My name is Jenny Grothe, and I have a story.
September 2007 I was 170 pounds – my heaviest ever.
I’d always been slim. I ate what I wanted, as much as I wanted, when I wanted. I was active throughout my teens and 20’s, but after we adopted our first child, that all slowly began to change.
My activity level decreased, but my eating habits didn’t. It caught up to me. Long gone were the days of being able to drink as much Dr. Pepper and Coke as I wanted, put away a dozen delicious glazed Krisy Kremes with my hubby, devour a bag of chips with a huge tub of Guacamole, and not see the “consequences” on my body. Over the years I put more and more weight on and by summer of 2007 I no longer liked the person I saw when I looked in the mirror.
I don’t think there was any one “a-ha” moment. There were several. At the time I was 37. 40 wasn’t that far off. I wanted to be a “FAB 40”, not a “FAT 40”. I thought back to my mom during her 40’s and how incredible she looked. She was a lightweight bodybuilder in her 40’s. She rocked the stage. Her bodyfat was in the low 6’s. “A-ha” moment #1.
“A-ha” moment #2. My girlfriends and I were spending a week down in St. George by the pool with the kids. We decided to hit up Old Navy for some new swimsuits. I was a size 14 – trying to squeeze into a size 12. I gave up. I ended up settling for a mens’ pair of size medium board shorts and a tankini top while all my size 0, 4, and size 6 friends bought their cute little “girlie” swimsuits.
“A-ha” moment #3. I was tired of all the concessions being made because of me. Would JENNY be able to fit through the narrows canyon in St. George? Would JENNY be able to handle the hike up the mountain? Would JENNY be the first to tire out while playing tag with the kiddos in the back yard? There were many.
I was happy with my life, but I wasn’t happy with ME – the most important person of all.
Without my husband’s permission, I signed up (once again) at Gold’s Gym. I’d signed up before only to watch my money drain out of my account. Same with training sessions. Greg, my husband, had no reason to think that this time would be any different. But, I knew. This time it would be. I dropped my little guy off on his first day of school and headed straight to the gym.
I waffled around on the machines.
I mostly focused on cardio. I didn’t have a clue. I just stuck with what I felt comfortable with. Comfortable meaning – not looking too dumb on the equipment.
I biked, I walked, I kind-of jogged, and I stepped. Two months later I’d shed 20 pounds, and I felt like I was on top of the world. I was finally a size 10 – a size I hadn’t seen in so long, and I felt invigorated! I rocked my new body, and I stopped shying away from the camera.
In February I decided to try and “sculpt” my now leaner but completely jello-like body. I didn’t want just any trainer though. I didn’t want to get “stuck” with who Gold’s assigned to me. There was one trainer, a girl with incredibly built arms. I wanted HER to train me. I approached her, and told her she needed to train me because I wanted her arms. She sized me up and agreed. She worked me hard, but that’s exactly what I wanted. She told me too many times she’d agreed to help people but they wouldn’t follow-through. I was eager. I was like a sponge. I wanted to do it all. You didn’t have to ask me twice.
By the end of March I started to see a big change. So did she. At that point she asked me if I’d considered competing in Figure. I didn’t even know what “Figure” was. She explained that it was a softer form of bodybuilding – still amazing healthy muscle but with more femininity. She’d already done several shows, and the way my body was responding to the weight training, she thought I might be a good candidate. By this time I was 38 – one year closer to 40. I told her “yes”. Why not? What did I have to lose? I figured I could give it my best shot and the worst thing that could happen was I’d be in better shape than when I’d begun—a win-win in my opinion. However, at the time, I was totally going out on faith. My body was still NOWHERE near where it needed to be.
So, I set my eyes on the NGA show in September and the NPC show in October 2008. I paid my dues; I registered for my first NPC and NGA cards. I kind-of felt like a poser. Really? Me?
I started working with my posing Coach. She put me in touch with a GREAT suit designer. I ordered my suits (when they still required you to wear both a one-piece AND a two-piece) – still half believing that my body would be ready.
I worked my butt off day after day – on my own. I didn’t have a workout partner. There was no one at the gym waiting for me. I’d started out with a workout partner in the very beginning, but her plans changed only two weeks into it. At that point I was at a crossroad to either continue on or give up. There was no giving up this time.
By September I’d put on a small amount of muscle, and I leaned out to a size 2-4. I was thinner than I’d ever been. I wasn’t even that thin in high-school. As a matter of fact, I distinctively remember my doctor telling me I had great CHILD BEARING HIPS as a teenager – not something you want to hear when you are 17.
I placed at both shows. This old lady who was once 170 pounds and a size 14 less than a year beforehand placed 2nd in the Short Class in the NGA 2008 Northern States show and 4th in the Medium Class in the NPC Utah Gold’s Classic.
