Bethany Nelson – Figure/Fitness Pro, Dancer, Coach, Artist, Model
Meet May’s Get Fit. Go Figure! featured woman:
Bethany is a woman of many talents and has taken a plethora of entrepreneurial avenues showcasing her inspirational story. Please read about Bethany and be inspired!
- Business name: TEAM PEANUT FITNESS
- Fitness page: Team Peanut
- Model Portfolio
- Art Gallery
- Facebook Athlete Page
- Facebook Coaching Page
- Instagram & Twitter : @bethanyjnpeanut
Interview with Bethany:
TELL US HOW YOU GOT INTO THE FITNESS INDUSTRY
I began competing at the age of 28 when I decided to become a Fitness competitor because of my love for hip-hop dance and performing. After discovering that I had Celiacs disease, a severe gluten allergy in 2010 I quickly adapted to a new healthy lifestyle of eating clean and feeling fit for the first time in my life. In just 15 months I had lost more than 20 pounds and cut my body fat in half! In 2011, I got my feet wet in competing in natural bodybuilding and competed in both figure and fitness. I love to create my own choreography with a signature flirty, strong and powerful style. After my first show I was hooked and only wanted to do it all over again!
I just wrapped up my 4th year competing last November and third show as a pro. On my flight home from the competition I always love to reflect on my experience, my results and right away I get inspiration for my next fitness routine! My traveling day home was the perfect day to wear my STRONG FITNESS tank from Strong Boot Camp MN since I feel like I pushed through a ton to get to this show. I also feel like “strong” is the perfect word to keep in my mind as I walked away with how my performance and results came in. So many women and athletes beat themselves up for not achieving what they were striving for. You have your eye on the prize for the reason to purely push yourself there so you can be at your best.
If you don’t believe you can win it then you won’t work your hardest for it. But not everyone can be the winner – we’d need way too many trophies for that. So when you humble yourself and allow yourself to feel your OWN VICTORY then you did everything you set out for. I try to coach myself and others to cherish where you are in your fitness journey and LOVE the fact that you haven’t arrived yet. It would be sad and boring if you had already.This way you can keep going, keep working and keep getting more AWESOME.
With each competition that I finish I am itching for another one right away. When goals are met, new ones need to be made! I live for the stage and it drives me to be a better athlete every year. My next competition will hopefully be at Fitness America in November 2015. I already have ideas for my new routine and ready to get back to my true dancing passion again with adding more training and new difficult techniques. Plus one of these days I dream of taking the Figure Pro win as well. No harm in dreaming big, right?
HOW HAVE YOU RANKED IN YOUR YEARS OF COMPETING?
In May 2011, I entered my first competition and stunned the crowd with a fast-paced, energizing Fitness routine. I won 2nd place in Fitness and shocked myself by becoming the Mr and Mrs Natural MN Figure Beginner Overall Champion. I then entered the Fitness America Championships in November 2011. There in Vegas, I placed 6th in Open Figure Short and won over the audience with a heart-pumping Beyonce Fitness routine. My goal was to make it into the Top 10 AND I did! I finished with 8th place out of 35 competitors for my first time in the Open Fitness Class.
My second year, I set my eyes on Fitness Universe in Miami In June 2012. In Miami, I continued to prove myself against the veteran Fitness performers with my fresh and funky dance choreography! I also became the Figure Universe Short Champion and won one of the very first Figure PRO cards to be handed out by the Fitness Universe federation. That was a moment in time I will never forget! In November 2012, I gave it all I had in the Fitness division with a fierce new routine at Fitness America in Las Vegas. With that performance I finally made it into the TOP 5 with 5th place and my Fitness PRO card! It has been an absolute dream to become the first Figure AND Fitness Universe PRO in my second year competing!
At Fitness Universe 2013, I placed 6th in both Pro divisions in Figure and Fitness. Last year in Las Vegas for the Fitness America Championships I was able to wow the crowd with a brand new fitness routine finally landing a TOP 5 win- 5th place as a FITNESS PRO. This last competition I placed 6th in the Figure Pro Class and 7th in the Fitness Pro class at Fitness America in Las Vegas!
WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU FOUND WITH FITNESS SHOWS?
Where my vision really all sank in was when I found the FITNESS UNIVERSE federation and had my first professional fitness photo shoot with Eva Simon. At that point I started to see what the behind-the-scenes were like for the covers and articles of Oxygen and other popular health magazines. I was hooked and wanted into this fun-fit world!
