

Jennifer Bayntun

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Stats: 37 • 137 lb • 5’4”
Gig: Registered nurse Cool Runnings. 

Cool Runnings.

For Jennifer Bayntun, there was exercise before weight training. “I fell in love with long-distance running in my early 20s,” she says. “I ran multiple half marathons, and finally, after having my two daughters (now 5 and 7), I committed to running a full marathon.” Bayntun ran the 2014 BMO Vancouver Marathon, finishing with a time of 4 hours, 18 minutes, and she was hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon when a hip injury derailed her dream.

Unexpected Fitspo. 

Before then, Bayntun had never stepped foot in the weight room. However, with her hip sidelining her from track and trail, she decided to give the iron a try. “I’ve always had a naturally muscular physique, but I never worked out for fear of getting ‘too big,’” she explains. “One day, I was at the club filling my water bottle, staring at a poster of a girl who went from slightly overweight in her ‘before’ picture to posing in a sparkling bikini with abs of steel in her ‘after’ picture. I decided that was my new goal.”

Master Class. 

Bayntun trained seriously for her first bikini competition, the 2016 INBF Vancouver Naturals, and won first place in the masters division and second in the overall. Now she’s aiming to earn her pro card before she turns 40. “I’ve been a runner-up twice in the open class, so I’m determined to persevere,” she says. “No goal is unattainable. If you put in the work, you will be successful. If I can do it, so can you.”

Kim Pfeiffer

Kim Pfeiffer

Deptford, New Jersey
Stats: 51 • 98 lb • 4’11”
Gig: Personal trainer

Father (and) Figure. 

Kim Pfeiffer’s father passed away from heart disease at 46 when she was a teen, and it motivated her to focus on her health. Already active in softball and cheerleading, Pfeiffer pursued lifting, but she only started competing in natural shows seven years ago when she turned 44. During those seven years, she won two pro cards in two different figure organizations.

Morning Person.

Pfeiffer arrives at her personal training studio early in the morning to train herself before seeing clients. “That’s when I have the most energy, and when I’m done, I feel like I can conquer the day,” Pfeiffer explains. Her workouts start with a five-minute warm-up on the stair stepper and end with a five-minute cool-down on the treadmill, with a 45-minute weight workout in between. “I also work my core at least three times every week,” she adds.

Support System. 

She recently lost her mother to brain cancer in 2016, but Pfeiffer is still inspired by her from beyond. “I still hear her voice in my head when I’m in need of motivation, saying, ‘Kim, you can do anything if you set your mind to it,’” Pfeiffer says. Her husband Chris is also a huge help, prepping all the food during the week and helping make sure her diet stays on track. “He reminds me of my strengths and helps me to be a better person,” Pfeiffer says.

Regina Bailey

Regina Bailey

Houston
Stats: 43 • 130 lb • 5’6”
Gig: Emergency medicine physician

No Excuses. 

Regina Bailey has plenty of built-in excuses to skip workouts: This single mother is also an emergency room doctor who often pulls 24-hour shifts. However, Bailey does not allow a difficult schedule to derail her fitness-forward efforts. “My mother passed away from complications related to diabetes, hypertension and kidney failure, and I decided I needed to change my lifestyle if I wanted to be around to raise my daughter,” Bailey says.

Dr. Beast. 

Bailey — a former NFL cheerleader — started working out six to seven days a week in 2016 and has dropped 30 pounds so far. “I hired a nutritionist and a personal trainer and got into ‘beast mode,” she says. “I took a no-excuses approach to losing weight and becoming healthier.”

From Beauty to Bikini. 

Already comfortable onstage thanks to a decade of experience in beauty pageants, Bailey began entering bikini competitions, and since 2016, she has won three shows and a pro card. “Other women saw my pictures and would message me about how I inspired them,” she says. “I decided to start my own fitness company, Fit and Fine in No Time, and my own line of supplements.”

The Wisdom of Youth. 

Though busy, Bailey carves out time to hang out with her 5-year-old daughter at the beach. “It may sound strange, but my daughter is my role model,” she says. “She has taught me to slow down and enjoy life.”

Tiffany Stosich 

Tiffany Stosich 

Provo, Utah
Stats: 35 • 130 lb • 5’5”
Gig: Nutrition coach

Whittling Away. 

