“Hi everyone! I have been a hair and makeup stylist for the past 6 years, and absolutely LOVE what I do! I am also a fitness enthusiast (to say the least!). I am a Team Dymatize Featured Athlete, ReebokONE, LeaseQ, & Fitmark bags Ambassador, an NPC Bikini Competitor, and Personal Trainer. I am constantly challenging myself to learn and do more, and taking every chance I can get to travel the world!” – Elspeth Polt
What sparked your interest in health and fitness?
EP: Where I grew up really influenced how I look at health and fitness today. I was lucky to grow up in a small town in New Hampshire where the mountains and lake became my playground. I’ve been skiing, swimming, and playing sports for as long as I can remember. Summers were spent at the lake swimming, Fall playing volleyball and hiking, Winters skiing, and Spring playing softball. I loved every minute of it! As a kid I looked forward to every practice and game, and to this day I still have the same passion towards my career in health and fitness. Im so blessed to work in a field that I truly enjoy, there’s nothing more rewarding than that.
Did being an exceptional athlete growing up make your transition to fitness competitions easier?
EP: I wouldn’t say it made it easier because the sports I played are so different from competing in Bikini, but the dedication it takes to be an athlete is universal. Being an athlete taught me a great deal about discipline, hard work, and accountability, which definitely helped with my transition into competing in NPC Bikini competitions.
Talk about your first fitness competition. What did you learn from it?
EP: (Laughter) I was so unprepared for my first competition- I was literally the poster child for what NOT to do at your show. I had never heard of fitness shows, heck bodybuilding in general was completely foreign to me! I had signed up for an 8 week Fit Camp at my gym and under the convincing of my trainer I decided to sign up for this “Bikini Show” that she was also competing in. To give myself a little credit I did follow the workouts (my first time ever lifting weights), but that’s about the only thing I had going for me.
I did not follow any diet (I was clueless why anyone would be eating cold fish and asparagus out of baggies. However, I was game for the KitKat and Reece’s backstage. I ordered a bikini from Victorias Secret (thank goodness I borrowed a more blingy one from someone else); I ordered my clear heels that I did not practice in (which is why I looked like an awkward baby giraffe on stage); I did my own tan, hair, and makeup, which isn’t always bad, but seeing as how I had no idea what I was supposed to look like it was this time. On top of that I had to have a costume. I was a little lost to say the least, but this show opened me up to a world I didn’t even know existed. I was beyond inspired and intrigued by how fit and healthy these women looked. I wanted to learn more and I wanted another shot! This show was my introduction to the fitness industry and I was ready to hit the ground running on how I could become apart of it.
What were some of your most memorable fitness competitions? Did you compete solely as a bikini competitor?
EP: I have always competed in Bikini, and each show holds a special memory for me. I have literally been at the top, bottom and everything in between. I focus on striving to improve with every prep- both physically and mentally. And I look at each one as another chapter of my journey in this industry. One show that really pops out in my memory was my first NPC Bikini show: the Stingrey Classic in Hawaii. I was so nervous, I hardly knew anyone and spent the entire time backstage with my headphones on, practicing my walk. At finals when they announced my name as 2nd place I screamed I was so excited! You would have thought I had won the Olympia from my reaction! I just couldn’t believe it! That feeling of such pride and pure happiness was a feeling I’ll never forget. Looking back now, 4 years later, I still remember that feeling. I think about it when I step on stage, and when I have a competitor in my chair doing their makeup. I know that at some point they have or will experience that same feeling of excitement and pride, and it still brings a smile to my face. Everyone’s journey is different, but the feeling of achievement is still the same.
What’s the difference between training for fitness modeling versus training for a bikini competition?
EP: My prep for training and fitness modeling is fairly similar. My biggest goal when training, whether it be for a show, shoot, or just wanting to look my best is to be consistent with my workouts and food prep. I avoid crash dieting and extensive amount of cardio. I’ve been down that road and it’s not for me. Over training and extreme diets may get you temporary results, but it’s just not something that is maintainable. Instead, I train hard and eat a balanced diet year round, aiming to stay within 5-8lbs of my stage/ photoshoot weight. I will increase my food intake after a show and utilize this time to maybe put on more muscle, focus more on a performance goal, or simply try something new and fun!