I set out on a mission and began sharing my story. I looked for trade-shoots with local photographers so I could practice getting in front of the camera. The dream of becoming household FITNESS NAME started to become very clear in my mind. The only way I knew how to start building any exposure was to simply promote what fitness had done for me. By June 2012, my “transformation story” was published in Oxygen Magazine’s GLUTES special edition. I also have been featured on Bodybuilding.com and with my competition winnings featured in both Oxygen and Natural Muscle. My stage name “Peanut” started to stick my first year so I began a brand called “TEAM PEANUT FITNESS”. It’s not about me, it’s about the community of fitness-minded friends that I have around me, wanting to love, support and encourage what I do so I can help keep them motivated!
WHAT DOES YOUR FITNESS PLATFORM ALLOW YOU TO DO?
I enjoy motivational speaking on how I have endured chronic illnesses and detoxified my life through ending toxic, stressful relationships – even family relationships. I love coaching at fitness camps where I can teach new competitors my tricks, tips and help them transform their presence on stage. One of the highlights for me in this industry is when I am asked to be a special Guest Performer at big showcases like the Fitness New Mexico Championships.
Fitness Modeling and Life Coaching has been the icing on the “Competitor cake” for me. Both careers have come naturally and to my surprise. There’s nothing more fun and exciting then when you get to discover what you are good and meant to do – by accident! So now I love modeling any chance I get and coaching other new fresh models in how to take their career to another level. Life coaching is how I get to “pay it back” so to speak. So many wonderful things and friendships have come out of the new lifestyle that I have the pleasure of simply “being there” for others while they try to do the same. When you have a before and after photo, people are just drawn to you and want to learn from you so they can have an after photo too. It is so rewarding to help others achieve their dreams with you!
WERE YOU INTO FITNESS AS A CHILD?
Fitness in general wasn’t a part of my life as a kid or even young adult. I did love to dance so that kept me “active”. I think I was more familiar with that word versus the term FITNESS. I had no knowledge of weight training or good nutrition, plus I lived in a very toxic dysfunctional home environment. So food became a source of stress relief for me. When I left home after high school and tried to find my way through life I ballooned to my heaviest weight of 152 lbs at a 5 foot frame. I had moved states, flunked out of college and dancing was a faint memory at that point that I tried to desperately hold on to.
By 24, I asked “fit male friend” to show me the ropes in the gym. I joined a large health club and began my new journey. I managed to drop to a healthier weight, but still never had the dancers physique I may have secretly dreamed of. So it wasn’t until after 3 years of severe chronic pain, depression and counseling that I drew a line in the sand for my health. I detached from both of my parents as they moved through a divorce and set out to be on a “stress free lifestyle”. My new vision was to heal my inside self first before anything else. It was later that year that I finally figured out that I had Celiacs disease and that was the cause of every chronic painful symptom running through my body. Well and the fact that my body started to detox from the stress it had been under.
WHAT OTHER DREAMS DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH?
Part of my passion is to be an inspiration to the young ones and teenagers that need help being coached on how to have a healthy, fit lifestyle! One of my dreams is to have regular workshops and camps that are for teenagers and fitness professionals (trainers, models, coaches) can serve as BIG BROTHERS and BIG SISTERS like a mentoring program. There would even be a session just for parents so they can be on board too!
HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED WITH YOUR FITNESS CAREER?
My biggest motivator are my SUPPORTERS – which are the friends and people I haven’t met who say they are watching and enjoy every bit of my journey through hardships, good days and accomplishments. When I run into friends who comment on reading on of my messages and what it meant for them that day or how hearing about my struggles has helped them through their own.. THIS is what keeps me moving towards my dreams! My vision has narrowed in on simply being as authentic and transparent as possible and through that I have acquired more than a “fan-base” I have been adopted into a loving family.
Having constant people in my life that say they are proud of me, that they love me “unconditionally”, excited for my goals, happy when I succeed and help me when I’m in need is one of the most humbling experiences. these are the things that I never quite got as a child growing up which left me lost and hopeless as a young adult. Now at 32, I feel like I can conquer just about anything! My supports help me in every way feel that way because they have my back. There’s a trust there. I continue to let my story out and tell people the honest truth and now we are more connected than ever.
Having the fitness community purely shifted my life in an entirely new positive direction.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO TRAIN?