Tiffany Stosich always struggled with her diet, and by age 18, she was 50 pounds overweight. Still, she was active, competing in varsity soccer and softball, and training in the gym while also serving as battalion commander in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. After high school, Stosich stepped things up a notch, and by age 23, she had whittled down to 170 pounds and decided to prepare for a figure competition. “In 16 weeks, I lost 40 pounds, and in 2007, I won the overall title of Miss Figure Utah,” she says.

Now, Naturally. 

Stosich entered 16 more figure events after that, then stopped competing in 2010. After having two children, she decided to give it another try in the natural division and quickly earned pro status. Most recently, she won the overall in the Pro Natural Bodybuilding League and qualified for the 2018 Natural Olympia.

Loud and Proud.

Stosich hits the gym by 7 a.m. six days a week, working each bodypart twice weekly and incorporating 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training cardio daily. When training, she tends to go it alone — “because I like to listen to loud hip-hop music and I’m intense,” as she puts it. Stosich also loves burpees, which probably scares away the weak-willed. “I recommend lifting weights to failure, focusing on the eccentric movement and your mind-muscle connection on every rep,” she says. 

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This judo athlete and Olympic hopeful talks about kicking ass and taking names.

Why do you love Judo?

I love Judo because being able to dominate and throw another person around is such an empowering feeling. Winning always makes me feel like the queen of the world.

When did your Olympic journey begin?

I have always wanted to be in the Olympics, and when I was younger, I wanted to compete in rhythmic gymnastics. I quit that sport as a teenager and took up Judo, and I am now trying to qualify for the 2020 Games in Tokyo. It’s an incredibly difficult process because there is no one competition that serves as the Olympic trials, and I have to travel all over the world to amass enough points to be ranked.

Would you consider yourself a girly girl or tomboy?

I am definitely a girly girl. My room is covered in pastel pink and cute little cats!

What gives you an advantage in Judo?

Because of my gymnastics and ballet background, I am very well-versed in choreography, making it easy for me to learn judo techniques. My flexibility and balance also come in handy and are a great advantage over any opponent.

What’s something people don’t know about you?

I cry almost every practice. Most people wouldn’t know that because I am such a happy-go-lucky person, but I am also incredibly competitive and emotionally invested in every competition and practice. So I cry a ton out of frustration.

What do you want women to know about Judo?

I want to show women that martial arts are just as feminine and beautiful as ballet. There is a grace to the precision of the techniques and the culture surrounding the sport, and I hope that by following my journey, women will think of martial arts of being as much a woman’s sport as it is a man’s.

How do you stay focused on your goals?

Many girls my age are distracted and unfocused, but I don’t find it difficult to concentrate on my goals. I think the saying from Proverbs has some merit — Idle hands are the devil’s playthings — meaning that nothing good comes out of boredom. My advice: Join a sport, get a hobby, keep yourself busy. That will make it easier to work toward your goals.

What challenges have you ran into in this male-dominated sport?

The majority of my training partners are men, and once I actually fought a man in collegiate competition when they didn’t have any women for me to go up against. Even though he outweighed me by roughly 20 pounds, the referee kept asking him if he was really OK fighting me instead of the other way around. The guy also talked to himself through the whole match, and it was really difficult to retain my composure when he was continually whispering, Oh no. Oh. This was a mistake.

Because of her rigorous schedule, Stout relies on SR CarnoSyn beta-alanine. “It delays the feeling of lactic acid in your muscles and boosts recovery,” she says.

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The 30-year-old actress and singer shares how fitness fuels her success.

After nearly two decades of living in the spotlight — with a love-hate (well, mostly hate) relationship with working out — 30-year-old actress and singer Vanessa Hudgens has spent the past few years falling in love with health and fitness. Her passion developed from the remarkable feeling of self-acceptance she gained once she found her exercise calling. Hudgens attributes her confidence, courage and overall feeling of empowerment to the time she spends in heart-pumping workout classes, on a bike or on her yoga mat.

“I can’t imagine life without fitness,” Hudgens said. “It makes me a stronger person, physically and mentally.”

Here’s what she had to say after a recent workout with Propel Vitamin Boost:

Vanessa working out at Propel’s Vitamin Boost event

What’s your fitness routine?