I was hooked.
Next spring I competed again, this time taking 3rd in the Medium Class in the NPC Utah Open and 7th in the Masters at the Emerald Cup in Washington.
And most recently I competed in the 2010 Topform Classic where I placed 4th in the Medium Class and 5th in the Masters.
Figure isn’t my only accomplishment though.
Since that first day when I decided to hit the gym and change my body, my focus, and my direction, I’ve:
• Completed 2 Sprint Triathlons
• Ran 4 Half Marathons
• Lead a team of 12 in last year’s Wasatch Back
• Ran the Vegas Ragnar Relay (with the flu)
• And most recently ran the 2009 St. George Marathon (within 5 minutes of qualifying for Boston)
I recognize I may not have the “best” body, the “widest” lats, the “fullest” glutes, or the “tiniest” waist, but every day I know that I am a better “me” than I was the day before. I am full of energy, excitement, and commitment to this sport. I fully embrace every aspect of it, from training, to supplementation, to cardio, to dieting. It’s a part of ME now.
I am happy. I am strong. I am confident. I feel energized. I am meeting amazing women from all over the world who are as committed to this process as I am – who share the same goals, dreams, and aspirations.
I am meeting women who WANT to be healthy, who want to be strong, who want to change their lives for the better.
That’s the main reason I started this little FB page. Women love to eat. I love to eat. But so many foods and recipes so readily available are full of fat and unhealthy. Food should always be yummy, and we women need our options.
If I can in any way help, motivate, or inspire another woman even if it’s just by sharing a recipe, then I am one happy Gal.
Hope you all enjoy your journey as much as I have mine.
Weight: 113-117 lbs. competition; 120-123 lbs. off-season
Bodyfat: 9-10% competition; 13-16% off-season
Dress Size: 4
I wrote this April of 2010 and so much has happened since then!!
I share this with you to tell you EVERYTHING is possible!
Since April of 2010 I’ve gone on to compete again in the Emerald Cup (the largest amateur NPC show nationwide) where I didn’t place, but WHO CARES? It was for me! **smile**
I ran the Top of Utah Marathon where I qualified for the Boston marathon (3:42:41)!! YES!
I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, which to date I am now dealing with on a day to day basis. It’s a part of me, and I feel strongly that by being healthy I am better able to manage and conquer this new disease.
I published my first cookbook, “75 Ways to Love Your Oatmeal” which is for sale on both www.jenfitbooks.com and on www.amazon.com. Sold out of the first printing.
It finally happened! I turned 40 – the age I was scared to death of. The age I wanted to be “ready” for. I welcomed 40 proudly. With thinning hair and more wrinkles, I still felt beautiful – probably more beautiful than ever before. Why? I was finally healthy. Happy. Secure. and GRATEFUL.
Ran the Boston Marathon earlier this year and re-qualified again for Boston while on the course (3:47:27)!! Again, YES!
Have been published in Muscle & Fitness HERS as well as soon to be released national publications.
The point here is?
To NEVER SAY NEVER. Never give up. Never sell yourself short. Never say you CAN NOT DO or WON’T TRY TO DO. That is unnecessary. Say you WILL, you CAN, and you’ll FIND A WAY HOW.
What are you dreams, your goals, your aspirations? Do it. Make up your mind today and push forward. Regardless of how old you are, where you live, and how much weight you have to lose. Your journey ahead may be a long one, but that is OKAY! It is your journey; you should be enjoying every single day of it!
My life now is full. I have more things I “want to do” than ever before. I strive to live EVERY day to the fullest. I try to enjoy every moment. I participate in my life. I no longer let it just “happen”.
I can’t wait to see what my future holds. I already know many of the things that up and coming, and I am thrilled.
There will be trials. There always are. I have my heartaches just like anyone. I have my own personal battles and demons. I’m not unlike you. But, I will get through them.
This past month in particular has been extremely hard. Very trying. Though now that I am on Armour to help treat my Hypothyroidism, I have still been struggling with fatigue, some depression, and a myriad of other mysterious symptoms. After much consideration I finally went to see a REAL Hormone Specialist. I wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on within my body.
I’ll save the details for another blog, but I will tell you this. I am struggling with Adrenal Fatigue and as of this week when I found out ALL my results, I also discovered I have Hashimotos Disease. From what my specialist said, it sounds like I’ve probably had it for years without knowing it. Here is a link:
What I am learning is that every day is a gift. We have to take each day as it comes – the good with the bad. We don’t know what lies ahead of us, but we can certainly plan and live it the best we know how. We will learn along the way and will have to overcome the challenges and obstacles that pop up – just as I am now.
It won’t slow me down though. I have no plans of giving up. It might take me a little longer, but the one thing I have learned in my journey is that all things are possible.