Well I love lifting heavy, it’s super empowering and when you start looking/feeling/breathing like a superhero you begin to believe you are one too! I mainly strength train in super-sets for short heavy sessions at least 4 days a week with 3-4 days of some HIIT cardio sessions like Dance cardio or yoga boot camps like Warrior Sculpt. I did power lift for a season which was incredible for gaining muscle strength, size and power in my movements. However at the time of my power lifting days I was under quite a bit of life stress while also prepping to compete. The end result was getting Adrenal Fatigue and I have had it now for the last two years.
I try to engage in yoga and meditation as much as I can with monthly massage work to keep my inflammation down. My favorite bodypart to train are my shoulders. They are big and they are strong, so it’s always fun and selfishly a bit easier than the others parts. I struggle with keeping body fat low in my glutes, core and legs – but they are a work in progress. So I enjoy getting creative on leg days and ab days with plenty of weighted exercises. When I play with my nutrition and really dial in to my competition prep is when I start looking like my best – tight and leaner! I love easing in and out of this process. it gives my mind and body the best of both worlds.
HAVE YOU HAD ANY ROAD-BLOCKS IN YOUR WAY TO YOUR GOALS?
Last year was an extremely difficult year as I hit an ultimate financial low. With debts hanging over my head and not being able to financially get ahead all of my dreams seemed to be blocked by a huge brick wall. The last couple of years I have enjoyed raising funds and saving towards the Fitness Universe Championships in Miami to compete in. However I caught wind of Strong Fitness’ STRONG CAMP coming to Minnesota this summer and I knew that I was going to have to make a choice. With my struggles financially I would have a hard time affording both yet alone either one. So I let go of my wish to go to Miami and knew that I could save towards a great experience at Strong Camp. At the time of the camp I was living in a stranger’s home and riding my bike to work while I tried to make ends meet. I had wonderful friends supporting me through the year as I couldn’t afford to have a car to get around. Going to strong camp was not only a good distraction from the stress I had going on in my life, it provided me for inspiration, motivation, encouragement, support, and hope that I AM STRONG enough to survive my hardships and make it through! Meeting Jessie Hilgenberg and have a touching personal moment was something I will never forget since she is someone to admire in the industry and she truly connected with us on the heart level. What a gift! Here I am now today, 5 months later after the camp experience and I have a car and a better place to live. Things are better and I contribute being active, working hard and being motivated by the people I have in my life for helping me stay STRONG. My fight was only fueled!
HOW DID YOU BECOME “PEANUT”?
As I began competing and fitness modeling, I adopted the stage-name PEANUT for my petite (yet powerful) presence around all of the other tall athletes around me. In order to raise funds for one of my fitness competitions I had “TEAM PEANUT” t-shirts made for friends and fans to help support my dream to compete. At that point Team Peanut began to stick and I branded my fitness business as TEAM PEANUT FITNESS. You can visit my main website atteampeanutfitness.com
ANY FUTURE PROJECTS OR EVENTS COMING UP?
I have recently re-launched my ART business and I have branded it along with my Fitness business. I want to create inspirational artwork for the fitness industry from the wonderful imagery we have from fitness photography, motivating quotes and anything that could help encourage someone towards their goals.I also love doing landscapes, abstract and a new popular favorite is PUPPY PORTRAITS! My art website is artpeanutgallery.com and I have also developed a third website called peanutportfolio.com for my Modeling collection. Since I have been fitness modeling for the last 5 years I have also enjoyed coaching other aspiring models and creating photoshoot workshops with local photographers to host.
Other fun events coming up will be my third 4 WEEK BODYBURN CHALLENGE, a fun group fitness challenge following a program I have been building over the years to help people transform and live a healthier lifestyle. The summer challenge will launch right after the 4th of July. Subscribe to the Team Peanut newsletter so you can be notified for the details teampeanutfitness.com. Also I will be making plans for the second RELEASE RETREAT, a one-day spa themed experience for women to release and let go of anything they may be holding on to that is keeping them from moving forward. We had our first Release Retreat at the end of February and with 7 women in attendance it was a day of growth, sharing, connecting and so much more. We had a massage therapist there all day and I hope to have yoga and more spa services provided at the next one.
Thank you GET FIT. GO FIGURE for the opportunity to share my story and hopefully encourage others with their own fitness journey. No matter if you are at the start or in the middle of it or if you are feeling like you need to start all over.
It’s never too late and the cool part is > there is no FINISH LINE. We never truly arrive and achieve the perfect physique and ultimate health. The drive wouldn’t be worth it if we were done improving and wanting more. Educate yourself daily, strive for a growing mindset and fall in love with YOU!