It’s composed of three parts: SoulCycle, Reformer Pilates and yoga. I’ve been doing SoulCycle for the past seven years, and I’m still obsessed with it. I love Pilates because it doesn’t feel high-intensity in the moment, but I’m always sore the next day. And yoga is great for my mental health, injury prevention and grounding.

How does fitness empower you?

To me, there’s nothing better than tapping into “beast mode” — that moment where you want to give up because your body feels like it’s about to fall off but something switches inside of you where your mind says, “It’s go time. Let’s get this.” Whenever I have that moment in my workout, I leave feeling like a stronger and more empowered version of myself because I pushed through something uncomfortable.

I think it’s important to bring that feeling into my everyday life and be uncomfortable — it’s important for me as an artist, especially. When you’re uncomfortable, you’re growing and you’re evolving. Feeling empowered is all about getting through those growing pains.

Vanessa Hudgens, mid-workout

What would you say to someone struggling with confidence when it comes to fitness?

With fitness, you have to do it for you. The fact that you showed up for yourself is amazing — so pat yourself on the back! Remind yourself that you’re doing this for you, even if you might feel like there is comparison or judgment, at least you know that you’ve got your own back by showing up to begin with.

What inspired you to create an activewear line with Avia?

There’s nothing better than showing up at a workout class, looking in the mirror and feeling good about what you’re in! When you go out with your girlfriends, you put on a nice dress and heals. So when it comes to working out, why not not put on a nice pair of leggings, a sports bra and a jacket that you actually feel cute in? My goal was to give women that but also to have items that are practical and functional.

Shop Vanessa’s clothing line here.

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This two-time Ms. Bikini Olympia and two-time Bikini International champion opens up to Oxygen.

I wish women in the fitness industry didn’t think they have to look perfect. It seems like they are never really satisfied with the way they look, which is a shame. It is important to enjoy the process of getting fit and making sure you do it in a healthy way.

Angelica Teixiera

What’s your favorite bodypart to train?

“My favorite bodypart to train is my glutes, and my favorite exercise is glute kickbacks. In fact, I always bring a Schiek ankle strap with me when I travel so I can do this move in any hotel gym.”

What is your dream vacation?

“Though I have traveled many places as a pro, my dream vacation would be Italy. The people seem to be very warm and friendly — and of course, the food is amazing!”

Is there anything in life you wish to re-do?

“If there was one mistake I could go back and correct in my life, it would be to learn English before moving to the U.S. from Brazil. It would have made things a lot easier.”

To what do you owe your success?

“In order to be successful, you have to employ mental strategies along with the physical work. I visualize achieving my goals every day as if they were really happening. I even feel the chills of the moment of winning when I see it in my mind.”

Who is your fitness inspiration?

“My inspiration when I started in fitness wasn’t a woman — it was Arnold Schwarzenegger. He came from another country and used bodybuilding to become a legend. He is an example that it doesn’t matter where you come from — that everything is possible when you’re willing to work hard for your goals.”

How would you describe your family?

“We are a fit family. My husband Marco works out, as well, and is a black-belt jiu-jitsu instructor. He definitely lifts more than I do! But I do love to lift heavy, and I always use a Schiek lifting belt to protect my back.”

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These fit females have transformed their lives and are now leading the way for others to do the same.

Amelia Ricci

“It’s crazy to think I’ve been working in fitness for 20 years. Since then, I’ve helped hundreds of women sculpt their dream body and develop a positive mindset to love themselves. Many of my clients are super busy, but I show them that you can turn a crazy pace into a healthier lifestyle that is sustainable. My passion is helping women achieve their fitness goals! I was a fitness expert for Oxygen Australia for 10 years. The research side of fitness excites me because I have a Master of Business degree, majoring in market research. Before I had children, I worked as a marketing director for large organizations. 

Now I’m a mom of two children, run my online coaching business, compete in bikini contests, and love my close friends and family. Fitness is something I see as part of my life forever, and I love meeting others and sharing my passion.”

Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Website

Tawny Clark

“I’m a 42-year-old fitness enthusiast from Philadelphia with plenty of unseen battle wounds and scars from my fight with binge-eating disorder, which has been a part of my life since childhood. Though I had physically accomplished a number of activities throughout my life — including running two marathons, completing a Tough Mudder and a triathlon, and even stepping on the NPC bikini stage — I still had not conquered my innermost demons. 

