Health Female Adda
1 year ago
These 48 Women Are Bona Fide Fitness Queens

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Every year, the Women's Health team handpicks a group of fitfluencers we call our Action Heroes. This year's ladies are active both fitness-wise and in their communities—not to mention, they're just totally awesome. We want you to get to know them, too! So click through this slideshow to play a little game we like to call "two truths and a lie," and get ready to learn a whole lot about the Action Heroes of 2015. 

All photos courtesy of subjects

2/49 ,
Aleni Mackarey, 21

Where she's from: Scranton, Pennsylvania
What she does: Student at Lafayette College
Her favorite exercise activities: Running on the elliptical, every type of abs workout, and dancing to fun music!
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: Hmm.. I can make a really yummy salad with feta cheese, walnuts, berries, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice!

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. I had to learn to roller skate when I performed the role of Kira in Xanadu.
2. I wear lipstick to the gym and on every run.
3. When I was younger, I broke my clavicle in a cross-country race.


1. TRUTH: Roller skating is more of a workout than it appears to be! Toward the end of the show, I actually really liked gliding around the stage.
2. TRUTH: Even if it's just a neutral peach color, I am always wearing lipstick!
3. LIE: I broke my clavicle in a much less competitive way—by simply falling across a wet tile floor.

3/49 ,
Amanda Gray, 30

Where she's from: Hermosa Beach, California
What she does: Project manager, branded video production
Where she blogs: Sweat and Flow
Where she tweets: @amanda_gray
Her favorite exercise activities: Running, HIIT/TRX, hot yoga, beach volleyball, hiking
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: Bacon-wrapped scallops and kale salad

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. I once broke my ankle breaking up a double play in a recreational softball game.
2. I cooked an entire Thanksgiving spread for 15 people in under four hours.  
3. I ran my first marathon at the age of 16.

1. TRUTH: I get a wee bit competitive!
2. TRUTH: I had help from one of my best friends, but we did all the shopping, prepping, and cooking in four hours for a last-minute, impromptu Friendsgiving.
3. LIE: I still haven't run a marathon, but it's on the bucket list!

4/49 ,
Andrea Minski, 35

Where she's from: Miami
What she does: TV host, journalist, and entrepreneur
Where she tweets: @AndreaMinski
Her favorite exercise activities: Running and circuit training
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: Quinoa pancakes and quinoa arepas! I love incorporating this super food into traditional recipes for my kids—they are real-life action heroes!

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. I am the host of a new DIY home improvement TV show that helps Hispanic families.
2. I went to law school and have traveled the country on political campaigns.
3. I won the Miss Colombia pageant and went on to compete in Miss Universe.

1. TRUTH: The show is SOS: Salva Mi Casa and is the Spanish version of This Old House. It airs on Telemundo Saturdays at noon ET.
2. TRUTH: I worked on the 2004 presidential campaign.
3. LIE: I was a contestant and didn’t place.

5/49 ,
Annie Brees, 31

Where she's from: Des Moines, Iowa
What she does: Stay-at-home mom and personal trainer
Where she blogs:
Where she tweets: @annie_brees
Her favorite exercise activities: Strength training and anything else that includes a barbell, kettlebell, or suspension trainer
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: I can make a mean guacamole.

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. I can squat and deadlift over 300 pounds each.
2. I didn't complete my first pullup until I was over 30 years old. 
3. In my free time, I love cooking for my family. 

1. TRUTH: In the past two years, I have completed in a handful of powerlifting competitions and have found great joy in challenging myself to set new personal records. 
2. TRUTH: Ever since grade school, pullups have been difficult but an unforeseen benefit of my continuous strength-training efforts was that I am finally able to complete a full unassisted pullup.  
3. LIE: While I would love to say I'm a great chef, it's really my husband who does all the cooking in our family.  He has an amazing ability to add flavor to every dish!

