Fitness profile: Crystal E. Lutz - Reading Eagle Newspaper
Fritztown, PA - nName: Crystal E. Lutz.
•Occupation: Waitress at Galen Hall Country Club, Wernersville, and personal trainer at Flying Hills Fitness Center.
•When and why you began to exercise: I began to exercise before I was 12, actually. Before I was old enough to have a gym membership, I was in the gym everyday watching my mom work out, which piqued my interest in it. A few weeks before I turned 12 I finally got a gym membership, and I've been working out faithfully ever since.
•Type you do: I do weight training, and I also take spin and kickboxing classes. I also work with personal trainer Brenda O'Neill, a professional bodybuilder, who trains me for figure competitions.
Figure competitions are part of a bodybuilding competition, but it's for women who are judged not so much on large muscle size, but toning and symmetry, along with hair and makeup - almost like a beauty contest, but for bodybuilders.
Brenda approached me one day and said that I have a good shape for competing in figure, and she offered to train me for it whenever I was ready.
I really liked how Brenda looked. When I hired her, I told her, "I just want to look like you." I used to read a lot of fitness magazines, and I always wanted to look like the girls in the magazines. Figure really gets you a lot of exposure with the media. I've had some photo and modeling opportunities that have sprung up since competing.
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•Hardest hurdle to overcome: Because I'm really shy, my hardest hurdle was finding enough confidence in myself to present my physique on stage - in high heels, no less. I don't wear high heels.
Brenda helped a lot, as did watching my body change day to day as I trained for it. I also practiced a lot and spoke with others who compete in the sport, which helped.
•Biggest exercise achievement: Placing second in my class in my first figure competition, in Plymouth, Mass., in April last year. Just recently I placed third in my first national competition in Richmond, Va. on May 17 of this year.
Also, becoming a certified personal trainer through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.
•How exercise helps you: It helps me stay focused, and it constantly gives me goals to work toward. There's no perfect physique, but you can always work on improving something on your body.
•Tips to others: Be patient and enjoy your fitness journey. Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture to realize how far you've come and to celebrate your progress. Nothing happens overnight.
- Compiled by Elizabeth Giorgi
•Once a week Lifestyle will profile a person who has made exercise a part of his or her life. If you know someone who enjoys being physically active, write to Fitness profile, Reading Eagle Company, P.O. Box 582, Reading, PA 19603, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the person's name, address and telephone number and why you think he or she should be profiled.