My goal was to recover from my disorderly eating habit once and for all! Once that was accomplished, my goal changed: to inspire and motivate others to realize that eating disorders can be put to rest and that a balanced life of fitness and well-being can be achieved.”

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Kathleen Apodaca

“As a professional in the wine and fitness industries, my mission is to help people live, celebrate and get fit! My personal experiences with weight loss, bodybuilding and teaching group fitness classes have taught me many of the healthy habits that are a must for living a fit lifestyle. After going from being an athlete in high school to gaining 35 pounds in college, I saw my health, confidence and energy levels decline. I knew I had to make a change. 

Through educating myself on nutrition and exercise, I was able to lose the weight and gain my confidence back. It is my mission to share what I have learned so that others don’t have to spend the years it took me to get healthy, fit and confident!”

Instagram | Facebook | Website

Kristen Jauregui

“I have been a 911 dispatcher for 19 years, and I fell into fitness as a way to escape the emotional pressures that my job entails. This led me to do a few competitions and become a fitness trainer, specifically for first responders. Over the past few years, I have noticed that the amount of suicides within the first-responder family has increased. We have a stigma within our walls that have been passed down from generations before us that we are weak if we ask for help, if we unload the emotional backpack that has weighed us down from years and years of hearing and seeing the worst that society can be. These stressors, along with the stress of 12-hour shifts ranging from all day to all night, take a physical and mental toll. 

My mission and purpose are to help first responders improve their physical fitness not only for safety reasons but also to enjoy life after retirement. I also want to build their mental fitness. They will only be as strong as they allow their mind to be!”

Instagram | Facebook | Website

Bobbi Parker Hall

“After getting in the best shape of my life at 56 years old, I began my mission to prevent older women from giving up on their bodies as they age. There is a fitness movement that is revolutionizing the way we see aging women, and many stereotypes are being demolished — women no longer have to associate being called “Grandma” with being out of shape and flabby. More and more, I see women who are fit, strong and healthy well into their 70s, and this really excites me! 

I love being involved in a movement that changes perspectives like this. Becoming physically stronger helped me to be mentally and emotionally stronger. Feeling more connected to myself gave me the power to care again about my hopes and dreams. It empowered me to take more control of my life and to finally make a few hard decisions I had been putting off for years. Become the mother of your own reinvention!”

Facebook | YouTube | Website

Nicole Matthews and Heather Vines-Bright “Imprint”

“We believe that a true transformation begins on the inside and reflects on the outside and that it is the journey of getting there that truly impacts you. We know what it feels like to be lost in our purpose and confused about who we are and what we stand for. We are humbled by our own transformations and inspired by the gift a fit and healthy lifestyle has given us. Our affinity for all things beauty, including makeup and fashion, has paved the way for our styling services. 

We want to give back to other women and impress the importance of finding your “why” and acknowledging that burning desire to be something more, something that truly leaves a lasting IMPRINT. We are both motivated and committed to make a difference and share our love and wisdom with others through fitness, fashion and beauty.”

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Tifani McClanahan

“I am a 47-year-old mom of three, and my love for fitness came as a very young girl. I remember watching bodybuilding shows on TV with my dad. I told him I would be up onstage one day. Long story short, I became a mom in high school — still graduated but put most of my goals and dreams aside to be in that role. Fast-forward 20-plus years, a huge loss in my life brought me to where I am today. 

I started competing about eight or nine years ago. It was what I thought was going to be a “bucket list” thing, and then it became a great distraction and addiction all at the same time. Once I saw how my body could transform from one extreme to another, I wanted to keep going. I did my very first competition as a WBFF bikini model, got a few shows under my belt, and then tried a few more in the NPC federation. I continue to compete to this day!”

Instagram | Facebook

Kimberly Castle

“I am a weight-loss and fat-loss success story and have been featured on the cover of Oxygen magazine and in FitnessRX for Women. Today, I am a working and traveling professional, bikini model and life coach, but in my early 30s, I was overweight, unhealthy and unhappy. Armed with the decision to change my health for the better, I lost 40 pounds and entered my first fitness competition. The empowering experience launched me into the health and fitness industry, and I have been lucky enough to gain the respect of countless fans and professionals! 

