Archive for December, 2016

Fit, Forty and Family with American Grit’s Lisa Traugott

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Full of both beauty and brawn, blonde bombshell Lisa Traugott is sure to be the standout star of FOX’s newest competition series “American Grit” which premiered on April 14th, with new episodes airing Thursdays at 9/8c and at the helm is the show’s host WWE Superstar John Cena. Set in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest (some of America’s harshest weather), 16 of the country’s toughest men and women with backgrounds ranging in fitness to top branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, will be divided into four teams and pushed beyond their limits as they face a variety of military-grade and survival themed challenges to see if they can prove to the world they have AMERICAN GRIT and win up to a million dollars of prize money. Lisa is the only competitor who is a bikini bodybuilder and will use her confidence and strength to dominate the competition.

A New Jersey native, Traugott had aspirations to be a performer and lived in New York City performing in classical theatre off Broadway. Shortly thereafter, she attended college in Allentown, Pennsylvania and in London prior to moving to Southern California where she met her future husband. After getting pregnant with her first child, she and her husband decided to move to Texas to raise their growing family. Like most new moms, she focused on the upbringing of her children and before long she completely let herself go. When she received an invitation to her 20th high school reunion, she realized that a drastic change needed to take place. She took her final maternity leave paycheck of $150 and drove to the gym where she signed up for as many personal training sessions as she could afford. Five months later, she completely turned her life around and lost over 50 pounds, started a health and fitness blog and received her personal training certificate. She has also become a hugely successful bikini bodybuilder competing in some of the most elite competitions in the country including the Arnold (Schwarzenegger) Classic.

After her father passed away from cancer, Traugott became heavily involved in running charity marathons in memory of her father which led her to become an ambassador for the American Cancer Society where she traveled to Sacramento to appeal to politicians for the anti-smoking legislation. Over a 3 year span, she ran in 2 Spartan races and 4 marathons including the Nike Women’s Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon, collectively raising over $100,000. As a 41 year old mom of two, Lisa is now the author of 2 books: She’s Losing It! and Mind Your Manners Minnie Monster. She currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and 2 children and is getting ready to release a “30 Day Weight Loss Program” available through her website.

BB411~ I was beyond inspired after interviewing American Grit competitor and fit Mom of 42 Lisa Traugott. There were so many similarities with everything that we have gone through in life. Hearing her insights and how she overcame fears was so moving. It gave me some new ways to think and she is definitely a woman to watch out for. Mark my word, you will be hearing a lot more about this beautiful human! In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the interview………

BB411~ When did you know you wanted to be in the fitness industry and how did your career unfold?

LT~ My involvement in the fitness industry was a complete and total accident. I entered my first bodybuilding competition when I was borderline obese and age 38 to lose weight before my 20th high school reunion. I didn’t really think it would work. To my shock and delight I completely changed my body and my life. After that I just wanted to get the word out that change was possible, even if your middle aged, overweight, a mom and had no sports background. That’s why I became a personal trainer and wrote my book, “She’s Losing It!”. I wanted to write a “Rocky” for Moms.

BB411~ What do you love about being an author and how did that come to be?

LT~ As a kid I was pretty shy, but when it came time to read our creative writing assignments out loud I remember the class used to clap for me and each week it became a thing, “What’s Lisa going to write this week?” I mostly kept my stories to myself, until one day I was eating at an Italian restaurant in NYC when this kid, he couldn’t have been older than three years old, said, “Mommy, I. Said. No!” and threw spaghetti against the wall. After that I wrote “Mind Your Manners Minnie Monster” to help naughty three year-olds everywhere. It won a silver Mom’s Choice Award.
I started writing a romance novel that would make 50 Shades of Grey readers blush and showed it to some local authors and they told me that the story was good but I needed an online presence to get publishers to even open the manuscript. This was exactly the same time that I started training for my first bodybuilding competition. So I created a blog to document everything. I figured, as a novice, no one would expect me to know much, it would hopefully have a great ending of me looking hot in a bikini (is there really a better ending than that?) and if I didn’t like blogging I could always say it was just for the competition. I ended up LOVING blogging and it’s one of my biggest joys now.

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BB411~ How has it been to be on “American Grit” and what was John Cena like to work with?

LT~ American Grit gave me an even deeper appreciation for our military and what they go through to keep our country safe. The training evolutions we did challenged us mentally, physically and emotionally and exposed everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. I think everyone left that show a changed person; stronger, more resilient.
John Cena was really funny. He made little snide remarks under his breath between shoots and kept the cast laughing. I was lucky because my team, Team Noah, kept winning so I got to spend a lot more time with him. He gave each of us on the green team his wrestling action figure, which I have sitting on my dresser. (I will not let my son open the box to play with it.) I’m still pinching myself really. I got to do whiskey shots with John Cena! That alone makes me the coolest mom at the PTA.

