Rocking a Bikini at 54

I can’t say enough good things about my client Karen Temborius.  She first contacted me wanting to do some online training.  At age 54 she was a wife, mom of two teenagers, in a high power-high stress job and was a previvor of BRCA (the Angelina Jolie gene that leads to breast cancer).  She had had multiple surgeries and hadn’t been in a gym in about 17 years.


Most of my clients come to me with the problem of eating too much; she was the exact opposite – she ate too few calories.  After going through her food journal I asked her to keep and discussing her goals and background, I told her that for her to look the way she wanted to, she would actually need to eat more calories and more carbohydrates.

It was actually a pretty tense moment, because the advice I gave her was counterintuitive to everything she had previously been told.  But she trusted me and started a reverse diet I designed for her.  Within weeks she was fitting into dresses she hadn’t in years and slowly started to gain lean muscle mass.

She decided to enter her first bodybuilding competition, nervous and excited and panic-stricken at the thought of standing on stage, at age 54, in a sparkly bikini.   She started training with me in person at Robin Johnson’s MVP Elite Fitness in Round Rock once, then twice a week.

She did pull ups,

Pull ups

step ups,

Step ups


Reverse lunges

and about a billion squats.  We even did several boot camps with her co-workers to help raise $500 for Make A Vet Sweat, the charity the bodybuilding competition she was training for was supporting.

Running with a parachute at bootcamp

At our Saturday sessions she’d put on her posing suit and 5″ heels and bust a move. Posing suits are amazingly tiny and at first she didn’t want to wear it in front of other people, but then she said, “Well, I guess if I could go through multiple surgeries and have everybody see everything, standing in a bikini won’t be as bad.”  She also confided, “You know nothing ever focused my dieting efforts so much as knowing my booty would be hanging out there on a stage!” (She has a point.)

Every day she practiced her poses, in addition to her cardio and strength training.  She ate fish and asparagus and tons of chicken and vegetables and took weight and body fat measurements each week.

You couldn’t ask for a better client.

The night before the show she drove up with her family and I drove up to the host hotel to explain to her family why their wife and mother was suddenly orange (spray on tan) and explain what would happen during prejudging and the night show.

The next day there was a lot of excitement in the air.  This federation, the IFBB Physique America, was brand new to the United States (IFBB Pro has been here for awhile, but the amateur division is new) and they were talking about some of the perks they were planning for winners of future shows (like paid trip to the Arnold Classic in Brazil or entrances to other national shows).

The venue was really cool – it was in an airplane museum with bomber jets from World War I and II and at one point they did a live demonstration of a tank.

Standing with Karen by a fighter plane

It all tied in with Justin Bohannon’s charity, Make A Vet Sweat, which pays for gym memberships for veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq with PTSD and their spouse too.

Justin “Boflex” Bohannon (photo:

Backstage I was making Karen pump to make her muscles look fuller.  (Pumping is doing high-rep exercises with low-weight dumbbells or using resistance bands to bring more blood flow into the muscle.)  We had to do a fine balance between getting pumped without getting sweaty and having spray on tan  drip down her body.  (Did I mention bodybuilding was a quirky sport?)

Karen went on stage and all her practice kicked in.  She rocked that bikini!

Onstage for comparisons

Her son screamed out, “Go Mom!” and she broke into a huge smile and she relaxed.  She told me after that she had always loved seeing kids cheering on their moms because it subtly gave permission to other moms to feel like it was ok for them to be fit too.

Karen with her family

She went home with 5th place and is already training for her next bikini competition in May.

Karen, even without the medal, you’re a winner!

My clients rock… bikinis

Lisa 😉

Want to Train with Me?

Local to Austin/Round Rock/Pflugerville?  Email me –  I offer personal training sessions at a private gym:  5 sessions/$250.  That includes a customized suggested meal plan.  Spaces limited!

If you are interested in signing up for my online personal training programs, click here to order now: SLI Method.  Monthly online training is $125/mo. and includes a customized suggested meal plan plus weekly workouts to do on your own based on the equipment available to you.

Click here to buy your copy today!

Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, published author, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX! (c) 2012-2018 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.

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