My goal is to continue to empower women, spreading the message of loving your body no matter what. I think it’s important that we stop focusing on unimportant things like a number on the scale — that little number used to rule my world! We should be thinking about important things like our real worth and what we have accomplished. Your appearance is just one part of you, and it doesn’t determine who you are or what you are capable of.”

Instagram | Facebook | Website

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Division I track athlete and two-time Figure Olympia champion opens up about her enduring love of track, the practice of gratitude and her weekly self-care indulgence.

Erin Stern

If I could go back and give my younger self advice, I would tell myself to be kinder, to enjoy life more and to practice being grateful. I think we miss out on a lot by being self-conscious or picking ourselves apart. Gratitude puts things into perspective and delivers happiness.

Once a week, I’ll put on a facial mask and just lie on the couch for an hour — that is my guilty pleasure. It’s kind of fun donning a robe and looking like a sea monster for a little while!

My best memory from my Bikini competition days was in 2012: I won the Figure Olympia, hopped on a plane to New Delhi and won the Sheru Classic. From there, I traveled to Spain and won the Arnold Classic in Madrid. I was able to shake Arnold’s hand for the first time onstage. The entire experience was surreal and a dream come true!

True sport is you versus something tangible, and I loved the challenge of track and field. I could also quickly learn from my failures. For example, if I missed three bars in a row in the high jump, I could review my form, approach and other aspects of the jump and correct them. My sister and I are actually planning to do a few meets in 2019, and my father said he may run the 100 meters, so we can all relive our glory days!

I take MuscleTech Clear Muscle with BetaTOR and Swanson Peak ATP about 30 minutes before I train. BetaTOR can increase muscle synthesis, decrease muscle breakdown and increase strength, while Peak ATP helps improve performance and body composition. Both help me train longer and with more intensity and enable me to recover quicker from hard training sessions. 

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You’re only 60 days away from finally making exercise and clean eating part of your lifestyle.

Healthy New You with Katie Corio

New Year’s is approaching fast, and if you’re like 99 percent of the world, part of your resolution is to get fit/lose weight/eat healthy. Unfortunately, the majority of resolutioners will abandon their healthy goals by March, and so continues the cycle of gym memberships that go unused. So also continues the cycle of quick-fix programs and yo-yo diets, which not only do a number on your metabolism but which also undermine your confidence.

“I have been there,” says Katie Corio, NPC bikini competitor and creator of Oxygen’s Healthy New You online education program. “I have felt the guilt and the low self-esteem that comes with being out of shape. I understand what it is to want to be fit and healthy, but to have it seem so out of reach.”

Stats: Katie Corio 

Birth date: August 29, 1993
Height: 5’3”
Weight: 127 lb
Current residence: Del Mar, California
Sponsor: 1 Up Nutrition
Instagram: @cutekatiebug  @cutekatiebug_workouts  @fitforlift_ig
YouTube & Facebook: KATIECORIOCUTEKATIEBUG
Twitter: @cutekatiebug
Snapchat: “cutekatiebug”

Rising Above

Corio went from being super active to sedentary after she tore her meniscus in a volleyball tournament. Though she did the work to rehab her knee, Corio gave in to the typical college lifestyle — late-night drinking, poor food choices and zero exercise — and quickly lost her physique. “I remember trying on bikinis in the dressing room and noticed how different I looked,” she says. “That’s when I decided I needed to make some real changes.”

Corio hired a trainer who competed in figure competitions and was immediately inspired to do so herself. She did three NPC bikini contests and a powerlifting event and excelled at them all. However, after her last bikini competition, Corio felt horrible. She had stiff, swollen joints and would lie in bed at night in tears wondering why she could not move. The doctors diagnosed her with rheumatoid arthritis and told her to stay away from the gym. “That was like a death sentence to me,” Corio says. “I thought my fitness days were over.”

The lab coats also wanted to dose her with medication, but Corio was reluctant. She researched alternative treatments and decided to try homeopathic remedies and an anti-inflammatory diet to control her symptoms. She continued doing physical therapy exercises to loosen and warm up her joints, and after several months, she was living and training almost completely pain-free.

“This filled me with hope that I could manage my symptoms naturally,” she says. “So I decided to train for a USPA powerlifting meet to prove to myself — and the doctors — that I could lift heavy and be strong with rheumatoid arthritis and that I didn’t need their harsh medications to cope.” Needless to say, she crushed her competition, squatting almost 300 pounds with perfect form and optimal mobility.

