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Magazine Article All American EFX 2012

Mitzi Young
Written by Robyn Balliet

Mitzi Young Transformations can be just as much psychological as they are physical, and usually when one goes through one, there are pivotal occurrences which trigger this life-altering movement. I am happy to share with readers my next interview with a woman who not only overcame the struggles of being obese, very unhealthy and depressed, but also conquered her battle with drugs,

alcohol and cigarettes. She now prides herself for being a drug free, clean eating fitness enthusiast and athlete!

R: Please tell us about yourself! Give my readers the 411!
M: My name is Mitzi Young. Many would say I am an eclectic person who is creative and unique and appreciates the value of friendship. I am 34 years old, a mother and wife. My children are four and six and I have been with my husband, Brian, for 16 years now. My career is amazing; for the last nine years I have been working with the elderly suffering from all forms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease at a long term care facility in Peterborough, Ontario Canada. I also currently hold a part-time position at Gold’s Gym for the last three years, doing everything from customer service, to sales and daycare. This job is something I do because I love seeing people reach their goals in fitness like I did a year ago. We are a small family there; everyone is supportive and encouraging with all walks of life. I have also met many people who make me a better person. This is where I spend my hours of weekly training and lifting weights.

I was never a competitor until last May, when I entered a novice show and also the “Inside Fitness Body Transformation Challenge” in Toronto, Ontario. I took home 4th place out 11 beautiful women and also became a finalist, which got me published in the magazine and on the website. I only entered because a fellow gym patron told me I had the physique for it. Although I am shy and still feel my body is “fat” it had taken a lot of courage to get on that stage and show confidence. But I did, and it ignited a passion and a fire in me to better my physique and encourage others to live a fit-life.

I will be competing in a couple of shows in 2012, including one in Vancouver, British Columbia, as a natural athlete – 100% drug free and proud of it. I believe women should not have to take steroids or growth hormones to gain an edge. Not only is it ruining their internal organs, it affects their feminine image, negatively affecting women around the world. I am an advocate for taking charge and control of your life in every aspect – making no excuses for your actions, as well as eating as natural as possible.

R: You have made an incredible transformation in your life style. Can you share your story and what the pivotal event was that changed forever the way you were living your life?
Mitzi Young M: For many who have read my story, it all started with growing up with divorced parents, and then being thrust into foster care. This lead to smoking, partying and drug use, as well as eating fast food, lack of sleep and skipping school. When my mother, Irene, took her life when she was just 52 – and I was 20 – I became the unhealthiest and heaviest in my life. I was 200 lbs. and neglecting my health. My self-esteem was damaged, and my attitude was terrible. I wasn’t happy with who I had become. I couldn’t move forward as I was holding onto the past and the poor hand it seemed to me that I was dealt. All I had was a damaged self-image and a high school diploma, and I did not realize I was hurting not only myself, but also my family and friends. I was going in circles and getting nowhere fast. I made many mistakes in my younger years and I am not proud of it. Most if my wrong-doings occurred while under the influence. My mom was a nurse, and I decided I wanted to honor her by becoming a “Personal Support Worker” and helping the fragile. I graduated from Sir Sandford Fleming with my certification about 9 years ago. I gave up the addictions of drugs and alcohol. I totally became a whole new person, almost a rebirth I guess you can say. It wasn’t until 3 and a half years ago that I had enough. Reaching the inevitable, I couldn’t fit into my favorite pair of size-15 jeans on my 30th birthday. After a night of tears and depression I walked into a gym and signed up. At that point I had the challenge of two small children to take with me since my husband works nights. I packed them up every morning to get to the gym while I had the time. I had started at the 200 lb mark with 40% body fat, while wearing a size-18 pant. It has been a whirlwind of sweat, tears, food prep and hours logged in cardio. Going from a size 18 to size 2 in May of 2011 was a dream come true! The hard work paid off! It was a long road of nutritional changes and food prep, measuring all my complex carbs and protein day in and day out. Many laughed, gawked and joked about my food-cooler and that I carried it with me everywhere I went. My “Six-Pack” bag never left my side, and contained everything I needed from my food, to my supplements and protein powder. It became the best tool I have used in my journey of self-actualization. Many now follow in my footsteps, prepping meals, eating wholesome food and making sure the macronutrient breakdown is correct for their needs. This way of life is amazing. Exercise keeps my anxiety at bay, and this is the first time I have spoken out about this. I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder six years ago after 9 months of dealing with a colicky son who never stopped crying. I have always been nervous about talking about this due to the whispers or judgments I may have faced. Since I have faced this discrimination in the striving towards my own fitness and physique goals, some people with their own ideal body-image in mind will make negative remarks on the quest for the image you want for yourself. Many called me obsessive, extreme and injudicious with the path I have taken. I need to disagree with the “label.” Misunderstanding the “life” we live as health nuts or health conscious individuals keeps me frustrated; however, I have been able to accept society and how others view the industry. I have embraced this lifestyle and those who know me understand I am a better and healthier person who not only cares about my own health and wellbeing, but others’ as well.

