Karen Chapman, that is my name, and this is my intro into fitness. I never had the opportunity to get involved with sports, due to the fact that I was a teenage mom. Once, I completed high school, I fell right into my trade of being a hairstylist/cosmetologist. I always was fortunate to have my dads build, being long and lean. I could eat whatever I wanted, but just was "skinny fat." I always remember people saying, "You wait, when you get older you can't eat like that!" Huh, they must be jealous?? Well truth be told years later..they were right!
One of my loyal clients who was avid in fitness and working out, came in and told me she was entering a fitness competition. I said, "A what?" After she explained the vigorous commitment and work that she would dedicate herself to the next 12 weeks, I was left curious. She would come in with her gallon of water and just keep getting thinner and thinner. The day of her show, I took off work to support her. At age 51, she won first place in the figure category for her age group. While she posed being very muscular, over tanned, nails and hair done, sparkling suit, I knew, I wanted to do it. I joined the gym in October 2009 and entered my first competition in April 2010. I won 1st place in figure for my height class. I had officially caught the "bug."
From that point on, the gym became a part of my daily habits. It was challenging for me to give myself a rest day. At one point through the past few years, I did develop adrenal failure. Between the constant dieting and depleting and not allowing much, if any rest time. I have had several coaches throughout the past few years too, which each and every one of them, had implemented a different style of training and especially different methods when it comes to nutrition.
Throughout it all, I have discovered that being fit and feeding my body wholesome, non-processed foods, makes me perform better in my career, being a mother, and overall in life. Granted, the benefits from maintaining healthy habits have lead to great opportunities and lead me to my other passion, which is modeling. I did my very first shoot at the Arnold Classics in Columbus, Ohio. I was only attending as a "spectator" and thought all these great fitness photographers are there, mine as well? Since then, I have done countless shoots with some very reputable photographers in the industry. I have traveled to cities that I may have never been to or seen. I now am starting to work with more photographers that aren't necessarily in the fitness scene. Fashion, beauty, and fitness are all a huge part to who I am. Therefore, I will NEVER categorize myself as just one and not another.