Total-Life Transformation

Even if you don’t have rheumatoid arthritis or the desire to squat the equivalent of a baby water buffalo, you likely can relate to Corio’s dressing-room drama. “That terrible day of trying on bikinis helped me move forward,” she says. “I was determined to improve my self-confidence and be happy with my body again. My intuition was telling me there were bigger and better things in store, and I fully committed to seeking those out. I didn’t realize at the time that much more than my body was going to change.”

Corio found that the healthier she got, the more her mindset and desires changed. “I started sitting a little taller, looking people in the eye and speaking with more deliberation,” she says. “I transformed from the inside out rather than the outside in. That, I think, is the secret beauty in living a healthy lifestyle: It isn’t just a physical improvement but a total-life transformation.”

Happy New You

This is the transformation Corio wants for you, as well, as the coach of our new 60-day Healthy New You online video program. “I know what it takes to break out of that cycle and can teach people how to maintain their health and fitness long term,” Corio says. “Together, we can turn any resolution into a daily, sustainable lifestyle.”

Corio’s program of consistent exercise and clean eating enables anyone at any level of fitness to succeed. “It’s about finding exercise options that you love and look forward to, and finding recipes and heathy foods you enjoy eating,” she says.

Her workouts are a progressive mixture of total-body training and bodypart splits using simple equipment (e.g., no gym membership required!) so you can do them anywhere, anytime — in 60 minutes or less! Corio also curated her best collection of recipes to share with program participants, and moreover, she will show you how to create your own healthy meal plan. “My step-by-step guide centers around macronutrients and teaches you how to put your meals together in a well-balanced and nutritious way,” she says.

“My hope is that you will use the Healthy New You program as a springboard to living a fit and healthy lifestyle,” she continues. “At the end of 60 days, you will have all the tools you need to make your new, healthy habits a permanent part of your life. Ladies, I got you! No more starting over. We will do this together, once and for all!”

Slow-Cooker Turkey and Sweet Potato Stew

Makes 6 servings

“’Tis the season to get cozy! Warm up with this easy, healthy recipe!” Corio says.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb extra-lean ground turkey breast
  • 16 oz sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 2/3 cup marinara sauce
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 bay leaves

Directions

In a skillet, brown ground turkey, breaking it up as it cooks. Remove and put into a slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. The liquid level should fill the pot a little more than halfway with ingredients inside; add more chicken broth, if needed, to level out. Cover and cook 4 hours on high, or until potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaves and serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 212, fat 1 g, carbs 30 g, protein 21 g, fiber 8 g, cholesterol 30 mg, sodium 468 mg

Ho-Ho Holiday Survival

Here are five tips from Katie Corio for avoiding collateral celebratory damage.

  • Pace yourself. Your eyes are usually bigger than your stomach. Eat a small portion and then wait before diving in for seconds.
  • Hydrate. A lot of times we mistake thirst for hunger. Drink a full glass of water between each helping of a meal for hydration and appetite control.
  • Exercise early. That way, you ensure it doesn’t get pushed back by family plans or lack of energy. Plus, you’re more likely to make healthier choices after a nice sweaty workout!
  • One is enough. Don’t deprive yourself of the joy of the holidays. Indulge in dessert but remember that one is enough: Have one piece of pie — not three!
  • Plan ahead. If you know you’ll be enjoying a high-calorie, home-cooked meal later in the day, eat light and healthy leading up to that meal.

Resolve to Evolve

Preregister now for the Healthy New You program! You’re only 60 days away from living your fittest life — ever. Go to oxygenmag.com/healthy-new-you and get ready to face down your resolutions!

The One-Plate Glute Workout

Believe it or not, Katie Corio’s glutes were flatter than a flap- jack before she started lifting. After years of trial and error, she found a winning formula that gave her a brag-worthy booty. Here are some of her favorite go-to moves to build gravity-defying glutes. 

Instructions

Do all the exercises in order one after the other. Rest one minute and then repeat for a total of two rounds. Choose whatever weight plate is appropriate for your fitness level.