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April Kever, 37

Where she's from: Fort Wayne, Indiana
What she does: Fitness instructor and independent beach-body coach
Where she tweets: @AprilKever
Her favorite exercise activities: PiYo, lifting, running, and Insanity
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: Homemade salsa from The Pioneer Woman's recipe: 2 cans Ro-Tel, 1 large can whole tomatoes, 2 jalapeños, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 freshly squeezed lime, 1/2 chopped onion, handful of cilantro, salt to taste, 1 tsp cumin. Dump in blender, and blend up until desired consistency.

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. I've worked out live on stage with Autumn Calabrese in front of 800 people.
2. I haven't eaten red meat or pork since I was 12 years old.
3. I am the grill master at my house: I love to throw steaks, burgers, and dogs on the grill and entertain for my family and friends.

1. TRUTH: I had the amazing opportunity to work out side-by-side with Autumn during our Super Saturday event on April 25 in front of 800 amazing health- and fitness-inspired people.
2. TRUTH: After learning from our seventh-grade science teacher how hot dogs were made, I haven't touched a piece of red meat or pork.
3. LIE: I hate grilling out and could not even pick out a decent steak from the grocery store.

7/49 ,
Brooke Birmingham, 29

Where she's from: Rock Island, Illinois
What she does: Blogger and Weight Watchers leader
Where she blogs: Brooke: Not on a Diet 
Where she tweets: @babnotonadiet
Her favorite exercise activities: Bike riding, walking, kayaking, and workout DVDs
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: I can bake some pretty incredible cupcakes!

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. I have lost over 170 pounds!
2. I absolutely despise cooking, but I don't mind cleaning up after my husband makes a meal!
3. I lost my weight without a gym membership!

1. TRUTH: I lost the weight by changing my lifestyle to a more healthy one. I swapped fast food for fast cooking and couch surfing for living workouts.
2. LIE: The kitchen is my happy place. I love cooking, trying new things, and making it up as I go. As for the clean up, does anyone ever really enjoy that? Ha!
3. TRUTH: I didn't have the extra income or the confidence to walk into a gym when I was over 300 pounds. So I started off with walking and built up an extensive fitness DVD collection. I also get outside to bike, walk, or kayak when I can.

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Cecilia Arango, 35

Where she's from: Savannah, Georgia
What she does: Marketing manager
Where she blogs: Cecilia on the Run
Where she tweets: @CeciliaOnTheRun
Her favorite exercise activities: Running and yoga
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: Southern shrimp and grits

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. In 2013, I ran my first marathon and now plan to run 50 marathons in 50 states.
2. In 2014, I renewed my 15th anniversary wedding vows in front of Elvis along the Las Vegas strip at mile three during a half-marathon.
3. In 2015, I once stayed up for an entire 24 hours running in circles.

1. TRUTH: My first marathon was in 2013 and was a destination run—the Nike Women's San Francisco Marathon. As 2014 came to a close, I decided my lifelong goal would be to run 50 marathons in 50 states, with Hawaii being my last state to celebrate this accomplishment! Plus, it gives me a reason to travel, right?! Currently, I have four under my belt and will close out 2015 with a total of six marathons (CA, TX, GA, SC, OH, NY). Slowly but surely, I'll get to 50! Just watch me!
2. TRUTH: My husband and I celebrated 15 years of marriage last year and signed up to run the Rock 'n' Roll Vegas Strip at Night. It would be my 10th half marathon and his first half marathon.  Along with many other couples decked in tuxedo dry-fit shirts and white veils, we ran the half marathon course and veered off at a designated spot at mile marker three to renew our wedding vows.
3. LIE—sort of: I signed up to run my first 24-hour ultra race, Delirium, in Ridgeland, South Carolina. After hours and hours of running several laps around a 1.695-mile tree-lined loop, my eyelids would not stay open, and I ended up falling asleep for six to seven hours!  So technically, I didn't run for 24 hours, but I did manage to complete 57 miles!

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Colleen Dahlem, 33

Where she's from: Washington, D.C.
What she does: Kindergarten teacher
Where she blogs: Live Free and Run
Where she tweets: @livefreeandrun
Her favorite exercise activities: Running 
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: Mexican quinoa salad bowls

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. I love to sky dive. 
2. I am a certified fitness instructor.
3. I placed first in my age group at my first triathlon.

