Since I was a young girl, my love for fitness and the physical arts has been a major part of my life. At first, like most little girls, it was ballet and gymnastics that stole my heart. Growing up in the rural mountains of northern California with no telephone or electricity proved to be a challenge in trying to stay involved with extracurricular activities, but my parents sacrificed much of their time to make sure I took advantage of all opportunities within reach. As a teen, my interests moved to cheerleading, school sports, modern dance and acting. I was naturally athletic and was blessed with grace and rhythm, and all I could think about was getting out into the big world to strut my stuff. It wasn’t until I started college at CSU, Chico that I joined a gym and picked up my first dumbbell – and I was hooked. My initial weight training knowledge and experience was cultivated at a funky little place called Priscilla’s: The Gym. I stayed with Priscilla’s until I graduated, learning all I could about weight training and fitness, striving to capture the commitment and drive of the likes of Corey Everson and Lenda Murray. After leaving Chico, I entered a time in my life when fitness took a back seat; for the next four years, I did not step into a gym or lift a single weight. It is still a mystery to me, but for whatever reason, I needed to step away from fitness as I knew it and experience life on another level. I believe I knew I would always come back to a physically active lifestyle, and, sure enough, after the birth of my son in 1992, I was back at the gym – and in better shape than ever. Over the next eight years, I became a serious fitness “buff”. I quickly became certified to teach group fitness and be a personal trainer, supplementing my career in business administration and keeping myself involved in the fitness industry. But there was something else that kept tugging at me, a higher calling to involve myself completely in what I loved to do. It was not until later in my life, as a grown woman, that I had the courage and confidence to make my dream a reality.
The epiphany came at age 38, after a very difficult move to San Diego from northern California. The culture shock I experienced was overwhelming. I was working as a secretary and was miserable; my children were struggling with the adjustment of moving from a small town to a big city; and my husband was consumed with trying to make his new job a success. I was unmotivated, depressed, and frightened for my family’s future. I knew I not only needed an extreme challenge, but sensed I might be successful in making a career change, and I decided to train for figure competing. When I placed second in my very first figure competition – the 2004 NPC Naturals in California - I knew that I was ready to make fitness my life. One year and four amateur figure shows later, my life has changed significantly. I have launched my own personal training business, BodyWise Total Fitness.
The inspiration and motivation I’ve found in the challenge of my own training and competing was the key to going after my dream of helping others, especially women, pursue healthy, happy lifestyles. At 38 years old I am in my prime, and I want to help other women realize that life doesn’t end at 40 – it begins! I am now qualified to compete for a professional title and am very excited. It represents many things to me – continued good health, an endorsement to my professional capacity as a fitness trainer, and a personal sense of accomplishment. With the love and support of my entire family and many friends, I am pursuing the career I had only dreamed of. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, and the most rewarding. I encourage each and every one of you to stay with your dream, on some level – your spirit will thank you! Best wishes, Shelly.
An Interview with Shelly:
Where and when were you born?
I was born in a little mining town called Ishpeming in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on May 6, 1966.
What is your profession?
I am a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and national level figure competitor. I also have a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, which I apply to a lot of writing projects.
What kind of activities/sports did you do before you started lifting weights?
The usual – gymnastics, ballet, jazz dance; school sports like volleyball, basketball, softball and cheerleading.
How and when did you get involved into lifting weights?
I started lifting in 1985 during my college years.
Was it a goal for you to compete in figure/fitness competitions right from the beginning or was it something that grew in your mind as time went on and you saw the progress in your body?
It came rather suddenly and much later in my life than when I first started lifting weights – like 15 years later! I had a sort of epiphany about my future and my goals related to fitness, and things just fell into place like a completed puzzle.
What was your first competition and how did you place?
My first competition was the 2004 NPC Naturals in Anaheim, CA; I placed 2nd in the Short Class, Masters Figure 35+ and 2nd in the Medium-Tall Class, Unlimited Figure.
And which contest has been the biggest success for you yet?
Well, every contest has some level of success – you learn more about your body and your presentation with every show, and I always see that as a positive thing. Taking the Overall Figure title at the 2004 NPC Tournament of Champions was pretty cool, too!
Could you please add a history of all contests that you have entered so far?
2004 NPC Naturals Bodybuilding & Figure Competition: 2nd place, Short Class, Masters Figure 35+; 2nd place, Medium-Tall Class, Unlimited Figure.