BB411~ Who in your industry inspires you, and why?

LT~ In the bodybuilding world, I love, love, love to watch Ashley Kaltwasser. She won the Olympia bikini division three times, which is unheard of. People have this idea in their head that bikini competitors just eat lettuce all day and do jazzercise. Ashley has a gymnastics background and that woman can LIFT! I love watching her pose. There is almost a sense of dance to it; the transitions are smooth and she has figured out how to look good at all angles and still hold a smile…in five inch heels and a sparkly bikini.

BB411~ Where does your drive and focus come from?

LT~ When I get an idea in my head I won’t quit until I get it. Hard work doesn’t scare me and I will push through pain and discomfort if I am confident it will bring about the results I want. I’m not a masochist – I won’t suffer just for the sake of suffering – I have to believe in what I’m fighting for and to trust that things will work out. That’s why I didn’t blink when my trainer told me to do 730 squats/lunges/bridges every day before a competition (I won first place.)

But it doesn’t even have to be just a physical task. For example – after my dad died I ran a marathon in his honor and decided I was going to raise money for cancer research through a casino night fundraiser. Everyone told me my vision was too big, it couldn’t be done. I ignored everyone who said no, got a team of 14 hardcore business leaders and all the athletes running in the San Diego chapter of Team In Training to help me and we put on an event that had close to 700 people, raised almost $75,000 and was covered by NBC, CBS, FOX and tons of magazines and radio stations. It was hours and hours of labor and 7x as big as my own wedding, but to know I was helping people with cancer made it worth it.

BB411~ If you weren’t in the career you are today, and you could be anything in the world, what would it be?

LT~ I would love to be in action movies and TV shows. How awesome would it be to be on Game of Thrones riding a dragon, or being a spy in James Bond or fighting the evil Sith Lords in Star Wars? American Grit taught me that I can do just about anything physically as long as I don’t psych myself out and the universe has been on my side lately, so this might actually work out for me.

BB411~ How do you stay balanced with life’s daily stresses that come up?

LT~ Ha! I don’t! Honestly, I’m very lucky that my husband and I own our own business and he is able to care for the kids when I get the opportunity to fly to New York for an interview or need to sleep in after a brutal leg day workout. The other person in my life who keeps me grounded is my trainer, Robin Johnson Jr. I’m prone to emotional eating and he keeps me in check with that.

BB411~ Describe your style.

LT~ Eclectic and ever changing. Just when you think you’ve got me figured out I’ll do something completely different that looks or feels right to me in that moment.

BB411~ What does healthy mean to you, and how do you stay active?

LT~ Healthy means eating clean and doing a sport or physical activity that you are passionate about. Healthy means finding a balance between delayed gratification (like during competition prep) and enjoying the chocolate chip cookie (after the competition.) When I’m bodybuilding it’s all about the weights. In the off season I like to take pole dance classes, yoga and do obstacle course racing.

BB411~ What is the #1 value you live your life by?

LT~ I believe in helping others. It doesn’t have to be a big charity event either. Sometimes just encouraging a friend not to quit, or hugging a child who is crying or even just looking in someone’s eyes for 30 seconds and smiling can be what that person needed most in that moment. On my blog I write about lots of things, but I’m always thinking in the back of my mind, “What will my reader get out of this post? A good laugh? Useful information? Inspiration?” We are put on this earth to help one another.

BB411~ What charities are you involved with and why is it important to you to give back?

lisa-bikiniLT~ I was very active with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society before I had kids, as a way to honor my dad who died of cancer. I was also an ambassador for American Cancer Society and actually got to meet with my state representatives to lobby for anti-smoking legislation. Since having children my charitable work has been to help the schools. Last Halloween I created a kids Zombie obstacle course fundraiser and worked with local businesses to fund specific academic programs that were cut from the budget.
In honor of my cadre, Noah Galloway, we had a drink special made up during my American Grit watch parties that benefitted his charity the No Excuses Charitable Fund.
As long as you are alive and breathing it is your responsibility to give back. You can give your time, or your money, or in some other way unique to you. The positive and long lasting impact you have on others will be worth it.

BB411~ If you could tell your younger self something you have learned and know now what would it be?

LT~ STOP BEING SO SCARED!!! JUST GO FOR IT!!!