Your eagerness to learn more about the science behind fitness led you to pursue new endeavors. Can you talk more about this?
EP: Like many woman I struggled with body image and self esteem issues. Fitness was always my stress reliever, but it wasn’t until I discovered the science behind nutrition that my relationship with my body improved. Lifting weights and fueling my body correctly for the first time in my life was incredibly empowering. I was taking control of my health and wanted to learn everything I could and share this knowledge with others. I pursued my AFAA Group Exercise certification, and ISSA Personal Training and Nutrition certifications and was eager to put them to work. I was so nervous to start teaching because public speaking has always been a fear of mine but I pushed my fear and shyness aside and let my passion for fitness take over. And I’m so glad I did! The energy from a room full of people all working their tails off is such an energy rush: I almost forget I’m shy when I’m up there leading a class. It’s incredibly rewarding to help others reach their goals, and experience that same feeling of empowerment I find through fitness.
How does it feel working with Dymatize Nutrition and Reebok? What do you specifically do for those companies?
EP: To sum it up in one word: SURREAL! The first year I became involved in this industry I made a goal list and becoming a sponsored athlete was right at the top. To become involved with two companies that are both leaders and visionaries is a dream come true. Both companies took a chance on a girl with big dreams and words can’t describe how grateful I am for their faith in me. My role with Dymatize as a Sponsored Athlete has been an incredible experience to say the least. They create top of the line products that provide the best results. Our ISO 100 Protein even won the Bodybuilding.com Best Protein of the Year Award last year! I’ve gotten to see first hand the company grow and expand over the last 3 1/2 years, and they are constantly improving and re formulating to ensure that the consumers are getting the best possible products to aid in their nutritional needs.
I’ve also had the opportunity to travel across the country promoting and educating others on how to best utilize them to help enhance your athletic and fitness goals. Working with Reebok as a ReebokONE Ambassador is still something that makes me smile ear to ear when I talk about it. It’s Reebok! Fashion and fitness all rolled into one. Does it get much better? Reebok launched a social media network site for Fitness Professionals last February called ReebokONE, and I was humbled when asked to become one of the Ambassadors to help promote the site. Of course my answer was yes! Through the ReebokONE network I have connected with fitness professionals and gurus from all over the world. I utilize the site for asking questions regarding fitness, finding inspiration, and getting ideas for training and teaching.
Just working with such an influential brand has been inspiring in itself. It pushes me to be a better trainer, study harder and always keep learning. Being surrounded by a network of hardworking individuals makes me even more motivated to go after my goals and be the best representative of the brand I can be. Sometimes I feel like I have to pinch myself, is this really real life? I get to travel across the country with people that have become extended family, meet people from all over the world, promoting brands that I believe in, and I get paid to do this!
Words can’t describe how grateful I am for these opportunities. I mean, this year I had the honor of helping to present the Bodybuilding.com 100K Dymatize Transformation Challenge winners with $50,000! Later this year I’ll get to witness who becomes the next face of ReebokONE, which is so exciting. To be apart of changing someone’s life, whether it be handing them a big check, teaching them about proper nutrition, or guiding them through a workout is the most rewarding feeling I could ever have. I believe that when you pursue a career in something you truly love it shows in your work. Life gives back to you what you give- if you put out positive energy it will find it’s way back to you.
You’re also a licensed cosmetologist in addition to everything else that you do. How do you find such a balance in your life with all of these things?
EP: I have been a licensed cosmetologist for 7 years now and it represents another passion I have. I love fitness, but I’m also a girlie girl. I love making people feel beautiful and being a cosmetologist gives me that opportunity every day. As a hair stylist and makeup artist we don’t just paint on color, we connect with people; we share, listen, and create; we see smiles, tears, excitement, good times and bad times. We console and congratulate our clients and through the process we learn. I have not only become better at my craft over the years, Ive become a better listener and communicator. Our job in the beauty industry isn’t just to be an outstanding technician, it’s about making that person in your chair comfortable and happy. I’ve tied my backgrounds in fitness and beauty together by working with The Liquid Sun Rayz Beauty Team, providing hair and makeup for fitness competitors. This job is very near and dear to my heart because I know exactly how it feels before stepping on stage. Nervous, excited, scared, there are so many emotions going through your head! Being able to help calm or encourage women on their big day is truly a gift. I also get to work with one of my closest friends, who I actually met through sitting in her makeup chair! Lyndsey Yeager, owner of Glossa Makeup Artistry and The Liquid Sun Rayz Beauty Team is a professionally trained Makeup Artist (I’m talking YEARS of training- this girl is talented!) and is visionary in her business ventures. She trains our Team in how to create the best look possible for our clients and ensures that every client receives the best customer service possible.