Exercise; Reps

Pulse Sumo Squat; 15
Plate Swing; 15
Walking Long Step Lunge and Twist;  15 (each leg)
Single-Leg Hip Thrust; 10 (each leg)
Single-Legged Romanian Deadlift;  10 (each leg)

Pulse Sumo Squat

Pulse Sumo Squat

Hold a plate with both hands and stand with your feet outside shoulder-width apart, toes turned out comfortably. Bend your knees and drop your glutes straight toward the floor, stopping when your thighs reach parallel. Rise back up a couple of inches, lower back to parallel and then stand all the way up to complete one rep.

Katie’s Tip: Focus on squeezing your glutes at the top of each rep — exaggerate it even — and go nice and slow for each rep.

Plate Swing

Hold a plate with both hands and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees soft. Break at the hips and push your glutes back to swing the plate underneath you and between your legs. As it comes back through to the front, quickly extend your knees and snap your hips forward, creating enough momentum to lift the plate to shoulder height. Guide it down carefully and go right into the next rep.

Katie’s Tip: Don’t round your back as you swing the plate between your legs. Keep it flat throughout.

Walking Long step Lunge and Twist

Walking Long step Lunge and Twist

Hold a plate with both hands at your chest. Take a large step forward, bending your front knee while keeping your back leg straight. Lunge until your front thigh is parallel to the floor, then twist your torso toward the forward leg. Return to center, push off your back foot and bring your feet together. Continue, alternating sides.

Katie’s Tip: Long step lunges target the glutes and hamstrings more than a traditional lunge. Exhale and blow out all your air as you twist.

Single-Leg Hip Thrust

Single-Leg Hip Thrust

Lie faceup, knees bent, and position a plate across your hips. Extend one leg straight up over your hip and then press down through your grounded foot to lift your hips toward the ceiling, keeping your hips square and the plate centered. Slowly lower to the start and repeat. Do all reps on one leg, then switch.

Katie’s Tip: Changing your foot position changes the emphasis of the move: The closer it is to your glutes, the more you engage your hamstrings; the farther away it is, the more you engage your quads.

Single-Legged Romanian Deadlift

Single-Legged Romanian Deadlift

Hold a plate with both hands and shift your weight onto one leg. Extend your opposite leg behind you, then hinge at the hips and lower your torso toward the floor as you simultaneously lift your leg behind you, hips square. When your torso and leg come parallel to the ground and/or you feel a stretch in your standing hamstring, return slowly to the start. Do all reps on one leg and then switch.

Katie’s Tip: Lower the plate over the arch of your standing foot and pull your shoulders back for optimal position and balance. 

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Better choices helped Christina Jordan transform her body, reverse diabetes and win a beauty pageant.

For many, Disneyland is “the happiest place on earth,” but for Christina Jordan, it was the most embarrassing place on earth. She was kicked off a ride in front of hundreds of people and her two young kids for being “too big,” just after having been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

“I was terrified because nearly every member of my family was overweight and had diabetes, and several had even died from it,” she says, explaining that she was teased and bullied her entire childhood and suffered from low self-esteem. “I had just had my second child and knew I had to change.”

Cleaning Out and Cleaning Up

Jordan had an unhealthy relationship with food, starving herself all day long while drinking sodas and sugary coffee drinks. At the end of the day, she would come home exhausted, and too tired to cook, she would binge on pizza, french fries and other processed foods.

“Eating was my outlet for self-abuse,” says Jordan, who hid food in her closet and under her bed. “I would eat until my stomach was so full that I would cry. Then as soon as I could eat again, I would.”

When Jordan realized that it was time to make a change, she sat her husband down and asked him to help her stay accountable. Then she purged her home of all junk food. “I actually hated any kind of vegetable or fruit, so I had to force myself to try new foods,” she says.

For exercise, Jordan began by simply taking a brisk walk every night after dinner. Within a year, she had lost 100 pounds and had completely reversed her diabetes. She added hiking, kickboxing, weightlifting and yoga to her routine, and when she got pregnant with her third child, she gained only 27 pounds instead of her usual 90. She lost that weight plus another 30 pounds, and today Jordan does strength training three days a week and yoga and cardio two days a week. Her husband, a black-belt martial artist, remains her biggest advocate. Together, they exercise with their three boys in their home gym and enjoy taking weekend hikes.

