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Posted on Mar 18, 2015

Fit for competition

Amy Gardner of Quincy had a wakeup call a few years ago when her oldest daughter asked the mother of three when the new baby was due.

The problem was, Amy wasn’t pregnant.
After stepping on the scales to find out she weighed 234 pounds, a change was in order.
“So that was my ‘aha’ moment,” Amy said. “I needed to make a change. Fight for my quality of life.”
Today, Amy is in her final month of preparation before she heads north to Alaska to compete in her first Figure Fitness competition on April 4. The svelte 30-something is in the best shape of her life.
She thanks her husband and fellow trainer Justin Gardner, her clients and her coach, dietician and teammates. And, she thanks her daughter, who ignited the flame.
The red-headed personal trainer for Real Results Personal Training barely makes a dent now on the scales. At 5-feet, 8-inches, Amy weighs in at 147 pounds.
There was no miracle or quick fix on this journey. But with the help of her husband and business partner, she has stayed the course.
“I’ve always been attracted to fitness, to the world of body building,” she said. “It’s always been a dream of mine – in the back of my mind.”
While putting in up to three hours a day on her own training, she still works out with her clients, which include Cassie Calloway and her daughters Amanda and Rebecca, who have used Amy to reach for their own personal goals. All three ladies have different goals, but each has found a way to either lose weight, get stronger or gain muscle.
And their success has helped Amy, who has been by their sides, drop almost 90 pounds over the last few years.
“We are inspired by our clients,” Justin said.
Amy has been guiding the mother-daughter trio, finding ways to push them.
“She’s good at motivating,” said Amanda, who had never seen the inside of a gym until five months ago. “My priorities are at school, so it helps that (Amy) can push me (in the gym).
At this point motivating clients is a two-way street. Amy has dropped 10 dress sizes since she started her journey and is now a size 3. Cassie has dropped five sizes, while both her daughters are noticeably stronger.
“She can be pushy without being mean,” Rebecca said of Amy.
That same dynamic can be found between Amy and Justin. During the three hours a day Amy works out, Justin is the one pushing her along. He doesn’t take no for an answer and keeps her focused on the goal – Alaska and the Figure Fitness competition. His MMA fighting has taken a back seat until Amy finishes this journey.
Amy has joined the Save Fitness team, which is coached by six-time International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness champion Tanji Johnson. From the team, Amy learns how to pose (participants get 8 seconds per pose) for judges during a competition. She travels to Issaquah several times a month for a figure-posing class.
“I’m trying to keep an open mind, because this is my first experience,” Amy said. “I have a wonderful team behind me. Win or lose I did this for me.”
If dropping the weight and the sizes weren’t enough, Amy took her transformation to a new level in September when she chopped off her signature long red hair. She now wears a pixie hairstyle.
“It was freeing,” she said. “I was always the girl with the nice hair. This was a spiritual and emotional experience.”
Amy has plans to compete in three more competitions around Washington this year. For her, the Alaska competition is a jumpstart into the new life she has worked so hard to attain.
“It’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” Amy said. “My main thing is I want to inspire mothers my age, whatever age.”

-Kurtis J. Wood/