What is your favorite workout and why?
EP: That’s a tough one! For weights I love lifting legs and shoulders. I love the pump from a killer weight session and waking up with the reminder of how hard I worked. They’re also the two areas of my body I love to see the most change in. For cardio I love to be outside on the track. Nothing gets my adrenaline rushing like sprints and bleacher runs. And even better, you don’t need a gym membership or have to pay anything, just show up a go! When I’m just craving something more fun I go back to my roots and play volleyball or hit the batting cages. It frees my mind stepping on a court or field like nothing else in the world.
Who have been your biggest role models growing up? Have these people had a profound impact on your life and career?
EP: Hands down my parents have been my biggest role models. We don’t share the same careers or fields of work (my Mom is a teacher and my Dad is a carpenter), but they instilled in me the same work ethic and integrity that I see in them. They are both incredibly hard working and honest people, qualities that I strive to achieve myself. I am incredibly blessed to have parents that have always supported and encouraged me in every way: they raised me to feel that no goal was out of reach if I worked hard enough for it. They have supported me in whatever choices I’v made (regardless if they agree or understand my actions) and allow me to be me. They are there to congratulate me on my accomplishments or help pick up the pieces when I fall; they are my rocks and I could not do what I do without them.
What do you like doing in your free time?
EP: In my career I am constantly interacting with people, which I love, but in my free time I really enjoy some quiet time. I’m often shy and a bit of an introvert so I really cherish my alone time where I can just read, write, or go for a walk and collect my thoughts. Even though I’m in the Midwest right now, my heart will always be on the Coast. I grew up on a lake, lived in Rhode Island on the ocean for 5 years, then moved to Hawaii before getting stationed in Ohio (my husband is military). It’s wonderful here, but there’s nothing like being able to walk on the beach and clear your mind. Isak Dinesen said “Salt water cures everything: tears, sweat, and the ocean.” It’s the truth! There’s just something so calming and peaceful about being on the water. Any chance I get I travel somewhere with water! I also really enjoy art museums and history. I studied art history in college and could spend hours wandering through museums and reading in libraries. My dream vacation is Paris. I could spend countless hours at the Louvre and exploring the city.
What are your future goals both personally and professionally?
EP: My goals are constantly evolving as I grow, but that’s what makes life interesting! I love setting goals that push me out of my comfort zone. 90% of what I write down that I want to accomplish is outside of my comfort zone. I do this because I don’t feel like I’m actually living if I don’t push myself. I could do the same thing day in and day out and be content, but I don’t want to be just content. I want passion and fire and butterflies every time I do something new! Life is made to be lived to the fullest and I intend on doing just that. I plan to continue to grow and evolve with the companies I represent. The opportunities I’ve had with these companies so far have been more than I could ask for and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. I truly enjoy educating and helping people live a happier and healthier life and these companies provide me with a platform to do just that.
As an athlete I will always think of myself as a student; I am constantly learning and always striving to improve. This year my biggest goal was to find more balance in my life between work, training, and fun. So far it’s going really well! With right now being my improvement season my goals are more performance based. I’m lifting heavy, training hard, eating plenty, and focusing on putting on muscle. In a few weeks I’ll begin the switch into prep mode and I can’t wait to see all my hard work come together. My goal for this prep is to enjoy every part of it! When I step on stage and in front of the camera later this year I will do it with confidence and the same fearlessness I had when I began this journey into the fitness industry. My focus is to stay positive and enjoy the journey while pursuing modeling opportunities and working towards my goal of becoming an IFBB Bikini Pro. My next goal is to coach high school volleyball. My athletic roots are what molded my passion for health and fitness today and I would love to have the opportunity to give back to what has helped me so much. I was so shy growing up and playing sports gave me the confidence I needed to break out of my shell. I hope to be a strong role model for young girls and help give them the confidence they need to pursue their goals. Overall I plan to continue to challenge myself and never stop learning.
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