Giving Back & Natural Universe Photos

In Total Recall, the autobiography of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arnold credits much of his success to bodybuilding and therefore felt it was important to give back as an ambassador of the sport, not only to fans but to anyone who would listen about the need for fitness.  He reached inner city kids, the Special Olympics and couch potatoes too.

Getting words of wisdom from Arnold
Getting words of wisdom from Arnold

His message really resonated with me, because I too felt like this sport has given me so many powerful tools:  how to eat clean, self-discipline, exercises to sculpt my body, confidence and balance.  So in homage to his directive to give back, I’ve been revealing the 7 Secrets I Learned from Bodybuilding, one secret at a time, which I hope you have been finding useful this week.  Here is the last secret:  Give Back.

5 Ways of Giving Back

  1. Financial Giving.  This can either be the easiest or the toughest one for people.  (It almost never falls in the middle.)  Some people tithe a portion of their salary to their church or a favorite charity.  Some people write checks to support people running marathons for good causes.

    Open your purse-strings and give to whatever cause you’re passionate about.  In the past, our finances were pretty tight, so our donations were nothing worth bragging about, but the dollar amount didn’t matter.  What mattered was that we were able to help in a small way and, honestly it felt great to give.

  2. Gift of Time.  When you talk to your kids (or anyone for that matter) do you really, truly listen to them?  Sometimes I’m so busy making dinner or whatever, I just nod my head at my kids.  But when I take the time to sit down, look them in the eye and listen to them, it becomes a gift for both of us.
    Grandpa watching a movie with Henry and Rylee
    Grandpa spending time with Henry and Rylee

    You can give your time by volunteering.  Clean up a park, serve at a soup kitchen, visit a nursing home, tutor at school or hug your neighbor going through a tough time.  All of us are given 24 hours each day, so let’s spend them wisely and generously.

  3. Friendship.
    Flexing with Viv
    Flexing with Viv

    It takes a village to get me ready for a bodybuilding competition.  I can’t tell you how much it meant for me to have my friends, Viv and Obidia be my workout buddies during this competition prep.  They kept me focused and wouldn’t let me slack.  My friend, Regina, made sure to buy all my weird clean foods when we had a mini-vacation together.  Friends who support you to meet your goal are a blessing.

  4. Share Your Story.  At the Natural Universe competition, I came in 3rd place.  But if I must come in third, at least I got beat out by two amazing women.  This is Vicki.
    She's 60!!!
    She’s 60!!!

    Vicki is 60 years old.  S-I-X-T-Y!!!  Anyone who thinks, ‘I’m too old to get and stay fit’ just needs to look at this woman and realize that age does not have to define you.  This is Paola Santos.  Paola-santosTen years ago she almost died when she was hit by an SUV.  Her lung collapsed, she was in a coma and lost her voice for a time.  She still has a speech impediment today.  But the power of her story is not that she suffered this horrible accident, but that she fought for her life, her health, and is standing strong today at 44 and a mother of two.  Another person I met backstage, Paul Hembey, just won the Physically Challenged, standing category.  paul-hembeyHe uses crutches to walk and still found a way to work on his physique.  He is not limited by his body; he has conquered it.  All of these people were willing to share their stories with the hope that they inspire other people to get healthy.  And don’t think you have to have suffered to be inspirational.  You never know who’s watching and being inspired by your daily actions. So share your story!  Post those selfies of you working out at the gym or eating healthy with your kids.

  5. Saying Thank You.  There is a quote I heard from Oprah once that went something like, “If thank you is the only prayer you know, that is enough.”  Thank the people in your life through words and deeds.  The following people have gone above and beyond for me, so allow me to thank them:

My husband Henri

My husband at the Arnold Classic expo
My husband at the Arnold Classic expo

and kids Rylee and little Henry – Thank you so much for putting up with my training routine and not eating popcorn this week because the smell of buttery popcorn would have just be too much for me to handle.

In our family, we flex
In our family, we flex

Robin Johnson, Jr., Trainer Extraordinaire.  You helped me overcome my mental blocks to allow me to train harder.  You really know your stuff about sculpting some abs and hamstrings!  I’m so happy you are my coach on the road towards my pro card. (P.S. – If anyone is interested in a trainer for bodybuilding competitions, I highly recommend him!)

After the show
Standing with Robin after the show

Dave Goodin.  Thank you for coming up with memorable poses that help make my physique look the best it can look.  I’m so happy you have helped me make progress with each show.  Dave Goodin – Hyde Park Gym

Posing lesson with Dave Goodin
Posing lesson with Dave Goodin

Serena Hicks.  Thank you for helping me be sassy and classy and feel confident in my famine curves.

Goofing around with Serena at her pole fitness studio
Goofing around with Serena at her pole fitness studio

Shine Athletica.  Thank you so much for being my gym fashion sponsor!  I love your clothes and your philosophy of only sending out positive messages into the world to empower women.  Thank you for your belief in me.lisa-train-like-a-beast

You, readers of my blog!  Thank you for following my journey.  Your encouraging messages and posts really motivate me to keep going when I’m feeling down.

I’ve been listening to you.  Here’s a bonus secret:  In response to your requests, I will be writing two new books to come out in 2016:

  • She’s Building It!  A lot of you have expressed interest in doing your first bodybuilding competition and want more specifics.  She’s Building It! will be a how to guide for entering your first bikini competition, including workouts, choosing the right trainer and what to expect during competition prep.
  • Chasing Arnold  This is my memoir about training for the Arnold Amateur while caring for my dying mother.  As with my first memoir, there will be fights with my trainer, family life chaos, mistakes and a lot of self-deprecating humor.  But ultimately it will be an authentic snapshot of what it’s like to balance your dreams with difficult circumstances.

Thank you again for following my blog.  More pictures of the competition to come the rest of the week.  Here’s a fun one with my archery costume.  I was going for a Game of Thrones/badass warrior princess look.  If nothing else, I had a blast.

Feeling a little badass warrior today
Feeling a little badass warrior today

Be healthy!

Lisa 😉

Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two. Her book, “She’s Losing It!” is available at (and has a 5-star review rating!)

Available at (c) 2015 Lisa Traugott. All rights reserved. No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, video, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.


4 thoughts on “Giving Back & Natural Universe Photos

  1. I’ve enjoyed following you the last few months on Facebook, your blog and Instagram. Your hard work, inspiring words, diet tips, daily fitness/workout routes, have been an amazing journey to follow. I never check Facebook more than twice a day, but yesterday I was on it constantly following you through your competition. Congratulation you deserve it, you worked hard.

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