No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change; become a better version of yourself. – Madonna
Passion, commitment, persistence and self-motivation are the key elements that I have used to achieve my goal of transforming my body and becoming a professional figure competitor. Hello my name is Christine Keefer and I would like to share with you the story of my journey of becoming a better version of myself and how you can do the same.
Like many other young women, I was very insecure about my body image and even suffered from bulimia for a period of time during my adolescence. As a teen, when I saw women with athletic physiques I dreamed to one day look like them. Everyone has dreams; unfortunately not everyone has the courage to go after them. I decided to make my dream to have an athletic physique a reality at the most inopportune time of my life. I was in an unhealthy relationship and my grandmother who was near and dear to me passed away. These two life-changing events propelled me into the world of weightlifting.
At the time I had no idea how much weight lifting would change my life.
I was able to find peace, and was able to improve not only my body but my mind and soul. I was able to rebuild what was completely destroyed by the pain from the adversity and insecurities I endured throughout my life. After months of training hard I decided to compete in a figure competition to show off my hard work. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it gave me a sense of purpose, which I was lacking.
Stepping on a competitive stage for the first time was very nerve racking. I wish I could tell you that I came out on top at my first show. Fortunately, I did not do well; in fact I didn’t even place. This experience set me up for a success that I never thought was possible and I know now that was what needed to happen. If I had won, I would not have appreciated the road that was ahead or the success that followed.
Unlike other times in my life, failure was no longer an option!
For the first time in my life I wanted to do better and be better and not settle. In the gym, I found something I could improve on and didn’t have to settle for being average. I trained hard to overcome any challenge or obstacle I faced in the gym. For example, I initially could not do lunges with weight. I persevered and never gave up and eventually could do it and was able to add more and more weight over time. Persevering in the gym empowered me from the inside out and it crossed over to other areas in my life. This is something I desperately needed for change to occur and for me to improve and grow mentally, physically and spiritually.
Following my first show, I was determined to prove to myself that I could do better. I set my goals ever higher and picked another show to compete in. I started with setting small goals as simple as being able to do a pull up. By setting small goals I was able to stay focused and motivated between shows. I competed in several competitions that first year and eventually earned a 1st place finish.
Although things were going well for me as a competitor, that was not the case in my personal life. I decided to end my unhealthy relationship that had lasted for ten years. I stepped out on faith and decided to leave everything behind in hopes to find a piece of myself that had been missing. Not only did I have to deal with the painful emotions that were left over from that relationship, I was now a single mother as well. Raising a child alone, dealing with a nasty break up, while continuing to train and compete was challenging. Fortunately, my loving and supportive mother welcomed my daughter Amanda and I into her home and allowed us to live with her for 6 months, until I was strong enough to live on my own. This was a pivotal time in my life and I was able to rejuvenate myself mentally, physically and spiritually and became a better Christian, a better mother and a stronger woman.
Motherhood is one of the greatest joys of my life and I feel that my daughter was God’s special gift to me. Being a mother empowered me to become a stronger woman. I was no longer just caring for myself; I now had to care for a child who depended solely on me.
She may not know it yet, but she has given me the strength to survive.
Because of her I can now fully appreciate the simple things in life. She has shown me what true unconditional and real love is. It’s hard at times for me to understand how God could love someone like me who has made a ton of mistakes and is so far from perfect. Now that I have a child of my own that I love wholeheartedly and unconditionally I can truly understand God’s love for me. There is nothing that I wouldn’t do for Amanda and nothing she could do to make me ever stop loving her. The parallel between my love for her and God’s love for me is amazing. Being a mother also forced me to take a good look at myself in the mirror and has motivated me to strive every day to be the best role model possible for my daughter and other young women.
Trying to balance my role of a single mom, competitor and personal trainer is no easy feat. There are many days where it seems that there are just not enough hours in the day. I am constantly on the go and it feels as though I hardly have time to breathe. With the grace of God and planning ahead I’ve been able to successfully juggle spending time with my family, training myself and my clients. The success I’ve had in my roles as a mother, trainer, and competitor has helped me improve my self-confidence and self-esteem significantly.
Prior to assuming these roles I was very insecure and had little to no confidence in myself or my abilities. Learning to love myself despite all my imperfections is a daily battle.
Some days are better than others and much better for me now than they used to be.
In order to love yourself you have to be comfortable with who you are. I have had to learn to accept that I am not perfect and that all my imperfections make me who I am. The days when I struggle with this I turn to God for my strength through the Bible, Christian music, or Joyce Meyers broadcast. Within minutes of tuning into one of these sources my spirit is renewed and I am able to continue on with my day.
I hope that by reading this I have helped to inspire you on your journey. No matter what you are going through good or bad, appreciate every moment because all of those moments are molding you to be who God has planned you to be.
I have been fortunate and blessed to be succeeding in life, but all the success in my life is worth nothing unless I can help and inspire others around me. I hope that with God’s strength and guidance I can make a difference in the world through others around me. My ultimate goal in life is to encourage, uplift, and inspire others.