A Family Affair

Motivated by her success, Jordan quit her stressful job and went back to school to become a nutritionist. “Because of my transformation, my parents, siblings, cousins and even grandparents are all eating healthy,” she says. “Now our family holidays are hosted at home, and we always have healthy options available.”

In 2017, Jordan wrote her first book, Forever Fit Weight Loss Guide (amazon.com), and she launched a six-week workout program. She also competed in and won her first-ever beauty pageant and now serves as the 2017-2018 Mrs. USA Elite Global Earth.

“I never realized how much I hid behind my weight until it was gone,” says Jordan, who was recently signed by a national modeling agency. “I can do handstands and elevated push-ups, run 3 miles without stopping and hike mountains.”

Stats

Christina Jordan/Queen Creek, Arizona
age: 36
height: 5’7”
old weight: 271 lb
current weight: 137 lb
occupation: Nutritionist and YouTube host

Christina’s Tips

Swap smart: Replace a bad habit with a good habit. Instead of unhealthy milkshakes and sweets, have a protein shake and go for a walk.

Mini-meals: Before, I would starve all day, then binge on something unhealthy. Now I eat five to six small meals every day.

Start small: If you have a lot of weight to lose, set small goals and accept that this is a complete lifestyle change.

Teach your taste buds: At first, I didn’t like vegetables, but I learned that salad doesn’t have to be boring and that flavoring with various sea salts, garlic and cilantro makes a huge difference.

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Mauri Peterson didn’t let a serious heart condition keep her from pursuing her athletic dreams.

Growing up, Mauri Peterson was an avid gymnast and surfer who thrived on competition. But around age 10, she began suffering from fainting spells and blackouts. She was misdiagnosed with anxiety and hypoglycemia for several years, but then she experienced a cardiac arrest. An EKG determined she had sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS) long QT type 2 — a dysfunction of the heart’s electrical system that causes rapid and irregular heartbeats. Peterson had surgery to implant a defibrillator, which administered a shock to her heart each time it went into arrest.

But perhaps worse for Peterson was the news that came next. “My cardiologists said I could never again participate in physical sports because my heart was unable to sustain a rapid heartbeat,” she says. “I felt sorry for myself and went through a lot of emotional turmoil trying to accept my fate at such a young age.”

Her Heart’s Desire

After high school, Peterson got certified as a personal trainer because she knew her calling was to help others. But even though Peterson had made peace with her diagnosis, she still refused to give up on her own dreams.

“I didn’t want to let my disease define my life or control how I lived,” she says. “So I discussed my desire about competing in fitness with my cardiologists. They had never been up against this disease with someone so young, but they understood that I wouldn’t be fulfilled living a sedentary life.” Together, they devised alternative training options and created a strategic plan that wouldn’t put her at an increased risk: Peterson was to take frequent breaks while lifting weights to control her heart rate and her risk, and while brisk walking was OK, high-intensity interval training was not.

A few years later, Peterson was stable enough to step onstage and win the Miss Muscle Beach 2015 bikini division. “I was in disbelief that I won because it felt like my whole life the world was telling me ‘no’ and that my dream to compete was impossible,” she says. “But here I was, proving it could be done.” She also placed in the top 20 at the 2016 NPC Nationals in Las Vegas.

Family Matter

Because SADS is often genetic, Peterson’s doctors conducted testing on her entire family and discovered that her mother and several of her aunts, uncles and cousins also suffered from the disease and were given defibrillators.

“My No. 1 goal is to bring further awareness to this disease,” says Peterson, whose last cardiac arrest was in 2017. “My mother started a nonprofit, which provides funding to families that cannot afford genetic testing. She is my role model, and I have never met anyone with a bigger heart than her. I love how she has turned this disease into something positive.”

Stats

Mauri Peterson/Las Vegas
age: 23
height: 5’6”
weight: 130 lb
occupation: Online personal trainer, coach and bikini athlete

Mauri’s Favorites

Veggie meal: Sweet potato tacos: Fill corn tortillas with sauteed sweet potatoes, cilantro, peppers, garlic, avocado and fresh lime juice.

Coaching mantra: As a society, we need to adopt a mindset of appreciation. Your health on the inside is much more important than how you look on the outside.

Advice: We only get one body and one life, so it’s important to take care of it in the best way possible. Have patience, listen to your body and practice healthy choices.

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