1. LIE: I am a total scaredy cat and have to no desire to skydive, bungee jump, etc.!
2. TRUTH: I teach indoor cycling and bootcamp formats. I love seeing people get active and healthy and be the best versions of themselves.
3. TRUTH: Triathlon was something scary that I went for and had never done before. I had only ridden my bike on the road the morning I dropped it off....I usually only ride indoors!

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Courtney Welch, 34

Where she's from: Royal Oak, Michigan
What she does: Inspired By Movement yoga instructor and life coach, social media and communications for FOX Sports Detroit
Where she blogs: Travels with Yoga Mat
Where she tweets: @CourtneyLWelch
Her favorite exercise activities: Yoga, running, paddleboarding, hiking, biking, kayaking, and playing hockey
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: Anything from, especially the skillet sweet potato chicken hash with eggs

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. I was a competitive precision skater growing up.
2. I played golf at the collegiate level.
3. I have run two half-marathons, one in Denver and one in Detroit.

1. TRUTH: I skated for Team Elan.
2. LIE: But I did play high school golf and served as a sports information student assistant for the women's golf team at Michigan State University.
3. TRUTH: Denver was my first half-marathon back in 2010, and I ran Detroit in 2014.

11/49 ,
Deborah Brooks, 45

Where she's from: McLean, Virginia
What she does: I have a master's in social work and am currently using it as a stay-at-home mom. I'm also a chapter leader for Moms Run This Town and a Girls on The Run coach.
Where she blogs: Confessions of a Mother Runner
Where she tweets: @deborahbrooks14
Her favorite exercise activities: My favorite exercises are running, biking, kick boxing, strength training, and triathlon.
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: I pride myself on my creative meatless recipes but also make a mean lasagna (with and without meat).

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. I’ve been married for 20 years and have an 18-year-old and a 15-year-old.
2. I am a lifelong vegetarian.
3. This is my natural hair color. 

1. TRUTH: Yes, I know I look way too young.
2. TRUTH: I love to create new recipes to share each week for Meatless Monday.
3. LIE: Haha, I have no idea what my natural hair color is, but it's somewhere in the light brown family.

12/49 ,
Desire Silvia, 24

Where she's from: Cayucos, California
What she does: I am a full-time student at Cuesta College doing my pre-requisites to attend California Polytechnic State University and eventually working toward a B.S. in nutrition. Also, on the side, I am studying to become certified as a nutrition specialist and personal trainer.
Where she tweets: @desiresilvia1
Her favorite exercise activities: I love to hike, and one of my favorite spots to hike other than Salmon Creek in Big Sur is Bishops Peak in San Luis Obispo. I love how challenging it can be, and it gives you a great workout. I also really enjoy yoga, running, biking, going to the gym, and just dancing around the house for fun.
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: I love to cook, and I would have to say I have many recipes I rock, but my favorite recipe is definitely my turkey meatloaf. I usually just throw in whatever, but I find adding mushrooms, jalapenos, oats, garlic cloves, apples, a little bit of apple sauce and then topping it with ketchup and onions is seriously amazing!

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. CrossFit changed my life.
2. I ran my first marathon last year.
3. My mother inspired me to live a healthy lifestyle.

1. TRUTH: I started going to Ocean State Crossfit in Rhode Island about a few years ago, and it was the best decision of my life. Surrounding yourself with such uplifting, positive individuals is the best feeling, and if it wasn’t for the OSC community I don’t think I would be who I am today. They helped not only shape who I am as a person, but helped me power through challenging workouts and taught me to never give up.
2. LIE: Unfortunately, I did not run a marathon last year. However, I am currently training for half-marathons and working my way up. I think completing a marathon would be the greatest challenge.
3. TRUTH: My mother definitely inspired me to live a healthy lifestyle. She recently passed away from Lupus, and I think its so incredibly important for individuals to know how to live a healthy lifestyle. It all starts with nutrition. It's been a lifetime dream to help and inspire others about it. Regardless of how sick you are, nutrition plays an important role in your everyday life.