R: What are your biggest daily struggles? How do you overcome them?
M: Oh my, struggles? Where do I start? Well I have a husband, two children, a demanding nursing career, a job at a fitness club, and a Weimeraner that keep me busy. On top of all this I am a fulltime student again, working toward a 2-year diploma in “Recreation” at Fleming College. My fitness and nutritional ambitions haven’t taken a back seat either. I make time for everything, but having a plan in place in important. I recently purchased a treadmill for the recreation room in my home. I get up at 6 am, before the children wake, so I can squeeze a sweat-session in. I do my weight training on nights off and in between classes at the fitness center that is affiliated with the college. My food prep is done in larger quantities on various days of the week as free time permits, and includes rice, chicken, eggs and salad. My staples are always handy for quick packing in the cooler. I overcome my issues with my strong desire to achieve and be successful in everything I do. I have an inner mission to maintain a strong connection with the choices I have made, while staying faithful to everyone who has followed my journey and helping all of them along the way.

R: Who and/or what inspires you the most?
M: Well, without singling anyone out, what inspires me most is what’s above. If someone who’s living a normal life – juggling a career, family and children – can manage to make time for them self to get healthy, and hit the gym without making excuses, that inspires me. I don’t have all the time in the world to be living in the gym doing double workouts every day, but I manage quite nicely to do what I need to in order to maximize my results from training in as little time as possible. What also inspires me is seeing others take charge of their eating habits and boycotting all the fast food chains as a nutritional backup because they aren’t prepared with food at hand. With that being said, we all know your “diet” is the right prescription for seeing the best results in whatever goal you have set for yourself.

R: Now that you have achieved so much – changing your life and transforming for the better- what is your biggest goal for the future?
M: I have many things on my bucket list. A few of them I will share. The first thing is to achieve a cover of a fitness magazine, with an inner feature showing the road I travelled to get to where I am now, and how I overcame everything in my way. That may be a long shot although 80 lbs of fat loss was quite a hurdle too, and I conquered it. Getting my “Recreation” diploma in 2013 and my nutrition and wellness coaching certification is also on the list. I want to help create a community of active individuals who want to change their lives and their belief in themselves. Becoming a Community Development Officer for the City of Kawartha Lakes is also on my list of to-dos. And…are you ready? I want to gain a pro card as a natural athlete and have the opportunity to gain a sponsorship from a supplement company. I want to prove that you can be the best if you put your passion and fire into whatever you want.

One thing that has transpired is from my writing I do on I have recently been contacted by a fitness model in California who asked me to write an article for her to submit to a national magazine, as well as for another athlete after I am done with hers. I love to write! I am very talented when it comes to story writing, essays and motivational pieces. So I am extremely fortunate to have this opportunity in the fitness industry at a different level. I am also in the process of setting up a website to help inspire women and men of all ages. Giving them the tools needed, at no cost, to help them achieve their own self success.

R: Addictions come in all forms – not just substance abuse. Many women struggle with addictions and obsessions over food, exercise, and their self-image. What recommendations can you give them to help them overcome these issues?
Mitzi Young M: My confession is, yes I had addictions in the past. I can relate to how hard it is to struggle with choices and battle the demons that seem to drag us down. We all need to challenge our own issues. For some it could be different than another but it all comes from the same place inside. Women tend to eat due to emotional circumstances. What triggers the behavior has to be dealt with or the behavior will only continue. Obsession is a strong thing. I have been scrutinized with my perseverance to continue reaching for the stars. I wouldn’t say I am obsessed. I love to eat and I love to take my days off but I also know I don’t want to be 200 lbs again and depressed. It takes dedication and daily inspiration to conjure the excitement to get to the gym five days per week. The media is constantly bombarding girls as to what is beautiful according to the fantasy of what is real and reality. Who defines it? I stay away from television and reality shows and keep in the “realism” of life and what makes me happy. If you’re not happy with your own self-image, then change it. You are the only one that can create your own idealism. I have had my own struggles with my self-image but it is always a day to day process to be happy in the skin God gave me, and to not take for granted how far I really have come. If you believe in yourself and love yourself, everything psychological will fall into place. I will continue to better my physique regardless of who might think I should or shouldn’t. I am enamored with the idea to keep going and see where the road will take me. All I know is that it has been a magical experience and I can’t wait to see what is in store for me.

R: I commend you for all your achievements. You have so much to be proud of and show us that anyone can conquer the darkest of demons with the strong will and drive to never give up. We look forward to following up with you in the future and can’t wait to see what goals you achieve in your now happy and healthy life!




By: Robyn Balliet

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