Next Level Fitness with Stephanie
Life-changing decisions can be made anywhere. For Stephanie Longsworth, it was on the surgery table going into her double mastectomy—to file for divorce from an abusive marriage, return to school while supporting three children, and undergo a full hysterectomy as a BRCA gene carrier.
These decisions catapulted Stephanie into a journey of a deeper connection with her womanhood over the next ten years. Yet, despite being regularly active, a poor diet and a lack of muscle-building exercise resulted in unwanted weight gain in her 40s.
That’s when the yogi and tennis player— at 44 years old—reached out to Chris and Cindy Caudy of Next Level Training, a private personal training boutique studio in east Memphis. The husband and wife duo helps clients train for bodybuilding competitions and upgrade their nutrition using macro-counting.
By paying closer attention to her diet, Stephanie began noticing a strong mind-body connection between eating healthy and feeling good.
Within six weeks, she went from a 40 to 26 body-fat percentage.
“I watched girls at the gym training for bikini and thought, I wanna do that.”
The timing seemed perfect: Stephanie was ready to tie the knot with her partner of ten years and saw bodybuilding as an incentive to get in shape for the wedding—until a thyroid cancer diagnosis came clambering through.
The surgery resulted in the loss of her left vocal cord, plus the addition of hormone therapy.
Not easily deterred, Stephanie was back in the gym training two months later and, within one year of recovery, had dropped to a 13% body fat percentage. She now stands at a dazzling 10%.
“Many women will make excuses and blame hormones or give up when certain health issues happen, but it’s really about every choice you make, the micro-movements and staying consistent, which make a difference.”
Just last month, Stephanie, 47, competed in her first National Physique Committee (NPC) Bikini 40s, True Novice, and Novice Never Placed First amateur divisions, placing 5th, 3rd place, and 4th, respectively.
“I’m proud to walk up there as a 47-year-old being fit because I never thought it was possible to have muscles, especially as a woman, seeing how much you can lift and how powerful you can be.”
Stephanie hopes to inspire other women to step into their potential, especially those who may be older or experiencing health complications.
“These competitions celebrate the woman’s body to be the best you can be at any age while letting nothing stop you.”
For women over 40 wanting to change their bodies, Stephanie recommends lifting weights, which she does 3-4 times per week for about 30-45 minutes, in addition to clocking 10,000 steps daily.
Flow through a vinyasa class with Stephanie at Pike Yoga on Farmington Blvd., or book her for a fascia muscle massage therapy session by visiting www. nextleveltraining.org.
By Shlomit Ovadia
Photo by Tindall Stephens