13/49 ,
Elena Chernyakova, 24

Where she's from: Los Angeles
What she does: Actress
Where she tweets: @echernyakova1
Her favorite exercise activities: Skiing, biking, yoga, tennis, running, swimming, hiking
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: Le crepes de la creme

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. I used to played tennis professionally, prior to getting my degree from Northwestern.
2. I fly planes.
3. My fashionista closet predominantly consists of basic designs in solid colors.

1. TRUTH: I was also ranked No. 1 in Europe as a junior player.
2. TRUTH: I race Formula1, too.
3. LIE: All of my clothes have sparkling designs, crystals, and wild patterns.

14/49 ,
Elisha Villanueva, 32

Where she's from: San Diego
What she does: CEO of Flex it Pink
Her favorite exercise activities: CrossFit, running, and hiking
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: I have an award-winning salsa recipe, and that's about the only thing I can cook, haha.

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. I am terrified of heights.
2. I have finished three sub-two-hour half-marathons.
3. I have lost 80 pounds.


1. LIE: Hiking is my absolute favorite hobby. Standing at the top of a high mountain looking at a 360-degree view around me is cleansing for my soul!
2. TRUTH: I have found a love for running, and I have participated in many races from fun mud runs to finishing 13.1 miles with the Pacific Ocean crashing at my feet. 
3. TRUTH: I have shed 80 pounds along the way, leaving it on the side of the roads, trails, and in sweat drops on the gym floor, and I'm never going back for it.

15/49 ,
Elizabeth Simonton, 30

Where she's from: Malibu, California
What she does: Personal trainer
Where she blogs:
Her favorite exercise activities: Rock climbing is my favorite, but I also love a good, heavy weight-training routine or TRX workout. Variety is a must for me, as I get bored easily.
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: Aside from my kick-ass "skinny" jalapeno margaritas, I am pretty cook at making my spinach, goat cheese, and strawberry salad. I also make an authentic Bolognese.

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. I got engaged at the top of a route in Joshua Tree.
2. I have run three marathons.
3. Eating clean is not something that comes easily to me.

1. TRUTH: Joshua Tree is one of my favorite places in the world, and my fiancé proposed at the top of a short trad climb. I was completely shocked. The climb down was wobbly, to say the least.
2. LIE: I seriously have no interest in marathons. I really like running a lot, but 26.2 miles seems a little excessive.
3. TRUTH: It's true that eating clean is something I have to work on constantly, and I slip up all the time, but I have come to realize that this journey is not about being perfect, it is about being the best you can be one day at a time.

16/49 ,
Evann Clingan, 26

Where she's from: New York
What she does: Digital planner and fitness blogger
Where she blogs:
Where she tweets: @evannclingan
Her favorite exercise activities: Running, yoga, and HIIT
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: Baked salmon with quinoa

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. I ran my first full marathon at Disney World.
2. I started running when I was in college.
3. I have plans to race twice in Canada this summer. 

2. LIE: I started running in 2013.

17/49 ,
Genevieve Gillette, 31

Where she's from: Salt Lake City
What she does: Accounting manager
Where she blogs: Eager Viever
Where she tweets: @eagerviever
Her favorite exercise activities: Running, lifting, swimming, cycling
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: Cheesy, creamy artichoke spinach dip

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. I PR-ed in an open water olympic triathlon with a broken finger.
2. I dominated Ragnar Colorado and Wasatch Back as back-to-back champion of the Women’s Ultra Relay.
3. I raced on the Las Vegas Strip alongside Meb Keflezighi.