BB411~ Three words that best describe you.

LT~ Quirky, kind, driven

BB411~ What is your top skin care company/product?

LT~ The only skin product I use is Hawaiian Moon Aloe. It plumps up my skin, you forget I’m a 42 year old woman with laugh lines.

BB411~ Do any certain scents remind you of your childhood?

LT~ When I smell the ocean – salt water, sand, sunscreen – it reminds me of the Jersey Shore where we would go one week each summer. Those were the best vacations because it was time spent with my family.

BB411~ Do you have a best-kept beauty secret that has been passed down to you (from maybe your Mother or Grandmother)?

LT~ I have to tell you, my mother and grandmother both looked remarkably young, like 15 years younger than their actual age, their whole lives. They told me to exfoliate like hell on my face with a wash cloth and then use Oil of Olay.

BB411~ Can you give a fun fact that people may not know about you?

LT~ Did I tell you about my birthday scare? Every year for my birthday I do something to scare myself. It’s kind of like a bucket list only instead of doing a hundred things and then you die, I do one cool thing each year and then eat cake. For my 38th birthday I entered the bodybuilding bikini competition despite being size 14. After losing 50 lbs. and fixing my messy life I decided I was going to do everything I ever wanted but was too afraid to try. For my 39th birthday I jumped out of a plane. For my 40th birthday I entered a pole dancing competition. (2nd place – who knew?). My 41st birthday scare was being on a reality TV show, American Grit and for my 42nd’ birthday I did 5 minutes of stand-up comedy. God only knows what I’ll do next year…

BB411~ What is your favorite quote?

LT~ “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” – Theodore Roosevelt. It reminds me that circumstances do not have to be ideal or perfect before you take action. Take action Right. Now.

lisa-shes-losing-it-jeansBB411~ What is the #1 book you would gift to someone?

LT~ That’s easy, my book “She’s Losing It!” because it’s funny, gives the meal plan that took me from size 12 to size 5 in a month, and I have some extra copies at home.

BB411~ What are the 3 sites you check out to keep you updated on the world? (news, spiritual, magazine, etc)

LT~ Twice a day I read Yahoo! News briefs on my phone to keep up with world events, when I’m feeling down I will go to Oprah because I can always find something there to lift my spirits, and I really enjoy reading Men’s HealthMen’s Health because they have pictures of hot guys on the cover and I really like the advice given by Jimmy the Bartender.

BB411~ What is the #1 thing you want to cross off your bucket list?

LT~ Since my kids were born I’ve been wanting to take a trip around the world with them when they got old enough to remember it. I have no idea how I will pay for this, but since I can win bikini competitions in my 40’s and do whiskey shots with John Cena, truly anything is possible, and if it’s meant to be it will happen.

BB411~ When you look back at the life you lived, what do you want to be remembered for?

LT~ Helping others overcome their fears so they can be their best self.

BB411~ What has been your biggest “Aha!” moment so far in life?

LT~ This is going to sound dumb, but my biggest Aha moment is that diet and exercise work. Going through that first bodybuilding competition prep was so educational. I never realized how much food impacted my mood, my weight, my sleep and my physique. I had always thought eating a package that said, “Diet-low-fat-gluten-free” meant I was eating well. Once I stepped away from processed food my whole life got better.

BB411~ It does not sound dumb at all, it is encouraging to know others have felt and gone through the exact same thing. You can only do better, when you know better!

BB411~ What is the top quality that entrepreneurs should have?

LT~ Never give up. Never. My husband and I own an apartment building and flip houses. We’ve been turned down by banks, had double-digit vacancies and put up our life savings multiple times to make deals happen. It can make your stomach churn, but as long as you know that failure is not an option you will make it happen.

lisa-swordsBB411~ Describe your perfect day when you have some down time.

LT~ I love being a lazy ass. I’d love to park on the couch, read magazines, scratch my head about what Donald Trump said now, and eat something my trainer would get mad at me for. And then I’d love to play Monopoly or Sorry with my kids and take a walk around the block with my husband. It would end with homemade old fashioned popcorn and binge watching Game of Thrones. WHERE. ARE. MY DRAGONS!?!

BB411~ When I say “love this”, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

LT~ Stuff my kids made for me. One time I lost a bikini competition and my daughter drew a picture of me standing in front of a flag holding a trophy and it said, “I am sorry you didn’t get and award but you were the best.” I don’t always win trophies, or the million dollars on American Grit, but I feel like I’m winning in life.

Keep Up to date with Lisa on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and her Blog!

Much Love, BB411

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