Fitness Competitor Meredith Lavalee
My love affair with sports first began in grade school. My first love's name was Basketball. I was consumed by basketball. I played AAU nationals, I played for my school, I played for my town, I played at recreation, I went to basketball camps, I practiced on my own. You get the idea. "I ate, slept, and drank" basketball. When the time came for me to go to college I made my decision based on the basketball teams I liked! But by the time I was half way through my freshmen year I realized there was so much more to discover at school then sports. I quit the team and officially became a scholar.
I missed competing athletically every day after I made that decision. Which, in a round about way, brings me to why I began competing in Fitness in the first place? After Graduate school, I was working out in the gym, seeing great results, but having nothing to work towards. I needed a goal. I needed an outlet, something that I could work towards. So after picking up an issue of Oxygen Magazine in January of 2005, I said to myself, "I'm going to try that." And a love for the sport was born! I have to admit that a lot of Fitness models along the way have inspired me including Alicia Denson, Jelena Dejorvic, and Kelly Ryan. My inspiration now is all of the amazing women that I have met through the sport who balance kids, work, relationships, and fitness. They are so awe-inspiring.
I have only competed in one show this year, Fitness Atlantic Pageant 2005. It really was an amazing experience. I plan on competing in the Fitness Atlantic New York Regional in August and several shows in September and October. I can't wait. With Cathy Savage's help I think that I can make great strides towards my goals. I hope to continue competing in the fitness category for now. But one of my goals is to compete in the fitness division one day, a scary thought for someone who has no dance or gymnastics background! Another one of my goals is to model. I think fitness modeling can be an important factor in changing society's views on what a "beautiful women" is. Fitness competitors can show people what can be achieved physically and mentally when a women is healthy and strong.
I want to inspire other women to be healthy and strong. I want them to experience how fitness can dramatically change their lives. Fitness, I believe, has a huge impact on women in particular. Because I have accomplished the things I have in sports and in the gym, I am strong mentally. My spirit and psyche are positive and, except when I am dieting, my outlook on life is so much more positive. I am less stressful and more patient. I have a confidence that goes beyond believing in myself. I now believe in everyone!
I need all of this positively that the sport gives me daily! In my job as a high school special education teacher I am expected to be so many things. And as you can imagine, and as special education teachers already know, it can be a very emotional and draining occupation. But it is so rewarding! The children are wonderful and it feels amazing to help a person reach a level of potential that no one thought they could.
I know it sounds cheesey but I always have to thank God for all of the blessings! I have so much to be thankful for. I have AWESOME parents, a good job, and I am always meeting amazing people. I have to say thanks to my Mom and Dad; they always support me in all my crazy new projects. A special thanks to my mother with her costume help. Mike who puts up with crazy dieting and mood swings! All the Savage Girls, they are so positive and so amazing! And of course, Cathy Savage who is so smart, and funny, and honest.