2004 Tournament of Champions: 1st place, Short Class, Masters Figure 35+; Overall Winner, Masters Figure; 1st place, Medium-Tall Class, Unlimited Figure; Overall Winner, Unlimited Figure.
2004 Border States Classic XXVI Bodybuilding, Fitness & Figure Competition: 2nd place, Short Class, Masters Figure 35+; 2nd place, Medium-Tall Class, Unlimited Figure.
2004 Excalibur Bodybuilding & Figure Competition: 1st Place, Short Class, Master Figure 35+; 4th Place, Medium-Tall Class, Unlimited Figure.
2005 California State Bodybuilding & Figure Competition: 2nd Place, Short Class, Master’s Figure 35 – 45; 2nd Place, C Class, Unlimited Figure.
Please describe a typical day in the life of Shelly Pinkerton.
Up at 4am for 1st cardio session. Next, prepare the day’s meals, shower, get son Gus off to school, then it’s off to train clients from 7am until noon. Then, naptime – half an hour does wonders and saves my life! At 1:30pm it’s time for my training session with trainer Tony Dodd of Tailor Made Physiques, followed by a second session of cardio (45 mins. – 1 hour). By now it’s around 4pm, and time to head back to the ranch for homework - website, email, follow-up calls, and cooking for the next day’s meals. By 9pm I’m spending a little relaxing time with Gus and hubby Dana, catching up on the news, maybe getting a chapter or two in on my current reading project (I LOVE to read – fiction is my fav) before it’s lights out.
Please tell me something about your daily training routine.
Tony Dodd of Tailor Made Physiques (www.tailormadephysiques.com) is the mastermind behind my training, and has developed a program that fits me to a “T”. I’m an early bird – my first cardio session is at 4:30am for 45 mins. to an hour. I weight train in the middle of the day, usually around 1:30pm, for about an hour, followed by another cardio session. I enjoy being outdoors, so I try to get in a beach run for one of my cardio sessions in the week.
How often do you train in a week?
My weight training consists of a 3-day split of shoulders/chest/tris, back/biceps, and legs. I repeat this cycle with two days’ rest during the week.
What are the main differences when you train for a competition and in off-season?
In the off-season, I focus on developing and refining the areas I need to improve upon. During the competitive season, it’s all about fine-tuning with each show and staying conditioned.
If you don’t mind would you give me some stats (best lifts and some body measurements)?
I’m 5’4”, 137 lbs. off-season, 128 lbs. on-stage, dark auburn hair, green eyes. Bust is a Victoria’s Secret 34-D; waist 26; hips 35.
Which bodypart is your best in your opinion?
Shoulder/bis, but I’m told my quad sweep is poetic.
What is your favorite exercise in the gym and which one you don’t like so much?
My favorite is the hip sled (leg press) – I love the power of my glutes. I don’t really have a least favorite.
What are your thoughts about today’s judging in Fitness/Figure and Bodybuilding?
It’s a developing criteria. I think with all the changes in this area of the industry – women’s role in bodybuilding – there is so much that is subjective. The judges are seasoned and experienced individuals and I put my faith in them to do their best to create standards that are fair, attainable and, most importantly, consistent for all athletes.
Please tell me about what else you are doing when you don’t work out (profession, hobbies, etc.)
I am a full-time mom to a very active 13-year-old guy named Gus, who is the light of my life. Although I am very busy with my personal training business and competitive career, he is my first priority, so I make as much time for him as he allows me! Being 13, he is “at that age”…but we have a lot of fun together and are deeply connected. He plays Pop Warner football and is a member of the Civil Air Patrol of the United States Air Force Academy, so we have a lot of things we do together involving those activities. My husband, Dana, the other light of my life and my best of friend do everything we can together – grocery shopping, watching TV, walking the dog, you name it. Our passion, however, is motorcycles – speed bikes. We ride a Honda CBR 954 RR (you can call it a crotch rocket for short), and are totally into the lifestyle. On any given weekend you can find us tearing up the backroads of San Diego – it’s a blast! I also find a lot of joy in my extended family – my mom and brother and I are very close, and the best times I know are spent just hanging out with them.
What are your future plans for 2005/2006?
To build my personal training business, BodyWise Total Fitness, and to continue to enjoy my passion for competing in Figure.
Shelly does not not do sessions or wrestling of any kind. Please don't ask!!