1. LIE: Okay, okay… I may have not had a broken finger, but I most certainly had a broken toe. I dropped my laptop on my way out of town traveling to the race location. By race morning, it was black and blue all over. Ouch! But I am not a quitter, so I taped it up and got on with the event—finishing with a personal best by eight minutes.
2. TRUTH: Ragnar is challenging, but cut your team in half, and you’ve got a beast of a race to conquer in the Ultra Series. With my five teammates, we raced approximately 200 miles and up to 10,000 feet altitude over the course of two days in Ragnar’s most challenging races, Wasatch Back and Colorado. We placed first for the women’s division at Wasatch Back and then again in Colorado, but that time also beating out a number of men’s teams to take third place overall.
3. TRUTH: In what was one of the more memorable moments of my running career, I ran as a sponsored athlete for Got Chocolate Milk? in the Las Vegas Rock 'n’ Roll Half-Marathon. The celebrity athlete at the race was Meb Keflezighi. Having a sub 1:45 half-marathon time allowed me to meet and run (hand-in-hand, briefly) under the Vegas Strip’s lights with the 2014 Boston Marathon winner himself. Such a nice guy and cool experience.

18/49 ,
Isabel Rivera, 34

Where she's from: Acworth, Georgia
What she does: Elementary school teacher and run coach
Where she blogs: The Running Teacher
Where she tweets: @therunningteach
Her favorite exercise activities: Ultrarunning, yoga, hiking
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: Green monster smoothie!

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. Taking ultrarunning to a new level, I ran a 50-K in my third trimester of pregnancy!  
2. Sometimes I like to get a longer run in by run-commuting back home from work.
3. My family is always waiting to see what I come up with next in the kitchen.

1. TRUTH: I ran the Running Dead Ultra 50-K at just a few days shy of 36 weeks. With bathrooms at the start/finish, I had to get creative about "potty" breaks. At one point, I thought I found a fairly good spot, only to discover that it was part of someone's front yard! Oops! At another point, there was nothing but flat farmland on either side, leaving me with only one option. When nature calls, you answer!
2. TRUTH: I did this several times at the beginning of my pregnancy last year. I've taken a break from run-commuting for now, but I'm starting back up after baby Enrique is born mid-May! It's about the only way to get in mid-distance runs during the week with two little ones! By running home, I get in a solid 11 miles with options to add extra!
3. LIE: A pescetarian, I mostly eat a vegetable/fruit-based diet. Since most of my dishes involve tofu or tempeh in some form or another, my family knows better than to partake in my recipes. :) I'm well-known for sliding black beans and zucchini into desserts and tofu into smoothies!

19/49 ,
Jaime DeSimone, 36

Where she's from: Haverhill, Massachusetts
What she does: Assistant curator of contemporary art
Where she tweets: @jld2282
Her favorite exercise activities: Running, basketball, Pilates, boxing
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: Chocolate cupcakes

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. This is my fourth year as a Women's Health Action Hero! I have all the FEED bags to prove it.
2. I'm mentally preparing to register and then train for my first marathon in the fall of 2015. (I'm hoping that typing these works will keep me accountable.)
3. I was featured on Chopped for my cooking.

1. TRUTH: I first applied for this program after seeing an advertisement in the magazine. I never would have thought I'd be selected and continue to be an on-the-ground influencer in Boston. Feeling lucky! 
2. TRUTH: I run half-marathons on an annual basis to stay motivated and train with a purpose. I'm always looking for a new challenge, and I'm thinking the goal of 2015 will be a full marathon.
3. LIE: Eek! Um, no way...I can't cook, but I can bake with the best of them, although I try to alter those sugary sweet recipes with healthy substitutes like chia seeds, unsweetened applesauce, ground flaxseed, coconut oil, black beans, and pumpkin. It's fun to bring them to cookouts and see the shock on people's faces when they can't decipher the difference.

20/49 ,
Jane Jourdan, 26

Where she's from: New York
What she does: Blogger, singer, yoga instructor
Where she blogs: Fit for Broadway
Where she tweets: @janejourdan
Her favorite exercise activities: Boxing, Pilates, and dance fitness
The recipe she rocks with chef-level skills: An acai bowl! :) My favorite post-workout treat!

We asked her for two truths and a lie about herself—can you guess which "fact" is false?
1. I created a benefit concert series that raised over

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